Lefrak City, Long Island
Lefrak City is a large housing development located in Corona neighborhood in the borough of Queens, Long Island, New York. It was built in the mid-1960s for working and middle-class families on the north side of the Long Island Expressway. The city meets the LIE at Junction Boulevard, east of Queens Boulevard, and is close to the western side of Flushing Meadows Park. It is a part of Queens Community Board 4.
The LeFrak Empire was founded by Harry Lefrak, a glazier who moved to New York in the early 1900s and did customized glasswork for Louis Comfort Tiffany. He bought a 120-acre farm in Williamsburg, Brooklyn and later off 10 acres on DeKalb Avenue to build small houses. The complex name is taken from its son Samuel J. LeFrak, a noted housing developer who chaired The Lefrak Organization. Samuel took a small company into the big leagues, buying some swampy land in Queens from the Astors, and transforming it in 1959 into Lefrak City, a sprawling complex of 20 18-story towers, comprising 5,000 apartments and 15,000 residents, as well as two million square feet of retail space.
The organization broke ground in 1960, finishing by 1969, and offered air-conditioned apartments at $40 a room. The LeFrak strategy of "Total Facilities for Total Living" meant bringing recreational, shopping, transportation, and other services to the residents. It was mainly made for middle-class families. Sam LeFrak's son, Richard, had been president of the Lefrak Organization since at least 1987 and was in charge of day-to-day administration. The Lefrak Organization is one of the US's largest private landlords, owning and managing some 71,000 apartments (affordable and upscale) in New York City and New Jersey as well as millions of square feet of commercial space.
Once home to a large Jewish community, the city became largely African-American and was known for drugs and gang violence in 1980s. It was changed when an influx of Russian immigrants and immigrants from other former Soviet republics and Muslim immigrants from Africa moved in to the present time. There are notable residents of LeFrak City that include Kenny Anderson, a former NBA player and Prodigy, certified metal rapper that is used to live in LeFrak City. The Lefrak Tower, the first modern office skyscraper in Queens, and the focal point for a new five-building mid-city office complex is one of the historic sites in the city. The construction of the Park Vendome is the world’s first high-rise residential-retail-commercial-judicial office building complex that the Lefrak Organization must be proud of. The Lefrak City library which was affected by flood still closed for repairs and hopes to have it open as soon as time possible.