Designation Testimony

Testimony for Proposed Dizzy Gillespie Residence Individual Landmark

LP-2657 – 

John Birks “Dizzy” Gillespie Residence – 105-19 37th Avenue (aka 34-68 106th Street), Corona

Item to be heard

A Colonial Revival style building home to legendary jazz trumpter John Birks “Dizzy” Gillespie from 1953 to 1965. 

As the citywide advocate for New York’s architectural, historical and cultural neighborhoods, HDC enthusiastically supports the designation of the John Birks “Dizzy” Gillespie Residence as an Individual Landmark.

Gillespie was so clearly understood as a symbol of American cultural creativity that The U. S. State Department chose Gillespie to be the nation’s first jazz ambassador in 1956. Gillespie not only traveled extensively with his 18-piece band but also he recorded and broadcasted directly from his home, here in Queens.

It is long past due for Gillespie’s home to be recognized as the landmark it is. HDC is glad that this home will join the Louis Armstrong House as a landmark in Corona, and we urge the LPC to continue to recognize sites of cultural significance, and particularly sites of Black history, in Queens and throughout the five boroughs. 

As the LPC continues to recognize cultural sites, we would appreciate more guidance from the Commission as to what constitutes eligibility for a cultural landmark. We believe such a distinction can be interpreted in an excitingly broad range of ways, and we are pleased to see that this designation rightly honors a profoundly culturally significant space that is designed in a fairly simple vernacular form. We hope the Commission will be open to designating more buildings that might be unassuming architecturally, but richly deserving from a cultural standpoint. 

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