Examining the long forgotten history of a Central Queens industrial zone, with one abandoned warehouse in particular.
In the early 1900s, the area around ‘Glendale Junction’ was home to a number of warehouses. Nearly all of these buildings have been replaced by retail stores today.
In this article, we look at one building in particular, which for a number of years was an abandoned Coca Cola distribution warehouse. Prior to coke’s use of this property, the land was the site of 2 warehouse buildings for the Lehman Sewer Pipe company. They had 2 rail sidings that ran along side the buildings, where they received pipes via the LIRR, who’s ‘Lower Montauk’ tracks run against the north side of the property. The LIRR Rockaway Beach Branch also passed just to the west of this property – though there was no rail siding branching off from there. The two rail lines were connected, and in railroad lingo this location was better known as ‘Glendale Junction’.
Modern annotated version of a Bob Emery map of Glendale Junction circa 1958 – Rockaway Beach Branch runs down the center while The Lower Montauk runs left to right. The Green on the lower right is where the coke distributor was. Also noted on the top left is where the present day Home Depot and Trader Joes are located
Lehman pipe eventually left the property, I believe in the early 1960. Around this time both buildings were replaced with one large warehouse structure that was used by Coca Cola. Eventually, Coca Cola either relocated or consolidated their operations in Maspeth – which left this building vacant.
Sometime after the Rockaway Beach branch was abandoned, the wooden trestle that carried it over the Lower Montauk tracks was ripped out. This short bridge would need to be replaced should the Rockaway branch ever be reused, for anything.
Remains of the Rockaway Beach Branch trestle over the Lower Montauk tracks.
Back to our coke warehouse: the building sat abandoned from at least 1999 through 2004. The first complaints about it to city officials came in 1999 after a small fire resulted in the fire department cutting fences and doors open, and pulling some debris being left outside. In the years that followed there were numerous complaints made about the building, but nothing happened until the end of 2004 when work began to convert the building for retail use.
Here’s a look inside:
Today, it is the location of a mini-mall with an AC Moore, Stop and Shop, Dress Barn and other retail establishments. The original building was apparently severely modified and cleaned up to house these retail businesses.
Former Coke Distributor building in 2016