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Queens Chronicle

Auctioning the land that later housed Shea

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Posted: Thursday, September 23, 2010 12:00 am

Michael J. Degnon built subways as head of the great Degnon Contracting Company. His empire also bought up vast tracks of city land along Northern Boulevard and Roosevelt Avenue, the links between Corona and Flushing, and held them for years, awaiting the coming of the IRT. The Interborough Rapid Transit line was then being extended from Albertis Avenue (now 103rd Street) to Main Street in Flushing.

Corona’s population had risen from 12,000 in 1915 to an estimated 60,000 by 1924. In theory, where population grows land values increase and investors with vision make money. From Peartree Avenue (now 114th Street) to Holland Avenue (now 127th Street) to the west and east, and Northern Boulevard to Roosevelt Avenue north and south, a total of 927 lots were sold at auction over two days: Saturday, Oct. 11 and Monday (Columbus Day), Oct. 13, 1924.

The sale was billed as “a simple and wonderful op-portunity for plain people to buy some of the Corona-Flushing subway lots.”

But in reality this soft land abutting Flushing Bay wasn’t the best for serious building and the lots remained largely empty for years.

It wasn’t until the Oct. 28, 1961 announcement that a baseball stadium was to be built on the land, once looked upon asuseless, that it become very valuable overnight — proof once again that real estate is a sound investment in Queens County.

Correction

The Sept. 2 I Have Often Walked column, “Forgotten Linde Villa: annexed to ‘snail mail,’” misstated what became of the street once called Cross Island Boulevard. It is now Francis Lewis Boulevard.

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