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In Long Island City, (Somewhat) Controversial JetBlue Signage Lands On Historic LEED Silver Brewster Building

Back in April, the City Council voted unanimously to approve a zoning amendment allowing signage on top of commercial buildings along a 14-block stretch of the Queens Plaza submarket between 23rd Street and Sunnyside Yards in Long Island City. The zoning amendment was championed by JetBlue, whose massive, 40-foot, LED-powered logo sign was recently placed on top of the company’s new headquarters at the historic, LEED Silver Brewster Building. “The sign is in the end stages of construction right now. It’s almost completed,” said Allison Steinberg, a JetBlue spokeswoman, in a press release. “We will be testing the lighting soon.”

JetBlue’s sign aims to echo, and join, Long Island City’s other commercial signage – like Silvercup Studios’ and Pepsi’s, which are prominently visible from the 59th Street Bridge. It should be operational in a few weeks – blue during the day, and white at night. But local residents are not concerned about an influx of commercial signs just yet – last April’s zoning amendment addressed the local community board’s concerns by restricting signage to companies that occupy a minimum of twenty percent of a building, or occupy 50,000 total square feet. JetBlue, of course, moved into its 200,000-square-foot space at the Brewster Building back in April under a 10-year sublease from MetLife.

The Brewster Building itself – which is owned by New York City-based Brause Realty and located at 27-01 Queens Plaza North – earned LEED Silver certification in late 2008 under the Existing Buildings: Operations & Maintenance rating system on the shoulders of an extensive 2003 renovation. The 400,000-square-foot, 12-story tower was originally designed by architects Stephensen & Wheeler and earned 44 of a possible 92 points under EB: OM (SS: 5/12, WE: 4/10, EA: 17/30, MR: 2/14, IEQ: 11/19, and 5/7 for Innovations in Operations). It was built in 1911 and was where the Brewster Aeronautical Company manufactured the Brewster F2A (known as “The Brewster Buffalo”), which was the first monoplane fighter airplane used by the U.S. Navy during World War II.

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