Communications Office:
David Bookstaver, Director
Mai Yee, Assistant Director
(212) 428-2500

Date: February 4, 2003

Seal of the Unified Court System
City Constructs New Home for Queens Family Court
QUEENS, NY - The Queens Family Court and City Agency Building - a new state-of-the-art justice complex - celebrates its grand opening with Chief Judge Judith Kaye and New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg today, Tuesday, February 4, 2:00 p.m., at 151-20 Jamaica Avenue in Jamaica, Queens. The 280,000-square-foot facility, which is the first new Family Court in Queens in 30 years, features 23 modern courtrooms, spacious waiting rooms, a children's center, and offices for numerous city agencies, including the Law Department, Department of Probation, Queens District Attorney's Office and Administration for Children's Services, as well as the State Office of Mental Health, Office of Children and Family Services, Legal Aid Society and Safe Horizon.

Chief Judge Kaye stated, "A courthouse should inspire in citizens respect and confidence in our system of law through the dignity of its surroundings. Unfortunately, for too long families with cases in Queens Family Court have been subjected to anything but dignified surroundings - they have had to contend with the overcrowded and dilapidated conditions of a building that was never meant to be used as a courthouse, but was originally built as a public library. Today, with the opening of this shining new state-of-the-art justice complex, residents and the legal community of Queens will have at last an appropriate setting within which to conduct the important business of court."

"I am happy to announce the opening of the first new family courthouse in Queens in 30 years," Mayor Bloomberg said. "This new facility embodies our resolve to strengthen the Family Court which serves some of the City's most vulnerable citizens. With our decision to increase the number of judges on the Family Court bench and the opening of this state-of-the-art facility, we continue to improve the administration of justice and provide the best services to the people of Queens and the City of New York."

The four-story brick building, which faces the historic Rufus King Park to the north and the elevated Long Island Railroad tracks to the south, is articulated into two wings - Family Court and supporting agencies - connected by a common lobby on the ground floor and a bridge on the second level. A commissioned sculpture by artist Ursula von Rydingsvard has been installed in the central atrium, and granite plaques inscribed with quotes from Thurgood Marshall, the first African American Supreme Court Justice, are placed at various locations on the facade of the building.

The City of New York financed the construction of the new court complex through State Dormitory Authority bonds, with costs totaling $104 million. The building design, created by lead designer Ian Bader of Pei Cobb Freed & Partners, was awarded the Art Commission of the City of New York's 1999 Award for Excellence in Design. The architectural team for the project consisted of New York based firms Pei Cobb Freed & Partners and Gruzen Samton LLP, Associated Architects.

The Queens Family Court was formerly located at 89-14 Parsons Boulevard in Jamaica - originally the site of a public library, which was converted in 1970 for temporary use as a courthouse. After the court vacates the premises, the building will be returned for use by the Queens Public Library System.

The City is currently constructing a Criminal and Family Courthouse in Brooklyn and a Criminal Courthouse in the Bronx.