I lived in Skyline Tower from age one through nine, on the 16th floor, as I recall. Then we moved to the house about a 15-minute walk southeast. There are two towers in the Skyline complex along with six shorter Carlyle Tower buildings. A convenient 10-minute walk from downtown Flushing, the development boasted playgrounds, a public pool, and a shopping district. It seemed like a fine place to grow up. Through, I had no basis for comparison.
Living in a high-rise limited some of the typical American childhood activities. I owned a bicycle but couldn’t ride it. It was too much hassle to go down the elevator and find a place to practice. I finally mastered bike riding at age nine, a week after I moved to the house. Baseball, whiffle ball, soccer, and street tag would also have to wait until I moved away from the apartment.
I was proud that I lived in a tall building, however. At 27-stories high, I proclaimed it the tallest building in Queens. I remember sizing up other apartments I encountered, counting the number of floors. Though never proven — fifty years ago — it might have been the tallest.
As I’ve grown and traveled the world, Skyline Towers now no longer impresses me. Best I know, it still houses middle-class families like it did when I grew up — much fancier than the tenements and projects of NYC but lacking any of the glamors of the Manhattan high-rises.
It was incredibly convenient, with two supermarkets, a post office, a few banks, a bakery, and every other conceivable retail necessity within a five-minute walk. With at least three different bus lines and a 10-minute walk to the Number 7 Subway train, most of New York City was within easy public transit access.
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