Nestled among a café, a bakery and other “small-town” storefronts lays the new and exciting Architots. Owned by local businessman and JPCA member Michael Macaluso Sr., Architots is the only one of it’s kind, in the dog-eat-dog world of kiddie classes.
An age-appropriate architectural design teaching center and fun rolled into one, the Architots idea was formed after lifelong resident Macaluso was dismayed at the blight of graffiti that was deteriorating Middle Village, even marring some of the stores he proudly built; so he decided to help change our community for the better by helping our kids. Using the skills he has acquired from the 26-year-old architectural firm he owns (MJ Macaluso & Assoc.), as well as from his teaching days at Parson’s School of Design, he decided to do what he loves – teach architecture to children.
Years ago, after designing the Goodwill building for the disabled in L.I.C. and raising funds for United Cerebral Palsy, Macaluso realized that you don’t need to play sports (although he himself played several in school) to be a star – architecture, art, and music belong to every child.
The storefront is beautifully designed in primary colors (harking artist’s Mondrian style). There are many subtle connections that are ingenious. Take for instance the ramp leading to the 2nd floor; there are several reasons for this. First, to show kids that they do not need steps to go up or down, the second to show them how a wall can be curved and a path needn’t be straight. Or take the see-through walls, which expose beams, pipes and wires, to show the kids that even though they see a flat wall, there are many things inside.
So far, they had a very successful summer program that, for example, on one day they taught the kids about Paris. The kids drew and constructed models of the Eiffel Tower while Parisian music played. Architots is still new and learning what the community needs and wants. Please feel free to call or stop by and I know the friendly, hospitable staff will do their best to accommodate your needs. The recommended ages are from 4 to 11 – though soon they will be opening a Mommy-and-me class for the little ones as well as a weekend drop-off program for the older kids. They even have all inclusive birthday parties.
About Michael Macaluso, Sr.
Born in 1948 on 77th Street in Middle Village, Macaluso attended St. Margaret’s school along with his 4 siblings. His Mother still lives in the same house on, for which she paid a small sum of money for after the war. Macaluso remembers when he lived in Middle Village as a child, he and his friends would sneak into the ½ built homes near Eliot Ave – thus was born his love of building. His son, Michael Jr. happily followed in his Dad’s footsteps and now together they run both the family business and Architots. Most importantly, he loves Middle Village and feels we at the JPCA are doing a terrific job keeping the neighborhood safe and beautiful.