Tag Archives: Lawrence Cemetery

Historic Bayside cemetery receives much-needed renovation funds


| ejankiewicz@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photos by Asha Mahadevan

Bayside’s historic cemetery received $50,000 in state funds to renovate and extend the site’s cast-iron fencing.

State Sen. Tony Avella helped allocate the funds for the 1967 historic landmarked site, the Lawrence Cemetery.

“It’s one of the last ties to Bayside’s colonial past,” said Peter DiBenedetto, president of the Bayside Historical Society. “It’s hard to come by grants from the state so we’re really thankful for this money.”

The site is named after former owners John and William Lawrence. The Lawrence family gained the land in 1645 under the Dutch Governor of New Amsterdam. While the site is known today as a cemetery, it wasn’t until 1832 that the first burial took place. The last one happened in 1939.

The cast-iron fence only surrounds half of the site and the other half of the perimeter has a chain-link fence that DiBenedetto describes as “dilapidated.” With the new grant money, the historic society will replace the chain-link fence with iron.

_3Cemetery-3

For the last five years, DiBenedetto said, the Bayside Historical Society hasn’t received any state senate grants, making this new source of money a welcome addition to their coffers.

The money will also be used for general maintenance work.

“Some of the gravestones are looking pretty shabby,” DiBenedetto said.

RECOMMENDED STORIES

Star of Queens: Paul Di Benedetto, president, Bayside Historical Society


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

QC03282013

BY ANTHONY O’REILLY

COMMUNITY INVOLVMENT: As president of the Bayside Historical Society, Paul Di Benedetto heads the board of directors and helps to define its mission.

The group, formed in 1964, works to archive and preserve Bayside’s history by maintaining those properties that have already been landmarked, as well as working to landmark other sites in Bayside. Di Benedetto said the group was originally formed to save Fort Totten and the Lawrence Cemetery. The two sites are now a NYC landmark and since then the society has been working to provide maintenance for both.

The society also works to educate people about Bayside’s history.

Di Benedetto has been president of the society for a year. He is also a member of Community Board 11.

BACKGROUND: Di Benedetto has been living in Bayside since 1995. He said he originally moved there because of its proximity to Manhattan, where he was working at the time, and fell in love with the historical houses in the area.

FAVORITE MEMORY: Di Benedetto says his favorite memory in working with the society is seeing the look of joy in children, and even adults, as they learn of the area’s history. “It’s great to see how they take [history] up too and how it relates to them.”

INSPIRATION: Di Benedetto said he didn’t like the fact that land developers would come in and destroy many of the homes in the area.

“I didn’t like the fact that developers and short-sighted people were coming and buying the houses,” he said. “They’d clear the properties and put all this asbestos in the air.” In working with the society, Di Benedetto hopes to halt, if not completely stop, this kind of development.

BIGGEST CHALLENGE: “It’s a lack of understanding,” Di Benedetto said about trying to get sites landmarked. “People are afraid for some reason.” Di Benedetto said he tries to get people to understand that by landmarking a site, their house or property is “locked in time.”

 

RECOMMENDED STORIES

Historical landmarks in northeast Queens


| mchan@queenscourier.com

2-Officers Club

Bayside and Fresh Meadows residents do not need to go far for a piece of their neighborhood’s past, as the neighborhoods boast four landmarked sites.

The Lawrence Cemetery, located in a wooded area at the corner of 216th Street and 42nd Avenue in Bayside, was designated an official city landmark in 1967. According to the BHS, the tiny cemetery is home to a variety of headstones, marking the final resting place of 40 members of the prominent Lawrence family, including John Lawrence, an original patentee, who was mayor of New York City twice in 1673 and 1691.

 

 

 

 

 

The Officers’ Club, known as “The Castle,” was placed on the State and National Registers of Historic Places in 1986. Bayside Historical Society (BHS) officials said the Bayside benchmark is one of the finest surviving examples in the city of the Gothic Revival castellated style, an architectural style that was popular in America in the mid 1800s.

 

 

 

 

 

The 35-34 Bell Boulevard cobblestone building, located on a commercial street in Bayside, gained historical status in 2004 for being a “rare example of a house built from cobblestones in New York City,” according to the city’s Landmarks Preservation Commission (LPC). Construction on the two-and-a-half story structure was completed in 1906.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Brinckerhoff Cemetery, a colonial-era burial ground in Fresh Meadows, was given recent landmark status this August for its archeological importance. LPC officials said the 18th Century cemetery, located on 182nd Street, ties New York City to its earliest days as a Dutch settlement. The site is the final resting place for roughly 80 of the borough’s earliest and most prominent settlers. Community leaders fought to preserve the site for more than a decade after critics had raised regulatory questions about the possible designation, saying the land — which is now peppered with scattered trees and shrubs — had no visible markers or gravestones. LPC leaders, however, ultimately decided there is no evidence the historic graves and markers were removed and agreed the site’s subsurface conditions should not be disturbed.