Tag Archives: LPC

LPC votes unanimously to landmark LIC Clock Tower

| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Cristabelle Tumola

The decision is finally in, and the beloved Clock Tower in Long Island City is not going anywhere.

On Tuesday the city’s Landmarks Preservation Commission voted unanimously to landmark the 11-story tower in Queens Plaza, formerly the Bank of the Manhattan Company building.

“For nearly a century, the Queens Clock Tower building has been one of Long Island City’s most recognizable structures, greeting hundreds of thousands of commuters as they enter the borough,” said Landmarks Preservation Commission Chair Meenakshi Srinivasan. “The commission is proud to recognize this iconic building, which represents a significant period of development in Long Island City.”

Designed by Queens-born architect Morrell Smith, the tower, located at 29-27 Queens Plaza North, was built in 1927 and at the time was described as “the first skyscraper in Queens.”

According to the LPC, in 1927 the building’s design received first prize from the Queens Chamber of Commerce as the borough’s best business building.

The decision to landmark the site comes as residents have been speaking out and calling for the LPC to make the decision that would keep the tower in the community.  A petition was also started on change.org and signed by 1,606 supporters.

“This is a tremendous victory for New York City preservationists and local residents who contacted my office to convey their overwhelming support to retain the character of this great neighborhood,” Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer said. “I was proud to help give this community coordinated grassroots campaign the additional pressure it needed to ensure the Clock Tower Building stands for another 90 years.”

The building, which is now owned by Property Markets Group, will be surrounded by a 70-story 930-apartment building at 29-37 41st Ave. – expected to be the tallest building in Queens.


Councilman promises to fund purchase of Fresh Meadows colonial cemetery

| ejankiewicz@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of Landmarks Preservation Commission

Fresh Meadows Councilman Rory Lancman pledged to fully fund the purchase of a historical cemetery on 182nd Avenue from the current private owner that has no intention of preserving the plot of land.

“Buying the cemetery is the easy part,” Lancman said about the Brinckerhoff Cemetery. “We need to make sure that an organization with the infrastructure can shoulder the responsibility of upkeeping and maintaining the cemetery.”

The 18th century cemetery was designated a landmark in 2012, thwarting the efforts of the owner, Linda Cai, to develop the land into housing or commercial property.

Lancman, whose coverage area includes Fresh Meadows, said that his office was in the process of looking for an organization that would be able to take care of the colonial cemetery.

The Friends of the The Brinckerhoff Colonial Cemetery, a nonprofit, helped the site gain the landmark status and is in the process of raising money to buy the cemetery. But so far, Lancman hasn’t offered to buy the property for the group because he isn’t sure if the organization

“I’m not going to make the decision unilaterally,” Lancman said. “We need to sit down with the community and figure it out.”


Preservation group struggles to raise money for historical cemetery in Fresh Meadows

| ejankiewicz@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of Landmarks Preservation Commission

A preservation group is trying to save a colonial-era burial ground in Fresh Meadows from fading away.

The Brinckerhoff Cemetery was designated a landmark in 2012 by the city. But the small plot of land is privately owned by Linda Cai.

“If we didn’t fight for the cemetery this could have been developed and the grounds desecrated,” said Yolanda Dela Cruz-Gallagher, president of Friends of the Brinckerhoff Colonial Cemetery. “And we could have lost the historical essence of our forefather.”

Dela Cruz-Gallagher and her preservation organization are raising money to buy the property. The current owner is asking for $150,000.

“We have no money,” Dela Cruz-Gallagher said. “And so we’re asking the public for support.”

Dela Cruz-Gallagher and other Queens historical groups believe there are over 70 tombstones in the cemetery, but none of them are visible due to the overgrowth of weeds and a lack of maintenance.

Surveys of the area are prohibited since the cemetery is private property, so no one is certain about the conditions of the tombstones and other historical artifacts. The 18th-century graveyard is named after a prominent immigrant family from Holland that settled in Fresh Meadows.

“I believe that the property would be in better hands with the Friends of the Brinckerhoff Cemetery than the current owner,” said Mitchell Grubler, chair of the Queens Preservation Council. “It’s a property that’s had a lot of invasive growth, vegetation. Over the course of time, that needs to be managed.”

The Queens Preservation Council doesn’t have any plans to financially support Friends of the Brinckerhoff Colonial Cemetery. But Grubler said that doesn’t mean they won’t help in the future.

In 2012, when the site was designated as a historical landmark, former City Councilman James Gennaro lobbied hard to win the site’s landmark status, according to earlier reports.

Gennaro also said that a nonprofit group with the financial ability should buy the property. While Dela Cruz-Gallagher’s preservation group is a nonprofit, they aren’t close to the $150,000 needed to buy the property.

“These are the people who fought side by side with George Washington. It has a lot of historical significance,” Dela Cruz-Gallagher said. “We need to get this property as soon as possible before everything there is lost.”


Forest Park Carousel honored in landmarking ceremony

| lguerre@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy Eric Yun

Elected officials, residents and members of the Landmarks Preservation Commission (LPC) held a ceremony to commemorate the designation of the Forest Park Carousel on Monday.

To honor the new landmark, the LPC unveiled a plaque, which states the history of the century-old carousel and its designer, Daniel Muller.

“Preserving our history strengthens our neighborhoods,” said Councilmember Elizabeth Crowley. “I was proud to work with the LPC, the Parks Department, and community advocates to ensure this historic carousel continues to be a treasure for future generations.”

The carousel was shuttered from 2008 to 2012, but last year, New York Carousel Entertainment LLC, which also owns the carousel in Flushing Meadows-Corona Park, decided to buy and revitalize it.

The LPC made the classic Woodhaven ride a city treasure and ensured its preservation with a unanimous 8-0 vote on June 25.

The carousel, which was brought to Forest Park in 1973, is comprised of 49 horses, a lion, a tiger, a deer, and two chariots arranged in three concentric circles, all carved with great attention to detail. There are also paintings depicting settings in Woodhaven and other parts of Queens.

“It’s taken an enormous amount of well-deserved dedication and work over the past 40 years to save this exquisitely carved carousel,” said LPC Chair Robert Tierney. “It’s an incredible work of American folk art that was manufactured by a firm that was celebrated for its highly realistic work and attention to detail, and I’m delighted it will be protected for generations to come in one of the most picturesque settings in New York City.”



Brinckerhoff Cemetery granted landmark status by City Council

| mchan@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of the Landmarks Preservation Commission

The landmark status of a historic Colonial-era burial ground in Fresh Meadows has been approved by the City Council.

The council voted overwhelmingly to accept Brinckerhoff Cemetery’s landmark designation on December 10 after the 18th century site was approved for official landmark status by the city’s Landmarks Preservation Commission (LPC) in August.

“With the landmarking of the Brinckerhoff cemetery, an irreplaceable part of Queens’ history will be preserved in perpetuity,” said Councilmember James Gennaro. “The countless hours that I and many others dedicated to this landmarking have been a wonderful investment that will yield historic and educational dividends for the people of Queens for generations to come.”

Local leaders and preservationists in the neighborhood fought through endless legal wrangling for more than a decade to save the 182nd Street site, Gennaro said.

The vote preserves and protects the final resting place for roughly 80 of the borough’s earliest and most prominent settlers from development.

“Queens is rich with historical treasures dating back to the Dutch era, from the Flushing Remonstrance and the Bowne House to Brinckerhoff Cemetery,” said Councilmember Dan Halloran. “It’s important to preserve the historical legacy of the borough.”

The next step, Gennaro said, is to find a nonprofit group capable of purchasing and maintaining the property.

According to the LPC, 13 cemeteries in the city have been designated as landmarks, including seven in Queens.

Brinckerhoff Cemetery given landmark status

| mchan@queenscourier.com

Photo Courtesy of Landmarks Preservation Commission

A historic colonial-era burial ground in Fresh Meadows has been given official landmark status, according to the city’s Landmarks Preservation Commission (LPC).

The 18th century Brinckerhoff Cemetery will be preserved and protected from development after LPC leaders voted unanimously to designate it as a landmark on August 14, pointing to its archeological importance as a major factor in their decision.

“This cemetery, despite all of the changes that have occurred around it, remains one of a handful of sites that directly ties New York City to its earliest days as a Dutch settlement,” said LPC Chair Robert Tierney.

The 182nd Street site is the final resting place for roughly 80 of the borough’s earliest and most prominent settlers. But since the land bears no visible markers or gravestones, and is now peppered with scattered trees and shrubs, critics had raised regulatory questions about the possible designation.

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.

“There is a hope that buried underneath are headstones and that in the future this site in the right hands could be restored or re-created to a certain extent to the cemetery that it is,” said LPC General Counsel Mark Silberman.

The designation drew praise — and archaic shouts — from dozens of elected officials, civic leaders and preservationists in the neighborhood who pushed to save the cemetery for more than a decade.

“As colonial-era Queens settlers were known [to] exclaim upon hearing great news, it is apropos that we shout huzzah on this day,” Councilmember James Gennaro said. “This designation has been a long time coming. [The cemetery] is a crown jewel in the pantheon of Queens’ rich historical treasures.”

If the City Council votes to approve the designation, Gennaro said the next step would be to find a nonprofit group capable of purchasing and maintaining the property.

Linda’s CAI Trading, which purchased the land in 2010, could not be reached.

Thirteen total cemeteries in the city have been designated as individual landmarks, the LPC said, including seven in Queens.