Tag Archives: St. Saviour’s

Fight for more park land in Maspeth

| brennison@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/photo by Billy Rennison

As the search for a new home for St. Saviour’s Church continues, officials are looking into turning the former site into a park — possibly through the use of Eminent Domain.

A warehouse currently sits on a corner of the one-and-a-half acre plot in Maspeth, which is owned by Maspeth Development, while the rest of the land remains undeveloped.

“It is a complete slap in the face that we have to stand here now and see this monstrosity,” said Geoffrey Croft, president of NYC Park Advocates.

Calls to the Maspeth Development went unreturned.
Plans for a park on 58th Street have been in the works since St. Saviour’s was removed in 2008, but each attempt to purchase the property has failed.

A Parks Department spokesperson said the agency is not looking to acquire the property at this time.

“We would be happy to examine any other suggested property acquisitions in the Maspeth community,” the spokesperson said.

“This community desperately needs more park space, and that’s not just a subjective feeling of people in the neighborhood, it’s a mathematical reality,” said Assemblymember Rory Lancman at a June 14 press conference with local leaders at the former site of St. Saviour’s.

The Parks Department said the goal is to ensure all New Yorkers live within a 10-minute walk of a park.

“Maspeth needs 88 acres of park land and they only have 12, do the math,” said Lorraine Scuilli, vice president of the Juniper Park Civic Association. “This should be a park any way we can get it.”

One of the ways to get the land for a park would be Eminent Domain, which was used just blocks away from the St. Saviour’s site for the reconstruction of the Kosciuszko Bridge.

If the land is secured, rebuilding the church, which currently sits in two trailers a few blocks away from the site, is a possibility. St. Saviour’s was deconstructed in 2008 after an attempt to landmark the church failed and the property was sold.

165-year-old St. Saviour’s may have new home

| brennison@queenscourier.com

St. Saviour's

A 165-year-old church may soon receive new life.

There have been discussions to move St. Saviour’s Church to the Onderdonk House, a fellow historic Queens locale.

St. Saviour’s has searched for a new home since being deconstructed four years ago. During that time it has been warehoused in trailers in Maspeth.

Bob Holden, who has spearheaded the search, said members on the board of the Greater Ridgewood Historical Society — which runs the Onderdonk House — seemed receptive to the idea.

Holden, the Juniper Park Civic Association president and St. Saviour’s advocate, said rebuilding the church on the Onderdonk House’s land provides them with a property for wedding receptions.

“An 1847 Carpenter Gothic church would fit nicely,” Holden said. “It could conceivably raise revenue.”

The Onderdonk House is a landmarked site on Flushing Avenue in Ridgewood and serves as a museum while also holding cultural events. Officials there could not be reached for comment.

A presentation to the board of the historic house in Ridgewood will be made in the coming months. A model of the project must first be constructed. If the board approves, the plan would also need to be okayed by the Landmarks Preservation Commission.

The move would not be made until next year at the earliest, according to Holden, who noted that up to $2 million for the project has been earmarked by Borough President Helen Marshall’s office.

The Onderdonk House is just one of several choices for the church.

Other options include moving the church to a plot of land at All Faiths Cemetery or finding a spot in west Maspeth, where the church stood for more than 160 years.

Built in 1847, St. Saviour’s closed in 1995 due to a dwindling congregation. For more than a decade the church continued to stand on Maspeth Hill before deconstruction in 2008.

The main goal is just to ensure the church is rebuilt, but Holden said he knows where it belongs.

“The ideal plan is the original property,” he said. “It belongs in Maspeth.”


St. Saviour’s needs new storage space

| brennison@queenscourier.com

Photo Courtesy of Bob Holden

A historic Maspeth church needs salvation to avoid damnation.

St. Saviour’s has been warehoused for the past few years by Galasso Trucking, which donated space and trailers when the 165-year-old church, which had been deconstructed, needed to be stored.

The Maspeth trucking company now needs the space back.

“They’ve been great, more than great,” said Bob Holden, president on the Juniper Park Civic Association and advocate for St. Saviour’s. “They’ve done this for three years. We thought it would only be a few months.”

Without a space to store the church, one of the oldest buildings in Queens may be lost, a situation Holden said would be tragic.

One plan has the church being moved to a plot of land at All Faiths Cemetery, but the area needs to be cleared and leveled — which will cost about $45,000 and another $40,000 to build a garage.

Grants totaling $150,000 from Assemblymember Andrew Hevesi and former state Senator Serphin Maltese were secured for moving the church, though the money is still being held by the state. Hevesi and Senator Joe Addabbo are working to get the funds released, Holden said.

Until the money is released, little can be done.

“We have the land and the grants, we just need the cash,” Holden said.

Holden bemoaned the fact that Maspeth, the oldest settlement on Long Island, lacks any landmarks. The church was designed by architect Richard Upjohn, who also designed Trinity Church in Manhattan, in the Carpenter Gothic-style.

Built in 1847, St. Saviour’s closed in 1995 due to a dwindling congregation. For more than a decade the church continued to stand on Maspeth Hill before facing demolition in 2008.

The church was literally minutes away from being demolished when a deal was worked out that gave the Juniper Park Civic Association 30 days to deconstruct the building and get it off the property. It took them 40 days to take down the church and store it in carefully-labeled sections.

“We’ve come this far and saved a piece of Maspeth and Queens history,” said Holden. “We’ll keep fighting.”