Tuesday, January 9, 2007

Obliteration of a neighborhood landmark

The trees on each side of this property, located at the crossroads of Maspeth and Grand Avenues, were estimated by a former owner to have been more than 300 years old. The house in the background dated to pre-Civil War days.

And in spring of 2006, the oversized lot sported the inevitable "for sale" sign, with the realtor advertising its potential to host four multiple unit dwellings.

It was sold to a developer whose first priority was to cut down the trees because they would have gotten in the way of his Queens Crap aspirations.

The house was a grand example of 19th century architecture. It was believed to have been used as a boarding house during the stagecoach era, and its location at the crossroads of two Brooklyn-Newtown hauling routes lends credence to that theory.

It was inhabited by one family in recent years, who cashed out when the developer made them an offer they couldn't refuse. While they are enjoying retirement in Florida, their former neighbors are dealing with these eyesores. How can people who live in stately homes like this one allow them to be destroyed and replaced with Queens Crap?


Anonymous said...

This might be the saddest story I've seen on this website yet. Looks like 8+ families living in hideous boxes will be replacing those beautiful old trees. When you weigh what was lost here versus what replaced it it makes you want to cry.

Anonymous said...

Too bad I wasn't there whan that for sale sign went up, so I could have spraypainted underneath "Builders Dream" "Community's Nightmare"

Anonymous said...

What a shame. The same family lived in that house for many years. The only time that triangular piece of property was ever used was during the Christmas season, when Christmas trees were sold.

The address was actually on Maspeth Ave, the back of the house faced Grand Ave. I see now that the new buildings are facing Grand.

The purchase price of that home, along with the three pieces of land that were adjoining it, creating that whole triangle, was $1,340,000. You can't blame the family for selling for that kind of money, even though the average price of the homes in that immediate area is $550,000.

verdi said...

But only God can make a tree! I really don't know what to say about this barbaric chainsaw masacre. You can't let tears fall upon a keybord and ruin a good computer. Strip mining neighborhoods for real estate profits and leaving behind a denuded (you can't even call it a landscape anymore) lot..... is a most capital crime! Deystroying a fine old house is bad enough but beautiful great old trees is far more painful. Just to see the photos of those colossal dismembered giants, packed into a truck for removal just leaves me cold and sad and angry! What bad Kharma must await the developer who ordered this execution. God forgive him. I know that I can't!

Anonymous said...

Yes I can blame that family. There is a serious problem in our society that reduces all the complexity of life to the almighty dollar. Such a society is built on sand. And yes, we can thank those leaders who contribute to this, from a Dennis Gallagher who is calling everyone on the community board to tear down St. Saviour's so that he can honor a campaign donor, to a mayor that drones on and on about development as he encourages the destruction of all those things that make this city so wonderful.

Anonymous said...

It may be hard for a family to resist a high buy-out offer from a scum-bun developer. Yet I must agree with the last comment. The family who sold out also sold out their community and is an accomplice to the horrible destruction. Judas also took his 30 pieces of silver and clasped it in his hands but he didn't move to Florida! We all wish something better could have been done which might have benefited all. Now it's too late. Amen!

Anonymous said...

C'mon, let's face the reality. Suppose you're the owner of that property. Your kids are all grown up and out of the neighborhood (maybe even the city). You're bombarded every week with real estate people and developers offering to buy your property. (You're on the cease-and-desist list? No problem, then the very same people, using business cards with "private developer" on them show up at your front door instead.)

The usual offer is 600 grand, and you keep turning them down. One comes along with an offer for 1.3 mil, honestly now, are you still going to turn it down?

It's obvious the family knew what the developer was intending to do, you can see it in the For Sale sign. But sometimes owners try to do the right thing, sell to an individual, and then this "individual" flips the property to the developer.

End result? Exactly the same. Except that the family doesn't get the money for trying to do the "right thing," the same sleazy developers make out once again at the expense of Queens.

Anonymous said...

Are you a "shill" for a "developer" or just one of Dennis Gallagher's stooges? My, you do get up early, so you must be connected to a builder! (Gallagher's guys sleep late. They don't work hard like you do!) On your way to another "destruction site?" Don't forget to pack your six-pack in your lunch box. For your info, "son," I have turned down some very large offers from developers for my property (which they're hungry to get). It's going to be left to the community (with iron clad deed-restrictions to run in perpetuity). Now, swallow that with your morning coffee. Oh, I'm sorry. Are you the former owner?

Anonymous said...

Hey, don't beat that guy up, but lets give him a job, say in the government.

You have all those tax draining national monuments and parks. This is the kind of mentality that would develop them all because you see, life can be reduced to something simple: money.

A 12 story building under the Statue of Liberty, a McMansion on the White House grounds, the posibilities are limitless.

Oh yes, I bet they are not a taxpayer that is stuck with a bill on developing the community infra-structure to support this crap.

Its a strip mine, dig a hole and take the money and let the poor bastards that remain to clean up the mess.

Anonymous said...

Am I the former owner? No, not at all, although I did know the family that lived there.

I don't like what has happened to that piece of property, I think it's disgusting. I think it's unrealistic to think that most people wouldn't be swayed by such a huge amount of money, especially if they were looking to move anyway.

I don't understand your anger being directed at me. Calling me names doesn't strengthen your argument at all, you know that, right? Try to keep it civilized and not-so-personal, okay?

I am not a builder. Own my own, one-family home, and can't afford to move, even if I wanted to. I love Queens, having lived here for 30 years. I get up early because I work, is that difficult to understand?

Please share with us some information about these "iron-clad" restrictions. Are they stronger than covenants? We in Queens have found that DOB refuses to acknowledge or enforce them, it's up to the civic associations to pay for the lawsuits, which most of us don't have.

Again, please, stop with the insults. It's unfair.

Anonymous said...

What makes this even worse is that adj. to this site was a former Carvel that was there for years and years, but was torn down to make fugly buildings that look just like the ones that were built on the property discussed here.

Also knew the owner though and can't blame them for taking the money...it's happening a lot in Maspeth...and all over Queens. Huge lots used to put up 3-4 family units. Yuck.


Anonymous said...

Well i do blame them. It is stupid to say that anyone can do anything they want to their property if the only yardstick is are they going to get top dollar for it.

I am sure if they want to dump nuclear waste there, they could get millions. Or perhaps put a fat rendering plant next to a school or church. I am certain that someone would pay them top dollar for that, too.

Anonymous said...

The young generation can no longer afford "normal" houses. Unfortunately, we need more housing like the ones built to support the increasing population.

Still, they could have made the buildings better looking....

Anonymous said...

Its not the fault of young people that the government cannot control an exploding population that is moving into our country.

We have only so much land. Its fixed. Its finite. When a handful of people think its swell to balloon the labor force to make it ripe for exploitation, the rest of us got to pay with fewer resources chasing more needs. The greatest burden is carried by the most vulnerable, the youth and yes, the immigrants themselves.

The population crunch in this country and this city is an invented problem that arises from greed, not an act of God, ranking right up there with global warming.

Anonymous said...

To the one "that knew the family that lived there": The purpose of a blog-site is to draw out responses , (and sometimes you have to appear to be "confrontational" to ellicit such responses) and you have responded! I really and honestly thank you for bringing a sense of pathos and humanity to a dilemma such as this and I'm truly sorry that I "pushed your button". First off ...I'm am not wealthy. Can I really afford to sell out the home and community and borough that I love? No. I can't really financially afford to do this. Yet, I find that I can't spiritually afford to do this either. That's for me and my G-d to decide! I don't expect anyone else to be as cavalier with their future legacies! As far as being polite: That category has proven to have little effect considering the onslaught of destruction that Queens has witnessed. I'm rather sensitive, by nature, and if I have offended anyone, I offer my appologies. Am I angry about the rape of my borough? You bet! But I ask you please don't attempt any "drug-store-analysis" with me (sorry, that is a personal swipe) because, you are obviously "angry" also about what's happening to Queens! (Forgive me)! As far as "hurting the cause" of preserving character and beauty in our Queens neighborhoods by personally calling you names or insulting you...I don't know your name nor do you mine. There's nothing personal about the sound of clicking keyboards and exchanging ideas in Cyberspace. We're just all talking about of how to preserve Queens,....talking about examples of destruction and raising some heated issues etc. I get up early and work very hard too just like you! So please don't make any assumptions about who I am either or what my age is or occupation, but I do come from a proud working class family! I've lived in Queens longer than you have. The rest is my business! As far as the details of any"iron-clad" deed restrictions etc. that you inquire about, you should discuss these with a lawyer. You can get one for free if you shop around (the proper preservation organizations) as I did. I'm not going to continue to engage you in any continuig "battle of words" that you might envision so 10-4 I'm signing off! Sincerely yours "a most civilized person".

Anonymous said...

If I was the owner of the property I should be allowed to do whatever I want with MY PROPERTY. If I want to develop the property I should be allowed to in any way I want because I pay taxes on it.

Anonymous said...

Dear, "MY PROPERTY"! Your home is indeed your castle! You may, sir , develop your property insofar as it's consistant with following the zoning regulations of The City of New York! Just because you "pay taxes" DOES NOT give you any right to break any laws. For instance, I'd like to consider (hypothetically speaking) murdering someone! I also pay my taxes, so I guess that I have the right to break the law! Wadda ya think fella? I really can't follow your sense of logic if there is any! Perhaps you should purchase your next home on Mars. I hear that you don't even have to pay taxes there (and if you've got a strong telescope) you'll be able to see that there are also no trees there either! Oh, come on, let's get serious. I'm only joking!