Friday, June 22, 2007

Help save a landmark in Douglaston

Preservation Alert!
Contact City Council and Ask Them to Uphold Our Landmarks!

On Monday June 25, the City Council Sub committee on Landmarks, Public Siting and Maritime Uses will be voting on the landmark designation of three important structures, 23 and 25 Park Place in Manhattan and 41-45 240th Street in Queens.

The Landmarks Preservation Commission designated 23 & 25 Park Place as individual landmarks in March 2007. Both of these buildings were the former home of the Daily News and two of the "Tribeca 22" - individual buildings which the Landmarks Commission held public hearings for but did not designate at the time of the Tribeca historic district designations. These particular buildings were heard three times in 1989 and 1990 and are considered worthy of being individual landmarks. 41-45 240th Street is an important building in the Douglaston Hill Historic District. Although there has been some confusion about the construction date of the property, the building definitely contributes to the district’s sense of place.

Council members Alan Gerson and Tony Avella (who represent these properties), the local community boards, preservation groups, architects and many members of both communities support the landmarking of these important buildings. However, HDC has recently learned that several members of the Landmarks Subcommittee are leaning against designation - based on owner opposition. In the past, the City Council has deferred to the opinion of the Council Member in whose district the landmarked building is located.

HDC is therefore asking all advocates to reach out to Landmarks Subcommittee Chair Jessica Lappin and state your strong support for these buildings. Ask her not to allow the Subcommittee to vote against the community and their colleagues on these worthy landmarks. A sample letter is below. This is an urgent matter. Please take the time to send your email now. If you send this letter please copy the letter to

Thank you for your support of New York’s historic neighborhoods.

Simeon Bankoff
Executive Director, Historic Districts Council

Sample letter:

Hon. Jessica Lappin, Chair

Subcommittee on Landmarks, Public Siting and Maritime Use


Dear Chair Lappin:

I am writing in strong support of the landmark designation of 23 and 25 Park Place in Manhattan and the inclusion of 41-45 240th Street in the Douglaston Hill Historic District in Queens. All of these properties are representative of the irreplaceable historic character that adds to the neighborhoods that define our city. 23 and 25 Park Place are noteworthy examples of 19th-century commercial architecture and served as an early home of the Daily News. 41-45 240th Street is an integral part of the Douglaston Hill Historic District and fits perfectly into the period of significance, 1890-1930, of this suburban style neighborhood.

The most important issue here is owner consent. The Landmarks Preservation Commission is empowered to safeguard the city’s historical, aesthetic and cultural heritage. Owner consent is not required for landmark designation and this is one of the reasons that each proposed landmark designation goes through a public process where the LPC receives public testimony on each designation. Overturning these three designations based on the opposition of the respective owners will create a terrible precedent and greatly impede future designations.

As you are aware, landmark designation has been proven to be a great benefit to the quality of life in communities around the city. We ask that you and the members of this subcommittee uphold these three designations.

Thank you for your attention to this matter and for all your support of landmark preservation in New York City.




Anonymous said...

Why should we help a tony enclave preserve its history and character when they never did a thing to help their neighbors in Western Queens?

Anonymous said...

Good point ! Flushing, for example, has lost far more important sites to the bulldozer ! Who was there for them ? !!!!

Anonymous said...

How about because any appropriate landmarking in Queens sets an example for the rest of the borough and shows that there are people here who care about our history?

Anonymous said...

Well....because these "tony" enclaves are already well protected.....while other equally deserving ones don't have a shred of protection and it's time for the latter to catch up to the former !

These privileged neighborhoods keep on crying with a net full of fish......while the less privileged (but worthy) don't even have a damn small Sardine to eat !

Anonymous said...

Yes, it's true....
LPC's resources constantly get sucked dry by those already well protected neighborhoods .....leaving little for the needier ones !