Thursday, February 28, 2008

East vs. west: LPC & Marshall's double standard

Push to preserve early 19th century farmhouse on the hill gets big backer
By John Lauinger
DAILY NEWS STAFF WRITER

The Civil War was nearly four decades in the future when the Cornell family built a farmhouse on a hillside in the vast breadbasket of Queens.

The farmhouse still sits atop the hill today, but its sweeping view of a once-bucolic countryside is now dominated by strip malls, several modern houses and the Long Island Expressway.

As unrelenting development threatens to bulldoze all vestiges of the area's agricultural past, the small farmhouse has recently become the subject of an intensifying preservation push.

Last week, previously stalled efforts to save the farmhouse from possible development were resurrected by the Queens County Farm Museum - and backed by a top Queens elected official.

The Farm Museum - keeper of 47 mostly agricultural acres in nearby Bellerose - is interested in buying the 1.7 acre property, once part of a massive Colonial dominion deeded to the Cornell family by the British crown.

Farm Museum president James Trent made a request for $5.8 million - the property's current price tag - at a Queens budget meeting on Tuesday.

Trent's pitch - to buy the property and use it as a Farm Museum annex - won over Queens Borough President Helen Marshall, who has included the proposal in the borough's list of budget priorities, said Marshall's spokeswoman Alexandra Rosa.

Because a portion of the property lies in Nassau County, Marshall's office said it would soon initiate discussions with its neighbor about Nassau acquiring the other half, Rosa said.

Marshall's support of the Farm Museum was praised by local preservationists.

"It's an amazing, amazing piece of history," said Kevin Wolfe, president of the Douglaston-Little Neck Historical Society. Wolfe marveled at the rarity of an 1820s farmhouse in 21st century New York City.

"There are a handful of farmhouses from that era that have survived - most of them are museums," he said.

The farmhouse, now owned by the Patrey family, is flanked by a stone wall and a cobblestone driveway that climbs up the windswept hill. The white paint covering the house's weathered, wooden shingles is flaking heavily with age, and two rotting wagon wheels lean against a pair of maples guarding oppposite sides of the driveway.

Ken Patrey, 43, said his family decided to sell the property after his father, who married into the Cornell family and ran a nursery business on the property, died in 2003.

The city Landmarks Commission wrote to Patrey last fall in an effort to designate the circa 1826 farmhouse a landmark, but he bristled at the agency's overture, noting that the house has received multiple additions over time and is in poor condition.

Though he has received several offers for the property, Patrey said he was interested in the Farm Museum's proposal.

"We would absolutely be interested in that," he told the Daily News. "I would hate to see the place go. I love the place."

Trent, hopeful that the deal will get done, said the Farm Museum's plan is to preserve the farmhouse, along with its 1870s barn and a greenhouse dating to the turn of last century.

Yet that is not all.

"It might be possible," Trent said, "to take a piece of that land - maybe half an acre - and grow some crops there - return it back to its historical purpose.


Some questions to ponder:

Helen wants $5.3 million to prevent development of HALF of the Cornell farm, but wouldn't entertain $10 million for a full-sized 1.5 acre property which is entirely within the confines of Queens? At St. Saviour's, remember, Helen thought housing was a great idea. Why not "compromise" by allowing condos around the Cornell farmhouse, Helen?

Why couldn't the Queens County Farm Museum have an annex at St. Saviour's? Plenty of room for corn growing there.

And LPC felt that St. Saviour's, which was designed by a famous architect, was altered beyond recognition, but a worn down house with multiple additions must be calendared immediately?

Is this the Queens version of the caste system - east on top, west on the bottom?

THEY BOTH SHOULD BE LANDMARKED AND MADE INTO PARKS.

The city's biggest bureaucrats live in eastern Queens, while the laborers live in western Queens. Western Queens is the home of second-class citizens who are not afforded equal protection. So why not have one standard and leave everyone open to having their neighborhood and historic structures bulldozed? Either that or protect them all.

Photo from Forgotten NY

50 comments:

Anonymous said...

It may not be so much an issue of east versus west, rather who owes who favors, who plays by the clubhouse rules and who doesn't. In addition, if no one "important" lives in an area, it is redlined for destruction.

Helen is hollow worthless airhead without two braincells to rub together. She does what she is told.

Anonymous said...

Maybe I can answer some of your intentionally provocative questions :-p

"Some questions to ponder:

Helen wants $5.3 million to prevent development of HALF of the Cornell farm..."

More than half of the farm is in Queens, a small piece is in Nassau.

"Why couldn't the Queens County Farm Museum have an annex at St. Saviour's? Plenty of room for corn growing there."

Cute, but Cornell Farm is on the same road as the Farm Museum, less than a mile away.

"And LPC felt that St. Saviour's, which was designed by a famous architect, was altered beyond recognition, but a worn down house with multiple additions must be calendared immediately?"

The house is not severely modified, it's a ploy by the owner to avoid designation, and only has a small contextual-type mod done back in the 1920's.

Queens Crapper said...

Well, mystery writer, Helen's girl Alex said half was in Nassau County.

I still fail to see why St. Saviour's couldn't be an annex of the Queens County Farm Museum just because it isn't "less than a mile away". I believe there was talk of the Klein Farm becoming part of the museum at one point as well.

I hope you're right about the house not having been altered. Then the house can be designated and new houses built all around it. It seems only fair that LPC allow this fine American the opportunity to profit off of his land. Why is it that eastern Queens never has to compromise when it comes to these things, but we're told it's mandatory if we want any open space or landmarks in western Queens?

Anonymous said...

The stench of corruption here is overpowering.

Anonymous said...

The difference is that in the case of St. Saviour's, you had the Parkside Group and Dennis Gallagher actively working against the community. In eastern Queens, the pols aren't such pigs and the community has as much money as the developers do, so they have a shot at saving their historic sites.

Christina Wilkinson said...

It's sad. We had 2 very civilized sit down meetings with Karen Koslowitz and Irving Poy and they didn't sound interested at all.

verdi said...

"The East" has always been the premiere part
of the borough and looked upon
as an almost private preserve
(like the U.S. Steel Company top executives' former retreat and conference center.....Hilton Head Island) .

Northeast Queens is where the wealthier classes
(judges, state senators, congressman, city council members, various doctors, lawyers and Indian chiefs)
choose to reside.

Douglas Manor lies the epicenter of all this power,
followed by little Neck (with less) and so on down
the line. Of course D.M. is a landmarked district.

There's always plenty of money from the state level
(and the city always seems to follow suit)
FOR ALL THE PET PROJECTS
that the Judge Golias and the Mattones etc. want.

Unfortunately THERE ARE NO SUCH
POWERHOUSES IN TOWNS LIKE MASPETH
that can prevent Bloomberg's NYC government
from DUMPING ANY UNWANTED PROJECT
ON THEIR DOORSTEP!

There are only "yassir massr" bobbleheads,
like Beep Marshal, Marge Markey, etc. who want to keep their jobs in that great plantation clubhouse.

NONE OF THEM WANT TO WIND UP IN
THE FIELDS DOING MANUAL LABOR.

They continue to be passed around
in their civil service employ for decades.
For example the beep's go-fer, Alex Rosa ,
is still at borough hall.
I believe she can trace her roots back to
the Manes administration.

Then there are the outright crooks
posing as city council members.
Dennis Gallagher is a "fine" example!

These are the "champions" of Maspeth
common thieves who fill their pockets before they think to fulfill their constituents needs!

But, let's cut to the quick.

There are TWO KINDS of neighborhoods
in Queens:
THE BLUE-LINED and THE RED-LINED!

#1. The BLUE-LINED nabes are obviously
where all the political/power "blue bloods"
that we mentioned earlier live.

#2. The RED-LINED nabes....
well....they speak for themselves.
They get meager to lousy delivery of city services ranging from police protection to schools.
There are few, if any, LPC landmark sites
in these neighborhoods.
Does that sound like discrimination anyone ?
You bet it does! AND IT IS !!!

Someday, perhaps, a dusty old map of
will be discovered somewhere.
It will reveal the working class RED-LINED areas
of Queens and its posh BLUE-LINED nabes.

THIS IS THE REAL STUFF OF CITY PLANNING
as fantastic as it might seem .....that will never be openly discussed at any community board meeting!

As a friend once reminded me....
"There is no justice.....there's JUST US"!

AND THAT'S MORE THAN ENOUGH....
provided we all STICK TOGETHER !!!!

Anonymous said...

Irving Poy is a treacherous, traitorous
developer's pig!

Ask former Councilwoman Harrison about him.

He used to work for her!

Anonymous said...

I think this is exhibit A of what IS wrong in presevation today:

1. it is NOT the LPC - we all know that the law is either discriminatory against poor people, or the commissioners and staff are breaking the law by applying it not on merits of history or architerure, but the dictates of the clubhouse. Playing around with tiny changes in budget, or who is nomintating what as commissioners, will do absolultely nothing to change things (where ARE the Queens commissioners on this one?)

No the problem is not with the law, which, will eventually get overturned.

2. the problem is with the preservation community, pure and simple. A small group of self-appointed second stringers who do not have the slightest interest in having the broader city enjoy the benefits of designation, and wish to continue the sorry state where working class communities provide tax subsidies for the protected neighborhoods (whose canon all but closed years ago).

The problem is with the preservation community that will cut deals with the cluhhouse and developers throwing to the dogs the rest of us.

We need a clean sweep. We need to start over. We need a new citywide organization that will

1. overturn the LPC law

2. systamatically organize the communites with antidevelopment civics that will hold the DOB accountable, and demand taxes go into improving services rather than subsidies for developers

3. push to downzone the entire city to sustainable population that current infrastructure can support

4. create a true citywide preservation community that will ensure equal protection in a new LPC law.

Anonymous said...

I demand that HDC, Landmarks Conservency, and MAS look into this.

We have a big problem. Two locations of equal merit.

Two very different results.

This stinks, and unless there is an accounting, and remedy, it will mean a permanent split in the citywide preservation movement.

And my money is with the street.

Anonymous said...

It's pretty clear that the front of that house was heavily altered. I bet that was an open porch at one point.

Anonymous said...

That house is ugly. Don't see the landmark quality in it.

Anonymous said...

Hey where's the guy that said he didn't want $6 million in taxpayer funds to pay for St. Saviour's? Where the hell is he on this? Perhaps he's from eastern Queens and will therefore keep his trap shut on this one.

"There is no justice.....there's JUST US"! Yes, exactly!

Anonymous said...

Part of this is in freakin' Nassau county? Give me a break, Helen!

Anonymous said...

Maybe the guy who didn't want to spend 6 million in taxpayer funds has a comment but Queens Crap is censoring him and refusing to post it.

Queens Crapper said...

Why would I do that? I posted all of his other protests of the money being spent.

Liman said...

This is great news. I've been watching this property for years. I just knew that the fence of death would someday spring up around it. We need to save it.

Let's not say "don't save it because you didn't save St. Saviour's." I felt ill when I saw the demo pix yesterday, just like you. For whatever reason (bad reason surely), the church is doomed. If a guardian angel wants to save the Cornell property, God Bless them, whomever it is. One out of two beats a shutout.

Arguments based on class warfare just aren't going to advance the cause.

Queens Crapper said...

Let's not say "don't save it because you didn't save St. Saviour's."
_________________________

Who said that? We want answers as to why the 2 cases are different in the eyes of our borough president and the LPC.

Anonymous said...

If a guardian angel wants to save the Cornell property, God Bless them, whomever it is. One out of two beats a shutout.

Arguments based on class warfare just aren't going to advance the cause.
------------

oh, ha ha ha yes, yes, yes

Funny tho, those in western Queens always take the lumps, stands up, brushes off the mud, smiles a sheepish smile, shruggs their shoulders, and just goes home.

They tend to their bruises and brokern arms. When healed, they will be called back to the barricades, and repeat this again and again.

Such is the existance of a looser shump. Such is the script written by eastern Queens for western Queens.

Sorry, boys, but we are not going to buy this. You must think we are stupid, pure and simple.

And the Queens preservation leadership is caught doing it, not LPC or the Mayor or Manhattanites or whoever.

Something that will not be forgotten. Something that will come back to haunt them bigtime.

Anonymous said...

If a guardian angel wants to save the Cornell property, God Bless them, whomever it is. One out of two beats a shutout.

Arguments based on class warfare just aren't going to advance the cause.
------------

oh, ha ha ha yes, yes, yes

Funny tho, those in western Queens always take the lumps, stands up, brushes off the mud, smiles a sheepish smile, shruggs their shoulders, and just goes home.

They tend to their bruises and brokern arms. When healed, they will be called back to the barricades, and repeat this again and again.

Such is the existance of a looser shump. Such is the script written by eastern Queens for western Queens.

Sorry, boys, but we are not going to buy this. You must think we are stupid, pure and simple.

And the Queens preservation leadership is caught doing it, not LPC or the Mayor or Manhattanites or whoever.

Something that will not be forgotten. Something that will come back to haunt them bigtime.

Anonymous said...

Here you go attacking people again, like always. Alienate people who live in eastern Queens now. When will you learn that all your attacks get you nothing but low opinions of yourselves and a loss of support that you otherwise may have had?

Anonymous said...

The east VS west scenario
IS NOT AN ATTACK.....merely A FACT!

NORTHEAST QUEENS GETS DELUXE SERVICE.

WESTERN QUEENS GETS "SERVICED"
(in the barnyard animal husbandry sense)
BY THE PRIZED CLUBHOUSE BULL (or bulls) !

WE DEMAND TO BE INCLUDED IN THE "HAVE" CATEGORY , NOT TO BE EXCLUDED AS THE "HAVE-NOTS" !!!!

AND SINCE WHEN DID YOU GUYS FROM
THE NORTHEASTERN SECTOR OF OUR BOROUGH COME TO OUR DEFENSE ?

IT'S USUALLY BEEN
THE OTHER WAY AROUND!

So thanks for nothing but token appearances.

We don't count on or NEED your cooperation when it comes to our landmark needs.
We don't expect any !

a developer said...

That's it. Keep fighting amoungst yourselves. Hee, hee . . .

Anonymous said...

Here you go attacking people again, like always. Alienate people who live in eastern Queens now. When will you learn that all your attacks get you nothing but low opinions of yourselves and a loss of support that you otherwise may have had?

-------

Yes, all that support we get in western Queens.

Does your opinion of us go down because we no longer follow the script and be everyone's punching bag? I guess your opinion doesn't mean much in these parts.

You jerk, when you give a community no hope, you dig your own grave too.

Anonymous said...

Pointed question: why did the Queens Co Farm Museum or Historic Districts Council not share this with Newtown Historical?

Some of this might have been useful.

Is it true that HDC planned to protest after St Saviours got torn down? Huh, wa?

Why did HDC not launch the big campaign for St Saviours at the same level as the Poe House or 2 Columbus Circle.

I mean, when it comes to getting mailing for support, Queens gets the same treatment as the Village or West Side. In that, we are equal.

Anonymous said...

So we're fighting amongst ourselves eh?
No....we're just pointing out some inequities
in a corrupt system!

WHAT do you suggest..... cooperating ?

WE'D LOVE TO COOPERATE....
AND HAVE TRIED MANY TIMES BEFORE !

But the north easterners snub us and
NEVER WANT TO SHARE ANY INFO
OR RESOURCES
WITH US WESTERNERS!

THEY WANT ALL THOSE PRECIOUS LANDMARK DESIGNATIONS FOR THEMSELVES !!!!

They're eating up our share
that's why we're starving out here!

Anonymous said...

We want an end to the fixed game
of landmark favoritism that's being played out
in the tony neighborhoods of Queens.

If we take a hit (demolition)
then you take a hit.....fair is fair
and all are given the same honest deal.

Everybody is put in the same boat,
like serving in the military. equally subject
to face danger or death.

Maybe when the privileged nabes
get to cry over an historic site
that's been lost forever, then some sympathy
will be shown for the plight of the less fortunate residents of Queens.

Anonymous said...

I think a split in the preservation movement
is actually good thing.

Why should
the have no landmarks neighborhoods
support the ones that have plenty
in their quest or yet more?

They don't help us 'have-nots"get any!

They only want our cooperation because
without it they can't get any more landmarks.

So I say f--k 'em.
They can do their own work.

They can take their lumps with the rest of us!

So raze the Cornell Farm ....it ain't in our nabe!

a "developer" said...

If the shoe were on the other foot and NE Queens was bearing the brunt of overdevelopment would folks in West Queens assist them? My guess is they wouldn't.

Humans are primarily a self-centered lot, only caught up in their own affairs and not giving 2 shits about others...with exception of Crappy who really does seem to have the interests of the entire borough at heart.

God bless the soul.

Anonymous said...

Does anyone have Patrey's phone number? I'd like to offer him some advice. Move out and demolish the house in the middle of the night. It's a slap on the wrist fine from DOB if they even bother to respond. Then you can just sell the property for the millions that you want to.

Anonymous said...

If the shoe were on the other foot and NE Queens was bearing the brunt of overdevelopment would folks in West Queens assist them? My guess is they wouldn't.
----------

You are free to guess any way you want. Just remember that study after study conclusively demonstrates the most generous tippers are the working stiffs who know what being a bottom feeder is all about.

Anonymous said...

I guess the big problem is the preservation leadership of Queens (read Eastern Queens with one notable exception) never let their fellow preservtionists know what was going on.

There is a big problem here. Their cred on the streets of the boro is shot to hell.

Hope it was worth it.

Anonymous said...

Western Queensites
(and other red-lined area preservationists)
have overwhelmingly supported
EACH OTHER and EVERY
borough-wide preservation effort
throughout the long years that have passed
(particularly many in the northeast quadrant).

We have been GENEROUS with our time,
as well as our financial support
whenever our privileged northeastern "brothers"
called out the "minutemen".

BUT when we needed their REAL HELP,
in the near past and most recently.....
and appeared at their front doorstep
we were (pretty much) ushered to the side door .

We are here on the same breadline
to DEMAND OUR FAIR SHARE !

And if you northeast elitists
would have pulled out all the stops
and shared your power base
with us less privileged....
then we might care more about what happens
to the Cornell Farm
(now your exclusively local concern) !

ONE HAND WASHES THE OTHER !!!

Anonymous said...

Benedict Arnold, himself,
would have chosen to live in such a place as
the landmarked Douglas Manor.....
and summarily betray all of us less privileged
as long as he continued to remain
fat off his sacrificial lambs.

We, the (former) "lambs" now refuse to be silent!

Tsk, tsk, tsk.....
how uppity we've become of late!

YOU'D BETTER GET USED TO IT !!!!

Anonymous said...

DOWN WITH THE CORNELL FARM !

AND UP WITH SAINT SAVIOUR'S !

The REAL preservation community
is watching how all events will be played out!

Anonymous said...

As long as eastern Queens continues to get what they ask for, they won't care about western Queens. Maybe we need a moratorium on Landmarks instead of development in Queens. Then you'll see a lot more people care.

a subdued developer said...

Well maybe you've got a right to be upset then.

subdued preservationist said...

Hey "subdued developer"
(if you're real and influential)
we'd love to join forces with you
and help overturn the landmarks law!

Let's face it.
It ain't serving either of us well.

And we seem to have a lot more in common
than we seem to have differences.

Anonymous said...

LPC isn't here to preserve architectural history,
in an egalitarian fashion....
only to enhance the value of real estate
in the already enhanced
"blue blood" neighborhoods....

OR IN NABES
ABOUT TO BE GENTRIFIED !

Anonymous said...

"...the Cornell Farm is on the same road as the Farm Museum, less than a mile away."

Excellent point. This neighborhood is already served by a park. Let's shift this $5.3M to a neighborhood that isn't. Like West Maspeth.

Anonymous said...

Funny, I remember Queens Civic Congress pushing for the reappropriation of the Ridgewood Reservoir money toward St. Saviour's, the Klein Farm and the Cornell Farm. Now we seem to have dropped that mantra and we are asking for new money and only for one project, which of course is so far in east in Queens that it's also in Nassau. Why is that?

Anonymous said...

How can Helen ask the city for this much money when other neighborhoods have already had less costly projects rejected?

Anonymous said...

Sorry, but I fail to see the significance of this property. The house looks like a number of other houses in the borough, and 1.7 acres, all of which is not even in Queens, seems like a paltry amount of space to squabble over when there is a 48 acre farm museum already in existence nearby.

Anonymous said...

DOUBLE TALK
AND DOUBLE STANDARDS!

That's what this whole back room deal is all about!

Not to worry,
you northeasterners always get what you want.

You've got paladin Padavan (etc.)
as your champion white knight....
and boy has he shelled out millions
for the Manor, Udall's Cove,
Doug Little Neck Hist. Soc. etc!

And deservedly so.

Too bad there are no such benefactors
in our red-lined nabes
just common political thieves and assassins!

unmasked developer said...

unfortunately I'm just a working stiff w/o any influence whatsoever who lives in Bayside, on the south side. Possibly in the near future, though, I may obtain some influence, in a sphere outside politics, which would allow me to have a say about all the crummy overdevelopment going on. If so I'll lash out at developers with everything I've got, thanks to my apprenticeship here. Reading Queens Crap on a daily basis has really alerted me about how bad overdevelopment is. Before happening upon the site I was totally clueless about all the damage being done to landscape and lives in Queens and elsewhere.

-ken

Anonymous said...

Take a look at the area surrounding the Farm Museum on this eastern Queens map. Large parks on all sides. Maspeth has none that aren't already or won't be soon covered in astroturf. St. Saviour's would be the wise location of a REAL green park.

Anonymous said...

I hope the Cornell Farm gets torn down.

Why?
It would be worth the sacrifice.

Let this become the Penn Station
rallying cry of Queens... NOT St. Saviour's....
as had been suggested by "some"!

Because only a tragedy of this magnitude
would show these privileged northeasterners
that they're in the same boat without a life jacket
along with the rest of us less privileged!

Now, tha'ts some real democracy
for all you "swells" out there!

Then maybe the "preservation community"
will truly UNITE and stop playing the game of
one against the other
(behind each other's backs) !

P.S.
Whatever happened to that tired old group
The Queensboro Preservation League ....h-m-m-m?

I guess that "the doctor" gave up
and opted for a academic career!

Anonymous said...

Not to worry,
Dumbo and his magic feather are here,
along with CECPP to save St. Saviour's !

dzinesbydanielle said...

As a Patrey and person who grew up on that property, I appreciate all the people who support trying to save it. There is so much history behind it and I can't stress how many memories. That place means so much to my family and I would love to be able to take my chilren there some day.

Anonymous said...

I know that this is a REALLY old blog posting but since I just stumbled across it now, I figured I would post... I wanted to clarify a little information about the house - someone made a not so nice comment that the house looked ugly and therefore was not "landmark quality" which I guess means not worth saving. I won't debate whether it should be saved or not (I have mixed feelings on that subject) but I did want to point out that the picture is actually of the side of the house and therefor not representative of what the house really looks like. I am surprised the photographer used that picture. If you have ever been on the property it is obvious that that is the side. The front of the house is more attractive and more what one would expect...