Monday, February 4, 2008

HDC calls for LPC hearing on St. Saviour's

HDC demands that the Landmarks Preservation Commission hold a public hearing to consider St. Savior’s Church in Maspeth, Queens as a potential New York City landmark. This important historic site is about to be torn down and so far, the public has been denied “our day in court”. The next move is up to the City and the Landmarks Preservation Commission.

Historic Districts Council Calls for Landmarks Hearing on Historic Queens Church

25 comments:

Anonymous said...

I doubt if a ‘Hail Mary’ pass like this will be successful. This too little too late effort has an air of desperation about it.

Empty gestures like this does not get them off the hook for their part in the disastrous mess that community preservation is in. Decades of fiddling (and doing nothing of substance with full knowledge that LPC was ignoring the outer boroughs) will not be remedied by calling one last minute meeting as the barbarians are battering down the gate.

Look, this is not about St Saviours. Attitudes that have developed over decades do not turn on a dime. Its about smoke and mirrors, a desperate motion to head off the impending effort to finally drive a stake in the heart of that perfidious landmarks law (which everyone expects to get serious once that building is torn down.)

If HDC is sincere, they have two equally distasteful (to them) options:

1. If they believe the law to be valid, then the actions of its staff and commissioners are illegal, and HDC has no choice but challenge the commission with legal action for enforcing a law in a capricious and discriminatory manner (tough to do as their silence over the years made them co-conspirators).

2. If HDC does nothing, then their mute consent signals their acceptance that the commissioners and staff are within the law as it exists (even with the abundant evidence that it is enforced capriciously and discriminatory). If this is the case, then they make themselves part of the problem. Perhaps they should be a codefendant in such a suit, too.

HDC has some tough thinking to do. They must publicly admit to their inbred elitism, their past record of ignoring the outer boroughs, their allocation of efforts and resources towards a tiny minority of the city.

Perhaps its time they reform themselves and come up with a vigorous city-wide public education effort aimed at the grassroots.

The other option, business as usual, will be eventually become even more painful for them. They will face a growing grassroots citywide effort that will be organized to embrace all communities (irregardless of economic, geographic, or ethnic background) and who will, in time, accuse the old guard as being part of the problem.

In that case, when the LPC law gets overturned by the courts, the old guard should understand that every effort to put Humpty Dumpty back together will be knocked down again and again.

The old school is dead, boys.

Paul DiBenedetto said...

"They will face a growing grassroots citywide effort that will be organized to embrace all communities (irregardless of economic, geographic, or ethnic background) and who will, in time, accuse the old guard as being part of the problem."

Your idea, while romantic and populist, is not one I am willing to take a chance on when the stakes are so high.

Better the enemy you know then the enemy you don't. The Landmarks Law and the actions of HDC to push it's enforcement is a lot better option than to throw it all away and hope for the utopian rebellion you speak of.

Funny that when HDC has made the most significant moves in it's history towards preserving the historic neighborhoods of the boroughs (including the election of a lifelong Flushing native as it's President), that folks like you look to destroy theose very efforts.

Classic case of the left eating itself.

loyal citizen said...

The only way New Yorkers will see a victory is when they demand an overhaul of the NYC Landmarks Preservation Commission. As citizens in what should be a democratic society, we have the right to overthrow abusive government officials. Director of Research Mary Beth Betts, Chairman Robert Tierney, and select staff members have failed public duty 101. The Landmarks Law has been unequally applied and victimized for way too long. There will be success when the preservationists/citizens step up and replace these figure heads with the true preservationists (peoples' persons in gov't). Otherwise, continue to wave adieu. "Doesn't meet the criteria" my foot! WE THE PEOPLE!!! Comments anyone?

Anonymous said...

Pinkys "Boyscout" friends want to start pouring concrete foundations next month.
Sadly that building will be down by next week.
They should at least allow people to go in there and pull some boards, doorknobs etc. for memory.
From what I understand Koreans already abolished the inside

Anonymous said...

Just as the Giants did to the Patriots, the people of Maspeth should do to whoever decides to try to destory their history. When it looks like you won't win, stay strong, stay focused, and keep moving forward. You will end up dancing in the end zone and drinking champagne.

Anonymous said...

The only way New Yorkers will see a victory is when they demand an overhaul of the NYC Landmarks Preservation Commission.
------------
Oh?

Are they breaking the law, then sue them. If they are within the law, get rid of it.

Anonymous said...

The rot goes a lot further than the LPC.

For years 95% of preservation resources have been devoted to Manhattan and Brooklyn.

This is a cultural problem of the preservation community, not an institutional problem of the commission.

Indeed, even the idea about going after LPC is a .... Manhattan idea.

Anonymous said...

Your idea, while romantic and populist, is not one I am willing to take a chance on when the stakes are so high

------------

What stakes? The law doesn't even exist in most of the city. I couldn't care less about someone who got past the bar, and did nothing to ensure that everyone is on a level playing field.

Now its time to turn the tables.

Mr Manhattan, the thought that you would have to live one day as we do in Queens makes you blanch.

That we lived like this was never a problem for you. Guess what, your new little problem on the horizon is of the same degree of concern to us.

Tough.

Anonymous said...

Do these pretty words come too late?

Anonymous said...

"We're really bummed about St. Savior's. But we'll still allow AKRF to sponsor our awards ceremony this year, because, hey - money talks."

Joe from Ridgewood said...

What is to become off all the bones (Human Remains)when they start landscaping the property to build.
There are 17th century graves on that sight, the City MUST know this.

They need to find the old priest who lived in the house across the street. As dumb teenagers (1974-75)we would sneak in those woods to smoke pot.
(It was called the Maspeth Woods in those days)
This priest came out and caught us one night and pointed out some marker stones (regular stone rocks)and gave us a lecture. They should still be there (might be a inch under the ground by now)

Christina Wilkinson said...

Joe, please contact me about what you have just written. The Shinnecock Tribal Council has asked for statements about this information. cwilkinson@junipercivic.com

georgetheatheist said...

Now this is getting interesting. Stay tuned.

Paul DiBenedetto said...

"The law doesn't even exist in most of the city. I couldn't care less about someone who got past the bar, and did nothing to ensure that everyone is on a level playing field.

Now its time to turn the tables.

Mr Manhattan, the thought that you would have to live one day as we do in Queens makes you blanch.

That we lived like this was never a problem for you. Guess what, your new little problem on the horizon is of the same degree of concern to us.

Tough."

OK "anonymous" you want to throw off the gloves?
First off Mr. Upper East Side (yes I know who you are [BS] and where you live!), I actually live in Queens. I'm on the community board, fighting for zoning issues, historic preservation and quality of life. I'm the President of a preservation-minded civic group in my nabe. Unlike like you, I don't live in Manhattan and never have.
HDC is the ONLY citywide preservation organization (bar none) that has petitioned the LPC to give St. Savior's a public review. Who else has stepped up?
HDC has a yearly budget of $400K and 4 staffers, for a city of 8 million people. Get a grip on the scope of their operation.
Instead of moaning and groaning and endlessly blogging... why not ask HDC how you can help? Why not take the time to write the Mayor, the LPC, Juniper Park Civic, QPC, Helen Marshall, and others involved or who can have the most influence?
We all know your supposed "preservation-minded" group based in Western Queens never even wrote a letter in support of saving St. Savior's.
Your lame, Bolshevik-style pontification about the end of the landmarks law sounds an awful like an egotist who just likes to hear himself speak.
And next time try publishing your real name so you can live by your words.

attn Christina said...

if you need a hand searching for Shinnecock remains let me know and I'll come by with a shovel.
-ken

attn Christina said...

p.s. and a flashlight too as we'll probably have to dig at night.
-k.

Anonymous said...

"HDC is the ONLY citywide preservation organization (bar none) that has petitioned the LPC to give St. Savior's a public review. Who else has stepped up?"

Wow they petitioned the LPC? What a novel idea. With all of their connections and influence, this the best they could come up with? Christina, get the video camera ready...

"Why not take the time to write the Mayor, the LPC, Juniper Park Civic, QPC, Helen Marshall, and others involved or who can have the most influence?"

Oh my God, here we go beating the "write your elected official" drum again. That approach has worked so well thus far. Let's all write to the councilman in charge of the district.

The Juniper Park Civic has been battling this developer for 2 years to save the property. Why would you write to them? To offer words of encouragement?

How about this: HDC should have made plenty of inroads with the wealthy organizations that fund their annual Lion soiree. Why don't they ask AKRF, one of their largest donors, to write a check to save St. Saviour's? Or maybe just to submit to LPC that the site DOES have historic value and archeological potential? Do you realize Chairman Tierney threw an AKRF report back in the faces of the people fighting to save the church after initially saying that there was possible evidence of graves there? WHY WASN'T THIS INFORMATION IN THE PRESS RELEASE? Eh?

Anonymous said...

How many rallies did HDC show up for?

Anonymous said...

Why is it that every county in the state has funds set aside for the purchase and restoration of historic buildings except the 5 counties within NYC? Maybe you should work on that, because if there was such a fund, the church may have been saved 2 years ago and we would be going to its grand opening today instead of its funeral.

Simeon Bankoff said...

Last year, AKRF contributed less than $3,000 to HDC - which is approx. .7% of our annual budget. The year before, was a similar amount.
How much did Peter Vallone give to area historical societies?

Anonymous said...

Peter Vallone distributes OUR tax dollars to not-for-profits, which is what he's supposed to do. AKRF buys the silence of citywide preservation organizations on issues that may cause them headaches. Then these groups come out at the 11th hour to make it look as though they've been fighting the bullies all along. Big difference, pal. And BTW, this is NOT who you think it is. Right borough, wrong town.

Anonymous said...

After all they've done to destroy the fabric of this city, why would a preservation group take any money from AKRF? $3,000 is probably what it cost the St. Saviour's developer to hire that archaeologist to say there was nothing historical there. It's blood money. Give it back.

Anonymous said...

If it's only .7% of your budget, then you should have no problem telling them to keep it.

Anonymous said...

HDC has a yearly budget of $400K and 4 staffers, for a city of 8 million people. Get a grip on the scope of their operation.
--------

How many years have you guys been at it? Hell, their are dozens of people in any one of the silk stocking districts you represent that run that up on their credit card bill every year.

There are social service agencies in ghettos that have bigger budgets.

I think the price of preservation is about to go up.

Then lets see how much they are willing to pay when 'SAMO Demolition,' followed by 'Blah-Blah Construction of Whitestone' shows up on Middagh Street.

Anonymous said...

Funny that when HDC has made the most significant moves in it's history towards preserving the historic neighborhoods of the boroughs (including the election of a lifelong Flushing native as it's President), that folks like you look to destroy theose very efforts.
-------

Sure, cemetaries, swimming pools, library, a fire house.