City cultivates plan to make Cornell farm in Douglaston a city park
BY JOHN LAUINGER
DAILY NEWS STAFF WRITER
The Cornell farm - a gentle hillside in Douglaston surrounded by suburbia and crowned by a whitewashed 1820s farmhouse - could one day be preserved as a city park.
But city officials hoping to preserve the relic of Queens' agricultural past have been hampered by a line on a map.
The 1.7-acre property, once part of a massive dominion deeded to the Cornell family by the British Crown, is split by the Queens-Nassau border.
The current owner said he "can't wait forever" for city and Nassau County officials to make him an offer for real estate that has drawn the attention of private developers.
City Parks officials want to buy the property from its owner, Ken Patrey, but first must get Nassau County onboard.
"The Cornell farm is a wonderful property that really speaks to the agricultural history of Queens and the city," said Abigail Lootens, a spokeswoman for the Historic House Trust, a nonprofit entity that operates in tandem with the Parks Department.
The city and the trust are "very interested" in the former farm, Lootens said, and "would love to have it become part of the collection of historic houses that are on [city] parkland."
Parks Commissioner Adrian Benepe recently called Nassau County Executive Tom Suozzi to discuss the farm, sources told the Daily News. And city officials toured the property late last month along with Nassau representatives.
Deputy Nassau County Executive Ian Siegel, who attended the tour, said city officials discussed forming a partnership with Nassau and the Town of North Hempstead.
Siegel made no commitments, noting the county already has allocated $150 million raised through bond referendums to other preservation projects. He said there are no plans for a future bond act.
Patrey said he refrained from putting the farm on the market for the second time last month.
"We're kind of just waiting to see what happens with the city and the county," he said.
Original article here.
- When did they move the Cornell farm to Douglaston? Last I heard, it was on Little Neck Parkway next door to Little Neck Nursing Home in Little Neck.
- We're all for adding more public open space to our inventory, but how did the Parks Dept suddenly come up with money for this when for years they've been saying historic houses are money pits that they'd rather not be burdened with?
- Why doesn't the city landmark it? We know you don't need owner's consent.