Sunday, August 3, 2008

Two churches, two boroughs, two different attitudes

Astoria Presbyterian Church held its final service last Sunday. It will be torn down and replaced with senior housing. Rep. Carolyn Maloney and the Vallones reportedly think it's a great idea. In Staten Island, just the opposite is happening:

State Sen. Andrew Lanza is asking the city to change zoning rules across a good chunk of Rossville in a final attempt to prevent a church from building apartments for senior citizens there.

Lanza's surprise downzoning application, which was filed with the city last week, covers 37 blocks and could prevent Rossville A.M.E. (African Methodist Episcopal Church) Zion Church from building 119 affordable apartments next to the Bloomingdale Road church, acknowledged an angry Eric Palatnik, the lawyer who represents the house of worship.

The 155-year-old A.M.E Zion is located in the heart of Sandy Ground, an area recognized as the oldest and only surviving neighborhood in the country first settled by free blacks, and it fought for the senior housing project for several years in the face of vehement opposition from neighbors and even some members of its own congregation who argued it was too dense. The development appeared to have finally moved forward in May, when the church won a small but important approval at City Planning.

Now Lanza (R-Staten Island) is asking the same agency to rezone approximately 1,500 lots, including the church property, in order to prohibit townhouses and garden apartments in the future. While he hopes his rezoning will halt the church plan, it's unclear if City Planning will approve the request and if such changes would come in time to beat out the church.


Want leaders who support downzoning? Move to Staten Island.

13 comments:

italian girl said...

Why would City Planning approve a request from some senator in Staten Island when requests for downzoning in Queens are repeatedly denied and/or ignored?

Anonymous said...

I wonder what the "two Jeffs"
(Kroessler & Gottlieb) have to say on the subject.

(Ahem....or which one is bucking for the "coveted" post of Queens Borough Historian (ha, ha) now that Dr. Cogan seems to be out of the picture! I'd advise the "two Jeffs" to put on their knee pads and practice servicing Beep Marshal!

Maybe Mr. Perlman can help set up a petition on line to convince LPC to landmark this Astoria church (another ha, ha)!

As "Dirty Harry" once said,
"A man has got to know his limitations" (or when a borough has been disenfranchised and its "preservationists" emasculated)!

-Joe said...

These churches are so fulla shit, they always claim "apartments for senior citizens" so nobody goes against them.

They know FAR in advance they can’t rent the barracks and will have a valid reason to cry hardship to the government and break the agreement.

The "project" then turns out to be sec 8 or $800K condos for transplants. A whole neighborhood gets f--'d up one way or another.

If all these queer prevert priests would just keep there hands of kids the church might still have a flock as well as money.
They should receive NO SPECIAL TREATMENT for sheltering all the criminals and professional "arsonists" willing to help them out for a piece of the finished crapcake.

I'm glad some "good old boys" still live in Staten Island where they dont take to this "new and improved" Bloomberg City shit well.
(Yonkers where my uncle lived was like this).

Good for Staten Island

Anonymous said...

Right on "Joe"!

A lot of expensive lawsuits to settle for buggering little boys.

Ant said...

wow, joe sounds like such a douche.

It's unbelievable that anyone thinks the senator is looking out for anything/anyone but the 87% of white folks who live in Rossville.

Queens Crapper said...

Of course! It can't be that the project is too dense, even though "even some members of its own congregation who argued it was too dense" was mentioned. The zoning application is for 37 blocks...

Ant said...

No it can't be. When the rest of the neighborhood was built up a few years where was the senator?
Now that that a low/mod-income nursing home threatens property values of these new million dollar homes, everyone is up in arms.

Anonymous said...

The minister at the Astoria church is making a very big salary more than $60,000, lives rent free, has his utilities paid, gets a retirement and pension, all the preach to a congregation of about 15 people a week.

All this while the church is falling down around him.

Would some people say this is a bum?

He refused to even let the community get involved (so much for a church).

He is disabled, a fact that seems to work its way into any story about his plight.

Everytime you see him, he is smirking.

Anonymous said...

Presbytery undermind the congregation.

Sacred sites program double crossed the community.

The press and politicans are going along with full knowledge that this will start block busting in central Astoria.

The minister and his clique, refused to discuss any other solution.

Any bets on how long this church will last.

And the use of public moneys for a church is illegal, as is using a church property for any other purpose.

Anonymous said...

This is a Presbyterian church. We have Pastors not Priests. The Pres. church is an open church where anyone can sit in a service or even its governing boards. No membership is required. Just how was this small congregation supposed to pay for all those repairs, the salary of a pastor, organist and other employees, and provide effective community outreach. Maybe some of you should of stopped in, said hello, and contributed either your time or money in the past.

This church decided to do something worthwhile and Christ-like with its dying breath. It should be commended.

It always amazes me that those who know the least or do the least, have the most to contribute verbally and usually after the fact.

Anonymous said...

Speaking as a 13th generation Presbyterian, I can state that the self-indulgent leadership has been driving away people for decades - America, unlike Europe, is a vibrant religous culture and for a 160 year old congreation to sink to this level is the fault of their leaderhsip.

You have chosen the coward's way by forcing that burden on the surrounding community.

There are 101 churches in the NYC Presbytery, most sitting on prime real estate, almost all dying or all but empty.

In this case, everyone knows how the Presbytery showed up to influence the resaults. In clear violation of church policy they made sure this real estate becomes cash and the surrounding community is excluded from the process - after all, if the congregations can't pay the per capita for their salaries, then certainly rentals can.

Now your have churches around the nation looking at this scheme, and the outrage by congregations (and anger at Astoria) when pastors have suggested this route is a sad commentary on the state of mainline liberal protestantism in this country. I know. I have talked to some of them.

You could have sold out to the other Prebyterian church that is vibrant and meeting in a synagogue just a few blocks from you, but your Presbyterian faction doesn't like their Prsebyterian faction.

There were other solutions - Historic Districts Council held a conference on this issue of chruch development not two blocks away in another church, but you refused to go to hear and listen and think, discuss, debate and dialogue, pillars of the Presbyterian politly.

You stand condemned for destroying what is left of the congreation and to introduce the pathological virus of overdevelopment to central Astoria.

History will judge you harshly.

Anonymous said...

The Pres. church is an open church where anyone can sit in a service or even its governing boards. No membership is required.


WRONG.

Elders are nominated and elected, members join, according to the Book of Order.

You understand little of Presbyterian polity.

Anonymous said...

The Pres. church is an open church where anyone can sit in a service or even its governing boards. No membership is required.


WRONG.

Elders are nominated and elected, members join, according to the Book of Order.

You understand little of Presbyterian polity.