Friday, June 12, 2009

Bowne House funds not available until 2013

From the Daily News:

THE BULK of the funding for the long-overdue restoration of the historic Bowne House in Flushing remains in place, but a portion will be held back until 2013, city officials said last week.

The Colonial-era relic - one of the city's oldest homes and an important symbol of religious freedom - has been surrounded by controversy amid a series of anonymous e-mails lambasting the city for yanking the funds.

The city is in the process of acquiring the house from the Bowne House Historical Society.

The $628,000 that City Councilman John Liu (D-Flushing) allocated for the restoration has been pulled by the city, the Parks Department confirmed to Queens News.

That money won't be available until 2013, but department officials appeared to quash fears that the restoration project was doomed.

"We currently have $1.7 million available for the restoration of the roof, siding, windows and doors, as well as structural stabilization of the house," Parks said in a statement.

Photo by Wally G on Flickr


Anonymous said...

Those idiots at Bowne House never really pulled out all the stops to get this treasured site listed as a National Historic Landmark on a par with the Statue Of Liberty!

That way it would have been under federal jurisdiction with funds available.

This is the birthplace of religious freedom in America and is worthy of such a designation.

Instead shady John Liu pushed for the NYC to take over Bowne House.

Beforehand he had taken campaign contributions from the Suzuki Corp.

Suzuki put up an illegal infill building in the courtyard of the adjacent Lincoln Apartments that still can't get a proper certificate of occupancy.

Do we see a pattern emerging here?

I'll bet that the Parks Dept. winds up selling off ten feet of the Bowne House's front lawn to enable Suzuki to get their C of O and money for Bowne restoration.

Anonymous said...


IT'S NOT TOO LATE! about some federal stimulus money for

Where's the preservation movement?

Shouldn't they be pushing for federal money or something?

As long as they sit there with their thumbs up their asses doing nothing, the Bowne House will continue to rot into the ground!

Shame on you QHS...located right across the park for not rallying
the troops to free up the funding.

Could we wind up with a new scenario of "demolition through lack of funding"?

Anonymous said...

Ps-s-st....where's that (ha, ha) lazy wannabee Edward Hart descendant?

Full of the usual BS I guess!

Anonymous said...

Move it over to Queens College.

Isn't that where the "Titus/Bowne" collection was "relocated"?

Then John Liu and Suzuki Corp. can collaborate on building a luxury higher density structure on the underutilized land!

Anonymous said...

The Bowne House IS on the National Register of Historic Places. See (scroll down)

Anonymous said...

This is a scandal, its collections as well as the building in disarray.

Queens Rosemary certainly has the resources to restore this place.

What is the holdup - for nearly two decades this place has been a mess.

Anonymous said...

Well, for one thing, Rosemary Vietor refuses to hire an Executive Director. Bowne House has been without one for over a year!

Anonymous said...

How lucky for Rosemary Vietor that she has so many loyal friends on the Board.

And how unfortunate for Bowne House that she has so many loyal friends on the Board.

Sergey Kadinsky said...

First of all, this house should be given to the National Parks Service.

Second of all,where are John Bowne's descendants? Shouldn't they be speaking out on the descrepit condition of their ancestral home?

Queens Crapper said...

Being on the national register of historic places is not the same as it being a national historic site.

Anonymous said...

So the $628,000 in public funding was pulled from the city budget, and Rosemary Vietor turns around and tells the Bowne House Membership and the general public in the Annual Letter (dated May 20) that the public funding from NYC "is committed to the restoration"?

Was her maiden name Madoff?

Anonymous said...

Second of all,where are John Bowne's descendants?

When the rump group (including the Kupferbergs) sued the board to overturn it, and started this decline, the media sided with the insiders.

The good guys had no backbone, and were swept away.


Anonymous said...

The AG should investigate this place.

Starting with the Jacob-Titus Bowne collection. I understand SOMEONE got a tax write-off on the donation that was accepted by SOME repository.

Isn't anyone on the board doing a thing about this?

Anonymous said...

"Possesion is 9/10s of the law"

I will not state who said that, but you can guess.

georgetheatheist said...

I propose making Flushing's Bowne House and the Quaker Meeting Hall a National Historic Site. Run by the National Park Service.

Historians Unite! Contact Ackerman, Schumer, & Gillibrand

Anonymous said...

Yes! This should DEFINITELY be investigated. The NY State Attorney General's office should be all over this like white on rice.

Anonymous said...

Two things need to happen, and happen fast, to save Bowne House:

1. A person who is not currently on the Board should be installed as the new BHHS Board President: The new Board President must be able to demonstrate the following qualities: a.) that he or she actually has a stake in the Borough of Queens (whether through business; residence or community service); b.) that he or she has historically (one fiscal year would be sufficient to meet this criteria) donated a significant amount of money to or raised a significant amount of money for Bowne House, thereby demonstrating his or her commitment to Bowne House's financial solvency, as well as his or her ability to support the long-term financial goals and needs of this historic home c.) he or she must have a proven track record of successful management skills.

2. The Board must hire a Full-Time Executive Director ASAP - and it must be somebody who can: a.) write successful grant applications; b.) develop, organize, execute & host successful off-site BH programs in Queens, Manhattan, etc. and c.) successfully advocate on behalf of Bowne House to the NYC Council and the wide range of elected officials whose support and commitment is essential to Bowne House and its future.

Anonymous said...

Nice idea, but neither the Board nor Bowne descendants dare publicly disagree with Rosemary Vietor: She launches smear campaigns when crossed. Just ask former Bowne House Executive Director, Donna Cartelli.

Anonymous said...

Franklin Vagnone is brought here from Philadelphia to run the NYC Historic House TRUST - and the first thing he does is pull $628,000 away from the Bowne House Restoration project for this year's city budget.

I say, send him back to Philly! He's obviously the guy who put the crack in the Liberty bell.

Anonymous said...

Anybody going to the Bowne House Annual Meeting on June 24?

(6pm @ the Voelker Orth Museum, 149-19 38th Avenue, Flushing)

The BH Annual meeting is open to the PUBLIC.

faster340 said...

Why don't they sell the house to someone on the condition that they restore the house the way it was. Historic districts all over the USA are like this. Go to Massachusetts historic districts and see how people HAVE to keep the houses historically correct. I am sure there would be someone who would want to live in a nice restored house such as this. Then the house would be saved for the future and it won't get run down and/or neglected.

Anonymous said...

Yeah, where's Andrew Cuomo on all this?

Doesn't he have to approve the transfer?

How can he approve ANYTHING after Rosemary Vietor claims in the Bowne House Annual letter that the public funding from NYC is committed to the restoration, even though she had been notified that the city has in fact pulled the promised $628,000?

Anonymous said...

Rosemary tell the public about the Jacob Titus Bowne Collection and the rest of the collection!

Set the record straight!!!!

If you don't, could someone accuse you as taking a role in the the (ahem) 'situation'?

Anonymous said...

If things blow up the press should revisit the efforts by the Kupferbergs, the borough historian appointed by boro hall (and others) in sueing (and overturning) the board elected by membership.

Did they want to hide something?

The actions by those people, and the board members since then (in particular the abortive board appointed by Shulman - which included the boro historian, Queens Historical Society, Rufus King, and a representative from Bowne & Company - all groups with deep pockets) some people believe have spectatularly failed to turn things around.

Some claim this was the beginning of the decline of Bowne House - a decline from which it has not yet recovered - a decline from which there is no hint of recovery on the horizon.

Can we speculate if their actions over the past 15 years would be the basis for a suit by membership?

A settlement, if won, could be paid by these individuals, the organizations they represent, and the borough president.

This money could easily take care of the costs of restoration.

Anonymous said...

Bowne House does not need this.

But something needs to be done.

Why are they focusing on a visitor's center while the main building is a mess?

Anonymous said...

The did an archological dig.


To make the site clean to move the house to Kissana Park?

T. Huang said...


Is it time for the bulldozers? We're waiting!!!

Anonymous said...

Why would the Bowne House Trustees consent to transferring the house to the city when they had already been told the city had pulled the promised $628,000?

I'd like to sell a couple of bridges to these people!

Anonymous said...

So let me get this straight. HHT has reneged on the $628,000 promised to the restoration this year & these clowns still want to transfer Bowne House to HHT?


Anonymous said...

Neat trick.

Bloomberg and the City Council take a bow for a budget deal brought in 2 weeks early (thereby cutting off any further discussion about budget issues) BRAGGING that they don't suffer from the same "acrimony" of their counterparts in Albany and that this is "how democracy works".

In what country is it democratic to shut out the public from the process?

Anonymous said...

The Board paid for a major fund raising study in the early part of the decade.

Considering the baggage this place has, the city should think twice about taking it over.

The taxpayer does not need a lawsuit or endless claims of mismanagement filed against the city.

Anonymous said...

In the 1600s Stuyvesant stifled freedom and public discourse in this city until a Flushing resident named John Bowne had the guts to defy him.

That was more than 300 years ago. And now?

Anonymous said...

Why would the Bowne House attorneys let Rosemary Vietor send out a letter claiming the NYC public funding is "committed to the restoration" when the attorneys knew Vietor had been notified that the city had already decided to renege on the $628,000?

Hasn't this city had enough of Wall Street doubletalk?

Isn't that what caused the financial crises that the Bloomberg administration is now using as an excuse to AX the $628K from the Bowne House restoration project this year?

Anonymous said...

Terrible Terri O has a hand in this.

A big hand.

Anonymous said...

O.K., so whether it's purchased as a private home; made a part of the National Parks Service or transferred to the city's Historic House Trust, one thing has become abundantly clear - Rosemary Vietor needs to go, and she needs to go NOW.

Anonymous said...

Let's nominate Jim or Barbara Gerson as the NEW President of the Bowne House Board!