From the Daily News:
Originally the spinning centerpieces of a gristmill built in Dutch Kills around 1657, the stones are today among the oldest European artifacts in Queens.
In their heyday, they helped drive the economic fortunes of western Queens, but in recent decades the relics have been entombed in a shabby traffic island, with only their tops visible.
When the city Economic Development Corp. began the $52 million Queens Plaza revamp last fall, the traffic island was converted into a construction staging area.
[Richard] Melnick and other local preservationists are furious the stones were kept in close quarters with construction machinery and materials, hidden behind a temporary fence.
"Considering their historical importance, they should have been removed and put in a secure location," Melnick said.
"What if a heavy truck or a Bobcat rolled over one of them? It would snap it in half," he said.
Last week, one of the stones - still cemented in the sidewalk - was directly underneath part of the fence. The stone, which already had a crack in it before work commenced, was haphazardly covered with construction material.
Even worse, the other stone was nowhere to be seen recently, Melnick and other local preservationists said.
Its original sidewalk placement fell in the center of the staging area - a spot that appeared to have been covered with an asphalt patch when Melnick photographed the area a few weeks ago.
The blacktop patch was gone last week but the stone's whereabouts were still unknown.
This is Queens history, so expect it to be manhandled and disregarded.