The Greater Astoria Historical Society and the community of Long Island City/Astoria, are concerned about the safety of the historic millstones located at Queens Plaza.
Hidden in plain site, the two millstones, some say, date from the 1600's and are the oldest European artifacts in Queens. The city’s recent stewardship has not been very good. Photos over time show significant wear and tear to their fabric. Recently, a multimillion-dollar renovation at the Plaza has dropped them from view and construction debris litters the site.
The New York Daily News covered the issue:Ancient millstones grist for historians
$43M Queens Plaza face-lift hits the fast lane
Colonial-era millstones in danger at Queens Plaza construction site, preservationists peeved
We ask the city to support the community’s heritage by:
- Making the millstones available to the community by moving them from the hazards of a construction site to an exhibit space at the Greater Astoria Historical Society (or another location within the local neighborhood) where they will be not only safe, and on display, but accessible to the public along with an exhibit outlining their history.
- Making the millstones available to historians and scholars to conduct research (during the period while they are out of the ground), and to support efforts to make them official New York City Designated Landmarks.
- Open the millstones’ permanent installation process by selecting a location that will not only ensure their preservation within the community with an installation that will be marked with appropriate signage.
The Greater Astoria Historical Society, which not only has assumed the mantel as a watchdog over the LIC–Astoria community’s heritage, but has taken a very active role in their preservation, is calling for all interested parties, from the city planning, civics, preservation experts, and, most importantly, the general public, to come to a meeting at the Greater Astoria Historical Society, 4th Floor, 35–20 Broadway, LIC, at 6:30 PM on Wednesday, November 18, 2009.