From the Daily News:
Leroy Comrie, chairman of the City Council's powerful land use committee, called on the city to ensure "gentle" treatment of any tombs at the plot set for Flushing Commons, a mix of housing and retail space.
The proposal is expected to be voted on by the land use committee on July 28 and then by the full Council. But Comrie said too many question marks remain.
"I'm not prepared to encourage the full body to vote because we have so many unresolved issues," Comrie said at a hearing Thursday near City Hall.
At Thursday's hearing, Comrie (D-Jamaica) pressed Seth Pinsky, president of the city Economic Development Corp., for details about new excavation plans.
"No one has said to date what will be done," Comrie said.
Pinsky defended the 1953 excavation as an "extensive investigation." But when Comrie asked how far down the hand-diggers went in 1953, Pinsky admitted, "I don't have that exact figure."
The News asked the city last month for records of the excavation to determine its scope, but the city has not yet produced any.
A spokeswoman for the city Law Department, which officially declared the cemetery nonexistent in 1954, said the agency is "still looking" for the report.
Pinsky also noted that community leaders did not mention the possibility of graves during numerous meetings with EDC.
"We have not received any evidence other than the story in the Daily News," Pinsky said. But, he added, "We would ensure the site would be treated with respect."
Later, Queens Borough President Helen Marshall echoed Comrie's calls for a careful check.
"There should be reasonable measures to ensure there are not human remains on the construction site," Marshall read from prepared testimony.
She lifted her head and continued off the cuff: "We treasure our people, both while they're alive and after they pass away."