Saturday, April 2, 2011

Honoring a friend and his home

From the NY Times:

By 1997 Mr. Graziano was living with his parents, which proved fortunate for Mr. Bruce. After his wife died in 2006, he grew increasingly frail. His sons had long since moved away, and the house had become an obstacle course. With the approval of the sons, Mr. Graziano helped care for the older man, escorting him to doctors’ appointments and taking him out so he wouldn’t feel like a shut-in.

And partly because of a wide-ranging career in historic preservation and urban planning, Mr. Graziano had always admired his neighbor’s house. From 2007 to 2009 he served as president of the Historic Districts Council, a citywide organization whose focus is historic preservation. He works as a freelance consultant; his seven-page, single-spaced résumé, described as a “partial work history,” lists nearly 70 projects.

A year after Mr. Bruce died in January 2009 at age 95, Mr. Graziano bought the house, along with its contents, for $407,000. “Before he died, he made it clear to his sons that he wanted me to have the house, and for a reasonable sum,” Mr. Graziano said.

Even before he moved in last October Mr. Graziano had been working almost full time to clean and repair rooms that have sat untouched for decades.

Watch the video.


Anonymous said...

I see .... and ah, Crappy, the point of this story is to ... ahhh ... what?

Queens Crapper said...

Promote historic preservation rather than teardowns and overdevelopment? Did we forget that is the central message of the blog?

Anonymous said...

407,000 with contents, wow that was a steal. Hope his kids keep it as is when he dies.

georgetheatheist said...

What's wrong with the "groovy" 1960's kitchen? There's running water in the sink, a flame on the stove, and ice in the fridge. What more do you need?

Anonymous said...

What a sweet deal. It's a shame what's happening in that area of flushing. Every other house is turning into a Korean church. That is very near to the Fitzgerald/Ginsberg Mansion.

Anonymous said...

Everyone should be so lucky.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for your comments everyone - I just want to clear this up a bit:

Mr. Bruce was an incredible person who I was very close to - almost family. I grew up with his grandchildren and was always friendly with his sons. At the end, I directly took care of him daily for more than a year (and had been spending time almost every day with him for two years prior), which the family was very thankful for.

As they built the house and were the only family to live in it - ever - until it was sold to me, the Bruces have a justified sense of pride in keeping it from being destroyed for more Queens Crap.

To make sure that that never happens even if I sell the house at a later date, as part of the agreement, I placed a deed restriction on the property. It can never be demolished, altered or added to except for the very minor changes I am making to both restore it back to its original condition, put needed small dormers at the attic level (so you don't hit your head on the way up the stairs) and add a 75 square foot addition to the pantry to create a small eat-in kitchen. Finally, the historic planting beds, hedges and trees cannot be destroyed and no additional pavement can be placed on a square inch of the property.

A third party is notated on the deed as the enforcers of the restriction and should I sell it, they will be funded with an escrow account in order to instantly bring legal action to stop any crap from happening.

Hope that clarifies it for everyone - I try to live what I promote as much as possible, and this is no exception.


Paul Graziano
One very lucky lifelong Flushing resident.

P.S. George - it is a groovy 1960s kitchen, but I'm 6'4" and it's built for a different generation. One word for it: unwieldy.

Anonymous said...

"Be it ever so humble there's no place like home"....especially if it's a hand built house of pride that remains safe from the wrecker's ball!

Thus, the beat goes on and a poignant piece of historic legacy continues.

Anonymous said...

If it was Astoria they would say

1. grandpa got it for $10,000

2. we love the house

3. grandpa died

4. no one wanted to live in Astoria

5. although a nice couple wanted to buy it they could only pay $1.2 million - a developer gave us $1.4 million for the property.

6. its was knocked down and barracks built on the site.

7. broke our hearts but can you blame us?

(sure, they loved Astoria but did not want to live there and gave two shits for giving their former neighbors an eyesore - take the money and run, eh? - greedy assholes)

Anonymous said...

Every other house is turning into a Korean church. That is very near to the Fitzgerald/Ginsberg Mansion.

For those who are unfamiliar with either the neighborhood or that mansion, the Fitzgerald/Ginsberg mansion is currently a Korean congregation known as the Assembly of God New York Jesus Grace Church. I think there were many complaints and violations which prevented further damage and/or alterations to the building, but unfortunately many beautiful old trees were cut down from the backyard.

Christina Wilkinson said...

The congregation from St. Saviour's said they were moving there back in 2005. I don't know if it's the same group.