Sunday, March 11, 2012

How the Bloomberg administration destroyed an extremely important piece of Queens history

Block 15720, Lot 67
1213 Bay 25th Street

Here's the Bio from 1896 on Richard Mott, Sr. from “Portrait and Biographical Record of Queens County (Long Island) New York” New York and Chicago: Chapman Publishing Co., 1896, pg. 988:

Richard Mott, Sr.

Having spent his entire life in Far Rockaway, the subject of our sketch has an extensive acquaintance through this portion of the county. His long residence here, together with active participation in all worthy measures for the development of the resources of the community, has made him prominent in social and business circles. It may truly be said that few residents of the village have been more closely identified with its history than he, and certainly none have resided here for a longer period. It is to the efforts of such men as he that the community owes a debt that can never be repaid. Through their labors, continued unweariedly for a long period of years, is due the present high standing of this section alike in commercial and agricultural affairs. Having borne the heat of the conflict, many of his co-laborers have passed to their final reward, but a few remain to witness and enjoy the fruition of their early hopes and aspirations.

The Mott family is one of the oldest on the island, where our subject’s grandfather, Henry Mott, was a large landholder a hundred or more years ago. The father of our subject, John, was born on Long Island, where he engaged in farm pursuits until his death. His wife, Lucy, was a daughter of William Nicols, of Islip, who owned much of the land formerly known as the Nicols patent and which originally comprised many thousands of acres. They were the parents of eight children, one of whom died infancy. William, the eldest, resides at Inwood and is now eighty-seven. Richard was the second born. Calvin, John and Lucinda have passed away. Benjamin B. is represented elsewhere in this volume; and Samuel W., the youngest, is deceased.

At Far Rockaway, where his life has been spent, the subject of this notice was born October 15, 1810. He was always followed farming and is almost the only one left in the vicinity thus engaged. Early in life he began to assist his father, who was an extensive farmer and stock raiser, owning about one thousand acres, and usually having forty or fifty calves on hand each spring. To each of the boys he gave a farm, thus ensuring them a satisfactory start in life. Richard is the next to the eldest of the three sons still living. He never married, but in his declining years is the recipient of kindly and affectionate attention from his brothers’ families. In earlier years he was a great reader and still keeps well posted upon events of the day, being especially familiar with the history of this part of the country.

The house was demolished in the fall of 2004. The owners tried to find sympathetic buyer for years after the old woman who lived there died, but no one would buy it. A developer bought it, demolished the house and planned to build a 7-house subdivision. It never happened and was ultimately resold.

Sad, sad story. Should have been landmarked in the 60s, and once again the LPC not only dropped the ball but caused the destruction of an incredibly important house.

Its demolition spurred on a series of hearings by Bill Perkins back in the day on the failings of the LPC. Too bad they still suck, particularly in Queens.

At the Perkins hearing, the LPC's Director of Research, Mary Beth Betts, defended herself by saying that it wasn't her fault because by the time she found out about it, the demo permit had already been approved. This wasn't true, as she had been made aware of it at least one year prior.

Of course, the Daily News article about the out-of-scale yeshiva now proposed for this lot doesn't mention any of the site's history.


Anonymous said...

No word from Goldfeder, a local resident and yeshiva alum? Hmmm.

Anonymous said...

What a beautiful house it was. So sad.

Gary the Agnostic said...

Anyone here want to admit to voting for Bloomberg? Tell us why.

Anonymous said...

Has nothing to do with Bloomberg and everything to do with Queens.

You go anywhere else as often as not when the bulldozers show up the people in the community rise up ...

and the pols show leadership by standing with them and not mumbling excuses

... knowing they can get away with it.

Anonymous said...

It is abundantly clear that the Landmarks Commission doesn't think anything in Queens is worth saving.

Anonymous said...

It is abundantly clear that the Landmarks Commission doesn't think anything in Queens is worth saving.

It is abundantly clear that there is no effective preservation movement in Queens nor do our politicians care to support the same.

The Landmarks Commission's behavior reflects the reality on the ground in Queens.

If this building was important to the community, what the hell were they doing in the decades before it was torn down - and compare it to the actions of other non-Queens communities to their monuments.