Monday, April 30, 2012
City to allow development of colonial cemetery
This is Brinckerhoff Cemetery, a burial ground for the Brinckerhoff family, Dutch settlers who owned a nearby farm for some 150 years. The earliest grave dates to about 1730. In 1919, a survey was completed that found 72 headstones, which have since disappeared.
In 1957 and 1960, a nearby resident purchased the 2 lots from the City, which had condemned it due to non-payment of taxes. (Why would a cemetery be taxed in the first place?) It turns out that the City had illegally sold the property.
Descendants of that owner have petitioned a court to declare the cemetery abandoned in order to clear the way for a sale to a developer who wants to build 2 homes on the property.
In 2000, the LPC calendared the property in anticipation of declaring it an official NYC landmark. Also in 2000, a judge ordered the sale of the property to the Queens Historical Society for $100,000, but only gave them 14 days to come up with the money. They failed to do so.
Elected officials representing the area, including Toby Stavisky and James Gennaro, have called on the City to preserve the property as a public memorial or park, but have not allocated funding toward its purchase by either the City or a non-profit like QHS.
In 2010, the property was resold to a developer for $105,000.
Last week, the LPC sent out letters stating that they will be holding a hearing on 5/15 to decalendar the property.
And there goes another piece of Queens history due to hack politicians who say all the right things, but don't back up their words with action. Do we still have a Queens Borough President? Anyone seen her around lately?