Monday, May 7, 2012
Brinckerhoff Cemetery hearing May 15th at 9am
The Landmark Preservation Commission will hold a hearing on May 15 to formally remove the Brinkerhoff Cemetery from its calendar and eliminate any possibility of saving this historical and hallowed graveyard. Fresh Meadows Homeowners Association and QCC need your help to demand that the three century old cemetery be landmarked and preserved, and hopefully some day restored. FMHA started landmark requests years ago and LPC calendared the item but it has never either approved or disapproved it, leaving the site in limbo. A developer has purchased the property and requested "decalandering" the item so they can proceed with developing homes on it. QCC members at our luncheon on April 29 heard an impassioned plea by Yvette and Jim Gallagher for our help. QCC testimony will be presented at the hearing and we encourage other civics to get on the record by delivering testimony or to be present to show strength and support for our friends in Fresh Meadows. The hearing is now scheduled for May 15 at 9am at the Municipal Building, 1 Centre Street in Manhattan.
The Brinkerhoff cemetery, located at 69-63 182nd Street in Fresh Meadows, contains the remains of 76 or 77 members of the Brinkerhoff family dating back three centuries. Although the headstones and grave markers have long since disappeared, records from the Queens Borough President's office show the precise location and inscription of each tombstone as surveyed in 1919. With this survey, and deed records it cannot be denied that the site is a cemetery and the City, which took ownership, improperly sold the site.
There are several articles available on-line by searching. QCC's testimony will be posted before May 15. Meanwhile we hope you will look into it and if you are available, please either testify of appear with FMHA and QCC on May 15.
Newtown Historical Society calls on Queens elected officials to fund acquisition of Brinckerhoff Cemetery
The Newtown Historical Society stands with the Fresh Meadows Homeowners Civic Association and other civic and preservation organizations across the borough in opposition of the proposed de-calendaring of the Brinckerhoff Cemetery by the Landmarks Preservation Commission. The cemetery holds the remains of some of the earliest settlers of Queens and, as an important historical reminder of our borough’s past, should be designated an official NYC landmark. However, designation is not enough to ensure preservation.
Therefore, NHS calls on the elected officials representing the Fresh Meadows area, the Queens Borough President and Queens delegation of the City Council, to allocate funding toward purchase of the property and return ownership to the City. The property cost $100,000 to purchase in 2000, but that opportunity was unfortunately not capitalized upon. Over the course of the following 10 years, no funding was allocated for this purpose, although elected officials went on record during that time to claim that they supported public ownership of the land as a park or historic site.
The property was sold in 2010 for $105,000 – an increase in price of only $5,000 after 10 years. Surely, most - if not all - of this funding can be raised during the City’s upcoming June budget cycle to purchase the property from the current owner and assure that this land is forever saved from the threat of development. The Queens delegation recently allocated a lump sum of $3M toward purchase of a schoolyard in Jackson Heights for part-time use as a park. It is time for Queens’ elected officials to step up to the plate and put their money where their mouths are so we will not need any more hearings or rallies to push for a solution which should have come to pass decades ago.
Brinckerhoff Cemetery was also once known as "Black Stump Cemetery" and is located at 69-65 182nd Street in Fresh Meadows, Queens.
Rally videos are here.