Monday, December 17, 2012
Quaker graveyard still has pole in it
From the Queens Chronicle:
There is some unfinished business at Flushing’s Quaker Meeting House.
The concrete base of a misplaced utility pole buried on the house’s property stands as the sole remnant of flawed construction work next to the house.
The concrete support is 8 feet below the surface, at the southern end of the house’s historic cemetery. Members of a committee designed to address ongoing problems with the adjacent construction site want it gone, but lack the means to remove it.
Work at the planned apartment building at 136-33 37 Ave. has been suspended by a stop-work order issued as a result of its incursion into the Quaker house’s property. The Chronicle first reported in April the work was being carried out by Pinnacle Engineering without Meeting House members’ knowledge, necessary archeological testing and permits from the Landmarks Preservation Commission.
Workers on the construction site tore down the Quaker Meeting House’s chain-link fence and erected a makeshift plywood barrier about 4 feet onto the historic property. They also slapped a utility pole into an old graveyard dating back centuries.
The LPC must approve any construction work at or near a historic graveyard, a process which typically includes archeological testing to see if any remains are below ground.
The apartment project’s owner, Jeff Huang, quickly responded after the LPC informed him he could face substantial fines for the work, with the utility pole’s above-ground portion taken down and the fence moved back.
He then paid for the cost of an archeological assessment of the disturbed area in May, a process that involves sifting and sonar to search for any remains. Remains were not found in the area, though the site’s age could be a reason.
The LPC does not require the pole’s base be removed, a process that has the potential to further disturb the cemetery. The Meeting House committee plans otherwise...and is working on an alternative plan that would see it taken out.