From the Queens Tribune:
For more than 100 years, a barn and horse stable have sat at the end of Auburndale Lane in Auburndale. Now known as the Western Riding Club Stables of Queens, the location has become a community facility for the neighborhood. However, the structure is in danger of being sold.
The landlord, John Lightstone, has decided to sell the property, which includes the barn, the stable and unused land. Joy Tirado, who is in charge of the land, has been given the right of first refusal, but she has also only been given 10 business days to come up with a down payment of $60,000. In order to save her stable, Tirado has gotten help from State Sen. Tony Avella (D-Bayside), who is trying to get it landmarked, as well as from the community.
According to Tirado, she received a letter from Lightstone on May 3, dated April 30, about the sale of the .27 acres of land at 169-38 Pidgeon Meadow Road. The letter said that she had until May 19 at 3 p.m. to come up with the $60,000 down payment if she wanted to keep the stable and the surrounding property. The rest of the $800,000 total price tag would have to be paid in full by mid-August. Tirado has had no opportunity to work with the landlord.
“He has made it very clear that he wants no communication with me. The first hand-delivered letter of offer was left on my car windshield,” she said. “The original offer from the buyers was not included so I don’t know what the original offer truly is.”
The land has R2A zoning, which is single family detached. According to District 19 candidate and civic leader Paul Graziano, if the property is sold, about four houses could be squeezed into the space. If Tirado is unable to come up with the funds or if the location is not landmarked, she faces eviction.
From the Queens Courier:
“We need to maintain this horse stable here that has been a major factor within this community because its historical value is immeasurable,” said Tirado, who adopts rescue horses.
She also offers free therapeutic services every day to about 20 youths, seniors and cancer patients.
“It’s a wonderful community resource that unfortunately we may lose,” said State Senator Tony Avella. “We don’t do enough to preserve the unique character and history of each neighborhood.”
Avella called for the city’s Landmarks Preservation Commission to review the barn for landmark designation.
“The stable brings us back to the days when all of Queens was farmland,” he said. “To this day, it remains one of the few stables left within a residential community.”
Nearly 200 people have signed an online petition to save the barn by giving it landmark status.
“This is a real heritage,” said Beverly McDermott, president of the Kissena Park Civic Association. “If the city had half a heart and any brains, they would give [Lightstone] fair purchase price for this property and run it as a facility for children and for adults who need special therapy.”