A preservation group is trying to save a colonial-era burial ground in Fresh Meadows from fading away.
The Brinckerhoff Cemetery was designated a landmark in 2012 by the city. But the small plot of land is privately owned by Linda Cai.
“If we didn’t fight for the cemetery this could have been developed and the grounds desecrated,” said Yolanda Dela Cruz-Gallagher, president of Friends of the Brinckerhoff Colonial Cemetery. “And we could have lost the historical essence of our forefather.”
Dela Cruz-Gallagher and her preservation organization are raising money to buy the property. The current owner is asking for $150,000.
“We have no money,” Dela Cruz-Gallagher said. “And so we’re asking the public for support.”
Dela Cruz-Gallagher and other Queens historical groups believe there are over 70 tombstones in the cemetery, but none of them are visible due to the overgrowth of weeds and a lack of maintenance.
The Queens Preservation Council doesn’t have any plans to financially support Friends of the Brinckerhoff Colonial Cemetery. But Grubler said that doesn’t mean they won’t help in the future.
In 2012, when the site was designated as a historical landmark, former City Councilman James Gennaro lobbied hard to win the site’s landmark status, according to earlier reports.
Gennaro also said that a nonprofit group with the financial ability should buy the property. While Dela Cruz-Gallagher’s preservation group is a nonprofit, they aren’t close to the $150,000 needed to buy the property.
Council Member Rory Lancman has promised to fund the acquisition.