Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Most historic house in Elmhurst destroyed by fire after purchase

Katie Honan/DNA Info
From DNA Info:

An historic old house was gutted Tuesday morning by a two-alarm fire that is still under investigation, according to the fire department.

The fire was called in at 8:30 a.m., according to the FDNY. It tore through the second floor of the large green house at 90-11 56th Ave., ripping up the top floor's white mansard roof and dormer windows.

The property was sold Aug. 20 for $2 million to a company formed last October called 90-56 L&Z Realty LLC, city records show.

A filing for the LLC shows it was formed October 2014 by Kui Lin, of Sunset Park.


This is/was the Col. Bernardus Bloom farmhouse. The land was previously owned in 1700 by John Brinckerhoff. In 1742, Col. Bloom purchased it. The Suydam family owned it in 1852. Many applications for landmarking were submitted over the years, but the owners and LPC resisted and this is the end result. - QC



History and photo from NYPL.org

A recent photo before the fire can be seen on COMET's website.

57 comments:

Anonymous said...

99% bet they torched it!
These "experts" know how to make it look a wiring problem to fool the fire marshall

Anonymous said...

The NYC Landsmarks Preservation Commission is an absolute joke. Just one more example of Research Director Mary Beth Betts' ineptness.

(sarc) said...

WOW - I missed the lightning storm ;-)

Joe Moretti said...

More senseless destruction of Queen's history. The powers to be will not be happy till it is complete third world shit or yuppie gentrified expensive bland buildings.

Anonymous said...

The term " Jewish lightning " will be replaced by "Chinese lightning".

Anonymous said...

As with all property in the area, It was vandals and that old poor house is now a safety hazard and a Blight on the neighborhood, so the only thing to do is tear it down so the property is safe, and soon build a giant brick bunker that house's 100+ people. They will investigate determine vandal and give new building permits, The City does not require repair to original condition. They bought it for the real estate area not the building. This tactic has happen often in my area. Nice old house, talk land marking, while in review and "accident" happens house destroyed, build new ugly brick building covering the whole area of the property, no more green tree's etc. Just cement.

georgetheatheist said...

Awaiting the Borough President's response and action on this matter.

Anonymous said...

August 20th sale.
September 8th Fire.
What took so long?

Anonymous said...

You have the blame this on our councilman.

You see, when LPC tells you it does not 'fit the criteria' one of the determinations is the opinion of your councilman. They should make those private calls to his office public down to the last detail.

But again, we see that borough hall cares nothing except to develop the property. The ethnic stuff, leftist stuff, all fluff to disguise the real purpose.

Finally, I do not criticize the struggling community historical societies, but those self styled 'umbrella groups' that get generous funding to put on shows for the beep's flavor of the month (next year WOMENS ISSUES!), Mitchel Grumblers little set of pompous do nothings, and of course, our series of illustrious boro historians.

Anonymous said...

Not at all suspicious. Nope.

Anonymous said...

We can use the internet to shame the developer. If shaming worked against that dentist who killed Cecil the Lion, why not here?

Anonymous said...

Now their insurance company will pay to rip it down and put up a brick box 2 1/2 times the size. $$$$$ Thanks Landmarks Commission for ignoring that one.

Anonymous said...

1. shame the developer for a landscape given to them on a silver platter by the political process? that is stupid. besides, they owe you nothing: you did not vote for them, you do not pay their salary.

2. on the other hand, your electeds officials, another story. they could step in tomorrow with eminent domain and a cash offer equal to the cost of 4 dog runs.

the boro historian and mitchel grubler - why are they silent. they tell everyone they represent the boro's interests.

I think George the Atheist should put together another poster in his series '50th Anniversary of the Landmarks Law' in Queens.

Anonymous said...

How convenient for developers and our elected officials who support them for contributions. FOR SHAME!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Anonymous said...

Act of God.

Anonymous said...

I would check on Kui Lin. He and his family/partners are buying up many old homes in Elmhurst under suspicious LLC corporations!

Anonymous said...

Because the entire world cared about Cecil, but you can't even get half of Queens to care about Queens.

Anonymous said...

Can someone check on the owners of 90-56 L&Z Realty LLC and see who else is a partner/officer in this LLC? I bet the other names will also own other properties in Elmhurst! They just buy these old homes, gut them and build ugly multi-family buildings to make a profit!

Anonymous said...

You knew it was coming down by who bought it. No one's knowingly living in Mansarded Victorians anymore, even as single family homes. It's days were numbered decades ago.

Anonymous said...

Great now the chinaman can build a 2 family house and stick 4 families in it! Wonder why his fellow chinamen haven't thought of something like that after buying other historic landmarked properties!

Anonymous said...

Great now the chinaman can build a 2 family house and stick 4 families in it! Wonder why his fellow chinamen haven't thought of something like that after buying other historic landmarked properties!

Look at Old Astoria, Richmond Hill: Greeks, Italian, Indian, Chinese. Greed knows no ethnicity.

On that lot you are looking at least 40 families.

Anonymous said...

Is it just a coincidence that the house caught on fire less than a month after the property was sold? I don't think so!

Anonymous said...

Demolition has been rampant all over Elmhurst, two family homes, attached homes, even empty spaces have been utilized to slap together aesthetically hideous monstrosities. No doubt someone threw a match, but doubtful any charges or fines...undeniably horribly sad...

Anonymous said...

Another hideous tick tack craptacular building made with the crappiest materials that rot in less than five years, before your eyes, will pop up. I loved staring at the old place when in the area. Wish I could have bought it.

Anonymous said...

Obviouly it was the Chinese developer who burn it down. So sad that we can do nothing about it. There should be a law to phohibit the owner seeking a building permit if the house is suspeciously damaged in order to expedite the demolition permit.

Anonymous said...

This house is famous and those a-holes knew it was special. It is definitely a crime and I hope they get caught. Btw I did not see this house listed for sale on websites or anything, I wonder if those idiots gave them all cash. If it was advertised maybe it would have been in better hands but who knows. If I had that house in my family I would want it landmarked and protect it as much as possible, I don't understand what is wrong with people that own these treasures. if there is a great good, I hope there is a miracle! Elmhurst deserves better than what it has been dealt in many ways.

Chris Russo said...

Insurance co should tell them there's not enough damage to rip it down and only pay enough to restore it to what it was. Heck, they do it with cars

georgetheatheist said...

I have to be honest. Folks, I've lived in Queens all my life and have never even heard of this property's historical significance. I have driven past it countless times over the years and have never even noticed it. (Be honest, have you?) Now it's kaput and it's legacy comes to the forefront. So to make amends, I drove by yesterday and took some photos which you can see here. Note the building is partially obfuscated from view by foliage in Photo 1. Contributing possibly to its historical anonymity? Photos 6 & 7 show interior conditions. Possibly a harbinger of what has transpired or will transpire in the interior of the Steinway Mansion?

The NYPL.org 1923 description, graciously provided by the Crapper, only mentions land ownership and not when the house was constructed. Anyone have info on this? Thanks.

Anonymous said...

Look, stop blaming the developer.

Its your fault for being so disengaged by the political process, and letting these two bit clowns not only boss you around, but bring people like this to destroy your community.

The Steinway mansion would have looked like this if a small group of people did not kick butt and name names and publicly blame those responsible - blind siding those termites that are destroying everything in Queens older than 3o years.

Every community has its Vallones, Donato, Stamatiades, and their minions from Callendo down to the boys in the ce-ment industry.

Stop whining and pointing fingers. No one will listen or respect you. Get to those truly responsible.

And stop being so damn polite to the pols. They are on your time and dime. Yes, that is right, they are staff, they are your servants. Your public servants.

Anonymous said...

Have the local preservationist groups made any effort to reach out to new immigrant communities to educate them on the benefits of preserving history? I was born in another country and I find many local civic groups are comprised largely of older American-born residents. That needs to change.

Anonymous said...

Hmmm....didn't the infamous convicted criminal, Tommy Huang have a few fires associated with his properties a few decades ago?
The Chinese learn quickly from their teachers. Oh, but let us not offend the Asians. They are the great hope in driving out the "undesirable" Latino elements from Elmhurst and Corona. They are buying up a lot of property there. The Flushing firebugs are moving west, it seems.

Mary Beth Bitch said...

"This particular residence does not meet the LPC's criteria for landmark designation".

Anonymous said...

Sounds like a Tommy move?

Anonymous said...

So if a law is passed to prevent an owner from obtaining a building permit, it sits there abandoned for years.
Vandals will easily gain access and complete the destruction. Another way of losing a battle.

"Spivak's" ....liquor store on Roosevelt Ave. in Flushing....a Mansard roofed historic building had a fire many years ago.
The arson squad was on the scene. The building was razed and the site has remained empty and fenced in since then.

How can you win with a borough government that DOES NOT give a damn about Queens' historic architecture?

Melinda Katz throws cupcakes to the crowd, in the form of concerts, while the fabric of history and our pride are being pissed on.
Maybe the Sliwa-Katz test tube baby will,grow up to be just like mamma alley Katz.
What a sleazy skank the voters put in borough hall. She will continue to suck up to the real estate industry , who paid to get her elected, until, her lips freeze into a permanent pucker position.

Anonymous said...

As a long time Elmhurst/Jackson Heights resident I find this heart breaking. This was also New York history that was destroyed. What's next?...Newtown Field?!

Anonymous said...

I would highly suggest that the reporter (Katie Honan of DNA Info) follow-up with some great investigative reporting. I would research into this new owner/developer's background (90-56 L&Z Realty LLC) and all his family associates! I am willing to bet there will be other "funny business" activities associated with them, especially in Elmhurst where many other single family homes are bought and converted or gutted to become multi-family buildings (ugly and ruining the neighborhood). How about getting some politicians involved?

Anonymous said...

"Beijing Lightning" striking all over Queens!
Keith's destroyer, Tommy Huang , once hired a former FDNY Fire marshall as an advisor of some kind.
Hmmmmmmm!

Anonymous said...

This wouldn't fall under the Queens Boro President's motto: If it's good for families , it's good for Queens.

Anonymous said...

We need to stop these crazy over developments of Elmhurst and other Queens neighborhoods. These developers are ruining the integrity and stability of our neighborhoods. The infrastructures (water, sewer, transportation, sanitation, police, etc.) cannot handle the extra population. What happened with our politicians' responsibility to their constituents? Didn't we vote them in to represent our concerns and rights?

Anonymous said...

Even if proof is found that it was arson, it is almost impossible to make a case that the owner-developer was the guilty party.
The fire can always be blamed on some local crackheads. They lit up the place accidentally when they lit up their pipes.
If a building is not properly secured then anyone can get in. That will be the defendant's plea.
"Somebody got in. Sorry, we did our best to seal up the house".

Anonymous said...

LPC....guilty of being an accomplice to arson!

Anonymous said...


This what is known in Latin American countries as Gringo Short Circuit.

Torch the place, claim the insurance and develop to make bundles of money.

A win-win situation.

Anonymous said...

I call for a statement about this by our borough historian. If he ignores us, or worse, goes along with this he should step down. We are tired of seeing someone just do the things he is told and giving tours of our communities as if it were a zoo.

Anonymous said...

"hired a former FDNY Fire marshall as an advisor"

YEP thats EXACTLY what they do !! In some cases involving inside demo they blaim it on the contractors illegal workers. This to raise so much "reasonable doubt" any case of arson wont hold water. They just get a ticket (viewed as a cheap tax to pay to get demolition permit and rid a building fast)

Anonymous said...

Have the local preservationist groups made any effort to reach out to new immigrant communities to educate them on the benefits of preserving history? I was born in another country and I find many local civic groups are comprised largely of older American-born residents. That needs to change.

how are your going to get any traction with those communities if your efforts are undermined by the politicians. They DO NOT want to see you get your act together and form alliances that they do not control.

That is one of the problems you make for yourself by being so damn dependent on them for everything.

Anonymous said...

I grew up in Elmhurst, still work in Elmhurst, however, disgusted by it at this point. This home was one of the last remaining architectural creations of its time, a monument to a once-lovely neighborhood with much history. I was shocked and on the brink of tears the other morning to see fire trucks lining the street in front of this amazing piece of 19th century American architecture. For years I have witnessed home after charming home set ablaze by third-world criminals consumed with greed. I thought this house, which was given landmark status, would be immune to it all, but I was sadly mistaken. I would often times park my car by this beautiful home and marvel as I walked past it on my way to work. Now it is gone.
I have no words, except to say I am yet again nauseated by this wave of greedy, low-class, third-world scum that will stop at nothing, including arson, to get what they want. This human scourge on the neighborhood has no interest in preserving any of Elmhurst’s history. The rabble that currently occupies Elmhurst neither knows nor cares one iota about its history, having absolutely no ties to this neighborhood, other than to see it as their own private property, to do with whatever they want, including stripping and raping it for profit. They have indeed declared their own brand of warfare in an area that once meant so much to previous, decent generations of human beings, immigrants that did not come here to search and destroy.
Disgusted beyond words is an understatement. Those responsible should be thrown out of this country and sent back to the third-world cesspool to which they belong. Trying to restore/rebuild this historic home is not an option for these scavengers. It has gone down in flames (literally) as others have. In its place will be built cheap, generic apartments designed to fit more third-world occupants. God Bless America!

Anonymous said...

We all know what happened here. Another Chinese developer Im sure. It will be knocked down soon enough and another poorly made Chinese built apartment building will go up. They will charge half million dollars for "luxury condos" have bullshit amenities and unclean conditions inside within a year. Just like every other one up and down Queens Blvd and Broadway, etc etc. Thank you so much NYC for allowing this to happen to my beautiful Elmhurst.

Anonymous said...

Stop it right now hack. YOUR boss gave our communities over to the vultures.

The damn politicians don't give two shits - has anyone said anything about this - other then have one of their flunkies write racist comments?

Anonymous said...

The rabble that currently occupies Elmhurst neither knows nor cares one iota about its history, having absolutely no ties to this neighborhood


FUNNY, YOU CAN SAY THE SAME THINGS ABOUT THE HIPSTER PUNKS IN ASTORIA. THEY MEET MATE AND MOVE LEAVING A COMMUNITY IN SHAMBLES BEHIND THEM.

(sarc) said...

So how is this open borders thing working out?

Hey the democrats keep getting re-elected.

Working out for some...

Anonymous said...

I thought this house, which was given landmark status, would be immune to it all, but I was sadly mistaken. I would often times park my car by this beautiful home and marvel as I walked past it on my way to work. Now it is gone.


Unfortunately, this house has never been given landmark status. It is truly a sad situation and yet another gloomy failure in Queens of corrupt elected officials and the Landmarks Preservation Commission.

Paul Graziano

Anonymous said...

Landmarked wood is not exactly fireproof.

Anonymous said...

How about advising the insurance company to investigate insurance fraud?

Anonymous said...

Did the owners who sold to the Chinese and their lawyers actually know the plan? Purchasing that plot and building for 2 million in Elmhurst would not be a wise investment, obviously.

Czar3233 said...

I have lived on the same block as this building since 1984 ( I was 4 years old at the time). I was so heart broken to see this happen. Over the years
I have seen other similarly sized properties (including behind this one) get turned into small apartment buildings, most of them cheap. This used to be a beautiful neighborhood. I always wanted to go inside this home, now that will never happen. I ask, what can we do? Is there anything that can be done to save the place?

Anonymous said...

What Czar said. My hubby and I always called it the Norman Bates house. It was so out of place, and yet there it was, all these years. We thought it was land-marked. There was a cat that lived around the grounds.. this house was a character in the neighborhood.

This was such a beautiful home. F. everything about this. No doubt some 50 to 100 unit building is going up on this lot. This lot is huge. I have also been in some of the 6 story 12 unit buildings that are going up in single family homes lots in the area, and they are small as hell. Low ceiling, transitional living rooms divided into 3 and calling it 2 bedrooms. Selling underground parking spot for 50k. It's all BS.

Anonymous said...

I knew this house was historical . Everytime I passed it I wanted to ring the bell and see who lived there!! Now a fire after chinese bought it to tear our part of history down!! I just love the way people come here to america get rich and take away our buildings and history!! Its bullshit and where is our queens representatives??? Save this house!!!