Thursday, January 18, 2007

Hackett Building's Demise

The New York Daily News is a little slow in reporting the news about our first Boro Hall:

Historic building doomed

However, it does include a huge lie by the LPC:

"We reviewed it and determined it did not rise to the level of an individual New York City landmark. [The building] has been altered over time and its integrity has been significantly compromised by major storefront alterations - making it impossible for us to consider it for designation."

How many times have we heard that before here in Queens? This is just LPC-speak for "it's not in Manhattan."


Anonymous said...

Well, again, this is primarily fault of the Queens preservation community.

Lets start with our borough historian, who loves to run around giving tin badges that state ‘special sheriff’ (sorry, ‘Queensmarks’) which makes recipients’ chests swell with meaningless pride, or reminding us of the importance of non-buildable cemeteries and curb cuts and the like.

Next, those members from Queens that are involved in citywide preservation efforts (as Historic Districts Council or the Municipal Art Society) should be faulted for not getting after their affiliated organizations to step up to the plate and vigorously trumpet the importance of Queens in the city or to ensure that Queens receives its fair share of citywide preservation resources.

The fault lies with communities in Queens that are already designated as landmark areas. They are always ready with asking everyone else to write letters and testify while they are going through the torturous process of designation , then disappear off the radar once their back yards are protected.

Within the traditional Queens preservation community, everyone, yes everyone, simply lacks either the imagination or incentive to either do what is right, or pursue anything beyond their narrow interests.

Why do work, when you can go to one of those tiresome wine and cheese events those preservationists love to throw and whine, ‘they just don’t get it in Queens’ as your Manhattan buddies nod in agreement.

Or, keep your mouth shut as you milk the system doing studies or getting commissions and when pressed, just shrug your shoulders and say, ‘there is nothing I can do, that’s the way things are.’

Anonymous said...

The funny thing is that everytime the NY Times does a piece on a Manhattan historic district, as the East Side, West Side, or the Village, they talk about how almost every building is altered.

So, where is our community board and elected officials in LIC? Should they not protect us and tell us that we are being singled out to be treated as second class citizens?

Anonymous said...

A lot of community boards are simply bored with their communities! The lowest priority at most is "historic preservation"! While the fabric of their community is being ripped apart.....a local landmark destroyed by overdevelopment...... they "parrot" phrases like: "There's nothing we can do to save it. We are strictly an advisory board. The project is as-of-right"! Frankly, I think this kind of attitude is "as-of-wrong"!

Anonymous said...

The Queens Chronicle came out with the typical hand wringing on the building's demise. "Its alllll gone. Its a donnnne deal."

I guess passes for 'news' out here.

In Manhattan, the local community board and elected officials are part of the process for community designation.

In Queens, they are given a free pass by the press. I wonder why they were not contacted as a matter of course in this article?

Anonymous said...

Wow, great minds think alike!

When the reporter went around the community for comments, someone told me he suggested she just do something like that ... and contact the current borough hall, too!!

I guess when it comes to preservation, we need to keep images clear and distinct.

Certain bright smiling faces with shovels breaking ground conveying a nice positive image for ‘development,’ and certain other dour faces in pointless hand ringing conveying the negative futility of ‘preservation.’

Clear and distinct. Separate and very, very unequal.

Sort of reminds me of those before and after images from ads in magazines, but in reverse order. The new always looks worse than the old.

Anonymous said...

Well I guess we just have to keep hammering away at the old media for not doing their job.

At least now we have Queens Crap.

What is needed is a paper for and by the people.

It will come.

Anonymous said...

I agree, this being should have never been torn down, and the outrage in the community and on this board is really great.

Anonymous said...

Sooner or later the mainstream newspapers will wake up to the fact that they no longer represent public opinion. I understant most of their ciculations are down, and some of them are losing money.

Anonymous said...

I read the story about the Hackett Building with interest and hope more stuff like that is written.

Isn't it sad that the people were betrayed again by the very same people that are in a position to 'serve' them.

Everyone except the public knew this building was doomed.

That sucks.

Anonymous said...

Frankly, in the long run, I am inclined to have more respect for the builders and developers who are leveling our history! They're "skillful proffessionals" who are good at their jobs! As for the so-called preservation community.......They've been "out- to- lunch" for years! Does anybody know if the Hackett Building had been awarded a "Queensmark" by the "Queens Hysterical Society"? If so, it was a "death-mark"!

Anonymous said...

Mannhattan gets the Lion's share of genuine "Landmarks"! Here we settle for the ersatz "Queensmark". Wasn't the historic "Flessels Restaurant" in College Point (circa 1890s) the first "Queensmarked site" to be torn down?

Anonymous said...

It's been "guess-timated" that each one of those "Queensmark" plaques may run close to $100. each! If you were to "Queensmark" a dozen buildings that costs about $1,200. multiplied by each neighborhood that's been done. That adds up to quite a tidy sum! Couldn't better use be found for this money? Furthermore, they contain no historical information which might serve to educate the passing public as to the importance of the particular structure they're looking at. They just repeat the building's address number and the obligatory "Queens Historical Society". When most people see these plaques, they are often misled to believe that the building is a protected landmark and walk away confident that it's safe. I guess that these bronze postings are in tended as territorial markers or just an advertising vehicle for QHS!

Anonymous said...

Well that’s the whole point of Queensmarks. They are not to protect the buildings or educate the public, but to promote their sponsoring organization.

Who needs those messy grassroots groups when you have an 'official' body that toes the 'official' line.

Yet again another example of how the people in Queens are let down by those who are in a position to (theoretically) do some good.

Anonymous said...

Why didn't Helen Marshall do anything. This was a queens boro hall, after all. Wait...after seeing that slideshow, I now understand.

Anonymous said...

There's a preservation community in Queens?

Anonymous said...

There's a preservation community in Manhattan that handles all 5 boroughs? Who are these people and why don't we ever see them or hear from them?