Anyone wondering what's next on the Landmarks Preservation Commission's agenda, here you go:
February 13th Public Meeting
Curious as to whether someone from Queens submitted the Request for Evaluation for the Sohmer Piano Factory or if this was the result of a Manhattan-centric "citywide" preservation effort.
Let's ask [insert favorite "5-borough" preservation group] why they never seem to push for designation of buildings that the people who actually live in Queens communities want to see saved.
Photo from Greater Astoria Historical Society
Something's going on! This building was singled out 21 years ago as suitable for landmarking (I believe by the Queensboro Preservation League). It was ignored then. Why the sudden rush for designation now? H-m-m-m!
The building was recently sold to a developer.
The preservation community is certainly up in arms about this one.
Did the community of Astoria/LIC submit the application, or unlike the Hacket Building and Old Astoria (which the community did, and was promptly ignored), the Manhattan crowd (who is behind this) can see this from Manhattan so its 'important' to the 'right' people.
A community group from Queens that has a strong record of involvement with the waterfront and surrounding communities was asked to give a talk about the history of this area by MAS.
They were given a short list of building that MAS felt was important.
They did as instructed.
They were happy to get in a sentence or two about areas that were important to them and the community. The ingrates!
I went to a local community board meeting when this topic came up. Every snide incorrect comment about the landmark process was made.
For this to happen tells me the preservation community has not done its work. It is inexcusable that those comments would be made.
I suggest the people behind this application should go to the community board to pitch their idea.
It will be their fault, if by not doing the long term education and homework on local conditions, and not the community's, if they are ridden out of town on a rail.
They get the treatment they deserve.
Is the Queensboro Presevation League still around? Went to their website and the last thing is dated 1998.
There are a lot of other organizations that are "still around" and still doing nothing!
Oh, don't worry. They'll probably cut a compromise deal and save the clock tower corner of the building, like they did with the Old Trolley Barn on Northern Blvd. That should pacify those "fierce" historic preservationists. A nice lolly pop to suck on! Hurrah!
The fact of the matter is that the south portion of the building (it was built in at least two sections) was built on a swamp. Huge beams inside are cracked and strips of iron bolts hold them together. The building has settled.
Inside it has one of the last great coal furnaces in the city, and they had a permit to run it as late as last year. Ripping that out will be a shame.
It can last decades in the condition its in, even sagging, but not support 10 or 15 storys on top.
The tower is leaking but can still be restored but keep in mind that mansard roofs were only the rage for a few short years in the 1870s: people quickly found out that they are expensive to build (they use lots of wood) and are a fire hazaard. The rest of the roof was not very carefully restored.
Once this was put on the front burner by LPC, emails came thick and fast, in direct contrast to anything ever submitted by the community, which is all but ignored by the Manhattan crowd.
It should be very interesting when that Manhattan crowd approaches the Astoria community board for support.
We all know they did nothing over the years to change out of date attitudes in places like Astoria on landmark issues (after all Astoria's backwardness assures more for Manhattan.)
The chicken on that policy will certainly come home to roost when they speak in front of that crowd. It should be fun to watch.
Actually, the folks at Adirondack approached a certain 5 borough preservation organization. They wanted to examine what would happen if the building was landmarked. They wanted examples of other older buildings in landmarked districts.
They claimed that they never got a lead, or someone to talk to. They never bothered to pursue it.
No big surprise. Time and again people from Queens have approached the preservation community in Manhattan for assistance. Instead of receiving support, they receive indifference at best, or backstabbing at worst.
That will come back to haunt them.
"Let's ask [insert favorite "5-borough" preservation group] why they never seem to push for designation of buildings that the people who actually live in Queens communities want to see saved."
Great question, lets start asking their Queens based 'advisors' and board members why they have done nothing for Queens in this regard.
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