Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Bowne House - when will it be fixed?

"Hello Crapster:

I enjoyed your post about the Mott House entitled, "How the Bloomberg administration destroyed an extremely important piece of Queens history." Queens is at the butt end of the LPC list of priorities.

However this has nothing to do with the LPC. It concerns one of the few Queens landmarks, the Bowne House a 17th century structure that you are probably familiar with.

The house is owned by the Parks department and has been closed to the public for about 10 years. You can only get inside by appointment.

This historic structure is home to Religious Freedom in the USA. Bowne allowed Quakers the use of his house for their worship, was banished to Holland and you know the rest of the history. If intense re-hab is not performed on this building soon it will rot away to nothing and be impossible to repair. Bloomberg and his minions again do not care.

Apparently the Parks department will not spend the money they have already alloted for repair of the landmark because they have more important matters to deal with such as spending $90 million on Manhattan's High Line park. Out of curiosity, has the parks dept erected the already paid for rest stations (toilets) in Little Bay Park?

As usual I enjoy your Blog. Keep it up!"



Anonymous said...

We all know this is wrong.
Let's do something about it.
How about a protest to demand the repairs this historic building needs to be saved for future generations.
How about it Crappy readers ?

Anonymous said...

Bowne House is a perfect storm of what is wrong with Queens landmarks:

1. a small clique of political insiders overturned the board with a lawsuit back in 1990s. Yes, 20 years ago.

2. a combination of lack of imagination of those folks along with being starved for funds by the politicians (in Queens money is allocated on the basis of campaign contributions, vote gathering and the prejudice/ignorance of the local machine hack in office)

3. lack of money forced it into the hands of the Parks. That took years and years. Meanwhile the collection is in storage. Get opportunity to lose stuff.

4. take a look at its board: Barry, Wellington, et al. plenty of juice - yet no cash. what gives?

5. no one in the immediate neighborhood gives two shits. no one in the Queens Preservation council gives two shits. Queens doesn't give two shits.

Anonymous said...

Rosemary Vietor has been and still is the main problem there.

Anonymous said...

Remember when Donna Russo was it's executive director?

There have been allegations that some of the collection "went missing" under her watch.

Anonymous said...

Where is the Jacob Titus Bowne material that once was at Bowne House these days?

Anonymous said...

Bowne House is the twin of that other national historic treasure (pertaining to religious freedom) the Old Quaker Meeting House.

Currently there is a building project under way at the Quaker site right behind its graveyard.

Has a proper archaeological exploration been conducted?

Where are the findings?

John Bowne, himself, is buried in an unmarked grave in the Quaker graveyard.

Early "Friends" did not place tombstones on their bur1al plots until the 1700s.

Waz up?

It appears that a construction fence might already be intruding onto some very old Quaker graves.

Anonymous said...

The issue of the Jacob Titus Bowne collection - and making it public - might have been a reason that the insiders sought to overturn the board.

The usual politeness of Queens residents was the reason that the board, which was all ready to go forward and do fund raising and bring in new blood lost and were eaten by the wolves.

The good guys simply had no stomach to fight.

Welcome to Queens.

Anonymous said...

Where is the modern-day Bowne family to save their ancestral home?

Anonymous said...

They should put a bocce court on the front lawn, and then the Parks Dept might use some money to repair the Bowne House - or at least turn it into a comfort station.

Anonymous said...

I believe the Jacob Titus Bowne collection is now in the possession of the New York Public Library.

That's New York as in Manhattan.

Anonymous said...

I believe the Jacob Titus Bowne collection is now in the possession of the New York Public Library.

Yep, they're at NYPL. Too bad that QBPL didn't get them for their Long Island room (now known as The Archives@Queens Library).

Anonymous said...

imagine this were in Brooklyn..

Anonymous said...

follow the library link:

"Reproduction: Photocopies in part."


Yes, Robert Bowne was not only a printer, but invented photocopying generations before Chester Carlson.

ah folks - if memory serves me correctly - the NYPL has copies (a WPA project)

- resource guides as late the 1960s point that the originals were - at the time of publication -

in Bowne House.....

enough for now sweeties. more later - we promise!

Anonymous said...

Not until it 1/2 falls down!

"Restoring" the Bowne House has become a regular cottage industry making money for the well connected few for many years.

Where's that valuable 18th century "secretaire" that used to grace the left front room being "stored", or that earlier priceless trumpet legged William and Mary high chest in the dining room?

They weren't to be seen during the holiday tour.

Will it ever all re-appear again or has it already been spirited off to some far away auction house?

Going, going, gone"!

Again....where has that important Jacob Titus Bowne collection found a home?

The truth is out there!

Anonymous said...

The mistake was having NYC take ownership of the house.

It should have been the federal government...considering its national importance!

But it was John Liu who urged the city to take it over.

This is the same John Liu who took money from Sam Suzuki who built infill condos near the Bowne House cutting off adequate egress to the older existing pre-war garden apartments.

Suzuki's project has been vacant for at least 10 years because it can't get a certificate of occupancy.

The FDNY said that there isn't enough room to get apparatus in
should a fire break out to rescue residents of the old apartments that are blocked off.

Now if they chopped off about 8 feet of Bowne House's front lawn Suzuki might get his C of O.

Was that Liu's plot all along?

This whole affair stinks beyond the more obvious decay.

Anonymous said...

The Quaker meetinghouse got $500,000 from NYC?

So where is Bowne House's money Mr. Comptroller?