Saturday, July 25, 2015

Millstones damaged yet again

From DNA Info:

One of the historic millstones on display in Dutch Kills Green had to be repaired by the Parks Department this week, after a piece of the stone fell off for the second time in the last few years.

The stones, believed to be relics from a nearby tide mill, have been on display in the Queens Plaza park since shortly after it opened in 2012 — despite calls from a local historian who worries the artifacts will be damaged in the busy outdoor spot.

One of the round stones was repaired Tuesday by Parks Department workers after a chunk of it that broke off previously came loose again, according to spokeswoman Meghan Lalor. Workers who made the repairs used a stronger adhesive to reattach the piece this time, she added.

This isn't the first time the stones have been marred — according to the Daily News, a chunk of one stone originally fell in 2012. Someone then tagged one of the stones with graffiti in 2013, as DNAinfo reported at the time.

The stones were repaired and cleaned in both instances, though local historian Bob Singleton of the Greater Astoria Historical Society believes the incidents are proof that the busy Queens Plaza park is the wrong spot for the artifacts. Their location makes them vulnerable to vandalism, pollution and the elements, he said.


Anonymous said...

Just look at all of the beautiful graffiti surrounding this green space. Coukd it not be cleaned up?

Anonymous said...

At least one of the original Corona mile stones , that was placed outside of Queens Historical Society's headquarters, is behind a fence.
Placing the millstones in a high traffic location was a really dumb idea from the get go.

This is just one of the many examples of the disregard politicians have for Queens' history. Where is our borough historian,
Dr. Jack Eichenbaum?

Anonymous said...

The Queens Plaza design is a disaster. A $45 million dollar disaster.

The Plaza, hemmed in by tall buildings, has become a wind tunnel. The noise from several hundred thousand vehicles a day, and one of the busiest elevated stations in the system, now also bounces off buildings making it impossible to hold a conversation.

The plantings might have made sense at a mall, or an exclusive waterfront community, now is becoming an unkempt mess much like a poodle that needs a haircut. Rats (note the rattraps) and garbage hide in the weeds. The fussy seating design is showing its age. The concrete barriers are getting grimy.

The exit off the bridge is not only dangerous, but now is tying up the city in lawsuits from the accidents that have killed people. This is not a safe place for bikes or pedestrians.

Parks is not happy repairing the millstones - money that could go into other projects are continuously being drained to sustain the fussy maintenance of the area. Mill historians up and down the East Coast decried their location.

When disgraced library honcho Stamatiades dismissed community efforts to get the stones moved into a proper setting (calling them 'just rocks') every elected official in the community jumped to give him support lead by Van Bramer and Gianaris.

It seems that creating amenities to attract development, no matter what the cost is in lives, monies, and common sense, trumps everything with these boys.

Now think of your community and how $45 million could have been spent.

JQ said...

That's not graffiti, it's street art- a device to drive up property values and rents because transient new yorkers are fucking morons.

Anonymous said...

At least one of the original Corona mile stones , that was placed outside of Queens Historical Society's headquarters, is behind a fence.


This is just one of the many examples of the disregard politicians have for Queens' history. Where is our borough historian, Dr. Jack Eichenbaum?


Anonymous said...

I wish that GAHS would pursue the Steinway mansion's violation as earnestly as the do with the millstones....
if they really have the stones for it. Good try at diversion, putting GAHS's name at the top as the heros here.
Meanwhile Steinway gets chipped away.

Jerry Rotondi said...

45 million bucks for this?
I'll be damned!

Anonymous said...

Roll 'em over to Jimmy Van Bramer's house.
Maybe he can plant some tulips in them.

ron s said...

We are truly a third rate borough when we can't arrange indoor storage for two historic items. Hmmmm.....would Manhattan or Brooklyn keep artifacts outdoors in a transit plaza?

Anonymous said...

Its funny how GAHS got the Blackwell Doors from the Brooklyn Museum - no problem - real professional.

In Queens Stamatiades backed up by the stonewalling politicians would rather heap abuse on GAHS for doing what they are supposed to do - even when backed up by historian professionals - and subject the millstones to this abuse - just to make the campaign donors (read real estate developers) happy and to maintain the increasing untenable point that constituents have no right to express an opinion that differs from what they are told.

You are right - Queens is 3rd rate. No other borough - and that includes Staten Island and the Bronx, would ever tolerate such childish, abusive, and plain stupid behavior.

Anonymous said...

agreed about bad design job! the jagged rocks area collects garbage & that is a HUGE issue going on in our area. it seems not only do Parks&Recs lack funding & space to store artifacts but also lack funding to keep existing parks garbage free. SDNY + Parks&Rec + DOT giving priority to developers have left residents powerless. if you see something do something. ive been in contact with jimmy van bramers office and the constituent liason has helped but what would really help all of us in this area is for you to do the same.

Anonymous said...

Are these being used as benches?

Anonymous said...

Yes, they are being used as benches. Also the Q102 bus runs about 5 ft from them and sprays salt slush on them in the winter.

Anonymous said...

GAHS wanted those millstones in their collection for themselves.
It is not about any worry of keeping them out doors. It is about ..wah, wah, wah....
we did not get them.
They fought suggestions that they would be housed in a Queens Library or enclosed in the Queens Plaza area.
You have been unmasked.

Anonymous said...

And for years they were encased in a cement sidewalk in front of the old Long Island Savings Bank...subject to foot traffic and salt.
The millstones are granite. But even granite can be smashed by an out of control truck. This is a bad spot for them.
They should be indoors. Even the Queens Musem would be a better spot.

Anonymous said...

While we are at it...wouldn't those Blackwell house doors be better located in the Queens Museum?
It gets more visitors....more than the fourth floor of a funeral parlor.

Anonymous said...

All the "professional" historians in Queens couldn't get together to fight a decent campaign, let alone, win a battle.
Historians are perceived as being harmless nerds by politicians.
History is also a low priority among parents who want better schools, convenient transportation, safe nabes, good emergency service response. When you hysterical societies make yourselves vital, then you will become important and have influence.
Until then, all we can see is a lot of navel gazing. You think you are big. The pols and public know that you are small.
History is like math. Promoting it as exciting and sexy is an uphill battle. QHS is not good at it neither are many of the other smaller groups, like GAHS, or the Central Queens Historical Association (if it's still around), etc.
Try forming a co-op program and go into the schools instead of traveling in the same old wagon ruts of exhibits and programs.
Stop preaching to your choir!
Think bigger. Get creative. It is creativity that the younger generation respects.Make history exciting. You ARE NOT reaching out the best that you can.

Jerry Rotondi said...

The Corona mile stone was indoors, when I was a QHS trustee.
They were lying in a basement corner. If they are treated, silicone infused like the 42nd Street NYPL's lions,
they should be impervious to acid rain, etc.
I'm no stone expert. The mile stone's base appears to be set in cement.
At least there w I'll be no stealing it.

Anonymous said...

These millstones are becoming a millstone around my neck.
Doesn't historian Singleton have any better fight to fight?
Tilting at millstones beats taking on Steinway in a manner that might achieve some positive result.
That would take sweat, diplomacy, tact.
Then if all else has war! "Bring on the Marines"!
Uh, you are the Marines.

Anonymous said...

Why put them in the Queens Museum, lets put everything at the NY Historical Society. If communities don't need museums, why should boroughs?

As a matter of fact, why stop with museums. Do we really need 50+ council people? Of course not! Lets elect 5 or 10 city wide? or maybe 2 or 3! Can save a lot of money.

Anonymous said...

Those stones are sitting there because of the politicians. Their have done everything possible to make civic engagement as pointless as possible. Any time you see a rally it almost always a front for a pol trying to look 'populist.'

And of course, as soon as the preservation community saw there was no support they took it as their chance to meet with Van Bamer to cut their own deal.

I say let GAHS get them. They went to bat for therm while everyone else was asleep. Our communities need a strong advocate that is not in anyone's pocket.

Jerry Rotondi said...

What is this criticism of historical societies accomplishing?
Does it not give comfort to the enemy...revealing their weaknesses?

If it serves as a good lesson to be learned by them , could it be of some future use?
My jury is out on that?

I do believe that the Queens Historical Society has a lot to do , to make the importance of preserving
the fabric of Queens history a household need.

They bear the namesake of Queens,
so it is their primary responsibility to be in alliance with the goals of all of the borough's historic preservation groups.

Anonymous said...

You can critique the historical societies as much as you like, but the problem is simply funding: they do not fulfill the Democratic Organizations goals to control communities (and their votes) and make the resources of a community available to campaign donors (read developers).

The last thing you need is for a community to find a reason for its existence (think Hunters Point or Dutch Kills), and point of pride the everyone can rally around that cannot be developed (think Steinway Mansion).

Ergo their almost maniacal focus on gender issues, ethnicity, youth-hipsters-seniors - in other words, anything to divide a community into digestible components and keep it disunited.

This is why groups like GAHS, or Poppenhusen, and the like are so important.

Jackson Heights Johnny said...

Could they not be moved indoors to the Queens Museum in Flushing Meadows Park?

Just wondering....

Anonymous said...

They bear the namesake of Queens, so it is their primary responsibility to be in alliance with the goals of all of the borough's historic preservation groups.
That is a myth. Brooklyn Museum is not under the umbrella of the Museum of the City of New York nor does Landmarks West wait for the New York Historical Society to sign off on their preservation issues.

Queens is so afraid of losing control that everything and everybody has to be ranked senior or junior to this or that. Two institutions might work together on a project, or perhaps lend something to another's exhibit or give a lecture and the other's place, but QHS is 'umbrella' to no one.

Anonymous said...

Jackson Heights Johnny

Considering that GAHS has the support of historians, went to bat for the stones, did the research for Queens Plaza development, and had Van Bramer terminate support because they did so, you want to give them to Queens Museum?

They deserve our support.

We need more groups with moxie. We do not need to show people that fighting for something is worthless and pointless. That attitude is a big reason we are so messed up in this borough.

BTW, instead of having the Jackson Heights Beautification Group run their programs in their community, lets have everything run by - and run out of - the Queens Museum.

Anonymous said...

None of this matters because the only thing that matters in queens is the triumph of civic virtue! If you don't spend your every waking moment scheming how to get it back from that cemetery in Brooklyn, you're a corrupt loser! A fascist! A sheep! My goodness, who cares about these stupid rocks when that universally beloved statue, that never had a negative word said about it, by anyone ever, still is in Brooklyn? Come on! Stand up for queens! Make civic virtue the only thing you care about! Otherwise you're no better than a nazi!!!!!!!!!!

Jerry Rotondi said...

Mr. Singleton, I presume...but I could be wrong.
I merely said that QHS bears the namesake of the borough . I did not say they are the umbrella group of all of its historical societies.
Perhaps you have jumped to your own misinterpretation.

Anonymous said...

The millstones belong in a place that can well care for them.
They belong in a location which gets more visitors.
Who goes to GAHS location....discounting the funerals that are held at Quinn's?
The Queens Museum would be the best place.
If GAHS weren't hoarding the Blackwell doors, whatever they are,
they would put them on loan to the Queens Museum and get credit and exposure.

Anonymous said...

It's funny how Henry Moore's priceless sculptures were on display in the Museum of Modern Art's
old sculpture garden for decades without damage. Examples of his stone sculptures exist outdoors in other locations.
No harm from the elements. Of course, they were in a safer location than the tidal millstones.

Just because the local historical society fought to save the millstones, doesn't mean they are entitled to lock them up, away from the public eye, in an obscure, unappetizing location.
Quinn's funeral home versus the Queens Museum or a library in Astoria. The choice should be simple.

Anonymous said...

The use of the Nazi comparison is a bad choice here. It reveals your great insensitivity.
You dare to compare the plight of Civic Virtue with the suffering of millions during the hollocaust?
C'mon, fella, stop being such a drama diva!

Anonymous said...

I think that somebody in GAHS has got to get over the idea that they are not the mayor of Astoria, when it comes to deciding who rightfully should get custody of those damned millstones. Where is the documentation that these stones actually came from the area?
It is based on supposition. The same variety with Arbitration Rock...more myth than history.

Anonymous said...

If it wasn't for GAHS those millstones would probably be gone.

Maybe we should just shut down Astoria - Athens Square, APAC, PS1 the waterfront parks, MOMI, Socrates and Noguchi (both in the middle of nowhere) and bring it all to the Queens Museum and the Queens Theater. Got to justify those large expenditures.

After all, a community that displays casual indifference to the Steinway Mansion will not miss any of this ... as long as they have Thai noodles and exotic cheeses.

Anonymous said...

Where is the documentation that these stones actually came from the area?

The Payntar family said they took them from the tide mill in 1861 and gave them to the city about 1915.

You are right about Arbitration Rock: a pure fiction.

Anonymous said...

Put them in the Queens Museum and be done with it and all of the endless discussion relating to the stones.
Eureka! The Rolling Stones come to the Queens Museum.
How's that for publicity?

Anonymous said...

Ask any stone dealer about the effects of salt and freeze-thaw cycles on natural stone. Granite does perform better than softer stones, but is still effected.
Between winter weather and salty mist from nearby streets treated with salt, these millstones will eventually crumble into unrecognizable chunks of rock if they are not removed from the weather immediately.
They would survive longer at the bottom of the East River with George S & Penny Lee tied to the damned them. Anyway it would be a better use of them.