Thursday, July 30, 2015

Why the hell is this 18th century church in Elmhurst not landmarked?

Jim Henderson/Wikipedia
"St. James Church in Elmhurst is looking to develop its property where the old church (later parish hall) sits.

It was built in 1735 and is the oldest surviving Anglican building in the City of New York.

In all likelihood, it will be necessary to tear down the Old Parish Hall to make the property attractive to developers.

The property is on the national register, but does NOT have landmark status by the city, and could be torn down. The building is probably one of the oldest buildings standing in Elmhurst, and one of a few historical buildings left in Elmhurst." - anonymous

Ok, so if the Landmarks Conservancy and the state paid for a full restoration, then why has this building not been designated, Ms. Mary Beth Betts?


Anonymous said...

the problem is not Mary Beth Betts, the problem is with the leadership of Queens and our blind acceptance of the same. We always like to blame others when the real problem is with ourselves.

Look how we celebrated the 50th Anniversary of the Landmarks Law - while the rest of NYC had real programs discussing real issues - Katz, along with Grubler and Eichenbaum, organized some forgettable playdates in Queens.

Anonymous said...

Queen Victoria's father worshiped here while he was detached to a regiment during the Revolution.

Anonymous said...

What a sin that the Episcopal Church, who has always been proud of their social progressiveness, has no sense of history. No development worries if they were not willing to sell the property. All the churches are crying money problems but surely this is a drop in the bucket when they look at their bank account.

Anonymously Grey Gardens said...

Another sad piece of Queens history that is all but ready to be flushed down the Queens Crapper (and backed up from constant use, no less), while this purportedly new, open and transparent administration at Queens Borough Hall continues to feign surprise and clueless behavior about how to solve many, if not all of the systemic damage that they themselves were instrumental in creating in the first place (and carried over from the previous, treacherous administration by Helen Marshall)!

But, when you have an administration who is bent on spending the money of its taxpaying residents, without any pretense of due process, Community Board approvals and vetting, much less observe the City Charter laws that are in place to prevent brash and publicly unauthorized judgment to take license in unilateral rulings, instead of due process, well, this is the predictable outcome---and the taxpaying public, and voice of democracy, be eternally silenced and damned (again and still).

That's exactly how a 16-ton statue like 'Triumph of Civic Virtue' disappeared from the skyline on Queens Boulevard (where it kept vigil for nearly 71 years), with the precision and lawlessness of Neo-Fascism rule---and the defiant monarch who is currently occupying Queens Borough Hall is STILL not listening to her purportedly free and democratic subjects, who demand that the statue be returned to a working fountain base forthwith---instead of a previously hatched plan that she continues to foist upon all citizens with an ostensible 'planted ruin,' that is the scrum behind a memorial park that pays tribute to the (faulty, shady and derelict) women of Queens politics, that no one ever said that it wanted (except the women of Queens politics themselves, all decided in secrecy), much less was ever asked.

Bring back Triumph of Civic Virtue, Melinda Katz, and scrap these ill conceived and publicly unauthorized plans to destroy a beautiful, functional fountain and statuary (that would instantly breathe new life back into this blighted square that you and Helen Marshall imposed on all of us), right now---Queens County is not beholden to monarchy rule, nor will it ever be!

And, that is the REAL disparity that blocks any progress from making real gains and achievement in Queens: false, fake and failed leadership (that does not lead by example), and which continues to worsen matters until the bitter end!

Anonymous said...

The Episcopal Diocese of Long Island (based in Garden City) has no funds to support empty buildings with tiny aging congregations, no matter how historic. This is not much different than what the Catholic Church has done in the last 10 years, closing many schools and combining parishes. Go visit Garden City and look at Saint Paul's School at 295 Stewart Avenue (or Google Image it). It's on several Historic and Endangered Lists. Sold to the Village years ago, it is decaying in place. The church decided years ago that it could not be sentimental, and that its social mission requires that it not fund unused real estate. If you want to save these places (although for most, the train has left the station), go to church, and support and patronize them. Otherwise they will be gone. Do I like it?-- of course not.
--Saint Paul's Alum and Episcopalian.

Anonymous said...

Isn't the advice given to all religions that they should sell off all their property and give it to the poor? The Episcopal Church should just gift all its Elmhurst properties to the city and be done with it. As long as there are poor in New York City, its religious organizations should have no assets.

Jerry Rotondi said...

Oh, let me guess, "It doesn't meet our criteria".
This is their perennial excuse for ignoring important landmark worthy sites in Queens.

Mary Beth Betts needs to be dumped.

She has held the position as a gatekeeper for the LPC.
Nothing gets passed her to the commissioners, and that's fine with them.

These are a bunch of pompous lazy SOBs who don't believe that Queens has anything worth landmarking.
We get tossed some token sites....a lot of which are city owned....public pools, schools and fire houses.
NYC is not required to keep these sites intact. They do it out of courtesy.

If NYC decides to tear down the landmarked Flushing High School, by law, they are allowed to.

Anonymous said...

If the Church cannot afford to keep the property they could still do the right thing and sell to someone who would preserve the building and their history, not just the highest bidder. Perhaps the local Counsel member could find some lulu money to add to the cause. Ha!

Anonymous said...

Is there a local Elmhurst historical society?
Donate it to them and, no doubt, watch it languish.
For example,
GAHS wanted Steinway for their own. What did they do to get it besides spinning their wheels begging pol's to give it to them?
QHS wanted Flushing Town Hall for their own? They couldn't keep their own house in order.
Is it any wonder why the pol's saw fit to let Flushing Council on The Arts to take it over? QHS would have been in over their heads here.

georgetheatheist said...

Landmark it but then put in a Chinese restaurant, preferably a buffet. That will make a "go" of it Nice bi-lingual signage explaining the history would be appreciated I'm sure.

Anonymous said...

Maybe Queens should create a historical theme park.
Move all of the historic buildings to that site, then develop the land that has been vacated.
At least you'd be saving history, making crooked on the dole of developers happy, and you would have a centrally located attraction that would bring tourists. about the Sunnyside rail yards as the location?

Anonymous said...

Great idea!
Let's compile a list for the theme park.
Bowne House, Flushing Town Hall, Quaker meeting house, RKO Kieth's lobby,
Officers Club, Louis Armstrong house, Poppenhussen Institute, so on and so forth, yadda, yadda.
What did I leave out?
Crown it all with Bohemian Hall. A beer garden would top it all off.
Ya think so? LOL!

Anonymous said...

St. James is the oldest existing BUILDING in Elmhurst. The Presbyterian church was founded 1652,so has an older history, but is on its fifth building, from 1895. That 1895 one however IS on The National Register of Historic Places. (By the way one must apply to be on that, with a the long complicated architectural/historical form. They do not come to you. For grants with the associated NY Landmarks Sacred Sites program, you must first apply for that and spend a certain percent needed to get a matching grant. (Probably no where enough to preserve it). Churches must apply to be a Sacred Site; criteria is different for churches than for other buildings.) ... It was actually Queens Victoria's uncle, later King William IV, who is reported to have visited St. James as a young man, pre Revolution. During the Revolution, all Newtown was flooded with British and Hessian soldiers (their allies), who came here after The Battle of Brooklyn, and stayed for the whole 8 year war. During that time, they attended St. James church. (Meanwhile they occupied and tore down the 1715 Presbyterian church.) But ST. JAMES HAS AN EXCEPTIONAL HISTORY & SHOULD BE PRESERVED!!! The congregation is an international one, as is Elmhurst, and does not have the funds to preserve the other building.

Blaise Pascal said...

Why the hell is this 18th century church in Elmhurst not landmarked?

When it comes to all religious matters in Queens, my first thought is:


What would George the Atheist think?

Anonymous said...

How do we make it happen for St James? How do we apply for NY Landmarks Sacred Sites program?

Anonymous said...

Melinda Katz, I DID'T VOTE FOR YOU.

Anonymous said...

Queens Historical Society so busy kissing the arse of Melinda - why the hell don't they get involved in historic preservation the way Brooklyn Historical or New York Historical.

Women in Queens sounds as exciting as the Quaker exhibit. Take the money from them and give it to the go getters - Poppenhusen, GAHS, Bayside, Richmond Hill.

Again, George needs to put together the real the 50th Anniversary Poster like he did for Steinway and send it to Mitchel and Jack - two that should step down as example after example like this simply shows their uselessness.

Anonymous said...

I worship the DNC,planned Parenthood and Obama, all other religions should be crushed,the government is my god,they sign my check.

Anonymous said...

In recent years, the Episcopal Church has abandoned other churches.

Church of St Saviour (built by Richard Upjohn) in Maspeth - demolished

Church of St Paul in Woodside (its oldest building) - after a fire - never repaired - and awaiting its collapse into rubble.

Jerry Rotondi said...

I agree about QHS, having served on their board.
They will not and cannot afford to stand in the forefront in advocating for preservation beyond maintaining archives and mounting exhibits.
Neither do most other historical societies. They can only issue statements...ones that are politically expedient.
Unfortunately, they are all kept organizations....dependent on hand outs from politicians or borough hall.
How independent or outspoken do you expect a historical society to be?
A slave cannot afford to make a wave.
My poor past historical society. I always wish you well but I will not be muzzled from telling some small truths.

georgetheatheist said...

Question for Richard Iritano et alia:

How come the alleged "sexist" Civic Virtue statue in Queens had to get hauled off to a cemetery in Brooklyn while this statue, some might argue advocating white supremacy, at the entrance to the Museum of Natural History in Manhattan, passes muster?

Anonymous said...

If the parish itself doesn't support landmarking the building (because they can't afford to keep it or up-keep it), could it still be landmarked? I seem to recall that Grace Church in Jamaica did not one of their buildings landmarked, too, because they couldn't afford to maintain it.

Snake Plissskin said...

They will not and cannot afford to stand in the forefront in advocating for preservation beyond maintaining archives and mounting exhibits.
Neither do most other historical societies. They can only issue statements...ones that are politically expedient.
The fact of the matter in the other boroughs there would be an open discussion about this from many quarters. In Queens we tell ourselves we will fail before we start.

Anonymous said...

Methinks that "Snake Pliskin" hails from GAHS.
Before he speaks he should first point to GAHS for their own inadequacy in spearheading efforts to save historic buildings and sites.
They are among the " kept" societies that one commenter spoke of.

Anonymous said...

In Queens it is a matter of each historical society talking to themselves instead of talking to the public.
When they do consent to reaching the public, they are often perceived as dullard navel gazers.
Once in awhile they band together at some rally and blow hard on a trumpet. Out come some sour notes.
What each society thinks is important to themselves is if little or no interest to the public.
Oh, the public enjoys seeing old photos of their neighborhood memories.
Perhaps each hysterical society ought to admit that their crusading efforts are useless and stick to their archives and programs.

Anonymous said...

Snake....maybe you fail to see that such open discussions that might be successful in other boroughs go unoticed in Queens, anyway.
There have been numerous open duscussions in Queens in the past. The county machine had its will imposed in the end.
No, the key is to elect pols that represent you instead of the builders and developers. All else is just a fart in a windstorm.

Jerry Rotondi said...

Many years ago I was invited to the Queens Museum to join in a historic preservation program.
I screened QHS's documentary, "Historic Movie Palaces of Queens" which chronicled the violation of the Flushing Keith's Theatre.
Then executive director of QHS Byron Saunders and I , had produced this film for QPTV.

I took the opportunity as a QHS trustee to point the finger at borough hall for allowing the destruction of the RKO Keith's...noting that Claire Shulman was most recently responsible for the sorry state of affairs at the Keith's

It might have made QHS nervous, but I did it because it was my damned duty as a preservationist.

This is what I expect every so called historical society to be doing to preserve Queens' history. Act up if necessary.
Otherwise pack it in and attend to your dusty archives.

I am not pinning any medals on myself for doing the job I swore to do when I was sworn in as a trustee.
I only expect everyone else claiming to care about our history to do the same.

Nobody has to be a hero....only do their jobs or be branded a coward by remaining silent.
The silence of historical societies in our borough is the real capital crime here.

Anonymously Grey Gardens said...

Answer to a question posed to me by georgetheatheist: Because Queens County is a borough of entrenched, empowered idiots who now practice total Neo-Fascist, monarchy style control and dictatorship, and the trail of corruption has no jurisdictional or persuasive effect on any and all art issues in Manhattan.

Add to the mix a rapid pack of corrupt, dishonest, disloyal, dysfunctional, derelict, false, fake and failed Queens County political leadership that rejects all public referendum, due process community board review and vetting with impunity, and you can see how and why a 16-ton work of precious, Italian marble disappeared from the now blighted skyline of Queens Boulevard (where it kept vigil for nearly 71 years, by gift to Queens by former Mayor Fiorello LaGuardia), faster than it took Hurricane Sandy to ravage the entire northeast corridor!

Leading this badly conceived movement of derelict misfits was Helen Marshall herself, and her vile cowardice and secrecy, when she indulged a minority group of intensely ignorant, uneducated amateurs (herself included), to spend more than $200,000 of taxpayers' money (who were never asked about how they felt about Civic Virtue, much less if anyone was bothered by its historic, prominent location, only steps away from the criminal courthouse), instead of my practical, 2008 suggestion to simply clean and conserve it, on site---for less than $30,000, and to likewise fully restore the waterworks to a fountain that was already part of the Kew Gardens Plaza display!

Now, you may ask, what borough president would object to a working fountain base that displayed a statue that symbolized a message of civic virtue (that triumphed over corruption and vice, no less), for all residents of Kew Gardens to see and visit daily---instead of ordering it banished to a Brooklyn graveyard in obscurity (and against the will of the residents who stated that they wanted the statue to remain where it always was on prominent display)!

Anonymously Grey Gardens said...

You guessed it---arrogant, corrupt, dishonest, disloyal, dysfunctional, depraved, lying, mendacious, brain damaged politicians themselves---long before Helen Marshall entered the 'empowered idiot' arena of monstrous, civic fail! Before her demon rule, we had art expert (and Donald Manes crony), Claire Schulman, who selfishly, irresponsibly foisted her totally unsupported, ignorant personal beliefs about Civic Virtue on her ignored subjects---and that's why she left it to rot for decades, despite the fact that there was a fiscal obligation to repair and maintain it, which then carried over into the deeply flawed, personal belief system of Helen Marshall---and now the latest female drone---Czarina Melinda Katz, who, in the short time of 18 months has proven to be a ruthless dictator, who ignores all calls for openness and transparency at Borough Hall, despite that it was she herself who used these words in an opening speech before Community Board 9, on June 10, 2014, to falsely invite the public back in to decisions for whom they ultimately pay!

Alas, there are too many false, fake and failed, barely human mistakes parading as derelict politicians, who could have done SO MUCH to stop the statue's removal---but chose to shamelessly pander instead to the powers that be of incompetents like Claire Schulman, Helen Marshall and now Melinda Katz, thereby betraying the collective oaths of office that these predatory, voracious thieves swore to uphold---a crime that is worse than the cover-ups itself!

There was desperate cradle-to-graver, Peter Vallone, Jr., who came out swinging his flaccid dick around Kew Gardens on December 8, 2012, over his outrage that the statue would even be considered for eviction (to naturally buttress his imminent, failing bid for the borough presidency---and as corrupt as he is and always will be, he would still have made a better BP than this current, mendacious occupant who is drunk with unforgivably abused power), followed by bought and paid for glamour girl, Elizabeth Crowley (whose office is still silent on the matter, after nearly three years of my attempts to contact her, and her dismissive Chief of Staff, Rocco Paprocki. Finally, there is Jimmy Van Bramer (and his vapid, cushy staff of fools), who purportedly chairs the Arts Committee (for an additional stipend, that garners him a salary that he still hasn't earned, without an MFA, no less), and where he has avoided taking a stand against Melinda Katz, or even the courtesy of addressing me and my organization, Civic Virtue Task Force, like we were both radioactive!

So, there is your totally invisible Queens County leadership, georgetheatheist---and it continues to rule with an unwavering vengeance, while the public be eternally damned (again and still)!

Manhattan, as you mentioned, has its own grid of endless corruption with art, as well as all other matters of no importance to the never ending supply of the intensely failed and self-serving political raw sewage plant that City Hall is slowly devouring---for more of the same self-enrichment!

georgetheatheist said...

Continuing . . . Thanks for your "take" Richard! More questions:

Did Shulman permit the statue to deteriorate because she TRULY believed it was "sexist"? Or she had "better" things to do? Budget was tight? or some other yet unrecognized reason? Same questions for Marshall.

I know then Congressman Weiner and Councilwoman Ferreras protested the statue's existence as being "sexist". That's just how the politically corrrect winds were and are blowing.

What I still don't get is why the Roosevelt equestrian statue stands in front of the Museum of Natural History. If Civic Virtue had to go because he was depicted standing on the bodies of "women", why does white guy Roosevelt sit in the saddle lording over an Indian and a Negro? (Oh all right, Native-American and African-American?) Has NYC Councilman, the Arts Committee Chairman, Jimmy Van Bramer taken this "racist" offensiveness into consideration? Has Van Bramer considered the hypocrisy of the situation?

Will the Roosevelt statue be allocated funds for future repairs when eventually needed? Or will Roosevelt with his subserviently-depicted Indian and Negro (Oh all right, Native-American and African-American?) be carted off to Greenwood Cemetery as well? This bears keen watching.

Keep digging into this issue, Richard. It ain't dead yet. Your like the dog that bit someone in his/her ass and wont let go.