Monday, February 6, 2017
LPC turns its back on another Queens historic site
From the Queens Chronicle:
In a blow to Queens preservationists, a Downtown Flushing building with a rich history involving Quakerism will be replaced with an eight-story mixed-use building.
The Orthodox Meeting House and Cornucopia Masonic Temple are attached at the site, which is located at 137-66 Northern Blvd.
English colonists bought the location from Matinecock Indians in the 17th century, when Flushing was a Dutch New Netherlands colony, according to zoning consultant Paul Graziano, who made a report about the building’s viability for landmarking in 1994 under a contract with the Queens Historical Society.
A British guardhouse was at the location by the end of the 1600s to defend against Native American attacks. The building was demolished for firewood in 1776.
After the war ended, the site was bought by Orthodox Quakers for use as a secret meeting place (which they had used the location for since the 1600s), according to the report by Graziano, who is running in the nascent Democratic primary race against Councilman Paul Vallone (D-Bayside). They built a meeting house there in 1827. It immediately bordered the Quaker Meeting House during that era, which also saw a split in the religious group known as the Separation: Factions were divided between the Hicksite and Orthodox sects.
The Landmarks Preservation Commission rejected protecting the site in 2014, finding that “it did not rise to the level of an Individual Landmark” according to spokeswoman Damaris Olivo. She did not immediately return a request for comment when asked why it was not determined to be deserving of the status or who submitted the building for landmark consideration.
“If it was in Manhattan, it would have been designated 40 years ago,” Graziano told the Chronicle.
The owner of the site today, an LLC, will build 12 units in the planned eight-story structure, according to the real estate news website YIMBY. Retail, medical office and residential space is set to go there, and demolition permits were filed last year.