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Queens Chronicle

Brinckerhoff finds possible buyer: NYC

Councilman Gennaro sets aside funds should landmark hit market

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Posted: Thursday, February 14, 2013 10:30 am | Updated: 10:48 am, Thu Feb 21, 2013.

The recently landmarked Brinckerhoff Cemetery has a potential buyer: The City of New York.

Councilman James Gennaro (D-Fresh Meadows) has set aside discretionary funds to buy the historic parcel of land, located on 182nd Street between 67th and 73rd avenues.

“After a successful 10-year fight to have Brinckerhoff Cemetery landmarked, I’m ready to put up the money to help secure its future,” he said.

The exact amount of city money earmarked depends on the asking price.

The city originally owned the property until the 1950s, when it sold the land to pay off tax debts. Members of the Brinckerhoff Memorial Committee have floated the idea the property re-enter the city’s portfolio of property.

There’s one problem: There are no indications the current owner, Linda’s Cai Trading, wants to sell. The intentions to buy and funding will remain in limbo until it becomes clear the property is up for grabs.

“The reality is that the city cannot force this property owner to sell,” Gennaro said.

Any purchase would also need the approval of the Office of Management and Budget.

But Linda’s Cai Trading has limited uses for the property, after the City Council voted to landmark the site in December, by a vote of 45 to 1.

A survey of the plot conducted in 1919 found 77 headstones and markers dated from 1730 to 1872. It was used as a burial ground by the Brinckerhoff family, one of the first European clans to settle in the borough in 1642.

It faced the prospect of being built upon about 12 years ago, after it was improperly sold to private owners who wanted to build two houses on the land.

To stop the building, the Queens Historical Society to launch a fundraising effort to buy the site, though it fell short of the estimated $100,000 needed at the time.

Its potential designation has sat on the Landmarks Preservation Committee’s agenda for a dozen years.

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