The city Landmarks Preservation Commission did the right thing this week in landmarking Brinckerhoff Cemetery in Fresh Meadows, a vestige of some of Queens’ earliest European settlers.
The site isn’t much to look at, but it’s what lies beneath that has historical and emotional value: whatever is left of the remains of at least 77 people, and markers over many of their graves, which a prior owner admitted burying to lessen the land’s significance.
Barring an appeal unlikely to succeed, the landmarking prevents the current owner from building houses on the site. Next the city, or some private group, must come up with the funds to buy the land, restore it and show proper respect to our ancestors who rest there. The owner must be made whole, of course, but he also must be prevented from building any “Poltergeist” houses on land that is sacred to the history of Queens.