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As a retired architect with some prestigious Manhattan firms, Steve Fisher of Maspeth knows a thing or two about historic buildings, and has worked on several of them.
Fisher watched from his office in Manhattan when the Twin Towers fell on 9/11. He would find out later that 19 men assigned to the firehouse on 68th Street in Maspeth were killed.
In the 1981 piece of classic cinema known as “Stripes,” Warren Oates’ Sgt. Hulka famously tells Conrad Dunn’s “Psycho” Soyer, “Lighten up, Francis.”
Now, as the coronavirus crisis continues to blanket New York in an atmosphere of horror, fear and dismay worse than that faced by even the most trepidatious Army recruit, the typically stern-as-a-drill-sergeant Landmarks Preservation Commission is offering Queens residents a chance to lighten up, however briefly.
Following a public outcry from historical conservationists, the city’s Landmarks Preservation Commission has shelved its plan to drop roughly 100 locations, including eight in Queens, from its running list of those that may be protected.
After more than a decade of waiting, the Fresh Meadows community cheered the news Tuesday that the city’s Landmarks Preservation Commission landmarked the beleaguered historic Brinckerhoff Cemetery.
“We are very happy and will now work with other groups to buy it,” said James Gallagher, president of the Fresh Meadows Homeowners Civic Association, who has led the drive for landmarking.
While historic preservationists, Fresh Meadows community groups and neighbors all want the Colonial-era Brinckerhoff Cemetery landmarked, it’s descendants of the family buried there who feel the most special connection to the site.
In separate interviews with the Queens Chronicle, two of those relatives, William Manger Jr. and Matthew Brinckerhoff, last week voiced their support for landmarking and detailed what they want to see done at the location.
Worried that the city’s Landmarks Preservation Commission could move to decalendar, or remove from further consideration, landmark status for the Colonial-era Brinckerhoff Cemetery in Fresh Meadows, a group of area residents and preservationists converged on the panel’s Manhattan headquarters Tuesday for a hearing to urge officials to finally declare the site a landmark.
Led by the Fresh Meadows Homeowners Civic Association and holding placards that read “We Care” and “Landmark Brinckerhoff,” more than two dozen supporters of preserving the burial ground, located on 182nd Street just north of 73rd Avenue, delivered testimony before the LPC.