B’way-Flushing residents want area landmarked

By Stephen Stirling

Residents of Broadway-Flushing are stepping up their campaign to gain landmark status for the more than 1,300 Tudor and colonial homes that were made into a state historic district in 2005.

Created by the Rickert-Finley Realty Company shortly after the turn of the 20th century, Broadway-Flushing is one of the first pre-planned suburban communities in the city. Residents of the area contend its tree-lined streets and classic architecture are a rarity in the city, and have started to push into full gear their efforts to preserve the enclave.

"There's a sense that time is running out," said Broadway-Flushing Homeowners Association Executive Director Mel Siegel. "There's not a week that goes by that we don't lose another house."

Broadway-Flushing residents have long lambasted developers who construct homes in their neighborhood that are not in the style of those around them. Landmark status would require any new construction on a designated home or lot to undergo a city review.

Broadway-Flushing is generally bordered by 25th Avenue to the north, Crocheron Avenue and Northern Boulevard to the south, Francis Lewis Boulevard to the east and 154th Street to the west.

Though the idea of landmarking the area has broad support from area residents, elected officials and Community Board 7, little action has been taken by the city Landmarks Preservation Commission to push the project forward.

In recent weeks, residents of the well-organized community have started circulating petitions, gathering letters to elected officials and media outlets and printing lawn signs calling for the area to receive the coveted designation.

Historic Districts Council President Paul Graziano, who wrote the report that gained the area state and federal designations as a historic district, said the residents have the right idea.

"The folks there are getting antsy because the city isn't moving on it," Graziano said. "They've spent the last 2 1/2 years writing polite letters to the commission. The only thing they can do now is kind of go into high gear."

Graziano said historically the LPC has been slow to act on landmark applications of suburban districts because they are few and far between in the city, making it especially important for residents to push hard for the designation.

"Broadway-Flushing is really one of the premier neighborhoods in the city, but suburban neighborhoods are always last on their list," Graziano said. "I think it's important to take that into consideration that there's a built-in bias."

Reach reporter Stephen Stirling by e-mail at Sstirling@timesledger.com or by phone at 718-229-0300, Ext. 138.

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