By Juan Soto
Mayor Bill de Blasio nominated Little Neck resident Wellington Chen, former Flushing’s Community Board 7 member, to become a member of the Landmarks Preservation Commission.
Chen, the first Chinese American to serve on a community board in Queens, will be part of the agency responsible for protecting the city’s “architecturally, historically and culturally significant buildings and sites by granting them landmark or historic district status,” according to the mayor’s office.
Once a structure or a site gets the protection, the places are then regulated by the Landmarks Preservation Commission.
Chen was also a member of the board of directors of the Queens Botanical Garden. As an architect he worked with the famous Chinese-American architect I.M. Pei, who designed, among others projects, the Roosevelt Field Mall in Garden City, the Four Season Hotel in Manhattan, and the Kips Bay Plaza in Manhattan.
The newest member of the Landmarks Preservation Commission graduated from John Bowne High School in Flushing, and since 2006, has been the executive director of the Chinatown Partnership Local Development Corporation.
He was active in his community board on which he served 13 years, and in 2003, he was named Businessman of the Year by the Queens Chamber of Commerce. De Blasio submitted Chen’s nomination to the City Council for advice and consent, a step required by the City Charter.
A resident of Little Neck, Chen was born in Taiwan and has lived in Singapore, Hong Kong and Brazil. After moving to the United States as an adolescent, he grew up in Flushing and lived in East Elmhurst for a brief period of time. He graduated from the School of Architecture and Environmental Studies at City College.
Chen was born in Taiwan and has lived in Singapore, Hong Kong and Brazil. After moving to the United States as a teenager, he was raised in Flushing and later lived in East Elmhurst. He graduated from the School of Architecture and Environmental Studies at City College. He also serves on its board of directors. Along with his nomination, the mayor also announced the appointments of Kim Lee Vauss for the architect seat at the commission, and Ethel Sheffer as City Hall’s representative to the Public Design Commission. According to its web page, the Public Design Commission “reviews permanent works of art, architecture and landscape architecture proposed on or over city-owned property”.
The mayor also nominated Hank Willis Thomas for the painter seat of the Public Design Commission.
Reach reporter Juan Soto by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at (718) 260–4564.