The Clock Tower one step closer to landmark status

By Bill Parry

The iconic Clock Tower building in Long Island City is one step closer to official landmark status. The city Landmarks Preservation Commission set a date for a formal vote following a public hearing Tuesday.

“We were pleased with the positive response of the public and the commission,” preservationist Michael Hall said. “We are optimistic that the commission’s vote May 12 will be to designate the Clock Tower as a New York City landmark.”

Hall and fellow preservationist Matthew Chrislip waged an online campaign to see the building designated during the past year and gathered nearly 1,600 signatures of support. City Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer (D-Sunnyside), The Hunters Point Civic Association, The Historic Districts Council, the Dutch Kills Civic Association, the Queens Historical Society, Community Board 1 and the SculptureCenter were among the institutions and civic groups that endorsed the campaign.

Hall testified at the hearing on behalf of the supporters’ preservation group, +Partners.

“This beloved building occupies a unique history place in the architectural history of the borough,” Hall said. “Since 1927, the tower and its monumental clock have welcomed commuters and residents alike into the city, serving a familiar landmark that they see each day fron their passing trains.”

The future of the 14-story historic building, located at 29-27 Queens Plaza North, had been in question since its owner, Property Markets Group, filed for permits to build a 77-story mixed-use residential high-rise on an adjacent parcel of land with its partner, the Hakim Group.

Brad Saxon, of the Hakim Group, testified at the hearing that the developers supports official landmark status for the Clock Tower.

“We respect the building’s place in Queens and Long Island City’s history, and we appreciate its aesthetic beauty,” he said, adding that it would be restored with all four clocks made operational.

Hall and Chrislip won’t rest until the Landmarks Preservation Commission votes on May 12.

“We will continue to gather signatures on our petition in anticipation of this vote,” Hall said.

Reach reporter Bill Parry by e-mail at bparry@cnglocal.com or by phone at (718) 260–4538.