Flushing homeowners, pols press city for historic status in neighborhood

Photo courtesy of Broadway-Flushing Homeowners Association

Some Flushing homeowners continue to urge the city to make history in their community.

The Broadway Homeowners Association rallied on Saturday to bring attention to their ongoing fight to have the city designate the neighborhood as a historic district.

Although the area is already listed on the national and state historic registers, the group is seeking to be recognized as a city landmark to ensure maximum protection against new development.

The homeowners have not previously had success in their attempts to get the neighborhood recognized by the commission, but they renewed efforts to landmark the neighborhood following a leadership change at the Landmarks Preservation Commission (LPC) last year.

State Senator Tony Avella and Assemblyman Edward Braunstein attended the rally, which took place in front of a home set to be demolished in the near future. Both have signed a recent letter to the commission requesting that the area be considered for landmark status and attended previous rallies held by the neighborhood group.

Avella believed that the “timeless” character of Broadway-Flushing is worth preserving due to the recent trend of increasing citywide development.

“Broadway-Flushing has a distinct aesthetic that the community has been passionately fighting to preserve,” Avella said. “With the demolition of this house, however, the countdown timer will begin and it won’t be long before it is too late to protect the unique quality of the neighborhood.”

Urban planning consultant Paul Graziano said his research into the issue leads him to believe that the LPC has a bias against suburban neighborhoods within the five boroughs.

According to Graziano, almost every other National Register Historic District in Queens has been granted New York City Landmark status over the past decade. Although the LPC has landmarked more than 3,000 row houses in Manhattan, Brooklyn and Ridgewood since the beginning of 2014, he noted, the commission has never designated any suburban historic districts in New York City.

“The inequity is staggering and it’s past time for the de Blasio administration to recognize and remedy this before the Broadway-Flushing neighborhood is irrevocably destroyed,” Graziano said.

Maria Becce of the Broadway-Flushing Homeowners’ Association said that Broadway-Flushing wants to send a loud and clear message to the mayor, LPC, the Department of City Planning and the Department of Buildings.

“Unless there is a coordinated effort by the city to save the historical context of our planned community, largely covered by the Rickert-Finlay Covenant, with its distinct homes and green space, a piece of New York City history will be lost forever,” Becce said.

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