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Si HISTORIC DISTRICTS COUNCIL THE ADVOCATE FOR NEW YORK CITY'S HISTORIC NELGREORHOODS 232 East stl Street New York NY 10203 tel 212-614°9107 fax 212-614-9127 e-mail hde@hde.ong November 16, 2015 Hon. Meenakshi Srinivasan, Chair NYC Landmarks Preservation Commission ‘One Centre Street, 9th Floor New York, New York 10007 Dear Chair Srinivasan: Like out colleagues at The New York Landmarks Conservancy, the Historic Districts Council is deeply disturbed by Mary Beth Betts’ response to State Senator Tony Avella’s Request for Evaluation of the St. James Parish Hall at 86-02 Broadway in Elmhurst Queens ‘That this building is che oldest vernacular Anglican structure in New York City is impressive; that it is in ‘Queens is remarkable. Especially considering your oft-stated commitment to reaching out to under- represented communities for landmark designation, this rejection seems punitive toward the community and patish who worked hard to restore this building to the highest standards. “The crux of the LPC’s argument seems to hang on the word “recreation”. This isa false assertion, as the restorative work (funded by the owner, NYLC, and the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation) revealed much historic fabric dating to 1883. Since this existing fabric was in situ, the structure was restored to this time period, while, of course, the entire structure itself is 150 years older. Farther, the LPC has designated many individual landmarks that have been altered in reflections of later styles, such as numerous Federal Seyle rowhouses altered with additional stories and Greek Revival elements, or mote drastically, the Theodore Delano Roosevelt birthplace. The latter property, located at 28 East 20th Street, was built in 1848, demolished in 1916, and then reconstructed in 1923 to reflect an 1865 appearance and period of significance. This seems more in line with a “recreation.” which in no way precluded it for landmark designation in 1966. Other examples of individual landmarks which have been very altered over time are the Fraunces Tavern Museum, the Pieter Claesen Wyckoff Farm House, and Poe Cottage to name but a few. Buildings of great antiquity change over time, especially in our city, but these historic sites retain their integrity ~ as does the St. James Parish Hall. Like the Roosevele house, St. James Parish Hall also has a highly significant social history in addition to is remarkable, nearly 300 year existence in our great City. We urge the Landmarks Preservation Commission to reconsider this property as an individual New York City landmark, and strongly suggest that the agency revisit its opinion on historic alterations. Sincerely, Simeén Bankof Exgeutive Director Ce: The New York Landmarks Conservancy ‘The Newtown Historical Society State Senator Tony Avella ‘Queens Borough President Melinda Katz