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5 (5181 455-2210 OFFICE
(518) 426-6736 FAX



September 14, 2017

Hon. Meenakshi Srinivasan

Landmarks Preservation Commission
Municipal Building
I Centre Street, 9th Floor
New York, NY 10007 -

FAX S 41-IlL

Dear Chair Srinivasan:

I am writing to your office in support of the landmark designation of the Old St. James
Presbyterian Chllrch in Elrnhurst.

In August 2015. I submitted the enclosed letter to the Landmarks Preservation Commission
(LPC) in support of the application of the New-town Historical Society requesting this property
be designated as a landmark. The property has been listed on the National Register of Historic
Places since 1999 but had yet to be officially landmarked at that time.

I am also enclosing a copy of a letter and petition from The Community of Elrnhursr that was
sent to you on November 18, 2016 that presented a compelling argument in favor of this
designation and I fully join in the comments set forth in that correspondence as well.

I would like to highlight an issue that was raised in the [PC hearing on this designation
regarding the protection line to be established behind the building. I join in the communitys
position that a 10 foot protection line be included to provide as much protection as possible to
this historic structure. A difference of 5 feet is very significant and is vital to ensuring the
protection and preservation of this historic site.

Page 2
September 14, 2017

I am very pleased that LPC has decided to consider this application and am hopeful that it will
finally be given the landmark designation it well deserves.


Tony Avella
State Senator
ll Senatorial District

BANKS rt. -
- j 1518) 426-6736 FAX




Hon. Meenakshi Srinivasan
Landmarks Preservation Commission
Municipal Building
1 Centre Street 9th Floor
New York, NY 10007

Dear Chair Srinivasan:

I am writing to you to support the enclosed application for the designation of the Old St James Presby
Church, as a New York City landmark.

I am enclosing Correspondence that I received from the Newtown Historic& Society requesting that this
unique property be designated as a landmark The property has been listed on the National Register
Historic Places since 1999 but has yet to be officially landmarked.

As you will see from the attached documents, the building which houses the church was completed
in 1735
and as such is one of the few surviving colonial structures remaining in Queens.

Unfortunately, there is concern in the community that the current owner, St James Episcopal Church,
may be
looking to destroy the building and sell the property to developers. Given the historical and civic
value of
this building and the imminent risk of losing this building, I would appreciate your expedi
ted review of this
application and ask that you give it every consideration for designation as a New York City landma
Please let me know how you intend to proceed.


Tony Avella
State Senator
11th Senatorial District


N JE1_ S
Newtown Historical Society
Queens County, NY
RrnGEw000, NY 11385
(718) 366-3715

August 4, 2015

State Senator Tony Avella

38-50 Bell Boulevard Suite C
Bayside, NY 11361

Via Fax: 718-357-3491

Dear Senator Avella,

We are writing to you today regarding a building located at 86-02 Broadw

ay in Elmhurst, known
as the Old St. James Presbyterian Church. I am attaching an article that details
its rich history.
This building has been listed on the National Register of Historic Places sincel9
99, but has
never been officially landmarked. We believe it was evaluated by the
LPC and not calendared,
but this was likely before a 5430K full restoration had been completed by
the State of New York
and the Landmarks Conservancy in 2004.

This building was completed in 1735 and therefore is one of the few surviv
ing colonial
structures left in Queens. It is of paramount concern to protect the history
embodied by this
church structure.

There are rumors that the St. James Episcopal Church, which still owns
the building, has plans
to raze it and market the property to developers. No action has thus far
been taken by them,
but this plot is in a desirable location, situated only 2 blocks from 2 busy
subway lines as well as
Queens Blvd and buses to Ridgewood, Jamaica, Forest Hills, Maspe
th and Manhattan. The
zoning is R7A/R5 with a C1-2 overlay which means It has very high market
value. We fear that
the church may find that demolishing this structure, with all its priceless
history, to be a
prospect thats too lucrative for them to pass by.

We hope you will help us preserve this piece of Queens history and urge
the LPC to undertake
an emergency calendaring action as soon as possible.

Thank you.

.auoz ieeL
Christina Wilkinson
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article now

July 25, 2004



Crumbling Present, a Parishs Past Is Reborn

THERE it sat, an unloved, unsightly gray church hail at 86-02

Broadway, in Elmhurst, Queens.
The old building was long weathered by time, and its sloped
roof was buckled, unnaturally curved
at the apex and barely supported by rotting beams. Its wood
was cnimblrng, its doors chipped, its
siding torn.

Dozens would pass by but never turn their heads to notice

the church. Few probably knew that,
despite its shabby appearance, it was one of the cits forgotten
treasures the Old St. James --

Episcopal Church, which predates the American Revolution

and is the oldest remaining strncture
in Elmhurst.

At this inconspicuous corner at gist Avenue and Broadway,

the barnilice church was a paradise for
brown grass and a haven for demons of wood, as the Rev. Bill
Galer called the termites that
plagued the building. Father Galer, who has served as parish
rector since the 1980s, has been
tying to get funds to renovate the church
hail for more than 10 years. Finally, he is getting his

This year is the parishs 300th anniversary, and thanks

to efforts by the New York Landmarks
Conservancy, a nonprofit agency that preserves historic buildin
gs, the church ball will undergo an
extensive renovation and restoration. Jim Mahoney, a spokes
man for the conservancy, said a
combination of loans and city and state grants meant that
$400,000 would be available for an
extensive exterior makeover, complete with replicas of the
halls original adornments. Work has
begun, and today, the parish will hold a daylong celebra
tion of its anniversary and rebirth.
The renovation will include filling in cracks in the stone founda
tion, fiffing an antique wooden
awning over the and restoring the churchs wood and glass doors. We didnt want

something from a store, Father Galer said. This building

needs to be loved.
St. James Church was founded in 1704 and officially charter
ed in 1761 by King George 111. It was
the first parish in Elmhurst, called NeMown in Colonial times.
One of the churchs earliest rectors,
the Rev. Dr. Samuel Seabury Jr., was the first American-born
bishop ordained in this country. In
1848, a new St. James Church was built a half-block down Broadw
ay to accommodate the
growing and increasingly diverse congregation, as immigrants arrived from
Europe, and the
original building became a parish hail.

Masses have not been celebrated at Old St. James since the congregation
moved; in the last few
years it had been used as a community center. It served as a gatheri
ng place for groups like
Alcoholics Anonymous, as well as the Boy and Gifi Scouts, and Chapte
r 32 of the Vietnam
Veterans of America. Ann Taselano, an Elmhurst resident and a former
Girl Scout adviser at the
church, said the hail had a rather cold and open interior, and there was only
one closet in whole
place. It was kind of scary going in, she said, because it was empty.

Amil and Kamini Lall, who came to America from India about three decade
s ago and became part
of the parish, said they had always felt a strong attachment to St. James. Mrs.
LaU said the was
looking forward to the completion of the hails transformation. To be sitting
in a church from the
1700s, Mrs. Lail said, would be an honor.

After Brian Hutchinson, a friend to the church, helped get the ball rolling
on the restoration
project, bids were made and architects were interviewed. The winner: Kaitsen
Woo, an architect
with offices in Lower Manhattan who lives in Flushing and has a background
in historical
restorations. He helped restore the Quaker Meeting House of Flushing, which
was founded in 1694
and is the oldest meeting house in Queens, as well as the Cloisters and other city
With the aid of historical photographs from the church and the New York Munic
ipal Archives,
and a research report by the William A. Hall Partnership, an architectural planni
ng firm, Mr. Woo
laid out plans to reconstruct the colonial church piece by piece, shingle
by shingle. As its model the
parish used a photograph from around 1900, when it was one
of the most flourishing Episcopal
parishes east of the Ohio River, Father Galer said.

Though the parish lacks the public financing and donations to contin
ue to the second phase of the
plan, the interior restoration, Mr. Woo supports the vision for the new church
We want it to be used by the community again, he said. It would be great
to have a wedding
chapel in there. The project has also tapped into the communitys sense
of pride, Mr. Woo said.
The people here want to say, Hey, we have as much history here as Manha
Photos: The Old St. James Episcopal Church, plagued bytejmitesand
decay, left, isto be restored
tothe way it lookedaround 1900, above. (Photos by Above, Angel Franco/The
New York Times; top
right, St. James Episcopal Church)

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11/13/13 110Oam .,

Queenswalk: The Old St James Episcopal .

Church, Elmhurst 1g1ISL.III.III1II

by 1 O.jrcnl.4a I (amman

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.. a:
In dorng my riislonc reseacth of ow fair city, it always amazes
me to find oul that some of ths dlys Developers DIscove,in a
oldesl buildings are not in Manhattan or Brooklyn, as might
be Imagined, but In Queens I guess being New Way to Secure Lar9e
a tong-tine Brooklynile has skewed my view, and Im happy
to report fln learning quite a bit aboul Real Estate...
early Queenss history by writing this column.
Toda/s piece olOutens history I, the St. James Eiscop
ai Churd, at 66-02 Broadway. fri Eimhurst.
See If You Cualify for
ien it was built In 1735. it was officially the Churth of Engand in Nnerka
, MissIon Church at Affordable HousIng In tIC
Newtowne. This building is the oldest surviving mission church at
the Church of England In all of New
York City. Its an tmpohanl visual reminder of English Colonial America, Sponsoree
and a fine example of early
I 8th century vernacular sacred architecture Translation its coo!
a oc church.

Mien St. James was built, like all village churches, it had a churchyard
cemetery on the property. SI. 925 Atfordable Apartments
James cemetery was In the back of the church, which today
is a parking tol. All of the marked graves Available In Long Island
were relocated to the cemetery behind the congregation new
s church a block away. That cemetery.
v4ilch Is still Ihere. Is one of Ihe few remaining churchyard burial grounds
in Queens.
The building was built facing Broadway, and was enlarged wrIh two
bays on the cast end in 1871 The
original tower on the west end was replaced in 1760. and that tasted
over iao years before faltng
down in 1883 That caused the building to need many structural repairs,
which also resulled in Ihe late
V.dohan wooden trim to be added to the buildings structure In 1545,
a new and larger church was tan in the shetle, with my daugtlel I have inc
buitt at 84.07 Broadway, and this building became the parish hall and S pioguam I have soclat security and
Sunday school. The 1848
church burned down in 1975. Todays St. James Episcopal Church Award I 1250 Pu
dates from 1975.
The first Europeans In this area were the Engllsin, who settled Linda Iliams Affordable Housino
here with the Rev. Francis Doughty in
the 1 520s. Rev. Doughty and his flock had first settled in Plymouth, Applicaflons Now Available for Rufus
Massachusetts with the Puritans. gino
but found them too restricting. He came to Long Island and was granted Cowl Apartments
making thIs the tbsl English settlement ir the western part of Long
a land granl by the Duich,
Inc Dutch, most parttctitarly Peter Stuyvesant, tolerated the Engish Id be interested to hear the Glendale (Forest
settlers and their relIgious Hills I Kew Gardens section. I tidesa
freedoms, although they were wary ot their ategiances But 1644,
in the Dutch lost New Amsterdam, At lull 1027PM
and this area, now (he town of Newtowne, would eventually
be a pal of the County of Kings In 1580.
Rev Morgan Jones was chosen as the new minister, and he conducted Joflr.y Zlmmer BrooJyn.Oueens Boulevard
his first Sunday school class In
1684, perhaps the first Sunday school in the new English Colonies SlroL:ro ftietropoittan Front tMlliansburg
He moved on a year later to a :o
parish in Westchester, Jamaica

In 1593, the Ministry Act was written. which created the parish oIJamaica,
which Included Jamaica, I wotid ke to know the rent pces and the
Newtown and Flushing, those communities and the farms and avallabbly
homes In between together. The
followIng years, into the earty 17005, included some squabbling with Jul 31:1 0514 PM
the Colonist authorities, when the
parish of Jamaica decided to choose a minister other than the one
picked for them by the Governor.
Flushing and this area hi general, have always been fiefcely independent JazmIn Fembndea City Opens New Afloidsole
and great defenders of
religiou5 freedom This dissentlon caused a feller to be written from Housing Development iii Richmond HIS
the Crown, lnstructlr.g them to toe
the line, and only accept the services of a minister chosen by the Bishop
of London, American
independence was already brewing here in Queens. Hi Kevin, Please fix it hem too:
http 5/O7fsee.
In 1733. the Anglican population of Newtown decided they needed
Their own church. They petWorted. J,,430th1 1212014
and won permission to have built a mission church, which became
St. James. The building was begun
In t75, and was buit by a locat carpenter named Joseph Moore.
Shortly aflenvard. Jamaica and Golden Crown Returns to Queens
Flushing also built separate churches. By tNs time
had a population ot over 1000 citizens
and over 164 staves.
Thanks for tie info I have erneeded the
teal, as well as the Johnson Upsbck Bull...
By 1761, St. James was the largest of the three towns Angtcan congregation.
They wanted to I P915NA
become independent, and had to send a petition to England do
to so. it was granted, and the pastor at
the time, Rev Samuel Seabuiy, the first American-born pastor of the Kevin Walsh Golden Crown Returns to
church, was formally tnstalted in
his own church. He loft St James after the Revotultionary War, and Queens
became Inc first Protestant
Episcopal Bishop of Ihe United Slates. His elevation look place In
a ceremony in Scotland, and he
returned to the United States and took up his posttion in New London,
Connecticut. where he lived until
his death In 1796.

Mother first for St. James was in the person of the RIghI Reverend
Dr. Benjamin Moore. He became
rector of Trinity Church in Manhattan, and then went onto
become the second American Bishop to be
consecrated in the new Episcopal Church lit America He was also appoinled
the president of
Columbia College In 1801. He was born in Newiown, and was tie son of
Samuet and Sarah Moore,
who were parishioners at St. James Samuel Moore was the Crst clerk
of the chartered St. James
Church. Bishop Moore was also the father or Dr. Clement Clark Moore,
mosl famous for his poem. yru:;;i:Lc4iiuu.n:i.
Twas the Night Before Christrnas.
In 1848, the old dapet was just loo small, and a new church was
built in land given to the church by
the town of Newtown back before the Revolution. The new church
noted archItect Minard Lefever. The caskets and headstones from
was buill In the Gothic style by the F. I
the od cemetery were moved to leatu 1vte
the newchurchyard. some fri 1851, the rest in 1882. In 1896,
the town o(Newtown changed Its name
to Etmhurst to separate ltse,f from the reputation of Nev4own Creek, which
was already a foul smelling
polluted body of water.

Etnhurst, as a part of Queens County became a pal ot greater

New York City in 1898. In the 1930s.
the City tried to claim that the taM behind the old church was pubIc.
a not a private cemetery They
wanted to grab the land for a playground But the church was
able to produce the original land grant.
and the city had to withdraw its claim. St. James turned that land
Into a parking tot in 1957, The church
used the cd church building as a parish hall ur.t:t 1951, when they
built a new parish halt next door to
the new church.
In 1963, the Post Office wanted a buy Otd St James to tear down
It for a new posi office The church
rejected their otter. In a letter written that yeai, they died the historic
importance of the church. Today.
the building is used as a ccmniun,w center, hosting meetings or groups
such as the Boy Scouts, RA,
veterans groups, and churth services by smattr congregations.

the ehjrch is a great example of vemacijla architecture, that Is,

designed and built In a local style by
local craftsmen and builders, not architects. The inlerior Is notable
for the quality of craftsmanship
displayed. It Is in The classical style, with carved pillars and pilasters,
woodwot and an exceltenily
designed barrel vaulted caNing with an elaborately carved arch Wth
pliasters and a keystone
In 1883, v,lien the original tower collapsed, the church was
not only repaired, but new Victorian
elements were added, including the drip moldings, decorative bargeb
oards and pointed arched
window openings. The doors also date from this period. These
changes represented a move to
modernize the chsch In the popular styles of the day.
Old St. James was placed on the Nahonal and State Register of Historic
Places in 1999. It was
nominated for NYC landmark status, but has not yet been design
In 2004, the church got a necessary restoration. The project.
ymich cost 5430 000. ncuded a
$150,000 loan from the Landmarks Conservancy The building
got a new rood, me cedar siding was
restored, as were the wooden windows and the eaves and brackets
The 1883 decorative bracketing
on the gables, which had been removed, was restored, as welt, bringin
the bAing back to its 1880s
appearance. The project architect was Kailsen Woo, and his genera
t contractor was 53 RestoraUons,
Inc. The Conservancy awarded the project with Its Lucy G, Moses
Reservation Award. Thanks to the
stubbornness of St James, and the desire by the Elmhurst community
to preserve en lmpoTlant part of
Queens history, this building is v.4th US to enjoy today. GI)A?
(Photograph: Jtrn Henderson far kipedia)





:;E ,

1 egOs pholo: Landmarks Conservancy

Hon. Meenakshi Srinivasan, Chair November 18, 2016
NYC Landmarks Preservation Commission
Municipal Building
One Center Street, 9 Floor
New York, New York 10007

Dear Chair Srinivasan,

We, the residents and homeowners of the Elmhurst neighborhood in Queens, NY, fully support
the need and importance of landmarking the Old St. James Episcopal Church and Parish Hall,
located at 86-02 Broadway, Elmhurst, NY 11373. The Old St. James Church is a rare and
unique historic structure that is significant historically, architecturally and culturally in the
Borough of Queens, New York City and the United States of America. Currently, the Old St.
James is listed on the National and State Registers of Historic Places. Its original name when
founded, St. James Church, was changed in 1848 when a bigger church building was constructed
at 86-07 Broadway; since then, it has been known as the Old St. James Church or Old St. James
Parish Hall. The Old St. James Church is the oldest and only remaining mission church built by
the Church of England in New York City. It has remarkably stood the test of time and is
architecturally significant, due to its status as a surviving (though partially remodeled 130 years
ago) example of an English Colonial church and the oldest vernacular Colonial Anglican
structure in New York City.

Construction of this structure was started in 1734 and completed in 1736. It has been in the
same location since it has been built and it has a former cemetery to the west which is currently
covered in pavement. While there is documentation that some of the remains from the cemetery
were moved to the newer parish at 86-07 Broadway, it is unclear whether any of original
colonists remains are still located there. A 1908 City History Club walking tour guide for old
Newtown mentions a badly maintained graveyard in back of old St. James, which indicates that
it was still extant at that late date. Additional study, research and radar would have to be
accurately done to determine if any burials are still in fact located underground.

In the case of the Old St. James Church, the frame and foundation are original to 1734 much

of the interior is remarkably original as well while its exterior was remodeled in the l880s (and

meticulously restored a decade ago) and is intact, with cedar shingles, trim and Gothic window
mullions. The roof and decorative brackets have been restored as well, with help from the
Landmarks Conservancy. This building, a synergy of i8 and 19 century building forms, is the
rare example of an historic structure which has incorporated multiple building styles over several
centuries and yet retains its historic character and expression.

The history of Newtown, now Elmhurst, is deeply intertwined with that of the Old St. James
Church. This important historic structure is strongly weaved into the fabric of the Elmhurst
community for almost 300 years of service and community involvement. Old St. James has a
long social history that started before the founding of our country:
The St. James Church was one of the three original parishes founded by the Church of
England from the three original settlements in Queens County Jamaica, Flushing and
Newtown. Importantly, the Old St. James at this location in Elmhurst is still the original
parish of the Newtown settlement from the Church of England. Prior to the construction
of this church building, the English colonists in the town of Newtown founded St. James
Church in 1704.
Many of its parishioners were prominent figures of American history, such as Dr.
Benjamin Moore (the first president of Columbia University and also born in Newtown)
and Dr. Samuel Seabury (the first American Episcopal Bishop). Samuel Seabury was a
rector of St. James from 1757-1766 and he secured a Royal charter from King George
111 officially founding St. James as a parish.
During the Revolutionary War, our neighborhood played a role in shaping Americas
history. At that critical juncture in time, the residents of Newtown were divided between
the Patriots and the Loyalists. After the Battle of Long Island, the British army encamped
in a part of Newtown. During their occupation, many British soldiers and prominent
British officers used St. James as their chapel, including Sir Henry Clinton, Sir William
Howe, Earl Cornwallis and the future king of England, King William IV. St. James
Church was the only church in town unharmed during the revolution due to its status as a
parish of the Church of England and it was spared all indignities and destruction.
St. James first parishioners were members of the original Colonial families of Queens
and other parts of New York City. The first pews of the church were assigned to the
family names on Moores, Sacketts, Alsops, Blackwells, Hazards and Halletts. The Moore
family was originally from Newtown but also established a legacy in Manhattan (the
neighborhood now known as Chelsea). Many NYC landmarks today are associated with
the important Moore family, including St. Peters Church in Chelsea as well as the

Chelsea Historic District and the Moore-Jackson Cemetery in Woodside, Queens, and

all New York City landmarks. Dr. Benjamin Moore, a parishioner of St. James Church,
was directly related to the prominent Moore family of Newtown (his father was Samuel
Moore Jr.). He was the great-grandson of Rev. John Moore, the minister of Newtown and
first independent minister allowed in New England. Most importantly, he arranged the
purchase of Newtown from local Native Americans; Captain Samuel Moore was later
granted eighty acres of land in the area based on this. Captain Moore built a house here in
1661, and the property was handed down through generations of his descendants. During
the Revolutionary War, the British General William Howe made his Long Island
headquarters at the homestead. The site is also known as the birthplace of the famous
Newtown Pippin apple, which were favorites and sought after by George Washington,
Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Jefferson and Queen Victoria, and they were shipped and
produced in Newtown. Dr. Benjamin Moore and his wife Charity Clarke had a son, the
famous Clement Clark Moore who wrote Twas the Night before Christmas. Also, the
St. James churchs original cemetery had the original settlers family plots, including the
Moore family. At a later date, the Moore family moved all of their burials and plots from
St. James cemetery onto their large property in Newtown, the remnant of which is now
the Moore-Jackson cemetery.
The American history tied to the St. James Church is much more elaborate with each
individual and action in history related. We will provide more information if needed.
The church is a significant historic asset in Elmhurst, Queens and New York City. If designated
as a landmark, it would not only benefit the community, but all of NYC to preserve this rare
place resonant in the history of America. Additionally, it can continue to serve and provide
services to its diocese and congregation, and benefit community groups who have used it in the
past as a meeting hall. The building also has potential as a major heritage tourism location. Also,
in a very diverse community, protecting this building and its centuries-long legacy could help
bring together many ethnic groups and new immigrants and facilitate understanding the rich
history and heritage of this section of Queens; similarly, this church represents the continuity of
history that the original settlers represent, who came here for a better life and shared a common
place with others while still being able to practice their faith without persecution.

The Old St. James Church has much in common with other Colonial-era houses of worship
which have survived to the present day, including St. Pauls Chapel in Manhattan and the
Friends Meeting House in Flushing, Queens; they also share rare intact architecture, history and
cultural importance.

As the Landmarks Preservation Commission, your agency is charged with protecting valuable,
rare historic structures to be preserved for the benefit of New York City. We urge you to
designate Old St. James Church to save an extremely worthy building nearly three centuries old
- and already on the National and State Register of Historic Places which retains a narrative

that is woven through some of the most important events, families and neighborhoods of New
York City. To ever lose this place would make our city that much poorer for it.

This letter was written by Marialena Giampino, a life-long resident, community advocate and
volunteer that is acting on the desire of the community of Elmhurst to see this building
landmarked. A petition is attached with signatures from Elmhurst residents, homeowners and
active members.

The Community of Elmhurst, New York
See attached signatures*