Almost 100 sites across the city — including our own Lady Deborah Moody’s House in Gravesend — could lose the chance of achieving landmark status in an effort by the Landmarks Preservation Commission to clear up a decades-old backlog of items, reports DNAinfo.
There are 94 sites and two historic districts that have been on the LPC’s calendar for consideration for decades — DNAinfo notes that 31 have been sitting there for 40 or more years — and the LPC hopes to push them aside to allow the commission to focus on new work.
“This is all about clearing out projects that are not active so we can focus on ones that are,” LPC chairwoman Meenakshi Srinivasan told the Times.
Preservationists are concerned about this action not only because it could potentially lead to historic buildings being torn down, but because the public hasn’t been given enough time to weigh in and testify.
“Previous landmark commissions voted that these sites should be considered as landmarks so they deserve their day in court,” Simeon Bankoff, executive director of the preservation organization Historic Districts Council, told DNAinfo.
State Assemblyman Steven Cymbrowitz echoed that sentiment today in a statement.
“The Lady Deborah Moody House is an irreplaceable piece of Brooklyn history dating back before the American Revolution and it therefore deserves to be protected from random demolition,” Cymbrowitz said. “Removing the house from landmarks consideration, and doing so without any formal public input, shows a lack of respect for Brooklyn’s past and deprives residents of the right to weigh in regarding the house’s fate.”
Lady Deborah Moody’s House (27 Gravesend Neck Road) — which has been awaiting approval for landmark status since 1966 — was never lived in by its namesake, who established Gravesend in the 1600s. The house was built on land owned by the Englishwoman some time around 1700, possibly by the Van Sicklen family, according to Brownstoner. Across the street from the home are historic Van Sicklen and Gravesend cemeteries, as well as a plaque commemorating the historic origins of Gravesend and Lady Moody herself.
In addition to Lady Moody’s House, the sites include several churches (like St. Augustine’s on 6th Avenue in Park Slope), Green-Wood Cemetery, the Snug Harbor Historic District in Staten Island, and more.
The commission is set to vote on the issue at an LPC meeting on December 9. Even if they’re removed, sites with a lot of public support could be reconsidered for landmark designation in the future — if they’re still around for that.
With additional reporting by Rachel Silberstein.