LIC millstones Blog

To Protect and Preserve

…it might be safer to avoid moving them…

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- photo by Mitch Waxman

These photos were shot on April 20th, 2010, down in Queensboro Plaza. As mentioned in earlier posts, I regularly use the pedestrian lane of the Queensboro bridge as I transit back and forth from Manhattan to Astoria, and I often pass by the triangular lot where the LIC Millstones are being housed.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

The devastating designation of the Millstones as “a distinctive sidewalk” by the Landmarks Preservation Commission, in this letter addressed to Robert Singleton of the Greater Astoria Historic Society (below) is merely a setback.

the actual letter courtesy scribd.com

View this document on Scribd

Wow.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

In a Queens Chronicle article of April 15th, 2010- EDC spokeswoman Libby Langsdorf stated that the Millstones are actually too fragile to be moved. Which is apparently not true, as the photos above show. Compare with those of the millstones in other posts, and you can clearly see that SOMEONE was embarrassed enough by the photos of them published at this blog to actually move them. Who was the “archeological resources consultant” that supervised this?

quoting from the Queens Chronicle article-

Project managers said they intend to consider the stones during construction work. “The city and EDC are fully aware of the historical significance of the Colonial-era millstones at Queens Plaza,” said Libby Langsdorf, spokeswoman at EDC. “They are secured at the site, where there is little activity at this time.”

At this time, the EDC believes that due to the excessive weight of and fragility of the stones, it might be safer to avoid moving them.

“We are in the process of engaging an archeological resources consultant to help us develop a longer term plan to ensure their safety,” Langsdorf said. “Eventually, the millstones are to be incorporated into the new public plaza to be constructed in the area.”

- photo by Mitch Waxman

One of the Millstones is now inside of this little arrangement of scrap lumber and orange safety netting, and has been moved around 10-15 yards from the spot it enjoyed under the tree in other times. Bravo.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

Best case scenario- the local politicos who read or heard that someone was making a stink about the Millstones decided to do “the least” that they could. Worst case scenario, and the likely one, is that a construction crew needed to make room for the delivery of construction materials and moved the Millstone for their own convenience.

The latter is exactly the sort of thing that the antiquarian community is concerned about.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

The erection of tower buildings, the continuing Second Avenue Subway Extension project, the tens of thousands of cars and trucks that pass by every day… even a “distinctive sidewalk” needs protection in this environment.

How about a pair of colonial era technological artifacts ? What will be said when they are crushed by a truck, or go missing?

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