LIC millstones Blog

To Protect and Preserve

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Tell Councilman Van Bramer That the Library is a Bad Idea!

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                                              Terry Osborne today left a message at the Greater Astoria Historical Society mentioning that negotiations are underway to transfer the LIC millstones to the library.  We can only reiterate what we have already said:  The millstones belong in a museum, not a library. 

The Greater Astoria Historical Society has an exhibit space that is run by historians who know how to exhibit the stones and how to study them.  It is the intention of GAHS to have scholars examine the stones to close all of the gaps in our knowledge of their history.  GAHS can potentially put to rest all questions of their origin and age if they’re allowed this opportunity.

The library has no such expertise. What it does have is budget constraints. Any funds spent by the library on this transfer (even if donated) would be better served funding programs the library is already administering.  Furthermore, as the chart below indicates, the library is open to the public for half the amount of time that The Greater Astoria Historical Society is.

Hours Open Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat Sun
Library 1-8 1-6 10-6 1-8 10-6 10-5:30 Closed
G.A.H.S. 8-8 8-8 8-8 8-8 8-8 8-6 8–6

Written by licmillstones

July 23, 2010 at 9:15 pm

…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

View this document on Scribd


– 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?