Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Irresponsible Development

"It's outrageous that this work would be done, particularly with no permits. The building is 
historic, it's beautiful and it should be saved." -Jimmy Van Bramer, NYC City Council

The Elks Lodge on 44th Drive in Long Island City, Queens was built in 1907. It is an architecturally distinctive structure in a quickly homogenizing area and represents a part of LIC that is being swept away by the rapid development. It was recently discovered that the building was sold off to developer ‎Alwest Equities and slated for demolition in order to make way for new condominiums. The development of a neighborhood requires a vision for a future that plans responsibly and sustainably; but it also requires respect for its past and protections for its community. The Elks Lodge represents a cornerstone of that past, and can easily be repurposed to serve the community into the future.

From the extreme stress placed on the transit system and the shortage of schools to protection for the arts and lack of a community center, the protection of the Elks Lodge is the key to a larger conversation about development decisions that include the interests of the community — not just the interests of wealthy developers who see the neighborhood in $$$/sq ft. Many Long Island City (and Queens overall) residents oppose the planned demolition and immediately took action. The community called for an emergency meeting, put together a petition, and contacted local councilmen Jimmy Van Bramer. Yesterday, the police shut down the demolition. NYC Department of Buildings was on site because it turns out no permits were issued, and the developer was setting up illegally, removing parts of the facade without any protection to pedestrians or workers.

For more information on how to help, email the Court Square Civic Association

Photography by Orestes Gonzalez © 2016

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