Landmarking Saves Queens Cemetery From Becoming A Housing Development

queensgraveyard Landmarking Saves Queens Cemetery From Becoming A Housing Development

The resting place may remain at rest. (Queens Time Ledger)

We thought that the scene at the end of Poltergeist, where the dad yells at the real estate developer after unspeakable horrors are visited upon his family, would be enough to deter any housing developer from building over a cemetery.

But apparently the words: “You son of a bitch! You moved the cemetery, but you left the bodies, didn’t you?” did not have a lasting effect on the series of owners who have tried to develop a colonial-era Queens graveyard.

Fortunately, after years of advocacy by local residents and preservation advocates, Brinckerhoff Cemetery has earned a rare graveyard designation from the Landmarks Preservation Commission, according to the New York Daily News.

The commission noted research showing maps of graves and archival photos of headstones in the Fresh Meadows plot. Prominent Dutch settlers were interred at the site between 1730 and 1872.

“There is enormous interest and community support for this designation,” Commission Chairman Robert Tierney said of the decision.

The property is privately owned by a company called Linda’s CAI Trading. As Curbed notes, early settlers in the area were faced with an abundance of Dutch names when deciding what to call the burial yard as it occupied an acre and a half on the border of the Brinckerhoff-Skidmore-Schleider and Noorstrandt-Hendrickson-Purdy-Eisdeman farms.

kvelsey@observer.com