Queens isn't really known for messy preservation battles, with the knock being that the Landmarks Preservation Commission and other city agencies would rather just leave the borough to its Wild West tendencies. But the exception is St. Saviour's in Maspeth, and this sad story is heating up once again. Brief primer: 160-year-old house of worship designed by the architect of Trinity Church, brutalized by a developer under very shady circumstances over the past couple of years. After much neighborhood uproar, a deal was worked out to save the main church building (the trees and the smaller parsonage building weren't so lucky) and relocate it to a nearby cemetery, while the Parks Department works on a potential deal to acquire the land and turn it into a much-needed park. (Forgotten NY has an epic time line on the fight to save St. Saviour's.) All has been quiet at the church property lately, that is, until now.
A number of 311 complaints have recently been logged with the DOB regarding early-morning work without permits and all sorts of shenanigans regarding the property's old stone retaining wall. Which, as seen above, isn't doing so hot. One neighborhood activist observed the bulldozers doing their thing and e-mailed the DOB. The response, as reprinted on Queens Crap:
Kaboom! When word came later in the day that a 10-foot section of the retaining wall collapsed, another local St. Savior's activist e-mailed DOB brass and ranted, "Seriously - are you going to do your job and shut this down or are we going to have to go to the DOI or the Feds and get more of your inspectors thrown in jail for falsifying reports and potentially taking bribes?" That seemed to strike a nerve, as now the site carries a partial stop work order "as per commissioner," as well as commissioner-ordered periodic inspections. Yowza! This one's getting dirtier than a Queens Plaza strip club!
· DOB says this is perfectly safe [Queens Crap]
· St. Saviour's coverage [Curbed]