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Sun. Jun 16th, 2024

ElksLodge

On Wednesday, March 9th, Majority Leader Jimmy Van Bramer, Amadeo Plaza, President of the Court Square Civic Association, Richard Mazda, Artistic Director of Long Island City’s Secret Theatre, Orestes Gonzalez, Long Island City photographer, and Bob Singleton, President of Greater Astoria Historical Society, joined residents and community members to rally for the landmarking of the former Elks Lodge at 21-42 44th Drive in Long Island City.

The building, which was purchased by 44th Drive Owner LLC in February, is beloved by many in the community. The purchase sparked a grassroots response among Long Island City residents to have the building landmarked and saved from destruction. Last week, Council Majority Leader Jimmy Van Bramer wrote to the Landmarks Preservation Commission, urging them to designate the building as a historical landmark.

Yesterday, workers began construction on the building, destroying several key parts of the distinctive façade, including several terra-cotta relief elk heads. After it was discovered that the builders were working without a permit, the Department of Buildings issued a stop work order yesterday afternoon. By that point, several elements of the façade had been destroyed.

“What happened yesterday is a disgraceful act of civic vandalism,” said Majority Leader Jimmy Van Bramer. “The developers were clearly scared by our community’s attempts to have this building landmarked, and they used a dirty trick to destroy some of the building’s most architecturally significant aspects. I’m standing with my community today to tell these creeps that they won’t win.”

“I’m also taking legislative action,” Council Member Van Bramer continued. “Today, I requested two important pieces of legislation. The first increases fines for altering or demolishing a building without a permit. The second makes it a crime to alter or demolish a building that is in any stage of the landmarking process without a permit. These bills will help keep monstrous acts like the ones committed yesterday from happening again.”

Majority Leader Van Bramer was joined at the rally by Amadeo Plaza, President of the Court Square Civic Association, Richard Mazda, Artistic Director of Long Island City’s Secret Theatre, Orestes Gonzalez, Long Island City photographer, and Bob Singleton, President of Greater Astoria Historical Society, as well as dozens of concerned residents and community members.

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