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718-366-3715

November15,2009

CoreyBearalgPresident
Q.ueensCivicCongress
P.O.Box238
Flushing,NewYork11363

Re:NewtownHistoricalSocievs positionon the millstonesat QueensPlaza

TheNewtownHistoricalSociety,advocatesfor the protectionand preservationof all historicresources


within the areaof QueensformerlyknownasNewtown,includingDutchKills,doesnot supportthe city
of NewYorKsplanwith regardsto the Payntarmillstonesat QueensPlaza.

Themillstonesare pricelesshistoricalartifactsthat needto be carefullyexaminedto fully understand


andappreciatetheir history.Archaeologists cannotproperlyassess their historicalsignificance
or the
damagethey havesufferedwhilethey areembeddedin a concretesidewalkor cratedbehinda
constructionfence.

Judgingstrictlyby the partsof the stonesthat arepubliclyviewable,they havesustainedextensive


damagewhile underthe careof the CityandStateof NewYorkandtheir variouscontractorsthroughout
the years.Thecenterof one hasbeenworn awayandthoughtlessly "repaired"with asphaltand hasa
visiblecrackon its face.

Whenthis projectwasannouncedtherewasno moneyincludedin the budgetfor properhandlingof


the stonesand no planfor their preservation,
and it certainlyshows.Heavyconstructionequipmenthas
beenstoredon top of the embeddedcrackedstoneandthe stonethat hasbeenexhumedis in danger
of beingdamaged,stolenor lost. "Don'tworry they'reinsuredby the contractor,"we-veheard. How
canthe city possiblyapplymonetaryvalueto its historicalartifacts?Themillstoneshavesignificance
that cannotbejudgedin termsof dollarsandpersonsexpressing this sentimentclearlydo not
understandthe purposeof preservationandshouldnot be entrustedwith their care.

TheQueensPlazamillstonesarebelievedto be the oldestmanmadeobjectsin the boroughcreatedby


Europeansettlers.Theydeserveto be treatedwith respectandresearched, examinedand restoredby a
team of historicalexperts.Thecitizensof LonglslandCitydeservethe opportunityto observeand learn
aboutthemin theirown communiW.
It is imperativethat the millstonesbe removedfrom their currentlocationand kept in a safesetting
until they find a permanenthome, TheGreaterAstoriaHistoricalSocietyhasofferedtheir galleryspace,
time andexpertiseto ensurethat this is accomplished. Theirfacilityis secureandthey arethe historical
organizationmostproximalto the spotwherethe millstonescurrentlyare located.Havingworkedwith
them on severalprojects/we are confidentthat the mostappropriatetemporarylocationfor the
millstonesis at their gallery.No one understandstheir role in Queendhistorymorethan GAHS,no one
would takebettercareof them and undoubtedly,GAHSis bestpreparedto presenttheir storyto the
public.

At our lastmeeting,the boardof the NewtownHistoricalSocietyunanimously votedto join the Long


lslandCityAlliancein supportof the GreaterAstoriaHistoricalSocievs proposalandwe will actively
work with them to preservethe millstones.We stronglyencourage the QueensCivicCongress to do the
same. Letusstandunitedto do what is in the bestinterestof our historyandthe peopleto whom it
belongsinsteadof offeringpassiveacceptance to a blindbureaucracy that hasa historyof mishandling
and neglectingour historicresources.

Yourstruly,

fu*22*^
Christina
Wilkinson
President