May 18, By Jason Cohen
Local historians who are seeking the community board’s support to save a 140-year-old Astoria house were told by its chairman Tuesday that it was too late for the board to help.
Historians are looking to save the Dulcken House, located at 31-07 31st Avenue, from being bulldozed by a developer who has filed plans to demolish it and build a six-story building.
Joseph Risi, chairman of Community Board 1, was sympathetic of the historians’ cause to save the house, once home to famed composer Ferdinand Quentin Dulcken, but said that it was too late for the board to help.
“We support preserving structures in our community,” Risi said at Community Board 1’s monthly meeting Tuesday. However, he added, “I think we should be proactive, rather than reactive and not wait for the wrecking ball to come.”
Historians first became concerned about the building’s fate when local attorney George Hrisikopoulos, who purchased the house for $1.4 million in 2015, filed plans in March to develop it.
In March, the Greater Astoria Historical Society submitted a request with the Landmarks Preservation Commission to save the house based on its historical significance. The request was rejected April 3.
The LPC dismissed the request on the basis that there had been too many alterations to the house over the years. Upon rejection, the Historical Society filed an amended request trying to save it on the basis of its cultural significance.
Neil Herdan, a member of the historical society, told the board Tuesday that the house should be preserved given its significance to the neighborhood despite it being in need of repair and the alterations.
Bob Singleton, the executive director of the historical society, expressed his frustrations and told the board the house should be a tourist destination.
“We have a problem here in Astoria,” he exclaimed. “We must ask why the Dulcken House is not a tourist destination generating revenue for the Astoria community?”
Singleton still believes that if the community board and city council throw their support behind the house and it can be saved.
Despite his objections, Hrisikopoulos is free to go ahead with his development if he obtains all the standard permits needed from the Building Departments. Currently, he is not required to get the greenlight from the LPC in order to demolish the house.