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Calls for Clock Tower to be landmarked, advocates seek CB1 support


Oct. 28, 2014 By Michael Florio

Two local residents approached Community Board 1 last week to notify them of their application to have the Clock Tower landmarked.

Michael Hall and Matthew Chrislip asked the community board for its support in their quest to get 29-27 Queens Plaza North, better known as the Clock Tower, designated as a landmark.

Hall said that an application had been sent to the Landmarks Preservation Commission last spring, asking the agency to declare the Clock Tower a landmark.

Hall stated that the LPC responded to the request, stating that it will take a close look at the building. He then asked the community board to send a letter of support to the LPC.

Queens architect Morrell Smith designed the Clock Tower, which was originally built for the Bank of Manhattan in 1927. At the time it was the tallest building in Queens, a title which it held until 1990 when it was overtaken by 1 Court Square, which became known as the Citicorp building.

The Clock Tower building has largely been empty for the past 25 years and has most recently been used by art groups.

“It sits at the foot of Queens Plaza overlooking a high-traffic corridor that is currently undergoing massive development,” Hall said.

If it were designated a landmark, any proposed changes to the Clock Tower would have to be reviewed and approved by the LPC.

“Even today, as its visibility is diminished by commercial high-rises and hotel towers that continue to pop up all around it, the tower remains a significant local landmark,” Hall said. “The Clock Tower is widely admired among members of the Long Island City and Dutch Kills communities for its unique architectural contributions to the area.”

Hall said he is confident that the Clock Tower not only meets, but exceeds, the standards for evaluation as an individual landmark.

Criterion Group, a residential development company, purchased the clock tower in May.

Community Board 1 Chairman Vinicio Donato stated that the request will be reviewed by the board and that the Parks and Recreation committee will make a motion whether to support it not. The entire board will then vote, whether they should send the LPC a letter backing the Clock Tower as a landmark.

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The clock tower on the current Jet Blue building is long gone. Let’s hope they keep this one.


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