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Vintage Astoria house likely to be bulldozed as Historical Society struggles to save it


May 9, 2017 By Jason Cohen

Local historians who are looking to preserve an historic Astoria house are not backing down despite the Landmarks Preservation Commission’s (LPC) decision last month determining that it did not meet the criteria to be saved.

Members of the Greater Astoria Historical Society responded Friday to the LPC’s decision to deny landmark status, filing an amended Request for Evaluation.

The house that historians seek to preserve sits at 31-07 31st Ave. and was home to Ferdinand Quentin Dulcken, a pianist, composer and music teacher, who had a major impact on music in Astoria and throughout New York City.

Historians became concerned as to the fate of the house after local attorney George Hrisikopoulos purchased it for $1.4 million in 2015 and then filed plans in March to develop a six-story, 10-unit building, with space for an eating and drinking establishment.

Hrisikopoulos has yet to file for a demolition permit.

In March, the Historical Society submitted a request to preserve the house based on its historical significance that was rejected April 3.

The LPC, in rendering its decision, noted that there have been too many alterations over the years to the roofline, windows, railings and porch that “diminishes the site’s presence in the streetscape.”

Bob Singleton, executive director of the Greater Astoria Historical Society, was not convinced by the rationale behind the LPC’s decision.

“When they say that it doesn’t measure up because it’s been altered that is something which I accept with a grain of salt because virtually every building in New York City has been altered,” Singleton said.

The Historical Society’s amendment now seeks to save it on the basis that the house has “cultural” significance.

The group argues that the work of Dulcken–as with Steinway– played a significant role in the creation and promotion of the arts in New York.

While the amendment is being reviewed, Hrisikopoulos is able to go ahead with his development if he meets Building Departments criteria. Currently, he is not required to obtain an LPC permit in order to start construction.

Neal Herdan, a member of the historical society, hopes the group and public opposition will convince Hrisikopoulos to not move forward with the development.

“I think community activism is certainly a way to save this,” Herdan said. “The real thing is persuading the owner. He’s not going to want bad publicity.”

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7 Comments

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josefina

I hope they manage to preserve it. It kind of looks haunted and reminds me of one of those homes i seen on Hoarders and Fixer Upper.

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Anonymous

Why in the world would anyone want to save this piece of crap house? It’s an eyesore and in a state of disrepair. The house is a hazard to public safety, just take a close look at it. It’s ready to collapse any second. Idiotic liberals! Knock it down and let it be redeveloped.

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Gloria

The city never saves stuff in queens. We are like the stepchild….we gave already lost too much of our history to big builders….

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Lady H

Good riddance to this eyesore.

If the Hysterical Society wanted to save this house, they should have put the time and energy into it a decade ago. The house can’t be saved and can’t be returned to what it was. Give Dulcken his due, name the new building after him and find landmarks in the community that are worth saving.

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ashley

I pass by this location often. What historical value does it have that anyone cares about other than this association? Will they turn into a museum? if It was closer to the park, or on a block with many one family residential homes I would understand saving it. Judging from the article I doubt anyone who lives in the area cares about Quentin Dulcken and the same goes for the future generations.

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jenL

Do they need to get an injunction from a court also? I wonder. It sounds like nothing is really stopping the demolition at this time.

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