The vote Monday preserves the final resting place for dozens of members of the Brinckerhoff family – one of the first European families to arrive in Queens in 1642.
“With the landmarking of the Brinckerhoff cemetery, an irreplaceable part of Queens’ history will be preserved in perpetuity,” said Councilman James Gennaro. “After more than a decade-long legal struggle, this hallowed ground, which was used as a cemetery for more than 200 years, is preserved.”
A professional survey of the plot in 1919 identified 77 headstones and markers dated from 1730 to 1872. In the 1930s, the suburban development of Fresh Meadows surrounded the cemetery, which is located on 182nd Street near 73rd Avenue.
Monday’s vote clears the way for efforts to restore and preserve one of the few tangible links to the borough’s rural past.
Council Member Gennaro thanked Council Members Dan Halloran, Mark Weprin, Brad Lander, Leroy Comrie, Elizabeth Crowley and Peter Vallone, Jr., as well as Fresh Meadows Homeowners Civic Association president James Gallagher, Jr. and his wife, Yolanda dela Cruz Gallagher, for their efforts to help save Brinckerhoff.
“The Fresh Meadows Homeowners Civic Association wishes to thank the NYC Council for their unanimous vote today to landmark Brinckerhoff Colonial Cemetery which dates back to 1730,” said association president James Gallagher. “It was a 12 year struggle for us.”
“This is an important step in preserving a hallowed piece of Queens' past,” said Brooklyn Councilman Brad Lander, who chairs the Land Use Subcommittee on Landmarks, Public Siting & Maritime Uses.