Friday, February 19, 2010

You're Invited: Newtown & Its Newtown Pippin Apple, Feb 21, 2010

All are invited to a slideshow and presentations by 4 historical organizations on Sunday, February 21, 2010 at 12:30 PM at the First Presbyterian Church of Newtown, Queens Blvd & 54th Ave, Elmhurst. Newtown Township stretched from the East River to the Flushing River, and once included Maspeth, Elmhurst, East Elmhurst, Middle Village, Glendale, Ridgewood, Forest Hills, Rego Park, Woodside, Jackson Heights and Corona. Rego-Forest Preservation Council proudly endorses...


* Learn about the history of old Newtown
* Re-Discover its famous 1700s export, Newtown Pippin Apples.
* Become a supporter of the efforts to bring back the long vanished apple trees to this area.

According to the Newtown Historical Society, the First Presbyterian Church of Newtown was the site of a planting in 2002, which brought the apple back to its area of origin for the first time since the early 19th century ( The presentation will explain the history of the apple in Queens and the new replanting project that has been underway for the past year. The 2009 City Council resolution calling for recognition of the Newtown Pippin as the official apple of the City of New York will also be discussed and samples of the apples will be available for tasting.


President Christina Wilkinson, Newtown Historical Society,
Co-Founder Erik Baard, Newtown Pippin Project,
Vice President Bob Singleton, Greater Astoria Historical Society,
Historian Marjorie Melikian, First Presbyterian Church of Newtown,


Church service, 10:45 AM - 12:00 PM, Sanctuary
Refreshments, 12:00 PM - 12:30 PM, Gym
Slideshow & Lecture, 12:30 PM, Sanctuary

For more information, please call the Newtown Historical Society at (718) 366-3715, e-mail or call the Newtown Pippin Project at (917) 697-9221.

First Presbyterian Church of Newtown photo by Chair Michael Perlman, Rego-Forest Preservation Council

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Remsen Cemetery: A Forest Hills/Rego Park Landmark!

Kudos to Historian Ron Marzlock, contributing writer to the Queens Chronicle and the Rego-Forest Preservation Council blog for covering an earliest extant landmark of the Forest Hills/Rego Park vicinity, known as Remsen Cemetery, which extensively predates Forest Hills and Rego Park, and is an undiscovered enclave for some. It is located at Alderton St & Trotting Course Lane, adjoining 69-43 Trotting Course Lane. Remsen Cemetery was officially designated by the NYC Landmarks Preservation Commission on May 26, 1981, after perserverance by Historian Jeff Gottlieb and local advocates, and the designation report is as follows:  It is one of 2 official local landmarks, considering the other is the Ridgewood Savings Bank, designated on May 30, 2000 (which will be a future blog posting).

This is the Remsen Cemetery photoset by Chair Michael Perlman of Rego-Forest Preservation Council:

Remsen Cemetery and Alderton St, 1950
Now onto Ron Marzlock's historic research, published in his I Have Often Walked column in the Queens Chronicle on Feb 11, 2010.....

With the rapid growth of Queens County in the 1920s, old farms that had been in families for generations were falling one by one. Growing crops was no longer profitable with the sudden rise in real property taxes, and farmers were forced to sell their land.

Many Queens County families had opted to be buried on their own private land. As the years went on public disregard and disinterest allowed many of those cemeteries to be bought up by developers.

But the Queens Borough President’s Office recognized that history was vanishing before our eyes and commissioned the borough’s chief engineer, a Mr. Powell, to study the private cemeteries. He found in 1932 that there were still 22 private family graveyards in Queens. The oldest legible tombstone was dated to 1718. The beep’s office published a book based on the survey.

As Queens entered the second part of the 20th century preservationists discovered that one of the sites spared by developers was Remsen Cemetery, located in a 2.5-acre triangle bounded by Alderton Street, Trotting Course Lane and Metropolitan Avenue. It’s still there today.

In the 1932 survey the propertywas called Hopedale. Due to changes in postal zones it is technically located today in Rego Park, not Forest Hills as it sometimes is referred to.

It’s no secret that during the American Revolution Queens County was “Tory,” backing the British. But the cemetery’s namesake, Colonel Jeromus Remsen, was a true American patriot and hero at the Battle of Long Island, also known as the Battle of Brooklyn.

Thanks to the Remsen Park Coalition, the cemetery was assigned to the Department of Parks and Recreation in 2003. In 2008 the department agreed to buy the abutting land, owned by The American Legion, for $50,000 to help complete the plan to make the Remsen site a park.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Please Help Save The Jorissen Millstones, Gems of National Significance!

Rego-Forest Preservation Council proudly endorses the Jorissen Millstones Preservation Cause. The following is courtesy of Guest Writer & Preservationist Terence Bolger (

Colonial-era millstones have been in a sidewalk in Queens Plaza North, Long Island City for decades, but are endangered and need your help! They are known as the Jorissen millstones, which are a part of not only LIC history, but of Queens, NYC, NYS, and even National history. They are from one of the oldest mills in the area (possibly the oldest in Queens) - and the mills actually were the first economic engine of the state. As Bob Singleton of the Greater Astoria Historical Society points out, the barrels depicted on the NYS flag are flour barrels representing mill production. This was one of the earliest types of commerce to bring wealth to the colony.

Now as a reconstruction project takes shape, the Jorissen millstones are being stored on the construction site. In this photo, the millstone that was set in the eastern end of the median above, is said to be stored in a crate. We would like to have them temporarily moved (for their own safety and for the public good) to an exhibit space graciously offered by the Greater Astoria Historical Society. Some community leaders have expressed concern that we are trying to take the stones away from the community permanently. They are city property, and would be returned to Queens Plaza as soon as their pedestals are ready. We only wish to borrow them for study by experts, and for exhibit to the public for the approximately 2 years the construction is expected to last. No other institution is interested in doing so. Please see our dedicated blog to learn more and to sign the petition:

Also of great importance is to have the Jorissen Millstones designated as official NYC Landmarks, as they merit preservation for future generations through the Landmarks Law.

Please sign the following Petition to Protect The Jorissen Millstones, and inform as many friends and colleagues as possible. Time is of the essence!