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.


  1. In 1980 i lived on Alderton St. i was local concrete contractor i worked with George Negri . I grew up on Wetherole St where my family built a apt. building in 1935 to this day my family still lives there. I made the concrete base for the bronze plaque the day Michael Albetta brought it to my house it fell over an gave me 15 stitches on my foot. That was when Semeniro was starting out the park had to be ready for Memorial Day Me and michael cleaned it up.

  2. This was at the end of my Grandparents' block.They moved to Alderton St. In the late 40s. I remember this little cemetery and hope that it will be presrved.