Thursday, February 28, 2008

Retracing the Elusive Footsteps of a Secretive History

The NY Times published an article on the challenges of preserving homes tied to the Underground Railroad. Sound familiar? This is a story that takes place not in Brooklyn, but in Manhattan, on West 29th Street, also known as Lamartine Place.

Here is a quote from Retracing the Elusive Footsteps of a Secretive History:

Though buildings throughout the city are often thought to have been part of the escape route north, finding documents that provide proof is extremely difficult. “It’s incredibly rare that you can substantiate it,” said Andrew Berman, executive director of the Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation. “Locations were secretive by their very nature.”

Despite the documentation Ms. Luskin collected, No. 339 could not originally be considered for designation as a landmark because a building permit had been issued for the construction project. However, construction is at a standstill; according to Kate Lindquist, a spokeswoman for the Department of Buildings, the permit for construction of the penthouse is being revoked, in part because an agency review determined that the architectural plans did not comply with building and zoning codes.

The Landmarks Preservation Commission is currently evaluating No. 339 to see if it is eligible for designation as a landmark, news that will no doubt delight some local residents.

“Being one of the few African-Americans on the block, I have an emotional connection to this history,” said Curtis Jewell, a 55-year-old truck driver for the Postal Service who has lived in Ms. Luskin’s building for 10 years. “You have a lot of cultural history in New York that money seems to want to push out of the way.”

Monday, February 18, 2008

African American PlayWrights Exchange spreads the word about Duffield

The African American PlayWrights Exchange is helping to spread the word about our upcoming fundraiser:
227 Abolitionist Place
Home of Brooklyn’s Abolitionist Movement

Help support the creation of an Independent museum/cultural center for the celebration of American history and Brooklyn’s resistance to slavery
Friday, February 29th
7:00 to 10:00 PM
Danny Simmons'
Corridor Gallery
To visit their blog, please click here.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

1010WINS revisits 227 Duffield for Black History Month

1010WINS continues its excellent coverage of 227 Duffield with their article "Black History Month: Saving History in Brooklyn":
The good news is that Joy Chatel has saved her home at 227 Duffield Street in Downtown Brooklyn from eminent domain.

A bricked-up tunnel in the building's basement is believed to be an escape route used in the Underground Railroad.

Chatel now hopes to turn it into a cultural center and museum. People have already showed up on her doorstep.
The text version of the article can be found here. The audio version of the story can be found here.