DUTCH Kills Green, opened in the early 2010s in front of the clock-towered Bank of Manhattan, where Northern Boulevard begins its march to the eastern end of Long Island, contains two of the oldest man-made objects in Queens embedded in its concrete.
In 1650, Dutchman Burger Jorissen constructed a grist mill that today would be on Northern Boulevard between 40th Road and 41st Avenue. The mill existed on the site for about 111 years, until 1861 when it was razed by the Long Island Rail Road. The Payntar family by that time owned the mill property (40th Avenue was called Payntar Avenue until the 1920s) and had placed millstones that had been shipped in by Jorissen around 1657 in front of their house. When Sunnyside Yards, Queens Plaza and the elevated were constructed, one of the millstones was preserved and embedded in a concrete traffic plaza, and there it stayed until a partner millstone was found and placed in the same plaza in the 1980s.
When Dutch Kills Green was built the millstones were saved and are currently exhibited in the green space, but this time they are raised above the ground. Unfortunately this permits even more weathering; in my opinion the best place for them would be the Queens Museum or somewhere indoors where they could be safe from prevailing conditions.
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In any other borough, they would be in a museum. But this is Queens.
Should be 211 years
Isn’t that the thing you’re supposed to keep your nose to? Oh wait, that’s a grindstone. Never mind.
Funding dried up and local elected officials refused to acknowledge the local group who fought for these stones.
A local community board leader said at a community meeting “what is the big deal? they are just rocks!”
Now walk through Old Astoria and walk up to the Steinway Mansion. This is Astoria.
The Queens Historical Society might be interested in this relic.
Love the history & thank you so much for sharing! Yes, this beautiful relic should definitely be moved to a museum…I agree with Philipe’s suggestion above.