Time is ticking for the Victorian that currently resides at 104 Sixth St. Last month, the Village of Garden City’s Architectural Design Review Board (ADRB) voted in favor of the demolition of this home, one of the original “worker” houses designed by architect John Kellum in 1871. The property is one of 50 A.T. Stewart-era houses listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1978 for its association with the early development of one of the first planned communities in America.
At the same meeting, the home’s owners, New York Islanders defenseman John Boychuk and his wife Sheena, stated the structure was free for the asking if any interested parties would pay for moving it. Historical Society board member Terry Kenny, with help from Boychuk architect T.J. Costello of Manhasset-based Hierarchy Architecture, has been spearheading a last-ditch effort to have someone agree to take the house and pay for the moving expenses. Kenny has sent a flurry of emails to people and places in and out of Garden City to see if there are any takers for the house. He and Costello have appeared at board meetings for the Garden City Public Library and the village board of trustees to plead their case. And while Kenny’s research into moving costs has come up with a cost between $150,000 and $175,000 to move the home, Costello is offering to donate $20,000 to the effort in cash and professional services that would be required to create the drawings and logistics to move it from one site to another.
While 104 Sixth St. has been recognized for its historical significance on a national level, the lack of a local landmark ordinance makes this point moot. A proposal the Historical Society made earlier in the year at a village board meeting to put a moratorium on demolition to homes fitting this description while trying to create such a mandate was shot down by the village board earlier this year.
“In order to provide real protection to the community’s historic resources and unique sense of place, the board of Architectural Design Review should work with the Village of Garden City Board of Trustees to create a local landmark ordinance to formally designate an historic district that will provide real protection for its cultural resources,” Kenny explained.
Should the home wind up getting demolished, Kenny feels it will be part of an ongoing trend of historical structures going under the wrecking ball that is altering the aesthetic fabric of the village in a most negative way.
“Lacking a local landmark ordinance, the Village of Garden City has no real means to protect historic resources within the community, including those listed on the National Register. The Architectural Review Board’s decision to allow the demolition of 104 6th Street will have a detrimental impact to the surrounding neighborhood,” he said. “With the loss of McKim, Mead and White’s Garden City Hotel, St. Mary’s School, four of the original Apostle houses, and the uncertain future of St. Paul’s School, the Village of Garden City is on a path to becoming ‘Nowhere, USA.’”