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Bowne Street Community Church

Update - March 2016

Last year, the New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission (NYC LPC), in a move to clear its backlog, chose 95 sites across the city for possible de-listing, removing them from consideration as landmarks. Some of these sites had been in limbo for decades. The Bowne Street Community Church was among 17 sites in Queens on this list.

We are thrilled that the LPC, on February 23rd, chose the Bowne Street Community Church as one of 30 sites to be worthy of consideration for a landmark designation. The church was one of only 3 Queens sites, out of 17, to make this list. All 30 sites will be considered in another round of hearings and final votes, possibly by December, 2016. The City Council has final say over these designations.

About the Bowne Street Community Church

This church is one of the most significant buildings in Flushing and is an important contributor to Bowne Street, which is world renowned for the number and diversity of its houses of worship.

The significance of the Bowne Street Community Church lies beyond its architectural merits, as great as they are. Originally built as a Dutch Reformed Church, it is the last link to the community’s history as a Dutch Colony in the mid-17th century, a period associated with the Flushing Remonstrance and John Bowne. As such, it forms a link with the Bowne House, the Flushing Quaker Meeting House and the Flushing Freedom Mile, attractions for tourists from all over the world.

The Community Church has beautiful and significant stained glass windows; these windows were included recently in a lecture program – “The Other Tiffany Girl; Agnes Northrup: Designer of Windows”. The lecture was given by Alice Frelinghuysen, Curator of American Decorative Arts at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Ms. Northrup (1857-1953) was a resident of Flushing and the most celebrated botanical artist and designer of windows at the Louis C. Tiffany Studios in Corona. Her elaborate landscape and garden scenes are among the most beautiful windows to emerge from the Tiffany Studios. Many of these garden scenes were inspired by Flushing’s gardens and parks. One window reflects a tranquil setting in Kissena Park. Ms. Northrup’s family was prominent in the Flushing community and they were deeply involved in both the church and in a variety of civic projects.

Tiffany Studios

Louis Comfort Tiffany (1848-1933) was one of America’s most celebrated masters of the decorative arts. He was the son of the founder of Tiffany and Company on Fifth Avenue, New York City. A trained artist, he turned to interior design and in the post Civil War period of prosperity decorated the homes of some of the most famous people of the day.
His public commissions included the Veteran’s Room of the Seventh Regiment Armory in NYC (newly restored) and Chester Arthur’s White House. His stained-glass windows were included in a number of the more important churches around the country. By the 1880’s his Tiffany Glass Company, located in Corona, was the largest producer of stained-glass windows.

Please Support the Designation of the Bowne Street Community Church

The church’s historical connections with Dutch history, its architectural merits, its association with the Tiffany Studios and with an accomplished and famous woman artist make a compelling story. This story celebrates the history and culture of Queens.

The Bowne Street Community Church is one of the most important sites in the area. We hope that the City Council and the NYC will give final approval for its designation as a landmark.

You may write to us to show your support for the Church as a site important to the community and to the city. If you are a city resident, you may write to your local member of the City Council. Your voice is important.