Archive for the tag 'lady deborah moody'

Photo courtesy of Lisanne Anderson

Photo courtesy of Lisanne Anderson

As we reported last week, the city’s Landmarks Preservation Commission (LPC) had planned to remove 98 sites from its list of potential landmarks today, an effort to clear a backlog of applications. On the list for almost 50 years was the historic Lady Moody’s House in Gravesend. Fortunately, thanks to pushback from politicians and preservationists, the vote was postponed until after January. Lady Moody’s House remains safe on the calendar – for now.

In the meantime, we’ve reached out to historian Joseph Ditta, author of “Then & Now: Gravesend, Brooklyn” and a reference librarian at the New-York Historical Society, and asked him to share the history of the house, how it acquired its name, and why it is worthy of protected status. Here’s what he told us:

The house at 27 Gravesend Neck Road has had many names in its long history. Although it stands on property that originally belonged to Lady Deborah Moody (c. 1586-1658), the founder of the Town of Gravesend, there is no definite proof that the house is the one she occupied. Continue Reading »

Source: Brooklyn Historical Society

Source: Brooklyn Historical Society

Almost 100 sites across the city — including our own Lady Deborah Moody’s House in Gravesend — could lose the chance of achieving landmark status in an effort by the Landmarks Preservation Commission to clear up a decades-old backlog of items, reports DNAinfo.

There are 94 sites and two historic districts that have been on the LPC’s calendar for consideration for decades — DNAinfo notes that 31 have been sitting there for 40 or more years — and the LPC hopes to push them aside to allow the commission to focus on new work.

“This is all about clearing out projects that are not active so we can focus on ones that are,” LPC chairwoman Meenakshi Srinivasan told the Times.

Preservationists are concerned about this action not only because it could potentially lead to historic buildings being torn down, but because the public hasn’t been given enough time to weigh in and testify.

“Previous landmark commissions voted that these sites should be considered as landmarks so they deserve their day in court,” Simeon Bankoff, executive director of the preservation organization Historic Districts Council, told DNAinfo.

State Assemblyman Steven Cymbrowitz echoed that sentiment today in a statement.

“The Lady Deborah Moody House is an irreplaceable piece of Brooklyn history dating back before the American Revolution and it therefore deserves to be protected from random demolition,” Cymbrowitz said. “Removing the house from landmarks consideration, and doing so without any formal public input, shows a lack of respect for Brooklyn’s past and deprives residents of the right to weigh in regarding the house’s fate.”

Gravesend historic sign
Lady Deborah Moody’s House (27 Gravesend Neck Road) — which has been awaiting approval for landmark status since 1966 — was never lived in by its namesake, who established Gravesend in the 1600s. The house was built on land owned by the Englishwoman some time around 1700, possibly by the Van Sicklen family, according to Brownstoner. Across the street from the home are historic Van Sicklen and Gravesend cemeteries, as well as a plaque commemorating the historic origins of Gravesend and Lady Moody herself.

In addition to Lady Moody’s House, the sites include several churches (like St. Augustine’s on 6th Avenue in Park Slope), Green-Wood Cemetery, the Snug Harbor Historic District in Staten Island, and more.

The commission is set to vote on the issue at an LPC meeting on December 9. Even if they’re removed, sites with a lot of public support could be reconsidered for landmark designation in the future — if they’re still around for that.

With additional reporting by Rachel Silberstein.

Source: GK tramrunner229 via Wikimedia Commons

When the staff here at Sheepshead Bites combs through the daily news alerts for mentions of our area, we are inundated with a deluge of photographs, videos and news items from our similarly named haunts in Great Britain.

Sometimes we come across fantastic stories for Gravesend that we can’t believe we haven’t covered, only to quickly realize that they are for the British Gravesend located in the South East English County of Kent. Apparently, the writers of Gravesend Reporter, a local UK website, probably have had the same problem and decided to just see what life is really like for Gravesend residents located on our side of the Atlantic.

Their article is a fascinating exposè on the ins and outs of Gravesend life, its local history and what connection, if any, the British Gravesend has with the American one.

In reading the article I learned that the connection is dubious at best. The American Gravesend was named by British colonist Lady Deborah Moody in 1645 after a town in Holland (s-Gravenzande) oddly enough. On the one hand it makes sense that Gravesend would be given a Dutch name since its earliest (European) inhabitants were Dutch, yet the town was still founded by a British colonist. (Another fun fact, Lady Moody was the first female landowner in the New World, and the only woman to ever found a settlement in colonial America. According to Wikipedia, she was considered “a dangerous woman.”)

The only real link dredged up by our neighbors in Kent was when (English) Gravesend councilor Peter Dyke made a visit to our American home over 30 years ago, carrying the declaration, “To designate June 9, 1979, as Gravesend, Brooklyn, New York, and Gravesend, England, Twin Communities’ Anniversary Day.” Sadly, the twin city status no longer exists and is barely remembered.