Earlier this year construction workers uncovered graves at the former home of the Saint Mark African Methodist Episcopal Church, on Corona Avenue between 90th Street and 91st Place. The church sold the land to developers, who planned to build condos, a parking lot and commercial space. Once the developers uncovered the gravesite, thought to be those of slaves and their descendants, construction halted.
According to a letter obtained by Queens Crap, the church and the current site owners will meet tomorrow with the Landmarks Preservation Commission to determine the fate of the cemetery. The church, who hopes to preserve the cemetery, outlined three goals: “To leave the recently uncovered graves where they are and not to move or cremate the remains; To have this African American burial site declared a protected landmark; To hold the current owners/construction company responsible for the storage, memorial and re-burial costs of the Iron Coffin Lady as well as a memorial for the recently uncovered bodies as was initially agreed.” (The Iron Coffin lady is former female parishioner buried in an iron coffin uncovered by the construction crew.) The church also reached out to local pols, the state senator, congressman, and the mayor to petition their case.
Image via Queens Crap