For the record

To the Editor:

Another week, another vitriolic missive from Don MacLeod of FABGC.  Apparently, he is obsessed with attacking the Historical Society. This time it’s the false accusation that the Society has not worked to save the Chapel’s stained-glass windows.

We at The Garden City Historical Society are very proud of our advocacy programs in support of historic preservation. For years our representatives have stood at the speaker’s podium more times than I can count to exhort the Board of Trustees to take proper care of St Paul’s building antiquities. Once the police were called because they did not like our message. Sadly, it appears village government continues the practice of disrespecting residents.

TGCHS has a statement on its website that articulates our position on the St Paul’s main building.  It has been there for some time and no, it does not mandate every square foot of the building be saved! Maybe Mr. MacLeod and the members of FABGC should read it. I encourage everyone to read it.

Despite my written requests on behalf of TGCHS offering to help assemble appropriate preservation specialists to determine the right course of action for the stained-glass windows Mayor Flanagan responded with a dismissive “we’re on this.”

Last week’s letter by Mr. MacLeod alleges inaction on our part but surely most residents will recall that there were several prior Village administrations who would not allow anyone in the building due to various alleged unsafe conditions, all of which was nothing more than a false narrative. There have been years of misinformation about St. Paul’s but none of it has come from the Historical Society. 

I am a resident. I am not a trustee of the Village. I was told, just like you, that hazard suits were necessary, and it was terribly unsafe.  I have not been given access to the building despite ongoing requests. However, this Mayor and trustees determined they should go in to remove books wearing nothing but paper face masks. 

Mr. MacLeod and FABGC are intent on rewriting history now that the Village has once again voted to save St. Paul’s.  The spin from Mr. MacLeod on social media is fine-tuned but fact less. Do not believe their claim that they are the saviors of St. Paul’s, and question why former Mayor Veneziale’s resident committee was disbanded by Mayor Flanagan.

Be aware that Tara Cubie, Director of Preservation at Preservation Long Island, a recognized authority in our area concerning historic antiquities, wrote the mayor and asked that the Village follow an established protocol before removing historic stained-glass windows. The mayor rejected that advice and removed the chapel windows without a plan. “Storing the windows” is not a plan.  We do not question the authority or skill of the Botti company on restoration, but we do question whether it was the right course of action to proceed without a Conservator.  There is a pattern here all residents should be aware of. Last year this administration opted to desecrate the architectural integrity of the historic walls and vases at Nassau Blvd railroad station including disposing of the original decorative plantar vases. Another fatal loss for our Village history

The Garden City Historical Society has only the best practices for preservation of historic buildings and other aspects of Village history as its mission — the crown jewel of which is St. Paul’s. We believe in preservation and that has not changed since the very first vote about St. Paul’s was ever taken.

Bill Garry, President,
The Garden City Historical Society

2 responses to “For the record”

  1. Steve Ilardi says:

    Well stated.

  2. Donald MacLeod says:

    Well, we can agree to disagree. But one thing we can all agree on, is after 33 years, Bill Garry and his Historical Society were not able to get the windows protected, and two are probably beyond original repair. Maybe Bill Garry’s Alliance could show some pictures of the windows from the last couple of years, not from a decade or two ago before they started to collapse from lack of care.

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