The Real Deal New York

Community fights condo rising on freed slave burial ground

January 09, 2014 01:45PM

Leaders of the Saint Marks A.M.E. Church in Jackson Heights, Queens, are fighting to preserve a freed slave burial ground uncovered at a condominium development site in Elmhurst, Queens.

A five-story condominium is in the works at 90-11 Corona Avenue, which is owned by 90 Queens Inc., according to city records. A construction crew, while working to pull down an old warehouse, accidentally pulled up a woman’s iron casket.

Construction was halted on the site after the discovery, and an archaeologist has since found the bones of 15 more bodies. Many more could also be buried on the site, Houston said.

The city has since issued a partial stop work order, and local preservationists are pushing for work at the burial ground to be permanently halted.

“This cemetery is part of our proud heritage,” Thomas McKenzie, president of the Newtown Civic Association, told the Daily News.

The site’s owners did not immediately return calls from the News. [NYDN] — Julie Strickland