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Fresh Meadows cemetery focus of suit against city

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The Fresh Meadows community is preparing for a legal battle with the city to preserve an 18th century burial site, the Brinckerhoff Cemetery, whose fate will be decided in State Supreme Court Feb. 1.

The Queens Historical Society and Fresh Meadows Civic Association have joined forces in the suit against the city and the property owner, Joseph DeDomenico.

The suit contends the city should not have sold the land in the early 1960s to a potential developer and is seeking to have the city buy back the property.

The cemetery belonged to the Brinckerhoff family, who were among the first Dutch settlers of Queens, and its use dates to the early 18th century.

Surviving family descendants are co-plaintiffs in the suit.

The 270-year-old cemetery is presently a vacant, unfenced lot between two houses north of 73rd Avenue on 182nd Street. It contains the remains of 77 family members dating to 1730, according to a 1919 survey.

In 1934, a developer who Queens Historical Society President Stanley Cogan believed was named Gross-Morton built around the graveyard.

The city acquired the property through non-payment of taxes and sold it at public auction in 1962 to Joseph DeDomenico, who at the time lived next to the property.

But his plan to develop the land was blocked by a Brinckerhoff descendant, Fred Powell, in 1981, according to Cogan. As a result of Powell

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