U.S. Rep Grace Meng’s (D-Flushing) bill to study the viability of the National Park Service supporting Queens historic sites associated with the signing of the Flushing Remonstrance passed the Senate last Friday night.
The Flushing Remonstrance Study Act would require the secretary of the Interior, who oversees federal parkland, to consider the possibility of giving Flushing sites, such as the John Bowne House and the Old Quaker Meetinghouse, support from the National Park Service.
The bill passed the House 20th century in September. If President Barack Obama signs the bill, the National Park Service will be able to look at whether the sites meet the requirements for national significance, suitability and feasibility.
It could also lead to the sites becoming either a national historic park or a national historic site or creating partnerships to support the facilities.
“Flushing Remonstrance and Bowne House were very important to the history of Flushing but I think to New York and the entire country,” Meng said. “It’s essentially the birthplace of religious freedom and so we thought it would be important to get recognition from the federal government.”
The John Bowne House on 37-01 Bowne St., owned by the city Department of Parks and Recreation, is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The Old Quaker Meetinghouse on 137-16 Northern Blvd., owned by the Flushing Monthly Meeting of the Religious Society of Friends, is a National Historic Landmark for architecture and religion.
The sites are associated with the 1657 signing of the Flushing Remonstrance, the document recognized as the forerunner of religious freedom in the United States.
“The end result of this legislation is that the Bowne House or anything related to the Flushing Remonstrance, any site, will be under the jurisdiction of the national park service and so it could be more of a national landmark,” Meng said. “People coming to New York will be able to learn more about it.”
Reach reporter Madina Toure by e-mail at mtour
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