Walk Leader: Jack Eichenbaum
Text by: Jack Eichenbaum
In celebration of the glorious life, legend, lore and legacy of Jane Jacobs a group set forth on Saturday morning, May 7, 2016, from the heart of what the Municipal Art Society has characterized as Historic Downtown Flushing, Queens, New York.
With our group Leader, JACK EICHENBAUM, at the helm, we quickly fleet footed past St. George’s Episcopal Church, unto Northern Boulevard and Main Street, the situs of the now infamous RKO KEITH’S THEATER, which has become a symbol of humanity’s unquenchable lust for money at the expense of history if not preservation, fully forward en route to Bowne Street, before attending to what is clearly now the elevation of form over function – FLUSHING HIGH SCHOOL, designated as a landmark by the New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission in 1991, where nearby rests the home of Lewis Latimer, the freed Black slave credited in 1881 with the “Process of Manufacturing Carbons, within the NYCHA.
“Latimer Gardens” complex, which former property is a member of the Historic House Trust and reflects an appreciation of what The Bible caveats: ‘…save what remains’ – thanks to an enlightened late 1980s community push to preserve when the Latimer House – now a Science Museum for Children – faced the developer’s wrecking ball.
But I digress…
Cut to the chase: THE QUAKER MEETING HOUSE, THE KINGSLAND HOMESTEAD, BOWNE HOUSE (1661), THE HINDU TEMPLE SOCIETY OF NORTH AMERICA [in front of which John Cage in the 1970s situated “Waltz 22.3” – Waltzes for The Five Boroughs] – all resounding highlights of this Jane’s Walk – one and all mere foreplay for what in modern American political history may soon become the hugest in Bowne Street’s real estate cache, namely ’41-10 Bowne Street’, a property once known as Kendall Hall.
Why you wonder.
Frederick Christ Trump, the New York-born Father, of the son, Donald H. Trump, the man who would become President, developed this Queens apartment house with his trademark lobby bird cages still in-tact.
Interestingly this Father of the man who has revived the tag line – America First – is the very same person who in the middle of The Great Depression pioneered the concept of supermarkets with the ‘Trump Market’ [tag line: “Serve Yourself and Save”] – which became a mega hit.
Curiously shortly after her birth on July 6, 1921, Anne Frances Robbins moved into a three story wooden house at 149-40 Roosevelt Avenue, Flushing, less than a two minute walk from the Trump Elder property.
Ultimately that same individual – NANCY REAGAN – moved into The White House.
Will history repeat itself – will Flushing – that is widely viewed as the Home of Religious Freedom in America [THE FLUSHING REMONSTRANCE], as well as the chalice of the rights to free speech and assembly which were fought and ultimately vindicated thereat – yet again assume a singular historic American political connection?
Specifically, will BOWNE STREET / MY STREET / be the conduit for a future President’s passage…
Stay tuned, it depends.
But Jack Eichenbaum, the man who named and claimed “Jane’s Walk”, surely has found his very personal connection to the street on which he lives: Bowne Street has magnificent oak trees nearby his residence [thanks to Samuel Parsons who founded the well-known Parsons Nursery in 1838 – now the site of Flushing High School].
Eichenbaum incidentally is the topographic name for someone who lived near an oak tree, from Middle High German eiche ‘oak’ + boum ‘tree’.
The streets that run parallel to Bowne Street until Kissena Park / Parsons Boulevard – which Park Samuel Parsons, Jr. designed – bear the names of their living plant legacy.
Name it, claim it.
– Francie Scanlon [who resides just off Bowne Street on Beech Avenue tributes Samuel Parsons who in 1847 brought back an oddity known as the European Weeping Beech in a small flowerpot that flourished as a WEEPING BEECH TREE just east of Bowne Street at another New York City landmark, the Kingsland Homestead].