Public Comments About Underground Railroad Houses
Yesterday was the last day for public comment in the (redone) eminent domain proceedings for a variety of properties in downtown Brooklyn. We got a copy of the comment submitted by Phil De Paolo of the New York Commmunity Council and thought we'd share a couple of short excerpts:
We see a gross injustice taking place on Duffield St...There is a long oral tradition of the buildings on Duffield St being part of the Underground Railroad, and while it is certain that a family of abolitionists, the Truesdells, lived at 227 Duffield Street, that venerable building is scheduled to go under the wrecking ball, along with 231 and 233 Duffield Street, to make way for a parking lot that would serve a hotel now under construction nearby...A city funded report that denies any Underground Railroad activity along Duffield Street isn’t worth the paper it’s printed on. The report, issued in April by AKRF, said that 227 Duffield St., as well as neighboring buildings, was not used to spirit 19th-century slaves to freedom. The city and the Downtown Brooklyn Partnership are simply trying to hide the inconvenient truth of Duffield Street’s Abolitionist history. It would be a terrible shame to tear these buildings down, there needs to be more research, an archaeological study.(All of the comments submitted were directed to a gentleman named Jack Hammer, which is utterly fascinating in the case of controversial potential demolitions.) The city was moving ahead with the eminent domain process before it was forced to stop and go through the hearing and public comment process again.
The city’s conclusion that there’s no evidence of Underground Railroad history is fundamentally flawed and, therefore, cannot form the basis for the destruction of what many believe to be an Underground Railroad station where abolitionists helped runaway slaves hide and escape to freedom...our environmental review process is being corrupted by biased and incompetent consultants who prepare environmental impact statements that are framed in a way that take us away from reality.