The 17-century Bowne house in Flushing, Queens is finally getting restored after ownership was transferred to the city; news that comes with much relief to Landmark nerds and historians (and anyone who hates to see beautiful old structures disintegrate in front of their very eyes). With $5 million from the city, state and private groups, Parks Commissioner Adrian Benepe announced the plan to restore it is moving "full speed ahead," according to the Daily News.
Benepe noted that "the Bowne family has also left its mark on the city again and again, helping New York City become the cradle of tolerance and diversity." The house is looked at as a symbol of religious freedom; the original owner John Bowne was arrested in 1662 for allowing Quakers to worship there (the faith was banned at the time under New Amsterdam law).
The home is the oldest structure in the borough, and Benepe says they will even build a visitor's center next to it; all in all he's hoping to have it all done by 2012. He stated, "We probably have a pretty good shot." Convincing!