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Please sign petition for landmark status to save these horses from eviction
Community Rallies To Save Horse Stable
By Joe Marvilli
For more than 100 years, a barn and horse stable have sat at the end of Auburndale Lane in Auburndale. Now known as the Western Riding Club Stables of Queens, the location has become a community facility for the neighborhood. However, the structure is in danger of being sold.
Tex is one of many horses in danger of losing his home at Western Riding Club in Auburndale.
Photo by Joe Marvilli
The landlord, John Lightstone, has decided to sell the property, which includes the barn, the stable and unused land. Joy Tirado, who is in charge of the land, has been given the right of first refusal, but she has also only been given 10 business days to come up with a down payment of $60,000. In order to save her stable, Tirado has gotten help from State Sen. Tony Avella (D-Bayside), who is trying to get it landmarked, as well as from the community.
According to Tirado, she received a letter from Lightstone on May 3, dated April 30, about the sale of the .27 acres of land at 169-38 Pidgeon Meadow Road. The letter said that she had until May 19 at 3 p.m. to come up with the $60,000 down payment if she wanted to keep the stable and the surrounding property. The rest of the $800,000 total price tag would have to be paid in full by mid-August. Tirado has had no opportunity to work with the landlord.
“He has made it very clear that he wants no communication with me. The first hand-delivered letter of offer was left on my car windshield,” she said. “The original offer from the buyers was not included so I don’t know what the original offer truly is.”
While the stable was originally a mess when Tirado came to it in July 2010, she worked on it until the horses could be kept there. The stable’s name was the only thing she fought for during a two-year, domestic violence divorce.
“I walked away after two years of fighting with the rights to the name,” she said. “I lost my house, my boat, everything, but I’ll gladly do it all over again.”
Western Riding Club is used to entertain children, adults and senior citizens. “We teach them the respect of nature, agriculture, equine and a love of all animals,” Tirado said. “Everyone’s saddened to see that it’s in jeopardy.”
She also uses the horses to offer free, non-professional therapy to those who need it, like cancer patients.
“I’m just teaching what my grandmother taught me from age nine. She taught me the Taino way. I am part Taino Indian,” she said. “In the Taino way, you respect land, you respect animals and you learn with trust and repetition.”
The land has R2A zoning, which is single family detached. According to District 19 candidate and civic leader Paul Graziano, if the property is sold, about four houses could be squeezed into the space. If Tirado is unable to come up with the funds or if the location is not landmarked, she faces eviction.
“The horses go back to wherever I can place them,” she said. “Over here, they get preferred treatment. I don’t know what they’re going to be facing.”
Avella stated at a press conference on May 9 that the initial effort to get the stable landmarked was rejected by the Landmarks Preservation Commission due to the state of the architecture. But the senator said that there will be another attempt to get it preserved under a historical value basis.
“This is a unique part of Auburndale and the community,” he said. “It is something that should be saved.”
Many civic leaders and members of the community came out in a show of support for Tirado and the stable.
“Joy has been a friend to the neighborhood, a friend to everybody who has had a problem and she is the perfect person to run this,” Beverly McDermott, president of the Kissena Park Civic Association, said.
Tirado said that if their attempt to save the stable was successful, whether by landmark status or through purchasing the property, she would change the name to reflect its role in the neighborhood.
“If we are successful in saving this place, I want to amend and/or change the name to ‘It Takes A Village Branch’ because in essence, that realistically says what this is about,” she said.
If you would like to donate to the stable’s down payment, visit fundanything.com/en/campaigns/help-save-our-barn.
To sign a petition for landmark status, go to http://www.ipetitions....
Reach Reporter Joe Marvilli at (718) 357-7400, Ext. 125, or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Edited by Paula on May 20, 2013 12:52 PM