Hempstead Town Supervisor Anthony J. Santino today thanked the owners of the Source Mall in Westbury, Newmark Grubb Knight Frank, for removing conditions that detracted from a town-designated landmark. The site at the southeast corner of the mall marks the location where Charles Lindbergh’s “Spirit of St. Louis” plane lifted off the ground as the famed aviator commenced his trip into the history books as the first person to complete a non-stop, solo airplane flight across the Atlantic Ocean. Santino, along with Senior Councilwoman Dorothy Goosby and Councilmen Anthony D’Esposito and Dennis Dunne, recently held a press conference at the Lindbergh monument site to call on the mall owners to remove a collection of mammoth rose bushes that were planted there sometime following the town’s granting of landmark status in July of 2013.
In a dramatic response to outrage on the part of town officials, the mall owner had initially taken partial steps to restore the monument to its condition at the time of landmarking, substantially trimming back bushes that totally blocked the public’s view of the tribute stone. In the days following the town press conference and a letter that was sent to the mall owners detailing town officials’ concerns, the property manager followed up and removed all of the offending shrubs. Additionally, tasteful plantings adorn the areas on each side of the monument.
“I want to thank the mall’s owners for responding to our request by removing the mammoth shrubs that obscured this important monument from view,” said Santino. “I applaud the owners for taking additional steps to ensure that people can fully appreciate the ‘Lindy’ tribute marker for years and years to come.”
In a response letter writtento the Town of Hempstead, the mall owners said they were also in the “process of restoring power to the spotlights in order to illuminate this historical statue” and “will do all we can to preserve visibility of this piece from here on out.”
“The Source Mall’s owners did the right thing by removing the bushes from this important landmark site in our township,” Goosby said. “I thank them for responding and for helping us in our efforts to preserve Charles Lindbergh’s legacy in Hempstead Town.”
Santino and his governmental colleagues visited the Lindbergh site on May 20th of 2017 to mark the 90th anniversary of Lindbergh’s transatlantic flight, discovering that the landmarked stone had been completely obscured from view by a huge array of bushes. The bushes were only in front of the monument, not in other locations surrounding the “Lindy” tribute marker.
The Supervisor stated that he had written a letter to the Source Mall’s owner, CMAT 1909-C1 Old Country Road, LLC. and its agent, Newmark & Company Real Estate, Inc., insisting that the obstruction in front of the Lindbergh Monument be removed, and the grounds surrounding the historic marker be restored to the conditions that existed at the time of the location’s landmarking.
“This landmark will now be rightfully visible to those who visit what is an important piece of aviation history here on Long Island,” D’Esposito said. “The town landmarks sites of historical significance to preserve them, not hide them, and we thank the property owners for responding to our call to clean up the obstructions at the Charles Lindbergh monument.”
“As we celebrate our nation’s independence this week, I’m proud that we were able to help preserve a vital piece of American history,” Dunne said. “We’re proud that Hempstead Town was home to the Charles Lindbergh’s flight on the ‘Spirit of St. Louis’ and are thankful that the mall owners have restored the monument.”
The Hempstead Town Code has very specific regulations with regard to alterations of sites that have been landmarked by the town. In particular, the code states, “The Commission (Landmarks Preservation Commission) shall review all plans for moving, exterior construction, alteration or repair, landscaping…” Further, the code states, “It shall be the duty of the Commission to review the plans before the Department of Buildings issues a building permit therefor.” The Town Board acted on July 9 of 2013 on the recommendation of the town’s Landmarks Preservation Commission, designating a 2,500-square foot plot surrounding the monument. The monument was clearly visible on that date.
“The remarkable story of Charles Lindbergh deserves a prominent place here in the heart of Hempstead Town, not one that is hidden behind bushes,” Santino said. “Thank you again to the owners of the Source Mall for removing the shrubs and restoring this historical location back to its rightful appearance as it looked on the day we declared it a landmark.”