Designated: March 15, 1966
The oldest building in New York City still used as a private residence, this Dutch Colonial Farmhouse was built circa 1729 by Abraham Lent, grandson of Abraham Riker, using local stone and roughhewn timber. The locally prominent Riker family was the namesake of nearby Rikers Island. The property contains a small cemetery containing the graves of family members, as well as that of Williams James MacNeven, an Irish patriot and pioneering physician who had stayed with the Riker family before his death. Portions of the farmhouse were damaged by fire in 1955, but the property was fully restored by the current owner Marion Duckworth Smith and her late husband, Michael Smith.
STATUS Designated Individual Landmark
The area of Queens comprising East Elmhurst was called “Mespat” by the Native Americans and “Middleburgh” by the English colonists. It became part of the Town of Newtown, when it was incorporated in 1683 as one of the three original municipalities along with Jamaica and...Explore the Neighborhood >
“I don’t know what the City would be without HDC. [They] testified before LPC time after time and helped us focus on the right issues. We would not be an historic district without HDC! ”
Doreen Gallo: DUMBO Neighborhood Alliance
“Use HDC as a resource because they know what they are doing and can offer advice on how to go about creating a district from every front: architectural, political, LPC, and the media. I had floundered prior to my involvement with this invaluable organization.”
Fern Luskin: Lamartine Place Historic District; Friends of Lamartine Place & Gibbons Underground Railroad Site
“HDC provided guidance and shared information during that process—we knew which Council members were going one way or another and we changed a few minds. I don’t think NoHo would have had as cohesive a district had it not been for HDC’s aid.”
Zella Jones: NoHo Historic District; NoHo East; and NoHo Extension
“I remember Richard saying at a meeting, we have someone here from HDC, Nadezhda Williams, Director of Preservation and Research, to help us. She said to us, ‘You are not the only ones going through this.’ HDC included us in an enormous community”
Erika Petersen: West End Preservation Society
"HDC has begun a series of projects to highlight the Bronx's architectural and cultural history. From booklet's and research highlighting specific sites and historic districts to the HDC's symposium in October 2018 to the latest community-based committee to look into further possible sites to qualify for landmarking, the HDC has established projects that will serve the Bronx community well."
City Lore, Folklorist
Bronx Music Heritage Center, Co-Artistic Director
"Welcome2TheBronx is grateful for the advocacy done by the Historic Districts Council on behalf of the people of The Bronx. Through their deep connections and understanding of the importance of preserving our local histories, The Bronx has been able to have several spotlights shown on endangered communities as gentrification creeps into the borough."
Ed García Conde,
founder and Executive Director,