It was such a delight to read last week's cover story "Landmark Decision for Stroppel's Tavern". After a hundred years, we finally made the front page of the Pilot! Of course, we had to sell the business and move out to achieve this distinction, but it's nice to know that if you wait long enough you'll eventually get your 15 mintues of fame.
I would like to correct one bit of misinformation, however. By no stretch of the imagination did "the Stroppel family" ever approve of the Landmark Commission's quest to turn our building into a museum piece. In fact, we opposed any such designation from the very beginning. When we went to contract with ABLI, we knew that they planned to demolish the building and they had our full blessing. The possibility of landmark status was not something we sought out or welcomed; indeed, the very notion that anyone would want to save such a decrepit, ramshackle structure seemed to us utterly wrong-headed and ridiculous.
But now, as so often happens in Glen Cove, the absurd becomes reality. Witness the existence of this Landmark Commission, a volunteer group independent of the city government which, somehow, has the power to make unilateral decisions about the property of private owners. In our dealings with them we found them to be highhanded, arrogant, and completely indifferent to the hardship they were imposing on us. If we had not been able to sell (and our contract with ABLI was, indeed, thrown into Limbo for several months because of the Landmark Commission's interference, causing us significant financial loss and untold anxiety), we would have been left with an unsalable building we could not afford to renovate and could not legally tear down. What would the Landmark Commission's responsibility to us be in such a case? Absolutely nothing. Theirs is, as Mr. O'Rourke puts it, a "reactive role"-free to dictate and meddle in private affairs without assuming any of the consequences.
As for their contention that our old building is a "contributing resource to Glen Cove," I would suggest that my fellow citizens head down to 304 Glen Street and decide for themselves whether they want to look at it for the next hundred years and beyond. What made Stroppel's Tavern a landmark was not its ancient structure, but the rich collection of everyday people who came in there and shared their lives with us. That was something worth preserving. It is exquisitely ironic that those guardians of society who harbored such a palpable disdain for our common workingman's bar throughout its long lifetime are now so eager to turn it into some kind of shrine to a vanishing world that they helped destroy.
The Landmark Commission had stated for the record during the public hearing that the Stroppel Family had approved of the Landmark designation.)