October 19, By Tara Law
A very large rock in East Elmhurst will be re-christened “Giant Rock” this Friday.
The 1,000-ton rock is five feet high and 11 feet wide and is believed to be about 12,000-years old. It currently sits in a parking lot between LaGuardia Plaza Hotel and Hampton Inn LaGuardia Airport by Ditmars Boulevard.
The decision to re-christen the rock came after a misunderstanding between residents and hotel employees, according to Kevin Breen, the director of sales at the two hotels.
The issue emerged a number of years ago when employees of the two hotels had a competition to name it. The name that won was “Pet Rock.”
When the Corona-East Elmhurst Historic Preservation Society learned about the competition, it contacted the hotels to let them know that the rock already had a name— The Giant Rock.
Breen said that the hotels had no idea that the rock held such significance in the community. He said that according to community lore, former U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder and his brother played on the rock as children.
“There was certainly no ill intent on the hotels’ part,” said Breen.
Developers have tried to get rid of the rock since hotel construction began in the area around 1980. However, the community has prevented attempts to detonate or move it.
The rock contains pinkish white crystals of potassium feldspar and grains of the minerals quartz, biotite, muscovite, tourmaline, and garnet.
Politicians, the Corona East Elmhurst Historic Preservation Society, community leaders, and hotel employees will rededicate the rock and install a plaque at a ceremony at LaGuardia Plaza Hotel at 2pm near 104-04 Ditmars Boulevard.