View All

A list of HDC’s upcoming events as well as our annual programs, and breaking preservation news.

 

Events:

 

HDC is always busy, view our Past Events page to see what other evens we’ve held.

Programs:

 

News:

Landmark advocates recall Alamo-like efforts: Chelsea Now, November 3, 2012

New York Landmark Status Misused, Says Group Preservationists say New York’s history under attack:Epoch Times, June 21, 2012

Preservationists Issue Rallying Cry, Prepare to Save Landmarks Law from Big Real Estate: New York Observer, June 14th, 2012

  • 11 bills 1 Day: The Threat to the Landmarks Law

Real Estate Bigs Ready Wrecking Ball for Landmarks Laws: Curbed, June 7, 2012

Historians blast landmarking bills; Comrie says LPC wants total control despite best interests of landowners: Queens Chronicle: May 8,2012

A Quiet War on Landmarks, or Fixing the Problems with the Preservation Commission?: New York Observer, May 2, 2012

LPC speaks out against controversial landmarks bills: The Real Deal  New York City Real Estate News, May 2, 2012

Proposed Bill a ‘Deliberate Attack’ on Landmarks Law, Opponents Say: DNAinfo, May 2, 2012

City Council About to Knee-cap Landmarks Preservation?: Curbed,  May 1, 2012

Preservationists upset about series of Landmarks bills to go before City Council: The Real Deal  New York City Real Estate News, May 01, 2012

  • Landmarks Lion 2012:

Preservationists roar approval of new ‘Lion’ Gratz: The Villager, November 15, 2012

Defending Historic Preservation in New York City

The demolition of the Dakota Stables

 

As widely reported, the Real Estate Board of New York  joined forces with a handful of construction and development industry groups to create a new coalition that is calling for reforms which HDC believes would cripple the landmark designation process and damage the regulation of existing protected landmarks.  The group claims that landmark designation lowers values, raises costs, stifles development and diminishes affordability. To hear them tell it, landmark designation will transform New York into an lifeless museum city with a “look but don’t touch” mentality. HDC feels that nothing could be further from the truth and that their proposed reforms, if adopted, will be very damaging to the long-term health of our city.

Preservation practices empower communities, celebrate our history, drive economic growth and sustain development efforts. Preservation enhances our streetscapes, nurtures tourism, encourages investment and employs local labor. It is a popular, populist movement driven by regular New Yorkers who value their homes and their city. The Historic Districts Council works with community groups throughout the five boroughs on efforts to save, preserve and enhance the special character of New York’s historic neighborhoods. We work with communities from areas as different as the Upper West Side and Bedford-Stuyvesant on the shared goal of empowering the community to have a voice in determining their own future. These two communities are ones whose efforts we honored at the Grassroots Preservation Awards and whose successes have been targeted as “over-reaching” by the new real-estate coalition.

It is a great credit to the Mayor and to many community representatives that they recognize New Yorkers’ desire to preserve the special qualities of their homes and neighborhoods. These elected leaders work with their constituents to do exactly that, realizing that a neighborhood where the residents have a say in determining its future is like a well-tended garden, it nurtures and sustains life. The reforms this new coalition proposes would raze our old-growth neighborhoods in search of short-sighted profit.

For Text of the Bills and Additional  Resources click here

For Testimonials on the Value of Preservation from the Trade click here

For Articles on the Issue click here

Six to Celebrate Tours 2014

STC_Logo_Web

 

For full information about these tours go to our Six to Celebrate website by clicking here 

All tours are $5 for friends, students and seniors/ $10 for non-friends

Atlantic Avenue:

TBA (Joe Svehlak)

Forest Close/Forest Hills:

Saturday, June 7 at 11:00AM (Barry Lewis)

Park Avenue:

Tuesday, June 17 at 6:00PM (Justin Ferate)

Madison Square North:

Sunday, September 14 at 11:00AM (Marissa Marvelli)

Staten Island Cemeteries:

Saturday, September 27 at 11:00AM (Lynn Rogers)

Prominent de Blasio Allies Call on Mayor to Scrap $150 Million in Taxpayer Funds

Posted by on Tuesday, April 8, 2014 · Leave a Comment 

The Committee to Save the New York Public Library  and The Library Lovers League

http://www.saveNYPL.org

Press contacts:

LibraryLoversLeague@gmail.com, info@saveNYPL.org

 

“To destroy a library is to destroy the dream of civilization. To destroy the NY Public Library is to destroy our sixth and best borough…” — Junot Diaz

 

“Whatever its rationale, advertised or secretly savored, the Central Library Plan is an act of such manic mutilation as to constitute a death wish for the 42nd St Research Library.” E.L. Doctorow

PRESS ADVISORYgut-lion

Prominent de Blasio Allies Call on Mayor to Scrap $150 Million in Taxpayer Funds

Earmarked for Controversial NYPL ‘Gut-and-Sell’ Library Plan in Bloomberg Years

Fourteen prominent New York City progressives, many of them close allies of the mayor, have signed a joint letter urging Mayor de Blasio to save the New York Public Library from its trustees’ widely criticized real-estate plan. The NYPL plan would sell the Mid-Manhattan and Science, Industry and Business Libraries to luxury real estate developers, demolish the 42nd Street Library research stacks, and shoehorn the operations of the two circulating libraries into the space that until recently housed the research collection. The deal requires a $150 million City taxpayer subsidy, allocated by the previous administration, which the signatories are asking Mayor de Blasio to allocate to struggling branch libraries instead.

The joint statement was signed by George Gresham (President, 1199SEIU United Healthcare Workers East), Hector Figueroa (President, 32BJ SEIU), Barbara Bowen (President, PSC/CUNY faculty, staff union), Dan Cantor (Working Families Party), Ana Oliveira, Luis Garden Acosta (El Puente),Susan Sarandon, Ruth Messinger, Javier Valdes (Make The Road NY), Gloria Steinem, Imam Al-Hajj Talib ‘Abdur-Rashid (President, The Islamic Leadership Council of Metropolitan NY), Rev. Donna Schaper (Judson Memorial Church), Rabbi Sharon Kleinbaum (Senior Rabbi of Congregation Beit Simchat Torah), and the Rev. Al Sharpton, and delivered to City Hall April 8, 2014.

“Taking money away from branch libraries to subsidize NYPL’s real-estate plans will hurt students, seniors, immigrants, job-seekers: the millions of New Yorkers from all walks of life who rely on this public commons,” the community leaders write.

The signatories remind Mayor de Blasio of a campaign pledge: “These plans seemed to have been made without any forethought to the building’s historical and cultural integrity,” de Blasio declared during his campaign, on the steps of the 42nd St Library in July 2013. “Before NYPL goes about demolishing stacks and consolidating libraries, they need to ensure that the people they serve aren’t being shortchanged and being disregarded for the bottom line.”

This group of prominent progressives joins a growing list of eminent scholars, writers, and artists who have spoken forcefully against the NYPL plan in recent weeks. Comix legend and Pulitzer Prizewinner Art Spiegelman recently created the “Don’t Gut Our Lions” protest image above. Acclaimed author Lydia Davis wrote that the plan “would take the very heart out of one of New York City’s finest institutions,” while poet and memoirist Hettie Jones called it a “plan to decimate what has been a way in and up for generations of New Yorkers.”  Eight Pulitzer Prizewinners have come out against the plan, along with Jonathan Lethem, Salman Rushdie, E.L. Doctorow, and many other notable cultural figures.

More than 5000 people have emailed Mayor de Blasio in recent weeks to express opposition to the NYPL plan, while library users have held weekly protest “work-ins” at the 42nd Street Library. As scholar Matthew Pratt Guterl recently explained the sentiment behind this groundswell, “The rich get a sweet venue for their philanthropic dinner parties, and the poor and the middling get less and less and less. If there is a better metaphor for the widening canyon between those who are thriving and those who are hurting, I don’t know it.”

 

Category: Manhattan · Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

HDC@LPC – April 8, 2014

Posted by on Monday, April 7, 2014 · Leave a Comment 

Item 1

CERTIFICATE OF APPROPRIATENESS

BOROUGH OF Manhattan

134602- Block 696, lot 65-

210-218 11th Avenue aka 564-568 W 25th Street – West Chelsea Historic District

A Gothic Revival style factory building designed by Shire & Kaufman and built in 1910-11. Application is to establish a master plan governing the future installation of windows.

Item 12-1

Given that the existing steel windows are quite bulky, the aluminum replacements, which very closely replicate the look of historic windows, represent a step in the right direction. HDC thanks the applicant for taking care in finding the right window, with muntins that match the originals, to improve the building’s appearance, and finds the aluminum material to be appropriate in this industrial setting.

LPC determination: Approved

 

Item 4

CERTIFICATE OF APPROPRIATENESS

BOROUGH OF Manhattan

152154- Block 500, lot 35-

129 Spring Street – SoHo-Cast Iron Historic District

A Federal style rowhouse built 1817. Application is to construct rooftop and rear yard additions, alter the roof, and replace storefront infill.

DSCN4109

129 Spring Street is an incredible little survivor, a Federal style rowhouse built in 1817.  The building would be well served by the return of a cornice at the top and above the storefront, as seen in the 1940 tax photo. These features could help a contemporary storefront design meld with the rest of the façade.

LPC determination: Approved with modifications

 

Item 12

CERTIFICATE OF APPROPRIATENESS

BOROUGH OF Brooklyn

152794- Block 2121, lot 36,37,38,44–

370-374 Clermont Avenue – Fort Greene Historic District

A vacant lot. Application is to construct 3 rowhouses.

 

Item 13

CERTIFICATE OF APPROPRIATENESS

BOROUGH OF Brooklyn

152896- Block 2121, lot 44-

71 Greene Street – Fort Greene Historic District

A parking lot. Application is to construct a rowhouse.

In general HDC approves of the approach taken in the design of these new rowhouses.  The materials chosen are fitting for this historic district, and they will blend in nicely with the rest of the block.  A little more articulation and detail could be used in some of the features – such as a stronger cornice, a more dramatic projecting bay, and/or the use of double doors rather than a single one – so that the houses read as modern interpretations of an historic style and not just watered down versions.

The back façades of the houses are much less successful than the fronts.  We question the use of pre-cast stone as well as their design.  The fenestration of the single house on Clermont feels random, and the repeated, stepped-back terraces of the trio on Greene Street is the sort of massing the Commission has tried to prevent in other rowhouse neighborhoods.

With a little more work, these new buildings will be welcomed additions to the Fort Greene Historic District.

LPC determination: Approved with modifications

 

Category: HDC@LPC · Tags: , ,

A New Chair for the Landmarks Preservation Commission

Posted by on Monday, April 7, 2014 · Leave a Comment 

It is the Historic Districts Council’s firm belief, backed up by decades of observation, that the New York City Landmarks Law and the Commission empowered by it have enhanced and improved New York City.  Landmark designation stabilizes neighborhoods, enhances property values, empowers communities and attracts private investment into the city. More importantly, landmarks and historic districts provide a physical continuity to our city’s past, enabling residents and visitors alike to physically experience New York’s history.

With all this in mind, it’s no mystery that the still unfilled de Blasio appointment for Landmarks Chair is a matter of great interest to us and we have thought a great deal about the type of person whom we’d like to see in the role. To be clear, we are not commenting on the record-breaking service of Robert Tierney as Landmarks Chair nor should it be taken as such.  Mr. Tierney has presided over the agency longer than any other chair in its history and his record is impressive, complex and still being written. Instead, let’s talk about what qualities we think the next Landmarks Chair should possess.

First and foremost, the new Landmarks Chair must believe in and show demonstrable devotion to the goals of historic preservation. The New York Landmarks Law places the preservation of our city’s heritage as a public necessity and greatly empowers the LPC to act to protect our shared history. In doing so, the LPC regulates some of the most expensive real estate in the country and there are profoundly powerful vested interests which have been working for years to compromise and hobble the agency’s effectiveness. Although historic preservation efforts are inclusive and community-based, these forces often paint landmarking as a luxury social good and an elitist concern used to resolve NIMBY issues.  The Landmarks Chair needs to communicate and articulate the long term value of preservation to the city as a whole and to be the first line of defense for the agency’s mission.

The Landmarks Chair must also forcefully maintain the independence of the agency against internal and external pressures. As a part of city government, there will always be necessary negotiations between competing goals, but the Landmarks Preservation Commission must be unafraid to take strong stands for preservation. There is a strong and diverse civic community who is dedicated to the preservation of New York’s historic neighborhoods and their livability.  We are ready and willing to support the LPC against adversity of all kinds but we need the agency and its Chair to be fearless in the pursuit of preservation.

 

 

Category: Blog, E-bulletin, LPC · Tags: ,

Life in Reel New York: An HDC Film Series

Posted by on Friday, April 4, 2014 · 1 Comment 

LIFE IN REEL NEW YORK: AN HDC FILM SERIES

Join HDC and James Sanders for a unique look into the New York City of the movies.

10262_66cm_ 013

Photograph by Stanley Kubrick for Look Magazine, 1947

This three part series will include a lecture and short film and two feature length films curated by James Sanders, author of Celluloid Skyline. Focusing on the theme of life in the public world of the streets and the private world of residential spaces, the series will present early depictions of New York streetscapes, before going behind the closed doors of tenement houses and loft apartments later in the 20th century.

*********

Tickets:

Friends of HDC, Seniors and Students- $5

General Public- $10

Pre-purchased tickets or RSVP preferred

*********

In the Street

Tuesday May 6, 2014 at 6:30pm

The first program of this series is an exciting illustrated lecture by James Sanders. Utilizing his extensive personal archive of production images, including many not included in Celluloid Skyline, Mr. Sanders will discuss the importance of New York City as the living background of more than a century of motion pictures. The evening will also include a viewing of the 1948 documentary In the Street. This evocative short, jointly created by photographer Helen Levitt, Janice Loeb, and James Agee, depicts life in Spanish Harlem in the 1940s in a beautifully edited visual narrative.


2014 Film Series: In Street


*********

In the Tenement

Monday May 12, 2014 at 6:30pm

Street Scene is a stark black and white film from 1931, which follows 24 hours of the goings on of a group of neighbors in Hells Kitchen. Amid the stoop gossip, romantic intrigues and familial drama, the tenement house provides a dynamic background for the action (literally, as the camera never enters the building itself.) King Vidor, the director, shot all but one scene on a meticulously recreated half block set, that was envisioned using a number of historic, lived-in tenements as reference. Though depicted previously, this films marks the rise of the tenement as an iconic New York setting.


2014 Film Series: Street Scene



*********

In the Loft

Tuesday May 20, 2014 at 6:30pm

Join us for the final film of the 2014 series, which looks into the tall windows and high ceiling of the Soho Cast Iron district. An Unmarried Woman tells the tale of a wealthy New York woman whose life is turned upside down when her husband leaves her for a younger woman. As the protagonist navigates the challenges of her new life, she begins to spend time with roguish painter who lives downtown. Set in an era of the city when the transformation of formerly industrial spaces into versatile artists’ lofts is booming, the movie introduces audiences to a New York City residence never before portrayed on film.


2014 Film Series: An Unmarried Woman



 

 

firehouseAll programs will be presented at the landmarked former Engine Co. 31
Downtown Community Television Center
87 Lafayette Street
Between Walker and White Streets
TriBeCa
sanders

 

James Sanders is a writer and architect who co-wrote New York: A Documentary Film, as well as its companion book, with Ric Burns. He has written for numerous national news and culture publications and he maintains a design practice in Manhattan. Celluloid Skyline: New York and the Movies was published in 2001 by Alfred. A Knopf.

 

 

 

For questions, or to RSVP, please contact Brigid Harmon at 212-614-9107 or bharmon@hdc.org

This series is supported, in part, by public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council and by the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature. Additional support is provided by Council Members Margaret Chin, Inez Dickens, Daniel Garodnick, Vincent Gentile, Stephen Levin and Rosie Mendez.

dca-logo

                       nysca_black

Category: Event, Featured, film, lecture · Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Celebrating the Pre and Post -Sandy Seaport

Posted by on Wednesday, April 2, 2014 · Leave a Comment 

E-BULLETIN OF THE HISTORIC DISTRICTS COUNCIL

April 2014, Volume 11, Number 1

In this issue:
• 2014 Grassroots Awards and Preservation Party Save The Date
• Preserving South Street Seaport: A Book Talk

 

grassroots-lt

————————————————————————————————————————————————

Preserving South Street Seaport: A Book Talk

Schermerhorn Row_1981

Sail into spring with a book talk by James M. Lindgren, author of the recently published Preserving South Street Seaport: The Dream and Reality of a New York Urban Renewal District. This illustrated lecture will be held at The Paris Café, first opened in 1873, frequented by such personages as Thomas Edison and Teddy Roosevelt, and nearly closed after sustaining damage from Superstorm Sandy. Join us for a special evening exploring the changing fortunes of this distinctive waterfront neighborhood!

Preserving South Street Seaport recounts the complex and fascinating struggle to preserve the character of Lower Manhattan’s South Street Seaport. Soon after the enactment of the New York City Landmarks Law in 1965, preservationists mobilized to protect this remnant of the City’s fabled 19th-century port by transforming it into a living, community-based museum. From the designation of the historic district in 1977 to the crushing blows of 9/11 and Superstorm Sandy, author James M. Lindgren will chronicle the tenuous rebirth of the neighborhood, including the story of the South Street Seaport Museum, real estate market booms and collapses, controversial developments, and years of efforts by preservationists, developers, bankers, politicians, and museum administrators. Lindgren’s investigations into the area reveal unique lessons in urban renewal and detail how a decrepit piece of waterfront was transformed into a “street of ships” and the dynamic neighborhood we continue to fight for today.

James M. Lindgren is Professor of History at SUNY Plattsburgh and the author of Preserving the Old Dominion: Historic Preservation and Virginia Traditionalism; Preserving Historic New England: Preservation, Progressivism, and the Remaking of Memory; and over two dozen essays.

Preserving South Street Seaport: The Dream and Reality of a New York Urban Renewal District is published by NYU Press and supported by grants from the J. Aron Charitable Foundation and Furthermore, a program of the J.M. Kaplan Fund.

 

Monday, April 21st
Doors open at 6:00 p.m. / Book Talk at 7:00 p.m.

Program is free and open to the public but reservations are required.
To register, please call 212-988-8379 or email info@nypap.org.

The Paris Café
119 South Street (at Peck Slip)
*Food and drinks will be available for purchase

Co-sponsored by the New York Preservation Archive Project, the New York Landmarks Conservancy, the Historic Districts Council, and NYU Press.

Category: Blog, E-bulletin · Tags: , ,

Why the proposal to demolish the two buildings in the Ladies’ Mile Historic District is a terrible idea and must be denied

Posted by on Tuesday, April 1, 2014 · Leave a Comment 

 

blog w 19th

Update: On April 1st the committee made no action on the proposal, they were in agreement that the demolition of these two buildings was not warrented. To read HDCs full testimony click here .

On April 1st, the owner of 51 & 53 West 19th Street in the Ladies’ Mile Historic District will request the Landmarks Preservation Commission for permission to demolish two buildings and to construct a 14-story building in their place.  Unfortunately, this is not an April’s Fool joke.

51 and 53 West 19th Street are five-story, residential buildings built in 1854 which were converted to commercial and/or manufacturing use in the 1920s. Such a history is very much in keeping with the Ladies’ Mile Historic District.  In fact, the designation report lists “converted dwellings” as a building type in the district along with “residential construction”, “office buildings”, “store and loft buildings”, and “retail stores/department stores.”  The report points out that after WWI, the shopping district had moved north and the area’s focus shifted to manufacturing.  The 1916 zoning resolution had prohibited the construction of tall buildings on midblock sites, and so instead the surviving residential buildings were converted.  Converted dwellings are obviously a part of the fabric of the district, and these two nicely-designed buildings are good examples of this typology.

To be fair, the two buildings have both seen better days and appear the worse for wear due to long-deferred maintenance. On the other hand, the proposed replacement is no prize either, but even discussing its lack of virtues is beside the point; preservation is not a beauty contest.

The existing buildings at 51 and 53 West 19th Street are historically significant buildings which contribute to our greater understanding of New York City’s history that are protected under the Landmarks Law. Permitting the demolition of a landmark building is an extreme and final act. Historic buildings may be renewable but they are not replaceable – once they’re gone, they’re gone forever. Proposing to demolish them says that these buildings have no value, that they have no more use and that the best and only future for them is no future at all.

Fortunately, the Landmarks Preservation Commission already has precedent for the retention of historic buildings that reflect the character of their district.  In 2010, the LPC denied an application at 558 Broadway in the SoHo-Cast Iron Historic District which would have destroyed the garage building’s 1920s decorative brick façade.  The applicant tried to argue that the building did not reflect the 19th-century feel of the district and so could be radically redesigned.  Commissioners roundly disagreed, pointing out that the building was designated as part of the historic district and its destruction was “a non starter.”

In 2012, the LPC saw a proposal for the demolition of 70 Henry Street, a one-story, 19th-century building much altered over the decades in the Brooklyn Heights Historic District.  Commissioners debated the amount of historic fabric that would be lost and in the end, could not approve of such destruction.  Since then, the applicant has been working on a proposal to retain the structure as the base for a new building.

Historic districts see change constantly – the LPC issued over 10,000 permits for alterations to landmark buildings last year alone, and when one considers that the LPC regulates only 30,000 buildings throughout the whole city, that’s a surprising amount of change being permitted. At the same hearing on April 1st, there is a request to demolish one-story a much-altered 1920’s building in the Greenwich Village Historic District to replace it with a new building, and you know what? HDC supports that proposal.

The difference?  51 and 53 West 19th Street are clearly buildings whose history, design and materials are important parts of the Ladies’ Mile Historic District.  Their loss would be a detriment to the district and pave a dangerous path for the loss of many other protected buildings throughout the city. If these buildings are allowed to be torn down,  it will set a terrifying precedent for every historic building in New York not built out to the fullest potential of its zoning.

Please contact Chair Robert Tierney at comments@lpc.nyc.gov and tell the Landmarks Preservation Commission must deny this proposal in order to protect the landmarks of New York City.

Category: Special Blog · Tags: , , ,

HDC@LPC – April 1, 2014

Posted by on Monday, March 31, 2014 · Leave a Comment 

Item 4

CERTIFICATE OF APPROPRIATENESS

BOROUGH OF Manhattan

149648- Block 23, lot 19-

18 Broad Street – Individual Landmark Historic District

A neo-Classical  style building designed  by George B. Post and built in 1901-03. Application is to install a Fast Acting Security Shutter.

blog stock exchange

HDC finds the proposed security shutter too much of an intrusion for this neo-Classical style building.  The commission generally loathes exterior roll down security gates, and the proposed is an extreme example of one.  We certainly understand that extra security may be necessary, but consideration should be given to design and installation’s impact on this individual landmark.  It would be interesting and helpful to know how other landmarked buildings, here in New York City and elsewhere, handle similar needs.

LAID OVER

 

Item 5

CERTIFICATE OF APPROPRIATENESS

BOROUGH OF Manhattan

152770- Block 486, lot 9-

80 Wooster Street – SoHo-Cast Iron Historic District

A Beaux-Arts style stores and storerooms building designed by G.A. Schellinger and built in 1894. Application is to legalize the installation of mechanical equipment and a flagpole without LPC permit(s).

The equipment installed without LPC permits is an unfortunate intrusion on this Beaux-Arts style store building.  Had the project come forward beforehand, alternate locations and/or systems would have been discussed, and HDC asks that those issues now be addressed to find a more appropriate result.

We also find the illegally installed flagpole out of keeping with the building and the historic district.  Years ago, the commission sought to stem the proliferation of flags and banners that were cluttering SoHo’s streetscapes and began not approving such accretions.  Luckily this policy has largely continued, and the thriving district is better for it.

LPC determination: Approved with modifications

 

Item 11

CERTIFICATE OF APPROPRIATENESS

BOROUGH OF Manhattan

147086- Block 572, lot 38-

20 Fifth Avenue aka 2-4 West 9th St. – Greenwich Village Historic District

A neo-Classical style apartment building designed by Boak & Paris and built in 1939-40. Application is to replace windows.

HDC finds that the thick windows proposed are not appropriate replacements for the elegantly thin, rolled steel casement windows of Boak & Paris’s 20 Fifth Avenue.  Their heft would weigh down a building described by one architectural blogger as “an intriguing inter-period mix of jazz-era historicism and the post war functionalism to come.”

Manufacturers such as Optimum (located here in New York State) and Dynamic produce thermally broken, energy efficient steel windows with narrow sight lines.  Such production and further improvements should be encouraged by the Commission in the same way as Commissioners’ comments have led to more appropriate windows for passive houses.

LPC determination: No Action

 

Item 12

CERTIFICATE OF APPROPRIATENESS

BOROUGH OF Manhattan

147382- Block 613, lot 53-

192 7th Avenue South – Greenwich Village Historic District

A one-story commercial building built in 1920 and altered after 1940. Application is to demolish the existing building and construct a new building.

blog 7th ave south

HDC does not object to the demolition of the plain, one-story building currently at 192 7th Avenue South, and we find the scale and massing of the proposed replacement harmonious with its surroundings.  The design of the new building, though, is in need of some more study.  The brick façade of West 11th Street and the primarily glass façade of 7th Avenue South feel like two different buildings.  More of an effort to knit the two together should be made.

LPC determination: No Action

 

Item 14

CERTIFICATE OF APPROPRIATENESS

BOROUGH OF Manhattan

152522- Block 821, lot 11 and 12-

51-53 West 19th Street – Ladies’ Mile Historic District

A converted dwelling built in 1854, and redesigned in the early 20th century commercial style by Samuel Roth in 1924 and converted dwelling built in 1854 and redesigned by in the early 20th century commercial style by Burke & Olsen in 1927. Application is to demolish two buildings and construct a new fourteen story building.

blog w 19th

 

DSCN4089

HDC is opposed to the demolition of 51 and 53 West 19th Street both for the damage it would cause the Ladies’ Mile Historic District and for the dangerous precedent it would create for buildings in other historic districts.

These two buildings were constructed as dwellings in 1854 and both redesigned in the 1920s for commercial and/or manufacturing use.  Such a history is very much in keeping with the Ladies’ Mile Historic District.  In fact, the designation report lists “converted dwellings” as a building type in the district along with “residential construction”, “office buildings”, “store and loft buildings”, and “retail stores/department stores.”  The report points out that after WWI the shopping district had moved north, and the area’s focus shifted to manufacturing.  The 1916 zoning resolution had prohibited the construction of tall buildings on midblock sites, and so instead the surviving residential buildings were converted.  Converted dwellings are obviously a part of the fabric of the district, and these two nicely-designed buildings are good examples of this typology.  Admittedly, 51 and 53 have been neglected over recent years, but the focus should be on their restoration and not their demolition.

Fortunately, the Commission already has precedent for the retention of historic buildings that reflect the character of their district.  In 2010 the commission denied an application at 558 Broadway in the SoHo-Cast Iron Historic District which would have destroyed the garage building’s 1920s decorative brick façade.  The applicant tried to argue that the building did not reflect the 19th-century feel of the district and so could be radically redesigned.  Commissioners roundly disagreed, pointing out that the building was designated as part of the historic district and its destruction was “a non starter.”

In 2012 the Commission saw a proposal for the demolition of 70 Henry Street, a one-story, 19th-century building much altered over the decades in the Brooklyn Heights Historic District.  Commissioners debated the amount of historic fabric that would be lost and in the end could not approve of such destruction.  Since then, the applicant has been working on a proposal to retain the structure as the base for a new building.

The proposed new building for 51-53 West 19th Street would be a sorry replacement for these two historic structures.  The recessed first floor would interrupt the street wall and create a forecourt, a configuration not typical to the streetscape of the Ladies’ Mile.  The west half of the building attempts to resemble a rowhouse, but lacks any details or articulation.  It only sadly reminds one of a stripped, neglected building that stands as testament for the need of the LPC.  The rest of the structure lacks the varied fenestration and vibrancy seen in other tall buildings around this district.

That is all beside the point, though.  51 and 53 are clearly buildings whose history, design and materials are important parts of the Ladies’ Mile Historic District.  Their loss would be a detriment to this district and pave a dangerous path for many other buildings throughout the city.  We urge the Landmarks Commission to reject this proposal.

LPC determination: No Action

 

Item 17

CERTIFICATE OF APPROPRIATENESS

BOROUGH OF Manhattan

144092- Block 1122, lot 22-

11 West 69th Street – Upper West Side/Central Park West Historic District

A neo-Renaissance style apartment building designed by Leo F. Knust and built in 1927-28. Application is to establish a master plan governing the future replacement of windows.

11 West 69th Street has long been without its distinctive 9-over-1 windows, but a master plan is a chance to return the building closer to its historic appearance.  Bringing back the original design, or even some variation of it, would be a wonderful enhancement, returning neo-Renaissance style features to this otherwise rather plain building.  HDC finds the 1-over-1 aluminum windows proposed lacking in the detail and character that this building deserves, and we ask that the master plan not be approved.

LPC determination: Approved with modifications

 

Item 20

CERTIFICATE OF APPROPRIATENESS

BOROUGH OF Manhattan

154421- Block 108, lot 60-

20 East 63rd Street – Upper East Side Historic District

A rowhouse originally designed by Gage Inslee and built in 1876, and altered by J.M. Beringer in 1954. Application is to install storefront infill and awnings, replace windows, alter the front façade, and install areaway fences.

blog e 63rd

While we appreciate the effort the applicant has made to redesign a rowhouse that is in need of some work, HDC feels the result is rather overdone.  The Upper East Side Historic District is a balance of grand buildings and elegant, but more subdued ones.  We ask that this balance be maintained with a more toned down new design.

LPC determination: Approved with modifications

 

Item 23

CERTIFICATE OF APPROPRIATENESS

BOROUGH OF Brooklyn

152387- Block 1066, lot 62-

917 President Street – Park Slope Historic District

A rowhouse built in 1890. Application is to replace windows.

blog park slope

The projecting bay of 917 President Street has a rather unique design.  The front of the bay is flat with flat windows, as are the flanking sides of the upper two floors.  On the lower three floors, though, the side pieces are curved and their windows rounded to emphasize that shape.  HDC feels that rounded glass should be used on the garden, parlor, and second floors to maintain this very conscious design choice.

LPC determination: No Action

 

Item 24

CERTIFICATE OF APPROPRIATENESS

BOROUGH OF Brooklyn

154560- Block 1059, lot 18-

198 St. John’s Place – Park Slope Historic District

A neo-Grec style rowhouse designed by Samuel Henry and built in c. 1876. Application is to alter the sidewalk to enlarge a tree pit.

 

Item 25

CERTIFICATE OF APPROPRIATENESS

BOROUGH OF Brooklyn

154562- Block 2099, lot 35-

11A South Elliott Place – Fort Greene Historic District

A neo-Grec style rowhouse built c. 1881. Application is to alter the sidewalk to enlarge a tree pit.

 

Item 26

CERTIFICATE OF APPROPRIATENESS

BOROUGH OF Brooklyn

154559- Block 1982, lot 46-

40 Downing Street – Clinton Hill Historic District

A neo-Grec style rowhosue designed by Lambert & Mason and built in 1877. Application is to alter the sidewalk to enlarge a tree pit.

 

Item 27

CERTIFICATE OF APPROPRIATENESS

BOROUGH OF Brooklyn

154558- Block 1964, lot 23-

105 St. James Place – Clinton Hill Historic District

An Italianate style rowhouse built c. 1865. Application is to alter the sidewalk to enlarge a tree pit.

blog tree pit

HDC is very happy to see bluestone paving retained in these plans to enlarge tree pits.  Our only suggestion is that the expansions work more with the seams of the paving to avoid looking too forced.

LPC determination: Approved

 

Item 34

CERTIFICATE OF APPROPRIATENESS

BOROUGH OF Brooklyn

153559- Block 214, lot 24-

13 Cranberry Street – Brooklyn Heights Historic District

A Federal style rowhouse built in 1829. Application is to modify window and door openings.

The rear of this 1829 Federal style rowhouse is very visible due to the nearby playground, and that is fortunate, as the façade is rather charming.  It seems a shame to mess with that all to accommodate a kitchen sink which could be easily shifted over to one of the existing windows.  It may seem like a small issue, but on a small house like this, it is one that matters.

LPC determination: Approved

Category: HDC@LPC · Tags: , , , , , , ,

2014 GRASSROOTS AWARDS AND PRESERVATION PARTY

Posted by on Thursday, March 27, 2014 · 1 Comment 

grassroots banner

Grassroots Preservation Awards and Preservation Party

Wednesday, June 4,2014

6:30 to 8:30 pm

 

Grace Church

 

254 Hicks Street 
BrooklynNew York 11201 

Grace Church, the 165-year-old Richard Upjohn building has just finished a fantastic restoration, revealing thousands of red, yellow and gold-painted stars of its ceiling for the first time in a century. It’s a perfect place to celebrate the brightest stars of preservation, and we hope you’ll join us.

This years awardees are:

 


Grassroots Tickets




Category: Featured, Grassroots Awards · Tags:

The American immigration story and the important role Staten Island played

Posted by on Wednesday, March 26, 2014 · Leave a Comment 

 STC_Logo_Web

Staten Island was home to the Marine Hospital quarantine station that operated from 1799-1858.  It was located approximately where the Staten Island Ferry Terminal is today, up the hill past Borough Hall and across from the St. George Theatre. In the 1840-1850s, there was a complex of “pest” tents and hospital structures. Patients were segregated by disease, and men, women and children were mostly housed separately. Staten Island, Manhattan and Bayonne and Elizabeth, N.J., residents who were infected with diseases could be sent to the Marine Hospital.

Once in America, some immigrants were fortunate to be able to stay with family or townspeople, but many were not so lucky. Makeshift Irish shantytowns developed along the North Shore, where the immigrants waited, hoped and prayed. Many patients perished and were buried in one of two cemeteries operated by the facility. Immediately upon death, they were unceremoniously buried in mass graves.
When the family visited or made an inquiry, they were informed that their loved one had died and was already buried. No death certificates were issued, no cemetery burial log kept. Some families had the doctor sign a notarized letter attesting to the death and burial. Countless people simply vanished.

On Sunday, April 27, at 12:30 p.m., Friends of Abandoned Cemeteries of Staten Island (FACSI), in conjunction with the American Irish Legislators Society of New York State, will conduct a memorial reinterment service for the permanent entombment in the recreated cemetery located on the grounds of the St. George courthouse.

This event is free and open to the public. FACSI is producing a commemorative booklet and encourages all residents to memorialize their immigrant ancestors and to tell their American immigration story.
Advertisements cost $35 for Ð page, $70 for ½ page and $140 a full page. Ads should be sent via email (pictures should be in pdf form) or via regular mail to:

Friends of Abandoned Cemeteries, 158 Myrtle Ave., Staten Island, N.Y., 10310 or SICemetery@gmail.com. FACSI has restored and currently maintains 11 Staten Island cemeteries on the Island.
To read this full article click here 

To learn more about the reinterment click here

For more information contact Lynn Rogers, the executive director of Friends of Abandoned Cemeteries.  SICemetery@gmail.com or 917-545-3309 or visit FACSI on Facebook.

Category: Featured, Six To Celebrate 2014, Staten Island · Tags: , , ,

Thanks for Visiting

The Historic Districts Council is the advocate for all of New York City's historic neighborhoods. HDC is the only organization in New York that works directly with people who care about our city's historic neighborhoods and buildings. We represent a constituency of over 500 local community organizations.

Contact Us

Historic District Council 232 East 11th Street New York NY 10003 Tel: 212-614-9107 Fax: 212-614-9127 hdc@hdc.org

Support HDC

Become a Friend of HDC! Consider donating to support our efforts.

Follow Us