Defending Historic Preservation in New York City

Harrison Street

Historic preservation as both a strategy and as a philosophy is under attack as never before.

Although community advocates have achieved some big successes in recent years by gaining long-sought landmark designations and thwarting (or at least modifying) destructive proposals to historic buildings, the Real Estate Board of New York (“REBNY”), the principal lobbyist for organized real estate, has been relentless in its campaign to undermine the Landmarks Law and all community preservation efforts.

Emboldened by years of record growth, REBNY is accusing preservation efforts of driving up housing costs, endangering affordable housing, stopping job creation and economic growth, protecting worthless buildings and penalizing home and business owners with costly fees and delays. REBNY even pursued a serious lobbying effort to transform and weaken the Landmarks Law through a series of bills which would transform how the Landmarks Preservation Commission designates and regulates historic properties. To hear them tell it, landmark designation transforms New York into a lifeless museum city with a “look but don’t touch” mentality.

The Historic Districts Council (“HDC”) feels that nothing could be further from the truth. 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.

HDC 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 real estate lobby.

The threat to preservation laws and historic buildings is still very real. HDC will continue counter arguing REBNY as long as they continue to release studies based on lies  and misconceptions. Through HDC’s mobilization and education we have been able to keep the preservation community strong, but we will never be as loud as REBNY. We need all the support of our neighborhood partners, history lovers, and lovers of New York.

Additional Resources:

Preservation and Job Creation

Press

 

 

 HDC continues to vigilantly defend New York City’s Landmarks Law and promotes efforts to strengthen protections for historic buildings. This section will be updated regularly with current events regarding this issue.

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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:

Re:Neighborhood Values: NY Post, July 5, 2014

Demolition freeze may cover 80% of the city: Crains, April 14, 2014

The Historic Districts Council says the city’s historic districts are not to blame for the shortage of affordable housing: Daily News, February 26, 2014

Landlords take aim at rampant landmarking: Crains New York,July 11, 2013

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

Six to Celebrate Tours – Fall 2018

Saturdays- Sept. 8 – Atlantic Avenue Sept. 22 – Arthur Avenue | Sept. 29 – Corona-East Elmhurst

After Washington Street: A Community Moves to Atlantic Avenue

Saturday, September 8, 2018

10:00AM

This tour explores the reasons for the establishment of a new Syrian and Lebanese community in and around Brooklyn Heights, after once thriving in Manhattan’s Lower West Side. The history of this settlement, as well as its metamorphosis, will be discussed. The tour, led by historian Mary Ann DiNapoli, will also include visits to the unique shops of lower Atlantic Avenue.

$20 / $30

REGISTER

Arthur Avenue, The Bronx

September 22, 2018

2:00PM

Arthur Avenue, the long-time home of The Bronx’s Little Italy, has long been a haven for those seeking an authentic Italian shopping and dining experience. In a city that’s constantly evolving, its family-run businesses offer consistency, quality and connection to the past on a historic street recognized by the American Planning Association in 2016 as one of its Great Streets of America. Join us for a wide-ranging tour of some of Arthur Avenue’s gems, as well as of the surrounding neighborhood of Belmont, led by Francis Morrone. While this tour will not include food, we do recommend that you come with an appetite and stick around after for your own culinary tour!

$20 / $30

REGISTER

Corona-East Elmhurst – Jazz Artist & Music History 

September 29, 2018

11:00AM 

View the CEEHPS flyer for tour information

$40 / $45

REGISTER

Category: Featured, Six to Celebrate · Tags:

How do the Mayors stack up?

Posted by on Wednesday, August 8, 2018 · Leave a Comment 

Setting the agenda for a new Landmarks Chair

As regular readers are aware, Mayor de Blasio is currently on the hunt for a new Chair of the Landmarks Preservation Commission.

There is much discussion about the qualities a Landmarks Chair should posses:  demonstrable commitment to historic buildings, good understanding of city government, respect for the public process, infinite patience – to name just a few. In a rare but much appreciated move, City Council Speaker Corey Johnson weighed in, requesting that the Mayor select someone with “a record of supporting our city’s historic heritage.”

As Mayors are the final legal arbiters of landmark designations, we thought it would be illustrative to examine how the LPC has functioned under different Mayors to see what patterns might emerge. HDC strongly believes that more of our city’s historic properties should be protected and regulated by the LPC. Our hope in doing this analysis is to answer the question: how and when is that going to happen?

It is important to stress that historic district designations are only one aspect of the work of the LPC. This data does not account for the designation of individual landmarks or the immense work of regulating these properties, both of which are critical functions for the agency. However, since over 99% of the properties protected by the LPC fall within designated historic districts, we believe that an examination of how that inventory came to be is a worthwhile task.

On to the data!

The methodology we used for this study was to tally historic district designations over the past 53 years by Mayoral administration. As the Mayor must affirm every historic district designation, he is credited with each designation, as opposed to Landmarks Chairs, who should be credited with officially proposing (“calendaring”) designations regardless of their success. These numbers reflect the final size of HDs that were amended after calendaring (e.g. Riverside-West End II) and do not reflect HDs that were rejected by City Council (e.g. Steinway Street) or declined for designation by the Commissioners (e.g. Harrison Street). It should also be noted that the LPC was established in April of the final year of Mayor Wagner’s administration, which limited his ability to affirm designations.

Obviously, Mayor Bloomberg hits it out of the park in terms of total number of HDs.  One interesting aspect of this chart is the near-consistent ratio of Manhattan to non-Manhattan designations; Bloomberg, Koch, Giuliani and de Blasio all designated approximately twice as many HDs in Manhattan as outside it – despite much promise from most of those administrations to focus on the outer boroughs.

It’s important to keep in mind that beginning in 1969 (if not earlier), the Landmarks Law’s constitutionality was under question and was eventually litigated, culminating in the U.S. Supreme Court decision Penn Central v. New York (1978), which affirmed its legality.  It makes sense that this would slow designation activity during the Beame administration; however, it did not stop Mayor Lindsay from exercising his preservation powers. It’s also interesting to note that even though he’s only just started his second term, Mayor de Blasio comes off quite well compared to some of his predecessors.

The Bloomberg administration designated many small historic districts, while Mayors Dinkins and de Blasio seem to favor fewer, larger districts.

It should be noted that in 1973 under Mayor Lindsay, the Landmarks Law was amended to allow for faster agency action. The statistical rate of designations by and large increased over time, culminating in Mayor Bloomberg’s remarkable designation rate. This begs the question of why, in 2016, the City Council felt the need to create “do or die” deadlines for LPC designation of historic districts.

Looking to the Future

Mayor de Blasio is in a good position to equal or better his predecessors in protecting and preserving New York City’s historic buildings. In order to do this, the Mayor’s pick for the next Landmarks chair must improve on his administration’s already admirable designation practices. Benchmarks are important for public policies – he should instruct the new Chair to continue, if not improve, the rate of non-Manhattan designations to better the administration’s commitment to all of New York City’s neighborhoods. More to the point, the Mayor should look at the numbers; if his new LPC Chair can designate three Historic Districts encompassing an average of 400 properties each year before the end of his term in 2021, Mayor de Blasio would surpass Mayor Lindsay in numbers of historic districts designated, and Mayor Bloomberg in overall properties protected. That would be a landmark legacy to be proud of.

Category: Landmarks Preservation Commission · Tags:

Join HDC for the Landmarks Lion Award

Posted by on Tuesday, August 7, 2018 · Leave a Comment 

Honoring: 

Boston Valley Terra Cotta

Friends of Terra Cotta

Gladding, McBean

 Lower Level, Grand Central Terminal, 89 East 42nd Street, New York, NY 10017

Wednesday, October 24, 2018- 6:30 – 9:00 p.m. 

 

Chris Payne at Esto Photography

 

Purchase Tickets

 

Level of Support Donation Benefits
Signature Sponsor $15,000 Table for 10, complimentary full-page color program journal ad, podium acknowledgment
Benefactor $10,000 Table for 10, complimentary inside cover full-page program journal ad
Supporter $5,000 Table for 10, complimentary full-page program journal ad
Sponsor $2,500 Dinner for 5, complimentary half-page program journal ad
Patron $1,000 Dinner for 1, Benefit Committee listing
Friend $500 Dinner for 1, Benefit Committee listing

 

Purchase An Ad

 

Level of Support Donation Benefits
Podium Recognition $10,000 Benefit Committee listing, inside cover, full-page program journal ad (no tickets), podium acknowledgment
Full-inside cover $5,000 Benefit Committee listing, inside cover, full-page program journal ad (no tickets)
Full-page Ad $2,500 Benefit Committee listing, full-page program journal ad (no tickets)
Half-Page Ad $1,000 Benefit Committee listing, half-page program journal ad (no tickets)
Quarter-Page Ad $500 Benefit Committee listing, quarter-page program journal ad (no tickets)

 

Category: Event, Featured, landmark lion · Tags:

HDC@LPC – Testimony for LPC Hearing on August 7, 2018

Posted by on Monday, August 6, 2018 · Leave a Comment 

HDC regularly reviews every public proposal affecting Individual Landmarks and buildings within Historic Districts in New York City, and when needed, we comment on them. Our testimony for the latest items to be presented at the Landmarks Preservation Commission is below.

Public Meeting Item

Item 2

381 West End Avenue – West End Collegiate Historic District

CERTIFICATE OF APPROPRIATENESS, Docket #1920490

A Flemish Renaissance Revival Style rowhouse designed by Frederick White and built in 1885-1886. Application is to construct a rooftop addition and replace windows.

HDC is thrilled to see a sensitive façade restoration on this building, especially the return of the multi-storied bay. These improvements will redefine this corner and make an attractive dwelling an exceptional one. While the rooftop addition is sensitively done in terms of LPC requirements and is quite demure, we have pause about covenants that were included at the completion of construction of these buildings which prohibited rooftop accretions.


Public Hearing Items

Item 1

41-49 47th Street – Sunnyside Gardens Historic District

CERTIFICATE OF APPROPRIATENESS, Docket #1915258

A brick rowhouse with Colonial Revival style details designed by Clarence Stein, Henry Wright and Frederick Ackerman and built in 1924. Application is to construct a new brick stoop and install paving at the areaway and to legalize the replacement of the entrance hood.

HDC has some concerns about this application. While it appears that the larger porch is being removed or at least reduced, which is a positive alteration, HDC is deeply concerned about the proposal to install new paving in the areaway. A significant feature of Sunnyside Gardens is the prevalence of garden space, including front-facing gardens. Paved areas, regardless of the design of the paving, should be the exceptions in this neighborhood and historic district.

With regard to the entrance hood, the original hood had a character much more in keeping with the building’s other spare decorative elements. While this hood is typical of many of New York City’s rowhouse districts, its ubiquity should not be substituted for license, especially – considering its durability – it will become a permanent feature of the building and might lead to an unfortunate precedent for future applications in the historic district.


Item 2

175-12 Murdock Avenue – Addisleigh Park Historic District

CERTIFICATE OF APPROPRIATENESS, Docket #1918923

A Medieval Revival style house designed by G. English and built in 1928-29. Application is to legalize a masonry wall constructed without Landmarks Preservation Commission Permit(s); and install light fixtures, gates, and pavers.

According to the presentation, there seems to be rash of new, perhaps illegal, street walls being constructed within this historic district. This is quite unfortunate as photos taken during the designation process and even on Google street views show a neighborhood where the majority of homes are delineated by soft hedge plantings rather than hard masonry or chain-link fences. Concern about the proliferation of fences was voiced during the community discussions about designation ten years ago and it is sad that the negative implications which caused those concerns are now becoming evident. Good fences may make good neighbors, but imposing fences sunder communities and create clutches of fortresses lining a street. The wall being proposed to be legalized imposes a barrier to the block and the gate proposed to be installed is several steps too far. We should be grateful the water feature is being proposed to be restored and not transformed into a moat. We strongly recommend that the LPC instruct the applicant to investigate another solution to their desire for a wall which doesn’t insert itself so aggressively.

Additionally, the design and color of the proposed pavers are not appropriate to the site or the property and should be reexamined. In truth, the entire scheme could greatly benefit from a consultation with a qualified landscape architect.


Item 7

123 Rutland Road – Prospect-Lefferts Gardens Historic District

CERTIFICATE OF APPROPRIATENESS, Docket #1926234

A rowhouse designed by Benjamin Driesler and built in 1911. Application is to replace a deck, modify masonry openings, and install HVAC units at the roof

This house and the block it occupies are completely intact and HDC has pause about the amount of glass proposed for a small masonry house. The proposed intervention tries to make a brick house appear to be a modern glass box—which it’s not. The desire for more glass could be achieved by combining the existing masonry openings on the ground floor and reincorporating the segmental arch element. HDC asks that staff work with the applicant to determine another solution which will not aggressively alter the rear facade.


Item 8

83-85 Worth Street – TriBeCa East Historic District

CERTIFICATE OF APPROPRIATENESS, Docket #1927732

An Italianate style store and loft building built in 1859-60. Application is to construct rooftop additions, alter the rear façade and install a canopy.

It is correct to uncover the cast-iron columns and pilasters at the base of this building, but folly to not restore the Corinthian capitals. The 1885 photo provided in the application displays a detail of how these elements originally appeared and they absolutely should be re-created, despite being missing elsewhere on the block.

HDC found the treatment of the rear facade to be touched quite heavily, essentially eliminating a facade that has remained intact, including the presence of some fire shutters, since the building’s construction in 1859. The four upper floors of this facade especially are of a character of this building’s era, and HDC suggests leaving these floors intact and allowing more flexibility on the floors below them. The program should be further investigated to avoid destroying so much historic fabric in this area.

While there are other rooftop additions present on this block, the proposed 14 foot penthouse and 24 foot elevator bulkhead at this location are extremely visible because of the presence of a block-through public plaza which immediately faces the property. The mass should be scaled down and/or set back to minimize the visual impact this addition will have on the public realm.


Item 12

305-313 West 22nd Street – Chelsea Historic District

CERTIFICATE OF APPROPRIATENESS, Docket #1923929

Four French Second Empire style rowhouses built in 1873, altered and enlarged in 1985- 1986 with an addition and a penthouse enlargement designed by Weinberg, Kirshenbaum & Tambasco. Application is to replace windows.

The Historic Districts Council sees no valid reason contained within this application why these wooden windows could not be repaired or if determined irreparable, replaced in kind. If all these windows were replaced in 1986 –and not just the dormers, a point which is unclear from the written material – then a strong point could be made that wood has been proven to be a lasting material on this site. Could the same be said of the proposed aluminum replacements?


Item 15

101 West 123rd Street – Mount Morris Park Historic District

CERTIFICATE OF APPROPRIATENESS, Docket #1926570

A late Victorian Gothic Revival style church building designed by J.R. Thomas and built in 1885-1887, and altered in 1901. Application is to install signage.

HDC is pleased that the current sign will be removed and that the stone where it was mounted will be restored. While the new sign’s mounting will match the building’s stone, its design will not. The mounting appears quite sharp, almost resembling a shard. A softer execution should be explored, possibly in the Gothic style of the building, to rectify this.

Category: HDC@LPC · Tags:

Historic Signs and Storefronts of Yorkville: Reminders of an Immigrant Enclave

Posted by on Wednesday, August 1, 2018 · Leave a Comment 

Watch the tour online:

View with Spanish translation below:

 

This program is supported by public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the New York City Council. Additional support is provided by New York City Council Member Ben Kallos.

 

 

 

 

 

Category: Uncategorized · Tags:

HDC@LPC – Testimony for LPC Hearing on July 31, 2018

Posted by on Monday, July 30, 2018 · Leave a Comment 

HDC regularly reviews every public proposal affecting Individual Landmarks and buildings within Historic Districts in New York City, and when needed, we comment on them. Our testimony for the latest items to be presented at the Landmarks Preservation Commission is below.

NYC Landmarks Preservation Commission to schedule a new public hearing on the revised Rules Amendments

The Landmarks Preservation Commission (LPC) will be taking a vote on Tuesday, July 31, to schedule a new public hearing to discuss the revisions to the proposed Rules amendments. The hearing will most likely be in October and the revised text will be available in a few weeks. HDC thanks the LPC for reopening this action to the public and thanks everyone for voicing their concern with the original proposal.


Certificate of Appropriateness Hearing – July 31, 2018

Item 3

170 Duane Street – TriBeCa West Historic District

CERTIFICATE OF APPROPRIATENESS, Docket #1917458

A building originally built in 1835-36 and altered in 1984-85. Application is to modify masonry openings and construct a rear addition.

While the existing rear façade is not particularly distinguished, filling in the setbacks and inserting large picture windows does not help its overall aesthetic, especially since the presentation made it seem as though there might be some visibility of this façade from Reade Street. We would suggest replicating the design of the existing fenestration pattern so that the addition fits in better.

LPC Determination: Approved

 

Item 4

163 West 76th Street – Upper West Side/Central Park West Historic District

CERTIFICATE OF APPROPRIATENESS, Docket #1920777

A Renaissance Revival style rowhouse designed by Henry Cook and built in 1892-93. Application is to construct rear yard and rooftop additions.

HDC finds the cumulative impact of these additions to be overwhelming to this house, the row and the interior donut, giving it the appearance of a small apartment building, rather than a late 19th century rowhouse. With such a substantial proposed rear yard addition, HDC finds the additional living space proposed for the rooftop addition – and the resulting elevator – to be excessive. We also found the terraced design of the rear yard addition to stand out too much within the context of the row, and would suggest eliminating the fourth floor bump-out.

LPC Determination: Approved

 

Item 6

175 East 73rd Street – Individual Landmark

CERTIFICATE OF APPROPRIATENESS, Docket #1928148

An Italianate style rowhouse built in 1860. Application is to modify the existing rooftop addition, install mechanical equipment, and replace windows.

Item 7

177-179 East 73rd Street – Individual Landmark

CERTIFICATE OF APPROPRIATENESS, Docket #1927789

A Beaux-Arts style garage building designed by Charles F. Hoppe and constructed in 1906. Application is to construct rooftop and rear yard additions, and replace a garage door with new glass and metal infill.

HDC is glad to see many elements of these buildings so lovingly restored, and was particularly impressed with some of the proposed interventions, including the use of glass bricks on the lot line and the corrugated metal shaft in the rear that honors the building’s original, industrial use. Our only concerns were regarding the doorway of 177-179 East 73rd Street. We fear that the proposed canopy’s location will obscure the beautiful cartouche above the door, so would suggest that it be moved up to avoid covering up this feature. We also noted in the historic photographs that the door surround, which includes the cartouche, was historically darker in color than the rest of the base, which served to align the base and the entrance with the grand central bay of the building above. Therefore, we would also suggest that this same treatment be reintroduced.

LPC Determination: Approved

 

Category: HDC@LPC · Tags: ,

Six to Celebrate Tour- Prospect Heights Apartment House District

Posted by on Monday, July 30, 2018 · Leave a Comment 

September 16, 2018; 2:00PM – Six to Celebrate Tour  Prospect Heights with Frances Morrone

September 16, 2:00PM                                  Prospect Heights Apartment House District

Constructed on a lost fragment of the original footprint of Prospect Park is a concentration of 82 apartment buildings dating from 1909-1929. This development, boasting a cohesive design vocabulary and scale, was intended to attract high quality construction to complement the nearby Park, Brooklyn Museum, Brooklyn Botanic Garden and Brooklyn Public Library. The buildings remain exemplary for their architectural integrity and as housing stock for a diverse population. Join Francis Morrone on a tour of this unique corner of southeast Prospect Heights, as well as local advocates who are working to garner support and submit a proposal for historic district status from the Landmarks Preservation Commission. Immediately following the tour, all tour participants are invited to enjoy a free reception hosted by the Cultural Row Block Association (CuRBA).

SOLD OUT 

Category: Featured, Six to Celebrate · Tags: , ,

East Harlem and Yorkville: Scavenger Hunt & Spanish Publication Launch

Posted by on Friday, July 27, 2018 · Leave a Comment 

Photos from Scavenger Hunt & Spanish Language Publication Launch

Urban Archive Scavenger Hunt

(Permanently available on the Urban Archive app)

Six to Celebrate Spanish Language Guidebooks

See PDF versions of the guidebooks at this link by clicking the cover image for each neighborhood.

 

This program is supported by public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the New York City Council. Additional support is provided by New York City Council Member Ben Kallos.

 

 

 

 

Category: Uncategorized · Tags:

HDC@LPC – Testimony for LPC Hearing on July 24, 2018

Posted by on Monday, July 23, 2018 · Leave a Comment 

HDC regularly reviews every public proposal affecting Individual Landmarks and buildings within Historic Districts in New York City, and when needed, we comment on them. Our testimony for the latest items to be presented at the Landmarks Preservation Commission is below.

Item 2

343 Canal Street – SoHo-Cast Iron Historic District

CERTIFICATE OF APPROPRIATENESS, Docket #1924118

A neo-Grec/French Renaissance Revival style store and loft building designed by Isaac Duckworth and built in 1868. Application is to demolish a one-story rear addition.

HDC found this rear extension to be quite interesting, and we couldn’t determine ever seeing an architectural feature like this in applications in the past. Given the very unusual application of a vault light ceiling, we are inclined to believe that this addition is either original to the building or very much of the era. While HDC concedes that this room is in poor condition, and this space will not be visible after the new construction of an adjacent building is complete, it seems like a mistake to totally lose this very unique relic of historic fabric. As it is only one story, it could easily be shored and the steel beam can be replaced. If the contour of the ceiling is retained and the vault lights are restored, this could easily be one of the most beautiful spaces and the newest commodity in SoHo.

LPC determination: NO ACTION


Item 3

351 Canal Street – SoHo-Cast Iron Historic District

CERTIFICATE OF APPROPRIATENESS, Docket #1922497

A store building with neo-Grec style elements designed by W. H. Garylor and built in 1871-72. Application is to replace cast iron elements with fiberglass.

Given the extent of replacement capitals necessary, HDC is concerned about the large visual impact the faux ornament will have over time. Fiberglass is a far inferior material than cast-iron, and it will age differently and thermally from the rest of the building. Since the molds will have to be produced regardless, we very much hope that this façade can be restored in cast-iron. If not, the ornament should be left alone until it can be restored properly, rather than replacing this much of the façade with a faux material.

LPC determination: NO ACTION


Item 4

653-655 Broadway – NoHo Historic District

CERTIFICATE OF APPROPRIATENESS, Docket #1917636

Two Italianate style store buildings designed by Henry Fernbach and Griffith Thomas and built in 1882-83 and 1866-67 and later altered by Avinash K. Malhotra in 1979-81. Application is to replace storefront infill and install signage.

The arched banding which unifies all of the storefronts on this part of the block was likely conceived some time after the 1979 fire. Over 40 years later, HDC believes it is time and it would be optimal to re-expose the cast iron columns which framed these storefronts nicely. While the proposed infill does no harm, it is a missed opportunity to move in the right direction.

LPC determination: NO ACTION


Item 6

159 Charles Street – Individual Landmark

CERTIFICATE OF APPROPRIATENESS, Docket #1925704

A Greek Revival style rowhouse built in 1838. Application is to construct a rear-yard addition; modify masonry openings, lintels, and door surround; install rooftop mechanical equipment; and paint the front and rear facades.

This 1838 house is one of a handful of surviving houses from the early development of the western portion of Greenwich Village. Sitting mere feet from the Hudson River, this and one other building are the only extant 19th century structures on a street otherwise characterized by steel and glass. HDC found some of the proposed façade changes to lean toward fitting in with its contemporary context, as opposed to wearing a patina proudly. To that end, we would like to see the paneled lintels, which are present in the 1940s tax photograph, remain. While not original, they are historic, and are more authentic than the proposed recreation of faux brownstone. If the brick has not lost its fire skin and can be saved and remain unpainted, we strongly argue for this natural finish. The proposed paint colors for the façade and cornice, while attractive, are too cool for a 180 year old dwelling and are more suited for new construction. Overall, we find that the proposed interventions will clean this building a bit too much, and we urge the Commission to look carefully at which features stay or go.

LPC determination: Approved with modifications


Item 8

430 Broome Street – SoHo-Cast Iron Extension Historic District

CERTIFICATE OF APPROPRIATENESS, Docket #1918178

A Queen Anne style store and factory building designed by Julius Kastner and built in 1894-95. Application is to legalize the construction of a rooftop addition built in non-compliance with Certificate of No Effect 18-5912.

It is unfortunate that this staff-level rooftop addition deviated not only by building larger than approved, but also strayed aesthetically from what LPC staff determined to be appropriate. The result is a poorer-designed façade and reprehensible land-grab. It is puzzling as to why a staff level permit was secured, which precluded a public hearing, only to ultimately attend a public hearing today for a violation. HDC believes that the Commission should enforce its permits, and that if what was originally approved was non-visible from the public way, then this should be, too.

LPC determination: Approved with modifications


Item 9

442 6th Avenue – Greenwich Village Historic District

CERTIFICATE OF APPROPRIATENESS, Docket #1923164

A house built in 1834-35. Application is to legalize storefront infill and signage, installed in non-compliance with Certificate of Appropriateness 12-4488.

This storefront should be modified to follow the LPC-approved drawings. As built, the overlap of the sign band beyond the storefront glazing on West 10th Street appears sloppy. On 6th Avenue, the sign band spans the length of the entire façade, instead of allowing the brick of the building to frame it. These key corrections should be made, not legalized.

LPC determination: NO ACTION


Item 11

880-888 Broadway – Ladies’ Mile Historic District

CERTIFICATE OF APPROPRIATENESS, Docket #1923078

Item 12

34-38 East 19th Street – Ladies’ Mile Historic District

CERTIFICATE OF APPROPRIATENESS, Docket #1927726

A Commercial Palace style store and warehouse building built in 1882 and designed by William Wheeler Smith. Application is to construct rooftop additions, alter the storefront, replace windows and doors, and install signage, lighting and a flagpole.

In its day, this building was named among the “best ten buildings in America” in the professional architectural realm, and it is known for its intricate decorative detail, including its floral cast-iron storefronts. HDC is pleased that the cornice will return to the ground floor storefronts along Broadway, and that the new entrance infill will utilize steel, a quality material. That said, the nature of this building is highly florid, and steel is a versatile medium, so we aren’t convinced that the stripped-down appearance of the new entrances is the best approach to settle on. HDC suggests working from historic documentation to inspire and determine a solution for this. Regarding the rooftop addition, the visibility should be eliminated from the corner of 19th and Broadway. This building’s piers run the length of the building and puncture the cornice line and creates a distinct silhouette, which the addition partially obscures.

LPC determination: Approved 


Item 13

9 West 16th Street – Individual Landmark

CERTIFICATE OF APPROPRIATENESS, Docket #1925621

A Greek Revival style house, designed by Robert Kelly and built c. 1846 with later alterations. Application is to modify the penthouse.

There are four surviving bow-fronted Greek Revivals on this block, and only two have non-visible pentouse additions. These buildings were all designated individually because of the rare bow front feature from this particular era, and also as survivors of this neighborhood as an affluent enclave in the mid-19th century. While the neighbors of no. 9 have visible penthouses which sprout immediately out of the cornice, it doesn’t necessarily mean that these additions are successful or even attractive. HDC suggests preserving the recession of the current penthouse within its footprint, which will keep it minimally visible from the street, and instead reconfiguring the fenestration as proposed today. Gaining a mere three feet won’t give an interior a tremendous amount of space, but at the same time, this three feet will be consequential to the streetscape.

LPC determination: Approved with modifications


Item 16

309 West 85th Street – Riverside – West End Extension I Historic District

CERTIFICATE OF APPROPRIATENESS, Docket #1921681

An altered Renaissance Revival style flats building designed by Neville & Bagge and built in 1901. Application is to legalize the installation of windows without Landmarks Preservation Commission permit(s).

Admittedly, time and human interventions have not been the kindest to this house. That doesn’t mean that unfortunate things should keep happening to it. The illegal aluminum windows do nothing to help this façade, and the restoration of their original openings with a higher quality window could be the first small step of work to bring this building back to its former glory.

LPC determination: Approved with modifications


Item 17

753 Madison Avenue – Upper East Side Historic District

CERTIFICATE OF APPROPRIATENESS, Docket #1922369

An apartment building designed by Anthony M. Pavia and built in 1959. Application is to legalize work at the corner storefront in non-compliance with Certificate of Appropriateness 19-15330 and Miscellaneous/Amendment 19-17653.

HDC believes that the staff-level storefront design is far more successful than the legalization being proposed. With the glazed corner eliminated and details missing, this storefront now looks chaotic as opposed to clean. HDC strongly prefers that the applicant adhere to what LPC staff recommended, and that the Commission enforce its own permits so that we can all benefit from a well-designed storefront.

(as approved)

(as built)

LPC determination: NO ACTION

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

HDC@LPC – Testimony for LPC Hearing on July 17, 2018

Posted by on Monday, July 16, 2018 · Leave a Comment 

HDC regularly reviews every public proposal affecting Individual Landmarks and buildings within Historic Districts in New York City, and when needed, we comment on them. Our testimony for the latest items to be presented at the Landmarks Preservation Commission is below.

Item 1

42-50 Jay Street – DUMBO Historic District

CERTIFICATE OF APPROPRIATENESS, Docket #1926964

An American Round Arch style storehouse building designed by P. Faust and built in 1891 and a Daylight Factory style factory building with Arts and Crafts style elements built in1919-21. Application is to construct rooftop additions, alter the ground floor, paint the façade, and install windows, mechanical equipment, window boxes, and a gate.

HDC is pleased with the windows program for 42 Jay Street, which will restore the appearance of this building to its daylight factory aesthetic. Overall, the changes proposed for both buildings are sensitive. The rooftop addition on 50 Jay is well considered, well executed, and its visibility appears quiet within its context. At 42, HDC found the proposed addition to encroach excessively onto the street, and is too high and too close to the edge of the building. The proportions should be restudied and this mass should be set back and lowered to minimize this severe presence on this simple Arts & Crafts factory.

LPC determination: No Action


Item 2

301 Henry Street – Brooklyn Heights Historic District

CERTIFICATE OF APPROPRIATENESS, Docket #1925858

A Federal style rowhouse built in 1833. Application is to install enclosed HVAC equipment at the front areaway.

HDC is concerned about the precedent this application would set, if approved, for permitting enclosures in front yards of rowhouse neighborhoods like Brooklyn Heights. If this HVAC equipment cannot be located on the roof, an optimal alternative could be expanding the masonry opening of the existing through-wall for a new unit and conceal this with sensitively designed iron work.

LPC determination: Approved with modifications


Item 3

394 Henry Street – Cobble Hill Historic District

CERTIFICATE OF APPROPRIATENESS, Docket #1922343

A rowhouse built c. 1880s and altered prior to designation. Application is to resurface the front façade, and legalize the excavation of the front areaway and installation of a throughwall louver without Landmarks Preservation Commission permit(s).

HDC found both the presentation and scope of work quite spare for a façade intervention of this house. While it is a positive move to remove the unfortunate permastone from the face of this building, surfacing it with a cementitious paint thoroughseal will improve the building in only one way: it will make the façade all one color. While this application is in no way proposing to restore the building, we hope that a new owner will be able to correct the several mistakes of this building’s past and see a return of a cornice and façade details.

LPC determination: Approved with modifications


Item 6

708 Broadway and 404 Lafayette Street – NoHo East Historic District

CERTIFICATE OF APPROPRIATENESS, Docket #1924209

Two Northern Renaissance Revival style store and loft buildings designed by Cleverdon & Putzel and built in 1896. Application is to install storefront infill, signage and an ADA bollard, and to construct rooftop mechanical additions.

While the proposed storefront regularizes the façade and is an overall improvement, there are many storefronts in NoHo that the applicant can work from to improve the details, many of which are in the application. HDC is of the opinion that this storefront, while more clean, is more about branding rather than taking cues from its context.

 

LPC determination: Approved with modifications


Item 4

864 Carroll Street – Park Slope Historic District

CERTIFICATE OF APPROPRIATENESS, Docket #1925528

A Queen Anne style rowhouse designed by William B. Tubby and built in 1887. Application is to replace windows.

Windows are a major part of Queen Anne buildings, and facilitate the movement of one’s eye across these elaborate facades. HDC is pleased to see that this applicant appreciates the crafted quality of this house and has proposed a windows program to ensure that this aesthetic will be preserved. In the recent past, we have witnessed many applicants claim that curved glass bays are impossible, and yet this application proposes to replace the curved bay in triple-glazed. The return of divided lights to the existing double hung window are a most welcome improvement as well.

LPC determination: Approved 

Category: HDC@LPC · Tags:

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