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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:

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

Although community advocates have achieved some big successes in recent years gaining long-sought landmark designations and thwarting (or at least modifying) destructive proposals to historic buildings, historic preservation as both a strategy and as a philosophy is under attack as never before. Emboldened by years of record growth, the Real Estate Board of New York, the principal lobbyist for organized real estate, has been relentless in its campaign to undermine the Landmarks Law and all community preservation efforts. They are 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. To hear them tell it, landmark designation will transform New York into a lifeless museum city with a “look but don’t touch” mentality. HDC feels that nothing could be further from the truth. 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 designated and regulated historic properties. Through HDC’s mobilization of the preservation community, this specific effort was defeated but the threat to preservation laws and historic buildings is still very real.

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 real estate lobby.

HDC will continue counter arguing REBNY as long as they continue to release studies based on lies  and misconceptions. The threat that REBNY faces to New Yorker’s is very real. 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.

Preservation in the News


As New York City property values surge, historic sites reduced to memories

Reuters By Laila Kearney

As wealthy prospective buyers search for dwindling space to transform into high-end retail or apartment sites, city historians and sentimentalists fear that the shops and restaurants from some of Manhattan’s most notable eras have been marked for extinction.

“New Yorkers are seeing buildings and institutions they thought were going to be there forever disappearing,” said Simeon Bankoff, director of the city’s Historic Districts Council. “It seems to have reached a bit of a fever pitch.”

Click here to read the whole article

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Midtown East Steering Committee to Make Everyone Happy

New York Observer by: Tobias Salinger  

Representatives from a mishmash of 11 organizations, including Community Boards 5 and 6, preservation groups like the Historic Districts Council, business organizations like the Grand Central Partnership, urban planning research groups like the Regional Plan Association and the industry’s advocacy group, the Real Estate Board of New York, will figure out a way to jumpstart the 73-block rezoning proposal that died in the City Council last winter.

Click here to read the whole article

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Buildings With a Past

Creating New York Apartments From Unlikely Buildings

NYTimes By C. J. HUGHES

Land is extremely scarce, they say, and historic districts, which are numerous, make new construction tough. Besides, some old-time structures are far bigger than what zoning would allow on their lots today. Adaptive reuse can also be speedier.

But curb appeal may also have something to do with it. “There’s a general movement now that goes beyond real estate, a reaction to a world that’s become increasingly electronic,” said Toby Moskovits, president of Heritage Equity Partners, which is transforming a church-and-school complex into apartments in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. “People are more comfortable,” she added, “with something that feels authentic.”

Click here to read the whole article

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 Readers sound off on landmarks

Daily News By: Arthur Levin, Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation

What the Real Estate Board of New York study cited in this article fails to address is that, according to experts, the single largest factor contributing to the increasing unaffordability of our city is the disappearance of existing affordable housing — a fact acknowledged in Mayor de Blasio’s affordable housing plan. Historic districts in fact help preserve and protect thousands of units of affordable housing that might otherwise be lost to demolition.

An objective examination of potential solutions to our city’s housing affordability challenge is not really the agenda of REBNY, a trade association representing developers, which has long lobbied for reducing and eliminating affordable housing protections. The REBNY agenda is to maximize the freedom of its developer members to tear down and build whatever they want, wherever they want.

Click here to read the whole article

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Last Night’s Heavy Rainfall Turns Gowanus Canal Into One Big  Toilet Once Again

Pardon Me For Asking

Last night’s heavy rain caused another Combined Sewer Overflow event last night and by 11 PM, much of the waterway was covered with raw sewage.  The smell was unbelievable.  It was too dark to take photos, but I took a walk over both the Union Street and Carroll Street bridges at 6 am this morning, and took some pictures. It was still rather awful and smelly and the bacteria count in the water must have been off the charts.

It is unfathomable to thing that the new residents of the 700 unit Lightstone Group Project at the shores of the canal will have to deal with this every time it rains heavily.

Click here to read the whole article

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RIZZOLI CEILING SOON TO PERISH

 

Save Rizzoli

In the days preceding the ceiling extraction, we had been in communication with Vornado Realty Trust to acquire their permission and insurance requirements for our highly experienced crew to enter the site and remove large portions of the ceiling. By all accounts, they initially supported the endeavor, and everyone appeared to be on board. Our team only awaited the approval of Vornado CEO Steven Roth.

But then on Thursday, as our preservationists prepared to conduct a probe of the ceiling’s material condition, we learned our access to the site had been denied. At the last minute, Steven Roth intervened and thwarted our attempt to preserve the building’s architectural details for posterity.

Click here to read the whole article

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Library’s Rose Main Reading Room Closed for Six Months

Plaster Fell From the 52-Foot-Tall Ceiling in May

Wall Street Journal By Jennifer Maloney

The New York Public Library’s Rose Main Reading Room will remain closed for the next six months for inspection and repairs after a plaster rosette fell from its ceiling in May, library officials said Monday.

The reading room is the jewel of the library’s flagship Fifth Avenue building, which draws 2.3 million visits a year. The room’s 52-foot-tall ceilings are adorned with painted clouds and other decorations molded in plaster.

The library Monday didn’t have a cost estimate for the inspection or repairs.

Click here to read the whole article

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Mysterious Railroad Relic Unearthed on Governors Island

DNAInfo By Irene Plagianos

A recent dig on Governors Island unearthed a rusty relic of its military history — and island officials aren’t sure what it is.

While working on the island’s sewer systems, excavators found what appears to be part of a railway train car or hand cart once used on the island’s early 20th century railroad system, said Elizabeth Rapuano, a spokeswoman for the Trust for Governors Island.

“It’s a fun surprise — we’ve never found anything like it before,” Rapuano said. “We’re still trying to figure out exactly what it is…we’d love to get responses from the public about [it].”

Click here to read the whole article

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Closer look at two significant neighborhoods

This tour was made possible by the Historic Districts Council. It is part of the nonprofit’s “Six To Celebrate,” which offers tours of six areas the group deems worthy of preservation.

“These tours serve to highlight neighborhoods that many New Yorkers are unaware of to shine a light on unknown aspects of their history or built environment,” said Barbara Zay of HDC.

The Forest Close Association its neighborhood for the honor. Forest Close is a group of 1927 rowhouses bounded by 75th Road, 76th Avenue, and Austin Street.

Click here to read the whole article

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Ratner wins prize for best … preservationist?

Brooklyn Paper
BY MATTHEW PERLMAN

Preservationists at the Municipal Art Society issued their most prestigious award to Forest City Ratner’s chairman Bruce Ratner and head Maryanne Gilmartin on Wednesday night. Advocates that take exception to the builder’s biggest projects, Atlantic Yards and MetroTech Center, which have replaced and are slated to replace more than a dozen primarily low-slung blocks with hulking skyscrapers and the Barclays Center arena, are fuming at the decision.

“Forest City Ratner Companies has been bulldozing and demolishing huge tracts of land,” said Simeon Bankoff, executive director of the Historic Districts Council, a preservationist group that spun off from the Municipal Art Society in the 1980s. “They’re creating these places that are not places at all.”

Click here to read the whole story

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DOWNTOWN ALLIANCE RELEASES REPORT

Everything Old Is New Again: Conversions of Historic Properties in Lower Manhattan

Historic properties are being reimagined and preserved through significant new investment and changes in use. These projects show that preser­vation and economic development can be powerful partners. As new office space comes online across the district, historic former office buildings are being converted into new retail, hotel and residential spaces fitting for a 21st Century Downtown.

Click here to access the full report.

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Brooklyn’s Historic Churches Disappear to Make Way for Condos

 

Some preservationists and historians say the loss of churches is changing the face of some of borough’s most historic neighborhoods.

“I think it’s a tragedy that we are losing these unique and amazing structures,” said Sharon Barnes, a member of the Society for Clinton Hill. “They are part of the fabric of our streets and to lose so many is heartbreaking.”

But Simeon Bankoff, director of the Historic Districts Council, an organization that advocates for New York City’s historic neighborhoods, said that church to condo conversions are a practical way to preserve the historic nature of the buildings after congregations can no longer afford the upkeep.

“The actual physical character of the buildings is retained even when they are converted to residential use,” he said.

Click here to read the whole article

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The Value of Land: How Community Land Trusts Maintain Housing Affordability

 

Urban Omnibus by Oksana Mironova
Affordable housing is on New York City’s mind. A critical mass of civic organizations, academic institutions, city agencies, advocacy groups, and others are pondering the essential and perennial issue of how to ensure that the city becomes affordable for the extraordinarily diverse population that makes it work. What’s more, the conversation is riding a new wave of perceived political support from the de Blasio administration, which has tapped leading academics and esteemed private and public sector figures to deliver on its ambitious promise to build or preserve 200,000 units of affordable housing in ten years. With the details of the Mayor’s plan due to be released May 1st, we will undoubtedly be hearing a great deal of commentary about policy and implementation – development sites, low-income housing tax credits, preservation, NYCHA reforms – for weeks to come.
Click here to read the whole report

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Plan to Honor Big Developer in Brooklyn Is Criticized

NYTimes BY Matt Chaben

The Municipal Art Society is well known for campaigns to save Grand Central Terminal and Lever House and to stop towers that would have cast long shadows over Central Park.

But now the civic organization is the one defending itself, for deciding to award the developer Bruce C. Ratner its highest honor, one named for the very person who led some of those fights.

“We claim no ownership of the Onassis name, though we do draw on her spirit,” said Simeon Bankoff, executive director of the Historic Districts Council, a citywide preservation group. “To honor Forest City Ratner with an award named for someone so well known for fighting to preserve New York’s neighborhoods is just too much.”

Click here to read the whole story

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An economic defense of old buildings

Washington Post By Emily Badger

“For a long time, preservationists have been making the the cultural argument that these places feed our soul, and they connect us to our past,” says Stephanie Meeks, the president and CEO of the National Trust of the National Trust. “But this is the first time we’ve had empirical data to show that these places perform better economically and on many livability factors, as well.”

The report divided each city into a grid of 200-by-200-meter squares to allow comparison across neighborhoods (city blocks tend to be different sizes even across the same city, making that unit a poor measure).

Click here to read the whole article

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State will not move forward with historic district designation of Gowanus due to overwhelming opposition

Daily News BY 

The state Historic Preservation Office has decided not to pursue the designation of a large swath of the neighborhood, an area that would have covered 422 properties near the notoriously polluted Gowanus Canal

“It’s very disturbing that people went door to door . . . bullying people to go against this and giving them misinformation,” said Linda Mariano, co-founder of Friends and Residents of Great Gowanus, a citizens group that has pushed for the creation of a historic district since the early 2000s.

Click here to read the whole story

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This Is New York Now: Starbucks, Frozen Yogurt and Juice Bars

By 
We’ve been waiting for the other shoe to fall for months now, ever since Bleecker Street Records was pushed out of its longtime home at 239 Bleecker Street in August by a massive rent increase that would have required the record store to pay $27,000 a month. What purveyor of luxury goods would fill the home from which the vinyl mecca drew its name? (Miraculously, Bleecker Street Records found a space around the corner at 188 West 4th.)Now we know, h/t Grub Street: a Starbucks will be moving in.

Click here to read the whole article

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New Yorkers, Take Back Your City

 

The old-school gentrification of the 20th century, while harmful, wasn’t all bad. It made streets safer, created jobs and brought fresh vegetables to the corner store. Today, however, what we talk about when we talk about gentrification is actually a far more destructive process, one that I prefer to call hyper-gentrification.

Unlike gentrification, in which the agents of change were middle-class settlers moving into working-class and poor neighborhoods, in hyper-gentrification the change comes from city government in collaboration with large corporations. Widespread transformation is intentional, massive and swift, resulting in a completely sanitized city filled with brand-name mega-developments built for the luxury class. The poor, working and middle classes are pushed out, along with artists, and the city goes stale. Urban scholar Neil Smith wrote extensively about the phenomenon, calling it “a systematic class-remaking of city neighborhoods.”

Click here to read the whole article

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Public Library Is Abandoning Disputed Plan for Landmark

NYTimes By ROBIN POGREBIN

In a striking about-face, the New York Public Library has abandoned its much-disputed renovation plan to turn part of its research flagship on Fifth Avenue at 42nd Street into a circulating library and instead will refurbish the nearby Mid-Manhattan Library, several library trustees said.

“When the facts change, the only right thing to do as a public-serving institution is to take a look with fresh eyes and see if there is a way to improve the plans and to stay on budget,” Anthony W. Marx, the library’s president, said on Wednesday.

The renovation of the flagship, the Stephen A. Schwarzman Building, would have replaced the book stacks under the building’s main reading room with the new lending library. The project was to be paid for with $150 million from New York City and proceeds from the sale of the Mid-Manhattan Library, at Fifth Avenue and 40th Street, and the Science, Industry and Business Library in the former B. Altman building, on Madison Avenue at 34th Street.

Click here to read the full story

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New York Public Library Scraps Redesign Plans

The Controversial Renovation Plan Prompted Three Lawsuits

WSJ By JENNIFER MALONEY

The New York Public Library has scrapped a controversial renovation plan that would have gutted century-old book stacks from its landmark Fifth Avenue building.

Its decision came amid three lawsuits and skepticism from Mayor Bill de Blasio, who was under pressure from his supporters to claw back $150 million in city funding for the project.

The library on Wednesday said that an independent cost analysis it commissioned showed that the renovation of the Stephen A. Schwarzman building would have cost significantly more than the $300 million it originally projected.

“When the facts change, the only right thing to do as a public-serving institution is to take a look with fresh eyes and see if there is a way to improve the plans and to stay on budget,” Anthony Marx, the library’s president, said.

Click here to read the full article

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City unveils 200K-unit, $41B housing plan

 

Crains BY ANDREW J. HAWKINS

Mayor Bill de Blasio hails his effort as “literally the largest and most ambitious affordable-housing program” in the history of the nation. He promised to work collaboratively with the real estate industry but vowed to “drive a hard bargain.”

The mayor did not identify specific neighborhoods that would be targeted for aggressive development, however City Planning Commissioner Carl Weisbrod said the Planning Commission would initiate a “dozen” planning studies in the months ahead to start that process. His plan calls for additional building atop rail yards, such as with Atlantic Yards in Brooklyn and Hudson Yards in Manhattan, but does not identify specific locations.

Public housing will be a component of this plan, though likely not the building of new public housing, as Mr. de Blasio noted that funding from the federal government was essentially “frozen.” Asked if new legislation will be required from Albany to help entice developers or protect rent regulated apartments, Mr. de Blasio responded vaguely that his administration expected the full cooperation from both the federal and state governments.

“We insist on real involvement,” he said.

Click here to read the full story

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Mayor de Blasio’s Plan to Build More Cells

In considering ways in which space can be arranged to accommodate New York’s poor, the new plan is not the most sensible one. By 

Does anybody care about the quality of housing? Apparently not, or at least not in New York. How and where you live is only a numbers game, as Mayor Bill de Blasio’s announcement of a plan to “spend” up to $40 billion to create “affordable” housing in the city makes clear.

Click here to read the full story

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The Giant New Building That Is About to Overshadow the Cathedral Church of St. John the Divine — And How the City Ought to Step In

New York Magazine By 

There’s a better way: negotiate. What matters most to the cathedral’s majesty is its presence on the street, not the height of its still-nonexistent central tower. So if Mayor de Blasio moves fast, before construction has actually begun, he can still broker a compromise:

Click here to read the full article

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HONORS> HISTORIC DISTRICTS COUNCIL DESIGN AWARDS

Architects Newspaper By: Alan G. Brake

One of New York’s leading preservation groups names winners of its first awards program

The Historic Districts Council, one of New York’s leading historic preservation organizations, has announced the winners of its first annual design awards. The goal of the awards program is to “broaden perceptions of the possibilities of design in historic settings,” according to a statement from the organization. AN served as a media sponsor for the awards, and I served as a juror for the awards along side jury chair James Stewart Polshek; Leo A. Blackman, principal, Leo A. Blackman Architects; Jean Caroon, principal, Good Clancy; Andrew Scott Dolkart, director of the Historic Preservation program at Columbia; and Adam Yarinsky, principal at ARO. Drawing over 70 entries from within the five boroughs, the award winning projects exemplify the power of contemporary design to engage with history and enrich the life of the city.

Click here to read the full article

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Supporters of Closing Rizzoli Bookstore Call for Reforms to City’s Landmarks Process

News 1

Supporters say the century old Rizzoli Building, which houses the Rizzoli Bookstore, deserves protection through landmark status, despite a rejection by the Landmark Preservation Commission. They say the commission’s process is slow and lacks transparency.

“We’re here today to ask that LPC immediately study those remaining buildings on West 57th street, particularly those on this block, to identify and landmark those that represent the best of their eras, so we don’t have any more Rizzoli situations,” said Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer.

Click here to read the full story

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Demolition freeze may cover 80% of the city

 

Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer’s bid to protect buildings over age 50 frightens developers, construction unions and housing activists.

Crains By Joe Anuta

A politician’s proposal to protect the thousands of older buildings in New York that face demolition each year has triggered a backlash not just among powerful developers, but also among construction unions and advocates for affordable housing who fear the measure could drastically curb residential construction in the city.

The storm began on April 4 at a protest outside the stately, likely-to-be-razed Rizzoli bookstore on West 57th Street, when Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer pledged to do more to prevent such losses in the future. She offered to introduce a bill that would require a 30-day review by the Landmarks Preservation Commission of any demolition permit filed for a building over 50 years old. The measure would apply to nearly 80% of the city’s structures and 91% of those in Manhattan, according to city data.

 Click here to read the full story

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Museum fears plaster disaster from next-door hotel project

The Villager by Sam Spokony

  To the dismay of advocates for the historic Merchant’s House Museum, the city’s Landmarks Preservation Commission finally approved a plan for the construction of an eight-story hotel next to the museum, in a six-to-one vote on April 8.

The planned 27 E. Fourth St. hotel — which would sit immediately to the west of the 29 E. Fourth St. museum — had twice been rejected by L.P.C., after first being introduced in 2012 as a nine-story structure. But the final design’s slightly smaller scale, along with other exterior changes, apparently led the commission to allow it to go forward.

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Merchant’s House-Neighboring Hotel Approved by Landmarks

Curbed by Jeremiah Budin

The only Commissioner to vote against the proposal, Margery Perlmutter, called it “drab on so many levels.” “I feel likewe’ve been exhausted into saying yes to this proposal, so I’m saying no,” she said.

The hotel proposal has been a subject of controversy not just because of its underwhelming design, but also because of the neighboring Merchant’s House, which preservationists fear will be harmed by the construction. The developers have promised to take extensive measures to ensure that the almost-two-century-old structure will not be harmed, and the Commission had basicallysigned off on that aspect at the last hearing, so there was no further discussion of the museum. It’s supporters, wearing stickers urging the LPC to say no to the hotel, left quietly and dejectedly.

Click here to read the full article

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LPC Likely to Protect Ladies’ Mile Buildings From Demolition

 

Chelsea Now by Scott Stiffler

A developer’s plan to demolish two landmarked 19th-century buildings on West 19th Street was met with stiff resistance by the city’s Landmarks Preservation Commission (LPC), following similar opposition by community leaders and preservationists.

Although no official vote was taken at the April 1 hearing, the commissioners were nearly unanimous in their belief that Panasia Estate, the owner of 51 and 53 West 19th Street (between Fifth and Sixth Avenues), should focus on restoring the buildings — which lie within the Ladies’ Mile Historic District — rather than replacing them with a proposed 14-story residential building.

Click here to read the full article

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“Everybody Has Been Bought Off”: Brewer, Neighbors Protest Imminent Rizzoli Bookstore Demolition

Gothamist by Ben Miller

A coalition of preservationists and community leaders held a rally and press conference today in front of the soon-to-be-demolished Rizzoli Bookstore, which has already been defaced, at least on the outside, by the developers who hope to tear it down and put up more glassy condos.

Click here to read the full article

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Sunset Park Leading Grassroots Effort to Preserve Its History

NY1 by Jeanine Ramirez

“We’ve got letters from all those homeowners saying that they are in support,” said one person.

On Wednesday, the community board voted unanimously in favor. It will now write a resolution to the Landmarks Preservation Commission.

Board members emphasized that the effort is not to make the working-class community more expensive, but to maintain its architectural significance.

“That character is one of affordability, said Daniel Murphy, the chair of Community Board 7. “We were never a bourgeois neighborhood. We want to preserve as much as that as we can.”

Click here to read the full article

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COOKFOX Wins Award for Front Street; BK Heights Tour

Curbed by Zoe Rosenberg

The Historic District Council has awarded an inaugural design award to Historic Front Street at South Street Seaport. Designed by COOKFOX Architects, the project infilled a number of empty sites along the stretch.

Click here to read the full article

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A Landmark Restored, From Mosaic Marble Floor to Grand Dome

Michael Nagle for The New York Times

Sandstone walls were painted white. Decorative walnut and mahogany woodwork was painted green. The hand-cut mosaic floors of the two banking halls were badly damaged, as were floors of encaustic tile elsewhere in the building. Most of the decorative hardware was gone. The bird-cage elevator was stilled.

Dust had accumulated so exactly along the lines of the framework behind the dome that Mr. Perez San Martin thought the dark spokes were part of the original mural. A cleaning and restoration by Sandra Spannan of See Painting revealed otherwise.

New encaustic tiles were ordered from the English firm Craven Dunnill & Company, which still had the molds and colors necessary to match the existing floors, Mr. Perez San Martin said. The walls and woodwork were stripped and restored.

Click here to read the full article

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Preservation Pays! REBNY’S Campaign Against Landmark Protection Is Misguided

By opposing preservation, REBNY and its allies oppose the will of the people

BY JEFFREY A. KROESSLER/New York Observer

Imagine New York City without a landmarks law protecting historic neighborhoods and buildings. Actually, one does not have to imagine. There are examples aplenty across the five boroughs. From urban renewal sites to the apartment towers rising in Williamsburg and Long Island City, from “McMansions” replacing older homes in Forest Hills and Kew Gardens to new construction breaking up an intact block of row houses in Sunset Park, there is evidence anywhere you look.

The Real Estate Board of New York has launched an aggressive media campaign against historic preservation. There are too many landmarks, they wail, and many of those are unworthy! They argue that historic districts impede growth and development. Their evidence on all fronts is slim to misleading. Here’s why.

Follow us: @newyorkobserver on Twitter | newyorkobserver on Facebook

Click here to read the full article

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Mayor de Blasio’s Brooklyn housing plan is building big worries

BY / NEW YORK DAILY NEWS

 

The fears crystalized Wednesday when the Planning Board approved a $1.5 billion project on the site of old Domino sugar plant in Williamsburg. It will have towers as high as 55 stories, or about 20 stories more than zoning on the site normally allows.

Permission for the taller buildings was granted in return for the developer setting aside 537,000 square feet, a quarter of all space, for 700 units of affordable housing.

That’s compared to 20% under a less dense 2010 plan.

Click here to read the full article
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Cities Mobilize to Help Those Threatened by Gentrification

By TIMOTHY WILLIAMS/New York Times

Newcomers, whose vitality is critical to cities, are hardly being turned away. But officials say a balance is needed, given the attention and government funding being spent to draw young professionals — from tax breaks for luxury condominium buildings to new bike lanes, dog parks and athletic fields.

“We feel the people who toughed it out should be rewarded,” said Darrell L. Clarke, president of the Philadelphia City Council, which last year approved legislation to limit property tax increases for longtime residents. “And we feel it is incumbent upon us to protect them.”

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Argument Over a Brownstone Neighborhood

The Case for and Against a Bed-Stuy Historic District

 By /New York Times

Supporters contend that a designation would preserve an architecturally and historically significant part of the city while also rewarding residents who had stuck with the neighborhood during tough times, in part by increasing the value of their homes and preventing unwelcome new development.

Opponents predict that a designation would bring heftier renovation costs and a tangle of regulations for homeowners seeking to improve their properties, along with higher rents and sale prices that would force out the largely low-income minority residents who form the area’s core. Opponents also argue that most Bed-Stuy residents weren’t adequately informed about the proposal.

Click here to read the full article

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 Renovation, restoration the trend in Midtown East

By /Real Estate Weekly

With Midtown East’s controversial rezoning currently on hold for the foreseeable future, owners of properties in the district are taking a second look at extant buildings — and many like what they see.

125 Park Avenue

Numerous major renovations and restorations had already been launched in the area prior to the rezoning’s tabling, from SL Green’s swanky 2008 renovation of 125 Park Avenue, a 1923 Romanesque Revival office building directly adjacent to Grand Central, to a current restoration of 501 Fifth Avenue by Abramson Brothers, Inc., which will restore the 1916 Beaux Arts skyscraper’s original limestone façade.

In the wake of these are a slew of similarly ambitious projects, including RFR’s “reimagined” 285 Madison Avenue, a gut renovation and new ground floor at the equally impressive 292 Madison just across the street and a burnishing of 501 Madison Avenue that promises to bring a tarnished Art Deco jewel back to its original luster.

Click here to read the full article

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HDC’s Simeon Bankoff Talks About Life on the Preservation Front Lines

City Land Profile

Advice for the Uninitiated. Mr. Bankoff described HDC’s work as tripartite: education, advocacy, and community outreach. In addition to his ubiquitous presence at Landmarks, City Council, and community boards in support of preservation, HDC hosts lectures and tours, often in response to requests from civic groups. Mr. Bankoff likes to bring together civic groups with government representatives from Landmarks, Buildings, and Council, providing the agencies with an opportunity to meet communities in a neutral situation, and the communities with different perspectives on the designation process.

Click here to read the full article

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Potential Historic District Supported by Elected Officials and Community Boards

By: Jesse Denno/City Land

Representatives of Council Members Daniel Garodnick and Ben Kallos testified in support of the designation. A representative of Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney voiced her “full-throated support” of “this iconic area of our city,” and a representative of State Senator Liz Krueger testified that “threats to this section of Park Avenue are not merely theoretical.” Representatives of Manhattan Community Boards 8 and 11 also recommended designation.

Click here to read the full article
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Category: Featured · Tags:

Historic Pub Crawl- Pictures

Posted by on Monday, July 21, 2014 · Leave a Comment 

The Historic Districts Council and Chrysalis Archeological Consultants  led a tour  of the architecture, history and beverages of some of New York City’s oldest watering holes. The tour  began with a tasting of Chrysalis bitters at the Merchant’s House, brewed from an historic recipe and inspired by a 19th century bottle recently found at a Bowery archaeological site, which promised to be an “Elixir of Long Life.” The tour then continued up third Avenue to McSorley’s, Pete’s Tavern and Old Town.

Category: Program & Events · Tags: , , , ,

HDC@LPC July 22, 2014

Posted by on Monday, July 21, 2014 · Leave a Comment 

Item 1

CERTIFICATE OF APPROPRIATENESS

BOROUGH OF QUEENS

156207- Block 8040, lot 68-

102 Shore Road – Douglaston Historic District

A Colonial Revival style house designed by H.H. Ross and built in 1908, and a freestanding garage built in 1910. Application is to alter fenestration, install new railings, create a new exterior stair and install paving.

Item 1_102 Shore Rd_1_edited

HDC finds the overall proposal for this 1908 Colonial Revival appropriate, but we ask the Commission to pay special attention to the shape of the porch balusters. This house retains some of its original posts and columns, treated in the Doric order. The tax photo reveals that the balusters had minimal treatment, in unison with the posts, and we ask that this design be replicated accurately.

APPROVED

 

Item 20

CERTIFICATE OF APPROPRIATENESS

BOROUGH OF MANHATTAN

158672- Block 294, lot 8-

54 Canal Street – S. Jarmulowsky Bank Building, Individual Landmark

A neo-Renaissance style bank and office building designed by Rouse & Goldstone and built in 1911-12. Application is to request that the Landmarks Preservation Commission issue a report to the City Planning Commission relating to an application for a Modification of Bulk pursuant to Section 74-711 of the Zoning Resolution.

Item 20_54 Canal_edited

We are particularly pleased to see that new life is breathed into this building, and with it, the tower which once crowned this Individual Landmark. Our objection is solely to the choice of a vastly inferior substitute material, Glass Fiber Reinforced Concrete (GFRC) to replace the terra cotta of the original design and construction of the pinnacle. We suspect that this choice of a lighter thin-shelled material will represent a cost savings over the recreation of terra cotta. That said, a 74-711 justifies a return to the original material, and to this end HDC asks that the tower be reconstructed in terra cotta. Further, it will better match in luster and texture the terra cotta Renaissance ornament which still graces this building’s upper stories.

APPROVED

Item 22

CERTIFICATE OF APPROPRIATENESS

BOROUGH OF MANHATTAN

156218- Block 819, lot 77-

604-612 Avenue of the Americas – Ladies’ Mile Historic District

A Beaux-Arts style store and loft building designed by Buchman & Fox and built in 1910-12. Application is to modify existing signage and to install flagpoles and banners.

Item 22_604 Sixth Ave_2_edited

HDC asks that the sign remain where it is. The sign is symmetrically placed on the marquee, which in turn is symmetrically placed on the façade of the building. Regarding the flag poles and banners, in the past the Commission has found it appropriate at times to allow such things along Sixth Avenue, but not on side streets of the Ladies Mile Historic District. HDC asks that this precedent continue to be followed along 18th Street.

APPROVED

Item 23

CERTIFICATE OF APPROPRIATENESS

BOROUGH OF MANHATTAN

158308- Block 859, lot 26-

30 East 30th Street – Martha Washington Hotel, Individual Landmark

A Renaissance Revival style hotel designed by Robert W. Gibson and built in 1901-03. Application is to install signage.

Item 23_30 E 30 St_2_edited

HDC applauds the use of the Martha Washington Hotel’s historic logo and the reemergence of the painted wall sign. While our committee generally appreciates the approach to the signage program, the banner signs seem excessive.

APPROVED

Item 24

ADVISORY REPORT

BOROUGH OF MANHATTAN

15-9129 – Block 1296, lot 7501–

110 East 42nd Street-Bowery Savings Bank Building – Individual & Interior Landmark

An Academic Italian Romanesque style bank and office building designed
by York & Sawyer and W. Louis Ayres and built in 1921-23 with an
addition built in 1931-33. Advisory review of the design of the new
building that will be constructed pursuant to Modification of Use 10-9130
which supported a proposal for the transfer of development rights from 110
East 42nd Street to 317-325 Madison Avenue, aka 1 Vanderbilt Avenue.
Zoned C5-3 in the Grand Central Sub-district of the Special Midtown
District.

Item 24_1 Vanderbilt_edited

 

HDC finds that the proposed design for 1 Vanderbilt does not share a harmonious relationship with Grand Central Terminal. The Committee feels that the cut-away feature in the base of 1 Vanderbilt is a hollow gesture to the grandeur of the Terminal, and it almost threatens to consume the shorter Individual Landmark. A solid streetwall typical of this area of East Midtown would be a more appropriate fit. HDC also laments the loss of the State and National Register listed properties that exist in the footprint of the proposed 1 Vanderbilt development. These buildings, because of their age, design, scale, and materials, share a true dialog with the Terminal, their longtime neighbor, and should be used, instead of discarded.

Finally, HDC is puzzled by this particular  permit process.  If this is only an advisory report, what is the binding authority which the LPC will be advising?  Does every new building in the special district require a harmonious relationship with Grand Central Terminal?  If there is to be an increase in new development in East Midtown, the process should be made clear so that interested parties are able to focus their energies and knowledge in the correct forums.

 

Item 25

CERTIFICATE OF APPROPRIATENESS

BOROUGH OF MANHATTAN

158983- Block 1265, lot 7501-

30 Rockefeller Plaza – (former) RCA Building/Rockefeller Center,

Individual Landmark and Interior Landmark
A two-story Art Deco style skyscraper lobby designed by the Associated
Architects and built in 1931-33 as part of an Art Deco style office, commercial and entertainment complex, which comprises the Rockefeller Center Individual Landmark. Application is to create signage vitrines within storefront windows, and apply a decorative finish to the ceiling, at the mezzanine.

Item 25_30 Rock_3_edited

HDC finds the storefront vitrines appropriate, noting the historic commercial nature of this Individual Landmark and this area of Manhattan. 30 Rock already has a decorative finish on its interior, so much so that it is a designated Interior Landmark. HDC feels that this iconic interior should be left alone; its existing panache does not beckon competition.

LAID OVER

Item 26

CERTIFICATE OF APPROPRIATENESS

BOROUGH OF MANHATTAN

151734- Block 874, lot 33-

149-151 East 18th Street – Gramercy Park Historic District
A hotel building with stores designed by Elfenbein/Cox, Inc. and built in 1991. A pair of Italianate style rowhouses built in 1853-1854. Application is to paint the façade.

Item 26_149-151 E 18_edited

HDC asks if it is feasible to strip the paint off of the brick as a first strategy. The Committee was unsure of the basis or inspiration of the color palette proposed for painting the bricks. Further, we noted the all-masonry streetscape where several buildings boast bare brick, and this building could set a precedent for its neighbors to follow suit.

APPROVED

Item 27

CERTIFICATE OF APPROPRIATENESS

BOROUGH OF MANHATTAN

148059- Block 1121, lot 154 and 55-

48-50 West 69th Street – Upper West Side/Central Park West Historic District

Two Renaissance Revival style rowhouses designed by Gilbert A. Schellenger and built in 1892-93. Application is to construct new rear façades, a rooftop addition, and modify the front façades at West 69th Street.

Item 27_48-50 W 69_3_edited

This is another case of two single-family homes being combined into a single residence; a similar property came before the Commission last week, and it was discussed that large-scale projects like this one should strive to blend in and maintain an appearance of two separate buildings on the street. This project introduces architectural elements on the street which never existed. The Juliet balcony above the entry at no. 50 is inappropriate as there is no precedent for such an alteration. As a suggestion, the applicant could propose a stoop restoration, which would harmonize and unify the block. HDC also finds the rear yard extension’s scale overwhelming and window design inappropriate. HDC believes that an applicant’s individual design choices should not come at the expense of the historic district, but rather enhance it.

APPROVED

Item 30

CERTIFICATE OF APPROPRIATENESS

BOROUGH OF MANHATTAN

157872- Block 1203, lot 21-

31 West 89th Street – Upper West Side/Central Park West Historic District
A Renaissance Revival style rowhouse designed by Gilbert A. Schellenger and built in 1894-95. Application is to demolish an existing rear yard addition, raise the roof, construct rooftop bulkheads and a rear yard addition, and excavate at the cellar and rear yard.

Item 30_31 W 89_edited

HDC applauds the restoration of the front stoop to this rowhouse and finds the rooftop bulk to be appropriate. In the rear, HDC was happy to see that the 5th floor brick detail will be retained, but finds the floor-to-ceiling windows to be overwhelming to the rear façade.

APPROVED

Item 32

CERTIFICATE OF APPROPRIATENESS

BOROUGH OF MANHATTAN

159134- Block 1227, lot 27-

203-209 West 79th Street – Upper West Side/Central Park West Historic District
A group of four rowhouses originally built in 1896-97 and combined into one apartment building with a new Modern style façade designed by Joseph Feingold in 1972-74. Application is to demolish the existing building and construct a new building.

Item 32_203-209 W 79_3_edited

HDC would like to applaud the use of terra cotta on this new building, but we feel that the potential of this material is not being completely realized. We remind the Commission about the sophisticated, all terra-cotta new construction at 529 Broadway, which plays on the material’s strengths as both decorative and a nod to the historic district. HDC also urges the Commission to consider a setback starting at the fifth floor, to preserve the scale of the existing streetscape and not compete with the incomparable Lucerne next door. The proposed balconies emit an uncomfortable relationship to the historic rowhouses next door. The Committee wonders if this balcony feature could be moved to the rear of the building, as there is not a precedent for street-fronting balconies on West 79th Street.

NO ACTION

Item 34

CERTIFICATE OF APPROPRIATENESS

BOROUGH OF MANHATTAN

156674- Block 1384, lot 32-

700 Park Avenue – Upper East Side Historic District

An apartment building designed by Kahn & Jacobs, Paul Resnick & Harry Green, and built in 1959. Application is to re-clad the facade.

Item 34_700 Park Ave_edited

HDC is glad to see that the brick will be replaced wholesale on this building, as it is a much more sensitive manner than a piecemeal approach. In reviewing the brick options for the recladding, our committee finds the Elgin-Butler glazed brick to be an excellent choice for both its aesthetic cohesion with the original design intent and for its durability. We strongly encourage the applicant to choose this brick.

APPROVED

Item 35

CERTIFICATE OF APPROPRIATENESS

BOROUGH OF MANHATTAN

158312- Block 1389, lot 56-

14 East 75th Street – Upper East Side Historic District
A neo-Medieval style apartment building designed by Schwartz & Gross and built in 1928-29. Application is to modify window openings and enlarge a rooftop addition.

Item 35_14 E 75_edited

HDC applauds the applicant on this very sensitive approach to enlarging the rooftop addition, and finds the reinstallation of the corner quoins to be a particularly nice touch.

APPROVED

Item 37

CERTIFICATE OF APPROPRIATENESS

BOROUGH OF MANHATTAN

158022- Block 1522, lot 158-

138 East 94th Street – Carnegie Hill Historic District
A neo-Renaissance style flats building with stores designed by Neville & Bagge and built in 1901-02. Application is to install a barrier-free access ramp.

Item 37_138 E 94_edited

HDC asks that the size of the proposed access ramp be minimized so as not to block so much of this fine building’s ground floor.

APPROVED

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

BK Live-Losing Our Churches

Posted by on Friday, July 18, 2014 · Leave a Comment 

On July 17, 2014 Simeon Bankoff Executive Director of the Historic Districts Council discussed how many Brooklyn churches are being converted into condos.

BRICartsmedia.org/bkindiemedia

BK Live 07/17/14: Losing Our Churches from Brooklyn Independent Media on Vimeo.

Category: Brooklyn · Tags:

Articles on the Assaults on the Landmarks Process

Posted by on Monday, July 14, 2014 · Leave a Comment 

Press Articles on the Proposed Landmarks Reforms

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

The NY Real Estate Board’s 50-Year War on Landmarks: New york History Blog, August 1, 2013

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

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

HDC: Proposed Legislation Would Undermine the Landmarks Preservation Commission: City Land, October 5, 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

Proposed Bill a “Deliberate Attack” Landmarks Law, Opponents Say, DNAinfo, May 2, 2012

LPC Speaks Out Against Controversial Landmarks Bills, The Real Deal, May 2, 2012

Battle Landmarkia, The Architect’s Newspaper, May 3, 2012

Real Estate Bigs Ready Wrecking Ball for Landmarks Laws, Curbed, May 9, 2012

Queens Councilman Says Building Owners Need Protection From Landmark Laws, DNAinfo, May 9, 2012

Business,labor team up to target Landmarks, Crain’s New York Business, June 6, 2012

The War on Landmarks Moves to Defcon 2, The New York Observer, June 6, 2012

Landmark Backlash, The New York Post, June 7, 2012

New York Landmarks Status Misused, Say Group, The Epoch Times, June 21, 2012

City Council Proposes Important Changes To Landmarks Law, Cityland, July 2012 (page 76)

 

Category: landmarks law · Tags:

Historic Pub Crawl

Posted by on Wednesday, July 9, 2014 · Leave a Comment 

004

Join the Historic Districts Council and Chrysalis Archeological Consultants for a taste of the architecture, history and beverages of some of New York City’s oldest watering holes. The tour will begin with a tasting of Chrysalis bitters, brewed from an historic recipe and inspired by a 19th century bottle recently found at a Bowery archaeological site, which promised to be an “Elixir of Long Life.” With that fortification , we will move on to the saw dust floors, neon signs and dumb waiters of 3 well-known and long-loved neighborhood establishments whose long lives have seen their share of social and architectural history. The tour will end with bar snacks and conversation. Really what more can you ask for…

To purchase tickets for this event, click below

* Cost includes tasting of Chrysalis bitters and noshes at Old Town bar; beverages available for purchase.

SOLD OUT 

 

To View Pictures of the Event Click Here 

 

Category: Program & Events · Tags: ,

A Good Summer= Good Drinks and a Good Book

Posted by on Monday, July 7, 2014 · 1 Comment 

   E-BULLETIN OF THE HISTORIC DISTRICTS COUNCIL

June 2014, Volume 11, Number 5

 

 Historic Pub Crawl

Pub crawl-dark

Join the Historic Districts Council and Chrysalis Archeological Consultants for a taste of the architecture, history and beverages of some of New York City’s oldest watering holes. The tour will begin with a tasting of Chrysalis bitters, brewed from an historic recipe and inspired by a 19th century bottle recently found at a Bowery archeological site, which promised to be an “Elixir of Long Life.” With that fortification , we will move on to the saw dust floors, neon signs and dumb waiters of 3 well-known and long-loved neighborhood establishments whose long lives have seen their share of social and architectural history. The tour will end with bar snacks and conversation. Really what more can you ask for…

Saturday, July 19, 2014

1:00 PM

$10

* Cost includes tasting of Chrysalis bitters and noshes at Old Town bar; beverages available for purchase.

To Purchase Tickets Click Here

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North Brother Island: The Last Unknown Place in New York City

An Illustrated Book Talk

N-Brother Island

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Doors open at 6:00/Talk starts at 7:00

The Paris Cafe, 119 South Street (at Peck Slip)

Join us for a visual exploration of the one place most New Yorkers will never get to explore on their own.Photographer Christopher Payne will present a book talk on his recently published North Brother Island: The Last Unknown Place in New York City 

Photographer Christopher Payne was granted permission by the city to photograph the island and its ruined structures, and the result is North Brother Island: The Last Unknown Place in New York City. The book tells the story of the island; its thriving years, its connection to a number of infamous events and people, and recent decades when vegetation has consumed the now crumbling buildings. The book includes photography by Mr. Payne, a history of the island by University of Pennsylvania professor and preservationist Randall Mason, and an essay by author Robert Sullivan.

Program is free and open to the public, but reservations are required.

To register, please call 212-614-9107 or email bharmon@hdc.org.

For more information click here 

*Food and drinks will be available for purchase

The Paris Café, first opened in 1873, was frequented by such personages as Thomas Edison and Theodore Roosevelt, and nearly closed after sustaining damage from Superstorm Sandy.

This program is being co-sponsored by Fordham University Press

FUP

Category: Blog, E-bulletin · Tags:

HDC@LPC July 8, 2014

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

Item 3

CERTIFICATE OF APPROPRIATENESS

BOROUGH OF QUEENS

157412- Block 8020, lot 6-

10 Richmond Road – Douglaston Historic District

A Colonial Revival style house built in 1966. Application is to legalize repaving the driveway, sidewalk, and gutter, enlarging and repaving the front walkway, rebuilding the entrance steps, and rebuilding the driveway retaining wall without permits.

Edited_Item 3_10 Richmond Rd

Landscaping, such as the driveway, retaining wall, entrance walkway and steps are specifically called out as notable features in the designation report for this property. In the Douglaston Historic District, where freestanding houses dominate, these elements are especially prominent. HDC laments the destruction of these features and the precedent that this type of work may set, and is confused that the DOT allowed this work to be completed without LPC permits. Concerning the removal of historic cobblestone street gutters, HDC would like to mention that just this past May, the Commission denied an application at 105 Grosvenor Street to remove street gutters. These gutters once ran east to west along all the streets in Douglas Manor to facilitate water run-off.  The few remaining ones still serve their intended function, preventing large puddles and standing water from accumulating in the neighborhood. At 10 Richmond Road, the gutter has been repaved in Belgian block, but raised flush with the pavement. At the very least, HDC asks that a more appropriate treatment of the gutter be constructed here.

LAID OVER

 

Item 4

CERTIFICATE OF APPROPRIATENESS

BOROUGH OF BROOKLYN

157494- Block 2382, lot 3-

2 Fillmore Place – Fillmore Place Historic District

A vacant lot. Application is to construct a new building.

Edited_Item 4_2 Fillmore Place

When the Fillmore Place Historic District was designated back in 2009, HDC was delighted that this small, but historically intact, section of Williamsburg would be protected from the rapid change the neighborhood has experienced in the past decade. While HDC finds the height and bulk of the proposed new building at 2 Fillmore Place to be reasonable, we could not help but notice that the building seems to better reflect the buildings being constructed elsewhere in Williamsburg, rather than the context of the historic district. There is no precedent in the district for the use of clear finished wood, and the high quantity of glass is incongruous with the rest of the block. This proposal seems to be a missed opportunity to work within the district’s existing palette, which is predominantly masonry with elegant storefronts. HDC asks that extra care be taken with proposals in the Fillmore Place Historic District, which provides a crucial glimpse into the history of this part of Brooklyn.

LPC determination: No Action

 

Item 9

CERTIFICATE OF APPROPRIATENESS

BOROUGH OF BROOKLYN

158123- Block 248, lot 15-

98 Montague Street – Brooklyn Heights Historic District

A Renaissance Revival style hotel built in 1909 and 1914. Application is to replace an entrance canopy at the Montague Street entrance.

Edited_Item 9_98 Montague St

HDC is thrilled that the stately Hotel Bossert is being restored, and does not object to the removal of the present entrance canopy. However, based on historic photographs of the building, a fabric canopy would be more appropriate and less of a permanent intervention than the one proposed here.

LPC determination: Approved with modifications

 

Item 10

CERTIFICATE OF APPROPRIATENESS

BOROUGH OF BROOKLYN

155058- Block 324, lot 68-

146 Willow Street – Brooklyn Heights Historic District

A neo-Grec style rowhouse built before 1900 and altered prior to 1940. Application is to install a stoop, new entry door and surround, replace windows, alter the rear faηade, and construct a rooftop addition.

Edited Item 10_146 Willow St

HDC commends the applicant on a very sensitive restoration of this rowhouse to its original appearance. Our committee approves of the changes to the rear façade and the reasonable size and setback of the rooftop addition, and appreciates the quality of the materials chosen for the project, including brownstone cladding and wood entrance door and replacement windows. Given the attention to detail and quality, HDC’s only suggestion is that the applicant consider the use of a wood cornice, as fiberglass cornices often achieve a flatter, less authentic look.

LPC determination: Approved with modifications

 

Item 11

CERTIFICATE OF APPROPRIATENESS

BOROUGH OF BROOKLYN

140356- Block 264, lot 25-

144 Clinton Street – Brooklyn Heights Historic District

A store building built post-1900 and altered in the Moderne style c.1940. Application is to demolish the building and construct a new building incorporating salvaged elements.

Edited_Item 11

HDC feels that the applicant did an excellent job of identifying other Art Moderne elements in the neighborhood, yet we feel that they have missed an opportunity to incorporate them into this project. The attempted glass corner windows reach too far into the facades of the building, reading more as a curtain wall than a referential Art Deco element. HDC laments the loss of the building’s ground floor, and finds the proposed amount of glazing along Aitken Place, as well as the floor-to-floor window openings dotting the building to be excessive and not contextual to the block or the Brooklyn Heights Historic District.

LPC determination: No Action

 

Item 13

CERTIFICATE OF APPROPRIATENESS

BOROUGH OF BROOKLYN

147989- Block 1234, lot 10-

816 Prospect Place – Crown Heights North II Historic District

A Renaissance Revival style flats building designed by Axel S. Hedman and built in 1901. Application is to modify windows, security cameras, and light fixtures, all installed without Landmarks Preservation Commission permit(s); and to legalize the installation of window security grilles, an intercom panel, and an areaway railing, without Landmarks Preservation Commission permit(s).

Edited_Item 13_816 Prospect Place

Many of the problems created here could have been avoided by consulting with LPC staff. Each accretion is stylistically and historically inappropriate and detracts from this otherwise handsome Renaissance Revival building.  We urge the staff to work with the applicant to find a solution that meets both security needs and the aesthetic needs of the district.

LPC determination: Denied

 

Item 14

CERTIFICATE OF APPROPRIATENESS

BOROUGH OF MANHATTAN

156223- Block 15, lot 22-

21 West Street – Individual Landmark

An Art Deco style office building designed by Starrett & Van Vleck and built in 1929-31. Application is to install a removable flood mitigation system.

Edited_Item 14_21 West St

Unfortunately, Hurricane Sandy revealed the vulnerability of our historic buildings to flooding in Lower Manhattan. HDC is pleased that aesthetics were a priority in safeguarding this Individual Landmark from water infiltration, as the flood mitigation mounting system is unobtrusive in design. We appreciate that the flood panels are removable, and therefore not a permanent interruption to the base of this handsome Jazz Age skyscraper.

LPC determination: Approved

 

Item 15

CERTIFICATE OF APPROPRIATENESS

BOROUGH OF MANHATTAN

148387- Block 180, lot 15-

15 Jay Street – TriBeCa West Historic District

A Romanesque Revival style store and loft building with neo-Grec style elements designed by D. & J. Jardine and built in 1887. Application is to install new storefront infill and construct a rooftop addition

Edited_Item 15_15 Jay St

HDC feels that double-hung windows are a residential element and do not belong on a store and loft building.  In the case that operable windows are desired in this space, the Committee suggests creating operable transoms on this former storefront. We also find the bulkhead too visible from many vantage points, and recommend incorporating a hydraulic elevator to try to reduce this bulk on the roof.

LPC determination: Approved with modifications

 

Item 16

CERTIFICATE OF APPROPRIATENESS

BOROUGH OF MANHATTAN

152081- Block 474, lot 7506-

40 Mercer Street – SoHo-Cast Iron Historic District

A steel-and-glass building designed by Atelier Jean Nouvel and built in c. 2006. Application is to alter granite sidewalk.

Edited_Item 16-40 Mercer

HDC commends the applicant for their sensitive, creative solution to this sidewalk renovation.  Elements like granite sidewalks retain the luster characteristic of historic districts, and we would like to see this trend followed when making repairs to historic paving.

LAID OVER

 

Item 17

CERTIFICATE OF APPROPRIATENESS

BOROUGH OF MANHATTAN

151397- Block 530, lot 24-

35 Great Jones Street – NoHo Extension Historic District

A Romanesque Revival style store and loft building designed by Cleverdon & Putzel and built in 1893-94. Application is to legalize sidewalk work completed in non-compliance with Landmarks Preservation Commission permits.

Edited_Item 17_35 Great Jones St

HDC does not find concrete poured over historic vault lights to be acceptable work as it removes visible historic fabric from the district. We ask the Commission to deny the proposal and to instruct the applicant to restore, repair or replace the vault lights that contribute so much to the character of the historic building and the district.

LPC determination: Approved with modifications

 

Item 19

CERTIFICATE OF APPROPRIATENESS

BOROUGH OF MANHATTAN

158323- Block 531, lot 20-

383 Lafayette Street – NoHo Historic District
A simplified neo-Classical style store and loft building designed by Gronenberg & Leuchtag and built in 1913; and a parking lot with a concrete-block wall. Application is to replace storefront infill, reconstruct the facades, install an entrance canopy, install rooftop mechanical equipment and bulkheads and construct a new building on the vacant lot.

Edited_Item 19_383 Lafayette

383 Lafayette Street’s aesthetics rely heavily in its simple, yet elegant, massing. Its four bays of grouped fenestration, brick piers, and brick banding are specifically called out in its designation report. For this reason, HDC asks that the rusticated piers remain on the ground floor of this building. Without them, the facades above the ground floor appear to awkwardly float.

Regarding the new construction, HDC finds the design and rhythm a sympathetic neighbor to the historic building. That said, we discourage the use of GFRC as proposed for the sun screen, and suggest that a higher quality material more fitting to the district such as terra cotta be used on this otherwise commendable marriage of old and new design.

The presence of a canopy orients pedestrians to the building’s presence on the street, rendering the signage flags superfluous and HDC asks that the canopy be designed to draw less attention to itself. Additionally, we would applaud smaller-scaled rooftop bulk.

LPC determination: No Action

 

Item 21

CERTIFICATE OF APPROPRIATENESS

BOROUGH OF MANHATTAN

153825- Block 609, lot 7501-

147 West 13th Street – Greenwich Village Historic District

A Greek Revival style rowhouse designed by John Hanrahan and built in 1847-48. Application is to excavate the areaway, alter the front faηade, enlarge an existing rear yard addition, and construct a garden shed.

Edited_Item 21

HDC commends the applicant on their choice to replace the windows to match the 1940s tax photograph. In keeping with this historically sensitive mindset, we ask that the areaway be restored to a rusticated stone appearance, as described in its designation report.  Further, for the amount of excavation imposed on this building, we ask for clarification as to the appearance and the purpose of the rear shed-like structure.

LPC determination: Approved

 

Item 23

CERTIFICATE OF APPROPRIATENESS

BOROUGH OF MANHATTAN

156175- Block 575, lot 3-

470 Sixth Avenue – Greenwich Village Historic District

A vernacular style house built in 1844. Application is to modify storefront infill installed in non-compliance with Certificate of Appropriateness.

Edited_Item 23_470 Sixth Ave

As described in its designation report, “Little houses like this…retain the homogenous scale and use of materials of the best of the village.” To this end, HDC asks that this storefront be configured to conform to what the previously approved Certificate of Appropriateness called for in the master plan in this row of buildings. It was unclear to the Committee why this storefront is composed entirely of doors. We ask simply that a store front be put back into this storefront.

LPC determination: Approved with modifications

 

Item 24

CERTIFICATE OF APPROPRIATENESS

BOROUGH OF MANHATTAN

153481- Block 825, lot 17-

43 West 23rd Street aka 24-28 West 24th Street – Ladies’ Mile Historic District

A neo-Renaissance style store building designed by Henry J. Hardenbergh and builtin 1893-94. Application is to replace the entrance infill.

Edited_Item 24_43 W 23 St

HDC commends the sensitive approach taken in this project to install a revolving door, including matching the wood finishes, brass details and wood and glass kickplates of the double doors and preserving the historic portico. HDC would like to clarify, though, that the new revolving and swing doors will be aligned and uniform in their height. The photo rendering shows a difference in height between the two, whereas the drawing shows them lined up.

LPC determination: Approved

 

Item 25

CERTIFICATE OF APPROPRIATENESS

BOROUGH OF MANHATTAN

156906- Block 1196, lot 29-

225 Central Park West – Upper West Side/Central Park West Historic District

A neo-Renaissance style apartment hotel building designed by Emery Roth and built in 1925-26. Application is to establish a master plan governing the future installation of windows

Edited_Item 25_225 CPW

225 Central Park West, also known as Hotel Alden, is one of Emery Roth’s more austere compositions along Central Park West. Larger buildings like this one rely on their fenestration pattern as a significant design component. Hotel Alden historically had a six-over-one window arrangement on portions of its primary façade. HDC asks that in the creation of a master plan, more historic research is needed to inform the design of all future windows.

LPC determination: Approved with modifications

 

Item 27

CERTIFICATE OF APPROPRIATENESS

BOROUGH OF MANHATTAN

148148- Block 1212, lot 18-

141 West 81st Street – Upper West Side/Central Park West Historic District

A Romanesque Revival style rowhouse with Queen Anne style elements designed by Rossiter & Wright and built in 1886-87. Application is to construct rooftop and rear yard additions.

Edited_Item 27_141 W 81 St

This row of houses is entirely intact—both on the front and rear façades, a rare find—and the proposed rear expansion will result in a significant loss of historic fabric and disrupt the rhythm of both facades. This row of four houses has an unusual rear façade pattern, including undulating half bays and a uniform fenestration pattern, not typically found on townhouses in this neighborhood and a feature worth preserving. Collectively, the rear yard and rooftop accretions demand too much from this diminutive house.

LPC determination: No Action

 

Category: Brooklyn, Brooklyn Heights, Douglaston, Greenwich Village, HDC@LPC, Historic District, individual landmark, Ladies’ Mile Historic District, Manhattan, New Construction, NoHo, Upper East Side, Upper West Side, Williamsburg · Tags:

The Historic Districts Council Analysis of The Real Estates Board of New York’s ‘Housing Production on NYC Landmark Properties’ Study

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

  HISTORIC DISTRICTS COUNCIL

June 2014 Volume 11, Number 5

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The Historic Districts Council Analysis of

The Real Estates Board of New York’s

‘Housing Production on NYC Landmark Properties’ Study

7-1-2014-REBNY afforadable housing study

The Real Estate Board of New York (REBNY) is at it again! To welcome new LPC Chair Meenakshi Srinivasan on her first day, the trade association and lobbying group released yet another study claiming that landmark designation inhibits the development of affordable housing and is at odds with the de Blasio’s administration’s goals of preserving and creating 200,000 units of affordable housing over the next ten years. REBNY’s complaints are nothing new, they are based on the group’s long-held and often-repeated premise that building on a landmarked site is so expensive and arduous that no one would ever want to do it.

Using a selective comprehension of statistics, the study shows that the percentage of affordable housing created on landmarked property from 2003-2012 was much lower than on non-designated property. Given that the percentage of affordable housing developed over that period was only 16.94% of the total property development in New York City, their argument begins to look a little skewed. The crisis in affordable housing which has finally captured the public’s attention is not a landmarking issue; this is a deeper indictment of the real estate market to provide for the needs of New Yorkers and the subtle failure of government to guide market forces to help meet that need.

 According to the REBNY study, only 3.64% of New York City is landmarked but “‘an astonishingly high 27.71%’ [of Manhattan is] designated”. This is neither astonishing nor remarkable. Despite concentrated efforts by the Landmarks Preservation Commission during the Bloomberg administration, boroughs outside of Manhattan remain under-represented among the designated historic districts due to a number of understandable but unfortunate historical reasons. We have every reason to believe that under the new administration, designation activity throughout the city will continue based on merit and community participation and this inequity will continue to be addressed. Finally, New York City’s affordable housing crisis is more pronounced in its outer boroughs, where there has been minimal designation by LPC. The focus on the lack of affordable housing in Manhattan due to district designation trivializes a very complex and serious issue.

Something that the REBNY report states but their press release does not trumpet is that during the 2003-2012 time period in question, 412 affordable housing units were created on landmark properties through renovation. Compare that to the 1,318 units constructed on landmark properties during the same period, and the numbers start looking different.

The Landmarks Commission itself answered these same charges when they were leveled by REBNY in September 2013 in an earlier previous report they issued on why they felt landmark designation was bad for New York. The LPC said:

[The report] fails to recognize the obvious: the purpose of the landmarking law is not to facilitate new construction; it is to preserve historic buildings and neighborhoods.  So the finding that new affordable housing construction in landmarked buildings and districts has been limited is hardly a surprise.  More interesting to your readers – and to those who  are genuinely interested in affordable housing – is that more than 1,100 units of affordable housing have been created or preserved in historic districts citywide since 2004, and [recently] an affordable development was proposed in the Gramercy Historic District.  The Bloomberg Administration has built and preserved more affordable housing units than any other city in the country – enough to house the entire city of Atlanta – and we have done it without sacrificing the historical character of the city, which adds both financial and civic value to neighborhoods. Affordable housing and historic preservation can go hand-in-hand.

To which we can only add, the only reason which we think that landmark designation might add to the housing crisis is that by preserving the architectural integrity of a beautiful historic city, lots of people want live here.

To read REBNY’s whole study click here

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 ’The Historic Districts Council says the city’s historic districts are not to blame for the shortage of affordable housing’

New York Daily News

By Jeffrey Kroessler

“If REBNY claims that historic districts truly stifle the construction of affordable housing, we should ask just how many affordable units are being built outside those protected districts. The answer is “not many.”

And before we blame the landmarks law as the impediment, is there actually an instance when the Landmarks Preservation Commission has denied such an application? The answer is no.

Many more people want to live in historic districts than are able to given the existing housing stock, but does that result in higher rents? Are rents in historic districts really higher than rents just outside the district, or 10 blocks away? In actuality there is very little difference, especially in the older buildings and, of course, rents are rising everywhere. Landmark designation is not the variable.”

To read the full article here 

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‘HDC Defends NYC Landmark Preservation’

City Land

Commentary by HDC Executive Director Simeon Bankoff

In truth, despite almost 50 years of the Landmarks Law, less than 4 percent of New York City’s properties are protected by landmark designation.  Statistics and numbers can be manipulated endlessly and yes, within a historic district, it’s true that you are surrounded by landmark buildings. But look at a map of the city or even only of Manhattan and it’s surprising how little is actually designated. Of those few areas, though, the effects are remarkable. Brooklyn Heights, Greenwich Village,  Fort Greene, the Upper West Side, Tribeca,  Dumbo – the list of neighborhoods which have improved in terms of services, housing and value since becoming historic districts goes on and on.  Even areas outside of the City’s core such as Jackson Heights, Ditmas Park and Saint George have seen remarkable prosperity since designation.

To read the full article here

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

It’s a Summer of Tours, Libations and Literature !!

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

   E-BULLETIN OF THE HISTORIC DISTRICTS COUNCIL

June 2014, Volume 11, Number 4

 

STC_Logo_Web

Six to Celebrate Tours

From Yiddish to Chinese and Beyond: A Walking Tour of Historic Libraries in Chinatown

Thursday, July 10, 6:00PM (WALKING TOUR)

Seward Park Branch, exterior, west façade, 2010 (HDC)

Seward Park Branch, exterior, west façade, 2010 (HDC)

Visit two of the busiest Carnegie libraries in the New York Public Library system as well as other sites of interest between and near them, including one of the oldest graveyards in New York, Al Smith’s childhood home, and Knickerbocker Village, a forerunner of later urban renewal projects. The tour, led by John Bacon, HDC board member and Director of Planned Giving at The New York Public Library, will start at the McKim, Mead and White-designed Chatham Square Library and conclude at the Seward Park Library, which became a New York City landmark in 2013.

To learn more about this and other Six to Celebrate tours click here

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 Historic Pub Crawl

Pub Crawl-2

Join the Historic Districts Council and Chrysalis Archeological Consultants for a taste of the architecture, history and beverages of some of New York City’s oldest watering holes. The tour will begin with a tasting of Chrysalis bitters, brewed from an historic recipe and inspired by a 19th century bottle recently found at a Bowery archeological site, which promised to be an “Elixir of Long Life.” With that fortification , we will move on to the saw dust floors, neon signs and dumb waiters of 3 well-known and long-loved neighborhood establishments whose long lives have seen their share of social and architectural history. The tour will end with bar snacks and conversation. Really what more can you ask for…

Saturday, July 19, 2014

1:00 PM

$10

* Cost includes tasting of Chrysalis bitters and noshes at Old Town bar; beverages available for purchase.

To Purchase Tickets Click Here

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North Brother Island: The Last Unknown Place in New York City

An Illustrated Book Talk

N-Brother Island

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Doors open at 6:00/Talk starts at 7:00

The Paris Cafe, 119 South Street (at Peck Slip)

Join us for a visual exploration of the one place most New Yorkers will never get to explore on their own.Photographer Christopher Payne will present a book talk on his recently published North Brother Island: The Last Unknown Place in New York City 

In 1902 famed social commentator Jacob Riis, writing about North Brother Island, which then housed the Riverside Hospital said, “Today, where once was a waste of sand, are broad and shaded lawns; winding, well-kept walks, trees, shrubs and flowers; handsome, substantial buildings and hospital pavilions or ward.” Later in his article observing the differences in smallpox hospitals in Europe compared to this institution on North Brother Island, he noted that the “isolation secured in New York is absolute.” And though the island, 20 acres stranded in the middle of the East River, would see decades of activity both positive and tragic, this absolute isolation, even with vast transportation advancements citywide, would be the reason why the island was abandoned to nature by the middle of the 20th century.

Photographer Christopher Payne was granted permission by the city to photograph the island and its ruined structures, and the result is North Brother Island: The Last Unknown Place in New York City. The book tells the story of the island; its thriving years, its connection to a number of infamous events and people, and recent decades when vegetation has consumed the now crumbling buildings. The book includes photography by Mr. Payne, a history of the island by University of Pennsylvania professor and preservationist Randall Mason, and an essay by author Robert Sullivan.

Program is free and open to the public, but reservations are required.

To register, please call 212-614-9107 or email bharmon@hdc.org.

*Food and drinks will be available for purchase

The Paris Café, first opened in 1873, was frequented by such personages as Thomas Edison and Theodore Roosevelt, and nearly closed after sustaining damage from Superstorm Sandy.

This program is being co-sponsored by Fordham University Press

FUP

Category: Blog, E-bulletin · Tags:

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