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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

Defending Historic Preservation in New York City

PS 31 - The Castle

The since-demolished P.S. 31, “The Castle of the Grand Concourse”

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

 

  • Articles and Media Coverage: Preservation and the Battle to Preserve It

 

 

 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.

Saving Our Architectural Treasures and Our History

 

Thursday, November 9th, 6:30-8:30 PM

Brotherhood Synagogue, 28 Gramercy Park South, NYC

An architectural jewel, Brotherhood Synagogue was built in 1859 and designated an Individual Landmark in 1965.

 

In recent years, a string of major alterations to landmark-designated buildings – approved by the NYC Landmarks Preservation Commission – have frustrated communities across the five boroughs. A panel made up  of some of these concerned citizens will discuss this recent trend, as well as how community members might have a more active role in the process and how organizations might learn from one another’s efforts to explore strategies  for maximizing preservation goals and agendas.

 

Space is limited.

Admission: $5

Light refreshments will be served.

 

Panelists:

Moderator: Simeon Bankoff – Executive Director, Historic Districts Council

David Holowka – Save Chelsea (Manhattan)

Jeffrey Kroessler – Sunnyside Gardens Historic District (Queens)

Robyn Berland and Derrick Hilbertz – St. Marks Avenue Independent Block Association, Crown Heights North Historic District (Brooklyn)

Adam Jacobs, MD – Stuyvesant Square Historic District (Manhattan)

HDC@LPC – Testimony for LPC Hearing on October 17, 2017

Posted by on Monday, October 16, 2017 · 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.

 

Designation Testimony – 827-831 Broadway 

The Historic Districts Council fully supports the designation of 827 and 831 Broadway. In addition to being architecturally significant cast-iron buildings, 827-831 Broadway played a significant role in the development of Abstract Expressionist art, the first art movement to put the United States at the center of the Western art world. It was here that Willem de Kooning painted many of his seminal works, paving the way for future artists to experiment boldly with color, size and scale. So, for both their architectural and cultural contributions, HDC embraces their designation as Individual Landmarks.

Through their many uses over the years – from sewing machine headquarters to cabinetmakers’ showroom to Turkish rug store to artist lofts – 827-831 Broadway have reflected the commercial and manufacturing trends that similarly distinguish neighboring downtown areas in SoHo and TriBeCa. These cast-iron palaces, built for industrial use in the 19th century, became ideal studios for New York’s emerging art scene, aided in part by the plentiful natural light provided by their large, steel-supported windows, and by the spacious open-layouts that have since become a staple of Downtown-chic apartments. Today, many buildings belonging to this typology have again transformed into desirable office spaces for the tech industry, highlighting the evolution of New York City and speaking to its resiliency and adaptivity in the face of tumultuous economic change. We are grateful, then, that buildings such as these at 827-831 Broadway, constructed in 1866, remain standing to help illuminate this story, and we encourage the LPC to designate them so that they may continue to do so.

HDC is concerned about rampant destruction and defacement of historic architecture in the vicinity of Union Square and Astor Place. Aesthetically vacuous glass boxes, garish commercial monoliths and grossly out-of-proportion storefronts have been constructed to take advantage of pedestrian traffic, but only function as eyesores that do nothing to enliven the street scene. There is hope, however, in the individual buildings that do lend character to this part of the city, and some of these have fortunately been designated as landmarks by this Commission. What had been proposed to take the place of 827-831 Broadway was a 300-foot-tall retail and office tower – something that could be plopped down in Anywhere, U.S.A. – and that would have been a shame, but not entirely unheard of for the area. We, therefore, applaud the strong, swift action of the LPC to calendar these significant buildings to protect against yet another attempt to chip away at the culture, liveliness and sense of place that makes this heavily trafficked corridor special, and also thank the Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation’s hard work and strong advocacy on the part of these buildings. We urge the Commission to approve the designation of 827-831 Broadway as New York’s newest Landmarks.

 

Item 1

351 Hollywood Avenue – Douglaston Historic District

CERTIFICATE OF APPROPRIATENESS, Docket #184894

A Colonial Revival style house designed by Harold Paddon and built in 1925. Application is to construct additions.

HDC objects to the proposed addition, which our committee finds overly large and incongruous with the existing building. Our committee questions the need for additional garage space when the current home already has a matching two-car garage in the back, as noted in the designation report, which is perfectly functional and characteristic of Douglaston. Additionally, this application leaves us with more questions than answers, as we do not know what the proposed retaining wall is made of or how it will fit into the existing landscape. For such a significant proposed change in the landscape, our committee believes the landscape should be presented in the application so that it can be properly evaluated.

 

Item 2

271 Hicks Street – Brooklyn Heights Historic District

CERTIFICATE OF APPROPRIATENESS, Docket #q14345

A Greek Revival style rowhouse built in 1846. Application is to construct rear yard and rooftop additions, excavate the rear yard, and replace windows.

HDC finds the proposed rooftop bulkhead too visible. Our committee also objects to the applicant’s plan to install single pane, in-swing casement windows on the back, a configuration that we find aesthetically distressing. Perhaps a more traditional window divide like one-over-one would befit this handsome rowhouse.

 

Item 3

40-44 Greene Avenue – Individual Landmark

CERTIFICATE OF APPROPRIATENESS, Docket #q14331

A Rundbogenstil church building attributed to Rembrandt Lockwood, built in c. 1864, and altered in 1890 by Frederick Weber. Application is to install a barrier-free access ramp, alter the façade and install signage.

HDC commends the applicant on what seems to be a good solution to creating an accessible entry into this building. We applaud that the restoration work is done sensitively, which will benefit the community, as well.

 

Item 6

536 1st Street – Park Slope Historic District

CERTIFICATE OF APPROPRIATENESS, Docket #q10514

A neo-Renaissance style rowhouse designed by Eisenla and Carlson and built in 1909. Application is to construct a rooftop addition.

536 1st Street is one of four houses built together with “beautifully handled” roof cornices, as detailed in the Park Slope Historic District designation report. The proposed rooftop addition will completely disrupt this grouping, and would render this handsome rowhouse incongruous with its neighbors, potentially setting a deleterious precedent for insensitive rooftop additions on the rest of this block and throughout this historic district. This stretch of First Street is a block without a history of rooftop accretions and it should remain so. Our committee urges the LPC to reject this application and maintain the scale and historic integrity of this charming Park Slope block.

Category: HDC@LPC · Tags: , , ,

2017 Landmarks Lion Award

Posted by on Thursday, September 28, 2017 · Leave a Comment 

Honoring Jeffrey Greene and EverGreene Architectural Arts, Monday October 23, The University Club

 

PURCHASE TICKETS

 

PURCHASE AN AD

 

About EverGreenArchitectural Arts

Read the press release 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Category: Featured, landmark lion · Tags: , ,

Six to Celebrate Tour- Prospect-Lefferts Gardens

Posted by on Monday, September 25, 2017 · Leave a Comment 

Take a stroll through the protected and unprotected blocks of Prospect-Lefferts Gardens on Oct. 15

Sunday, October 15, 2017

11:00AM

Nestled between the larger neighborhoods of Flatbush and Crown Heights, the often forgotten Prospect-Lefferts Gardens has its own intriguing story to tell and streetscapes exhibiting a rich variety of architectural styles. The neighborhood is home to three small historic districts, the largest of which is the Prospect-Lefferts Gardens Historic District, encompassing roughly 12 blocks. The tour will include a walk through this historic district, as well as provide an overview of the development history of Prospect-Lefferts Gardens and show off its beautiful, though as-yet-unprotected areas that make the neighborhood so special. Led by historian and local resident Derrick Edwards, this tour will run approximately two hours.

REGISTER

Category: Featured, Six to Celebrate · Tags:

Preservation School | Fall 2017

Posted by on Friday, September 22, 2017 · Leave a Comment 

The Historic Districts Council is pleased to present a series of classes that will illuminate the essentials of historic preservation. Whether you live in a historic district, serve on your local community board or just want to learn about the built environment of your city, these classes will provide you with knowledge and vocabulary about historic preservation practice in New York City. The classes are designed to cover the basics over four sessions to give participants an overall understanding of such topics as land use planning and building types in New York City, and instruct hands-on skills, including how to read architectural drawings and how to best research and photograph buildings.


$15 each or $50 for all 4 classes

$75 for 1.5 AIA LU|HSW / NYS credit 

Scholarships available

please contact Barbara Zay at bzay@hdc.org

REGISTER FOR FULL SERIES 


Thursday, October 12

Preservation 101 & Basics of Land Use Planning in NYC

This introductory course will begin with an overview of the various regulations and funding mechanisms used to preserve historic buildings in New York City. The second part of the session will familiarize participants with the broader umbrella under which preservation falls: land use planning. This section will cover New York City’s governing structure, how zoning works and New York City’s Uniform Land Use Review Process (ULURP).

(Instructor: Tara Kelly)

REGISTER


Thursday, October 19:

NYC Architectural Styles & How to Research Buildings

The first part of this session will focus on common architectural styles and building types found in New York City’s historic built environment, and instruct participants on how to identify them by their distinguishing features. The second part of the session will guide participants on tools and strategies for researching buildings in New York City, including various repositories and document types. Learn the basics of how to investigate the origins and stories behind historic properties.

(Instructor: Gregory Dietrich)

REGISTER 

$75 for 1.5 AIA LU|HSW / NYS credit 


Tuesday, October 24:

Architectural Photography & Social Media for Preservation Campaigns

Historic Preservation is first and foremost a visual field. This session will cover two important topics pertaining to marketing and messaging. The first part will provide tips and tricks to improve your photos of buildings and streetscapes in order to maximize their impact. The second part will teach participants how to harness the power of social media to enhance preservation campaigns, build a constituency and sound a call-to-action. Participants will leave with practical strategies to better manage their organizational “brand” and drive traffic to social media profiles and websites.

(Instructors: Lynn Massimo & Cristiana Peña)

REGISTER


Monday, October 30:

Reading Architectural Drawings & Overview of Common NYC Building Materials

Architectural drawings and renderings illustrate the often complicated design and construction plans for proposed building projects. The first part of this session will teach participants how to evaluate such documents in order to understand and analyze an upcoming construction project. The second part of the session will provide an overview of common building materials used in New York City, including terra-cotta, brick, brownstone, concrete and much more. The session will explain how these materials are employed, how to identify them, and “scratch the surface” on their maintenance and conservation.

(Instructors: Dan Allen & Brendan Coburn)

REGISTER 

 


Classes:

$15 each or $50 for all 4 classes

Scholarships available

please contact Barbara Zay at bzay@hdc.org

Classes will take place at:

Neighborhood Preservation Center

232 East 11 Street

New York, NY 10003

6:00- 7:30 PM


Support is provided in part by public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council and by the New York State Council on the Arts and the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation, and Historic Preservation with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature. Additional support is provided by City Council Members Ben Kallos, Rosie Mendez, Mark Levine, Inez Dickens, Vincent Gentile, Corey Johnson, Stephen Levin, Margaret Chin, Dan Garodnick, and Rafael Salamanca and New York State Assembly Members Deborah Glick, Richard Gottfried, and Daniel O’Donnell.

Category: Featured, Program & Events · Tags:

Proposed demolition in Greenpoint; St. James Parish Hall Designated & more

Posted by on Thursday, September 21, 2017 · Leave a Comment 

an update on what’s been happening at the Landmarks Preservation Commission

LPC Continues Deliberation on

Greenpoint Demolition

Last week, HDC, Preservation Greenpoint, the Municipal Arts Society, Society for Architecture of the City, Brooklyn Community Board 1 and several residents denounced a proposal to demolish an 1855 wood frame house in the Greenpoint Historic District. At the Landmarks Commission public hearing, the applicant’s engineer told Commissioners that the house was in “very bad shape” and a wall was “unstable” and needed to be torn down. Despite this claim, the owner, who works in real estate and is a professional appraiser, is currently renting this property to tenants. A 2-bedroom was listed last year for $2850.

The applicant also used LPC terminology to bolster their argument, claiming the building was “non-contributing” to the historic district. In fact, there are NO properties in the Greenpoint Historic District that are described this way, and the designation report describes wooden buildings as integral to the district’s history, as they are directly tied to the ship-building industry in the mid-19th century in Brooklyn.

The LPC took No Action on this application, with Chair Srinivasan stating that “…none of the things the engineer said were irreparable [and] the age of the building makes it hard for me to justify demolition.” Many old, altered, wooden buildings in Greenpoint resemble 111 Noble Street, and many have been lovingly restored. This proposal will return to a future Public Meeting (plans to be determined) and we need your help to make it clear to the LPC that is not acceptable for designated landmarks to be acquired with the sole intent of tearing them down and replacing them with luxury developments.

WRITE TO LPC

LPC Designates Old St. James Parish Hall in Queens;

Calendars 827-831 Broadway buildings in Manhattan

Old St. James Parish Hall, 86-02 Broadway, Elmhurst

The LPC voted to designate the Old St. James Parish Hall yesterday, after an initial request for landmarking was rejected by the agency in 2015. HDC is thrilled that the agency reconsidered and with broad support from the community, the New York Landmarks Conservancy, elected officials and the owner, landmarking has finally become a reality for this very-worthy 18th century structure. From the LPC’s press release:

The Church was built in 1735-36 in what was called Newtown Village, and is historically significant as New York City’s second-oldest religious building, and oldest remaining Church of England mission church within the five boroughs. Retaining both 18th and 19th century historic design, workmanship, and materials, it is an architecturally significant example of the Colonial Meetinghouse form, combined with 19th century Gothic Revival and Stick style decorative details.

Read HDC’s testimony here

827-831 Broadway, Manhattan

There were plans for a 300-foot office building to rise at the site of 827-831 Broadway, but yesterday morning the Landmarks Preservation Commission officially calendared these two 1866 cast-iron buildings for landmark protection. Like St. James Parish Hall, the LPC initially rejected the buildings for landmark status. Thanks to a concentrated campaign and research by our colleagues at the Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation, the buildings’ cultural significance was enhanced by the discovery that these buildings were home to renowned artists Willem de Kooning, Elaine de Kooning and Paul Jenkins.



Category: E-bulletin · Tags:

HDC@LPC – Testimony for LPC Hearing on September 19, 2017

Posted by on Monday, September 18, 2017 · 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

28 Remsen Street – Brooklyn Heights Historic District

CERTIFICATE OF APPROPRIATENESS, Docket #197922

An Italianate style rowhouse built c. 1860. Application is to construct a shed dormer, a roof deck and a stair bulkhead.

If this roof has to be reframed, given the amount of effort the applicant is putting into this project, the bulkhead could be dropped by two feet without too much trouble. As it is currently proposed, the design is more complicated than it needs to be. Moving the stairs to the rear could help bring the height down. The portion of the bulkhead that contains an air handler could be reduced in width relative to the front façade by three feet. Both of these measures would help reduce visibility. Additionally, the material for the bulkhead is inappropriate for the district. Lead-coated copper, copper, or a similar utilitarian material such as zinc would all be more appropriate for the district.

LPC Determination: Approved with modifications

Item 2

Fort Greene Park – Fort Greene Historic District

CERTIFICATE OF APPROPRIATENESS, Docket #q15070

A park, originally known as Washington Park, designed by Olmsted and Vaux in 1867. Application is to modify entrances and pathways, and install furnishings.

In this proposal, the Parks Department claims to be “reconciling multiple generations of design and intent” in Fort Greene Park. There are four such generations: the original Olmsted and Vaux design, which was then altered first by McKim, Mead and White, then Gilmore Clarke and finally A. E. Bye. Unfortunately, the part of this proposal with the greatest impact – replacing the retaining wall and trees at the park’s northwest corner with a paved plaza – is inspired by a never-realized schematic by McKim, Mead and White, not by any of the park’s actual layers of history. Over the last 150 years of changes to the park design, Olmsted and Vaux’s vision for a planted area protected from the street at the northwest corner has always been honored, even by the McKim, Mead and White design that was realized. Opening that corner up to the street and adding significant paving where there has always been greenery would be tantamount to destroying the artifact in the name of returning the site to some never-realized ideal. We also wish to point out that creating a wide, paved plaza like this could be an invitation for revenue-producing vendors within the park. Transforming this area, whose dense vegetation provides fresh air and a respite from the street grid, into a venue for commercial activity would be a shame.

Truly reconciling and honoring the park’s layered history would also include keeping some remnant of the 1972 park design by A. E. Bye, which, in this proposal, would be almost entirely obliterated. HDC often argues against returning sites with layered histories to one previous condition (for instance, removing studio additions on rowhouses in Greenwich Village). Therefore, we question the decision to remove almost all traces of A. E. Bye’s alterations to the park, including plowing over the mounds that the community continues to enjoy today. Everyone loves and admires Olmsted and Vaux’s picturesque landscapes in Central and Prospect Parks, but few would dream of removing their Moses-era playgrounds and ballfields. Why would a similar intervention be acceptable here? Furthermore, when championing the establishment of this park as a local journalist in the 1840’s, poet Walt Whitman called for “a place of recreation… where, on hot summer evenings, and Sundays, they can spend a few grateful hours in the enjoyment of wholesome rest and fresh air.” The notion here is a respite from urbanity and from the city streets, not an enlargement of them.

HDC would like to point out that there are significant communication issues that have led to community pushback on this proposal. Had the Parks Department begun the design process with a listening campaign and incorporated local stakeholders’ desires into its planning, the outcome could have been far less contentious. Why not try to incorporate those design features that currently work well into the new plan through a robust dialog with the constituents who use it the most? Perhaps the agency could start again, with an eye toward incorporating beloved elements—such as the mounds—in some way, rather than throwing them out completely. There is an opportunity here for the Parks Department to honor the park’s history, while also showing that it understands the needs of the Fort Greene community.

LPC Determination: No Action

Item 3

375 Park Avenue – Interior Landmark

CERTIFICATE OF APPROPRIATENESS, Docket #q15609

An International style restaurant interior designed by Philip Johnson and built in 1958-59 within the Seagram Building, an International style office tower designed by Ludwig Mies van der Rohe with Philip Johnson and Kahn & Jacobs and built in 1956-58. Application is to legalize the installation of a reception desk at the ground-floor lobby and alterations at the Pool Room Mezzanine without Landmarks Preservation Commission permit(s).

As one of the city’s most famous Interior Landmarks and one which was very recently granted a Certificate of Appropriateness from the Landmarks Commission for its restaurant conversion, HDC is dumbfounded as to why the applicant performed additional work without LPC permits. This is unacceptable and the applicant should not be rewarded for it. The proposed changes would clutter up a space which was, in accordance with its Modernist design, simple and sparsely populated. Its muted tones and subtle details afforded a sense of calm within the chaotic city. In its new iteration, additional furniture makes the space more frenetic and will certainly only signal an increase in room capacity, an unfortunate change.

The application photographs exhibit a number of changes that are not included in this proposal, such as new carpeting in the Pool Room and Pool Room Mezzanine, the installation of a new sculpture suspended over the pool and the removal of the planters and trees in the Pool Room. Since these are all called out as protected features in the designation report, HDC questions why these changes are not also before you today and calls on the Commission to require a public hearing to review these illegal changes. As noted in testimony during the previous application, the planters were permanent fixtures in the Pool Room, to the extent of having hardwired telephone jacks installed within them, so that any table in the room could potentially receive a call. Such mid-century convenience might seem unnecessary now in our casual and all-too-slapdash age but it is indicative of the thoughtfulness which the original designers expended on this remarkable place. Thoughtfulness never falls out of vogue, but it, like integrity, must be maintained.

LPC Determination: No Action

Item 6

98 Greenpoint Avenue – Greenpoint Historic District

CERTIFICATE OF APPROPRIATENESS, Docket #193566

An Italianate style flatshouse designed by Frederick Weber and built in 1874-76. Application is to replace storefront infill and construct a rear yard addition.

This block is somewhat unusual given that it is purely residential on one side (Milton Street) and has a commercial overlay on the other (Greenpoint Avenue), resulting in rowhouses whose rears face commercial uses in the donut. The block also features a mix of building types and sizes, resulting in a barely-there garden core on the east side, but a significant and intact garden core on the west side of the block – where 98 Greenpoint Avenue is located. As the Commission knows, the garden core, or “donut”, of rowhouse and apartment blocks was a significant urban planning feature of the cityscape. Around the time which these buildings were being developed, New York City adopted the second Tenement Act, seeking to ensure that apartment houses provided sufficient light and air for human habitation. These buildings, with their generous backyards, did not require this, at least not originally. This western edge of the block has, so far, benefitted from an intact, shared green space, which would be marred by this banal rear extension. Although the commercial overlay allows for this rear extension, we wish to make a plea for minimizing its impact on its residential neighbors.

LPC Determination: No Action

Item 8

69 7th Avenue – Park Slope Historic District

CERTIFICATE OF APPROPRIATENESS, Docket #197206

A neo-Grec style rowhouse designed by William Flanagan and built in 1880. Application is to construct a rear yard addition.

Our committee found the proposed rear yard addition to be oversized for the neighborhood and is concerned that such an addition will adversely affect the garden core or “donut”. Ideally, new construction within the core should be clad in brick chosen to blend in with the rear elevations of the existing houses. Additionally, the proposed construction methods and materials reveal either a lack of knowledge or a willful indifference regarding appropriate practice for a rowhouse neighborhood such as this. Perhaps the applicant can work with staff to find a more historically- sensitive approach to this project.

LPC Determination: Approved with modifications

Item 9

225 East 5th Street – East Village/Lower East Side Historic District

CERTIFICATE OF APPROPRIATENESS, Docket #q12195

An Italianate style apartment building designed by W.J. Gessner and built c. 1870-71 and altered in 1887 by Jobst Hoffmann. Application is to establish a master plan governing the future installation of through-wall and through-window mechanical units and louvers.

Given the through-wall penetrations already present on this building, it would be impossible for this proposal to have a satisfactory retrofit. With that in mind, it is that much more pressing that the applicant take a more sensitive approach than what is currently being proposed, which appears somewhat clunky. If the opportunity exists to put condensing units on the roof, perhaps piping can be run to individual air-handling units and the façade can be repaired and restored to its original historic condition. If that’s not possible, perhaps the applicant could find a grille that relates to the building’s ironwork or stairs and to its overall Italianate design. HDC asks that further thought be given to this master plan proposal in order to achieve the desired function and a more historic appearance for the building.

LPC Determination: Approved

Item 12

464 West 145th Street – Hamilton Heights Historic District

CERTIFICATE OF APPROPRIATENESS, Docket #q11035

A Renaissance Revival style rowhouse designed by Francis J. Schnugg and built in 1897. Application is to install an awning.

Our committee finds no reason to install an unsightly awning on this building. A better solution would be to put a placard or typical doctor’s office sign at eye level. We hope the applicant will work with staff to find a solution that fits this historic building more appropriately.

LPC Determination: Approved

Category: HDC@LPC · Tags:

Culture and Cuisine: A Tour of the East Village’s Immigrant History

Posted by on Wednesday, September 13, 2017 · Leave a Comment 

Learn how the cultures of the East Village have changes based on the plethora of cuisines- Sept. 23rd

September 23, 2017

11:00 a.m.

Join senior editor at 6sqft Dana Schulz for a tour of the East Village’s rich immigrant history as told through its cultural gastronomy scene. Explore how the Italian, Eastern European, and Indian communities settled in the neighborhood and influenced the entire city’s palate, as well as how the area’s social and cultural history has changed over the years. Stops will include John’s of 12th Street, Veselka, Moishe’s Bakery, Curry Row, and the Big Gay Ice Cream Shop.

(Please note: This tour does not include food samples)

 

Category: Program & Events, Six to Celebrate · Tags:

Six to Celebrate Tour- Corona-East Elmhurst

Posted by on Tuesday, September 12, 2017 · Leave a Comment 

HDC and the Corona-East Elmhurst Historic Preservation Society (CEEHPS) – October 21, 2017

October 21, 2017

11:00 a.m.

Join HDC and the Corona-East Elmhurst Historic Preservation Society (CEEHPS) for another waking tour around this culturally and architecturally rich neighborhood. This tour includes lunch at a local restaurant after the tour. For more information read the CEEHPS newsletter (page 6).

Walking Tour and Lunch $19
Includes descriptive color brochure with photos and lunch at a local restaurant

 

REGISTER

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

HDC@LPC – Testimony for LPC Hearing on September 12, 2017

Posted by on Monday, September 11, 2017 · Leave a Comment 

Item 5
23 West 69th Street – Upper West Side/Central Park West Historic District
CERTIFICATE OF APPROPRIATENESS, Docket #q09902
A Renaissance Revival style rowhouse designed by Gilbert A. Schellenger and built in 1892. Application is to replace windows, construct rooftop and rear yard additions, and alter the rear façade.
HDC opposes this proposal, which is described on the docket as an alteration to a rear façade but is actually an application to construct an entirely new curtain wall. This addition would leave only the façade of the building intact. As proposed, the all-glass mass displays no differentiation between floors and does not salvage any historic material. The proposed replacement with a metal and curtain wall cube certainly does not seem to be in keeping with the character of the Upper West Side/Central Park West Historic District, and we would like to see examples of where this has been permitted in the district, as we could not determine any.

 

Item 8
111 Noble Street – Greenpoint Historic District
CERTIFICATE OF APPROPRIATENESS, Docket #196418
A wood frame house, constructed in 1855 and heavily altered in the 20th century. Application is to demolish the existing house and construct a new building.
HDC strongly opposes this application, which seeks to erase 160 years of neighborhood history for one person’s financial gain. This house should be restored to its original historic condition. Fortunately, we have clear evidence of what that original appearance was. This work could be done for a fraction of the expense of building a new building.
In a letter to the Chair of the community board, the applicant states that the changes in the façade “led to 111 Noble Street being a non-contribution building to the Greenpoint historic district.” This is flat-out false. While the terms contributing and non-contributing, as well as style and no-style, appear in other designation reports, they aren’t mentioned a single time in the Greenpoint designation report. In labeling this building non-contributing, MDIM has taken on the role of Landmarks Preservation Commission, deciding for themselves what buildings are and are not worthy of landmark status. Our committee would prefer these decisions be made by the Commission, not by third parties looking to profit off of the destruction of historic buildings.
 
 An accurate reading of the designation report is helpful, however, in understanding that Noble Street contains “some of the earliest houses erected in the district.” And while this house, which dates back to 1855, is listed as “heavily altered,” similarly altered houses in the district have been restored successfully. 218 Guernsey Street is a perfect example of one such property, a heavily altered historic frame house that has been gracefully restored and returned to its original appearance. 111 Noble sits among other houses on the street that could be similarly restored. The houses on either side of 111 retain a lot of their original detail. It would be a shame to destroy a part of this block with so much historic potential, leaving no chance for historic continuity.
 
The Greenpoint Historic District Designation Report details the importance of houses such as 111 Noble. According to it, “these early frame structures occupy an important place within the district and in the city. Some were built individually by shipwrights and shipcarpenters connected with the nearby shipyards. Although most have now been resurfaced with modern materials, the original mass, size, scale and window arrangement remain as does the underlying framing which tangibly link them with one of New York’s most romantic eras, the age of graceful wooden ships.” Greenpoint is a rare historic district in that it provides a glimpse at a vernacular neighborhood with houses that weren’t built for the wealthy. They were instead built for people who worked on the docks, for middle class New Yorkers who kept the city running. That’s the beauty of this historic district.
 
Permitting the demolition of this historic house sets a dangerous precedent for many other buildings in this historic district and districts throughout the city, essentially communication that developers (and in this case, the owner is an appraiser and works in real estate) that landmarked properties can be torn down and replaced with luxury apartments. We urge the Commission not to let Greenpoint, a neighborhood tangibly linked to New York City’s “romantic era” of “graceful wooden ships,” be turned into a neighborhood whose only tangible link is to an era of excessive greed and careless destruction of culture, history, character, and community.

Category: HDC@LPC · Tags: ,

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