View All

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



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


  • 2015 Conference- Landmarks @ 50 Honoring Our Past Imagining Our Future



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

  • 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

PS 31 - The Castle

PS 31 – The Castle

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


  • 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.

Stonewall Inn, Designation Testimony – June 23, 2015


Item 1
Stonewall Inn, 51-53 Christopher Street, Manhattan
Landmark Site: Manhattan Block 610, Lot 1 in part consisting of the land on which the buildings at 51-53 Christopher Street are situated
Community District 2
HDC supports the designation of the Stonewall Inn as an Individual Landmark. While the structure itself is already protected as part of the Greenwich Village Historic District, this designation would more intentionally acknowledge and honor this site’s cultural and historical significance to our city and, indeed, the world.

We do not need to state the many-layered importance of historic architecture to the urban experience in this forum, except to say that this agency’s hard work in designating buildings for their architectural merits has served to safeguard this vital aspect of the urban experience. However, sites designated principally for their cultural and historic value, such as the recent designation of Tammany Hall, are a rarer breed. Advocates across the city are constantly pushing for landmark status for sites of cultural and historical importance, including 40 and 42 Bowery, two Federal houses dating back to 1807, significant for their age, but also as the location where the politically charged and impactful Dead Rabbits Riot of 1857 began. Another such site is Tin Pan Alley, the birthplace of American popular music, whose merits, despite widespread public support, have not been recognized with landmark status as of yet.

In this 50th anniversary year, the preservation community is often reflecting on ways to enhance and improve the scope of the Landmarks Law. Sites such as the Stonewall Inn, famous as the birthplace of the Gay Pride movement, are crucial to the story of our city. Protecting the physical spaces that embody history, like Stonewall, is a crucial, if less traditional, task with which the Landmarks Commission is charged. In a perfect world, the agency would also have the power to protect the characteristics that support and define the significance of such sites – like ensuring that the Stonewall Inn remains a public gathering place in perpetuity. Perhaps the strengthening of the law by introducing this type of regulation is something we can work toward and celebrate at the centennial of New York City’s Landmarks Law.



Category: HDC@LPC · Tags:

HDC Announces the De-calendaring Items as a 2015 Six to Celebrate

Posted by on Friday, June 19, 2015 · 1 Comment 


The Landmarks Preservation Commission has agreed to hold hearings for each property on the calendared list! This was first reported in the Wall Street Journal on June 18, 2015.



In November 2014, the Landmarks Preservation Commission announced a plan to remove 96 previously considered sites and properties from its calendar. Although the agency chose not to take immediate action on the plan, there remain over 150 sites under consideration that are unprotected. Over the coming year, HDC will document, publicize and conduct community outreach for these sites to increase public awareness and gather support to move their designations forward, while simultaneously aiding the LPC in managing its backlog.

Visit the  Six to Celebrate Website 



HDC is thrilled to announce that the New York City  Landmarks Preservation Commission will not be holding a hearing to remove 96 sites from landmark consideration on Tuesday, December 9. We’ve said plenty of times – nobody likes a backlog. HDC is committed to working with LPC to remedy this situation in a transparent, appropriate and equitable way.

THANK YOU everyone who made their voices heard. This belongs to all of you.

For more information, see  The New York Times article by Matt A.V. Chaban, “Landmarks Panel Drops Proposal to Trim List“.


Click on the titles for more information about each site

de-calendar Bronx

6 Ploughmans Bush Building-edit 1. 6 Ploughman’s Bush Building  Bronx, NY, 10471



65 Schofiled House-flickr-no rights to use2. 65 Schofield Street aka 240 William Avenue Bronx, NY 10464



Immaculate Conception RC Church Complex-edit3. Immaculate Conception Church of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Convent, & Priests’ Residence



First Presbyterian Church of Williamsburg_2-edit4.  First Presbyterian Church of Williamsbridge & Rectory



5. Samuel Babcock House

de-calendar Brooklyn


183-195 Broadway Building1. 183-195 Broadway Building



Coney Island Pumping Station_12. Coney Island Pumping Station


greenwood3. Greenwood Cemetery


Holy Trinity Cathedral_Ukranian Church in Exile-edit4. Holy Trinity Cathedral/Ukranian Church in Exile



Lady Moody's House5. Lady Moody-Van Sicklen House



St. Augustines RC Church (2)-edit6. St. Augustine’s R.C. Church and Rectory



St. Barbaras RC Church7. St. Barbara’s R.C. Church



de-calendar manhattan


2 Oliver Street1. 2 Oliver Street House



57 Sullivan Street2. 57 Sullivan Street House



3. 138 Second Avenue House

143 Chambers Street 14. 143 Chambers Street



150 East 38th Street5. 150 East 38th Street House



315 Broadway-16. 315 Broadway



7. 412 East 85th Street House

8. Bergdorf Goodman

9. Broadway Theaters

10. Excelsior Power Company Building

11. Hotel Renaissance/Columbia Club


IRT Powerhouse12. IRT Powerhouse



13. James McCreery & Co.

Kaufmann14. Kaufman Conference Rooms Interior



Loew's 175th Street Theater -edit15. Loew’s 175th Street Theater



16. Mission of the Immaculate Virgin

 17. Osborne Apartments Interior


CAA-house18. President Chester A. Arthur House



19. Sire Building

Church of St. Joseph 401 West 125th Street20. St. Joseph’s Church



St. Michael's Episcopal Church Complex21. St. Michael’s Episcopal Church Complex




22. St. Paul’s Church & School

St. Pauls Rectory 117th Street23. St. Paul’s Rectory



24.Union Square Park


Harlem YMCA Jackie Robinson Youth Center 125. YMCA, Harlem Branch



Yuengling Brewing Complex26. Yuengling Brewery Complex (6 items)




de-calendar queens

Ahles House1. Lydia Ann Bell and William J Ahles House



Bowne Street Community Church2. Bowne Street Community Church



39-18 Douglaston Parkway_Douglaston Extension.- smjpg3. Douglaston Historic District Extension


Fairway Hall 34. Fairway Apartments



First Reformed Church of College Point (2)-edit5. First Reformed Church and Sunday School of College Point



Old Calvary Cem Gatehouse6. Old Calvary Cemetery Gatehouse



Pepsi Cola Sign7. Pepsi-Cola Sign



Spanish Tower Homes-sm8. Spanish Towers (10 Items)




de-calendar si


12-92 Harrison Street1. 92 Harrison Street House



122 Androvette Street House2. 122 Androvette Street House



3833 Amboy Road House3. 3833 Amboy Road House



5466 Arthur Kill Road House4. 5466 Arthur Kill Road House



5. 6136 Amboy Road House


Brougham Cottage6. Brougham Cottage



Crocheron House7. Crocheron House



76 CunardHall58. Cunard Hall, Wagner College



CurtisHouseLarge9. Curtis House



10. Dorothy Day Historic Site

11. Fountain Family Graveyard

garner mansion12. Garner Mansion



Lakeman-Courtelyou-Taylor House13.  Lakeman-Courtelyou-Taylor House



14. Muller House

15. Nicholas Killmeyer Store and Residence


photo 4 (3)16. Princess Bay Lighthouse and Keeper’s House



17.Richmond County Country Club

Sailors Snug Harbor18. Sailors’ Snug Harbor Historic District



19. School District No. 3 Building

 20. St. John’s P.E. Rectory

St. Mary's Church, Rectory and Parish Hall21. St. Mary’s Church, Rectory and Parish Hall



St. Mary's R.C.Church and Rectory22. St. Mary’s R.C.Church and Rectory



23. St. Paul’s M.E. Church

24. Sunny Brae House


Vanderbilt Mausoleum Moravian Cemetery25. Vanderbilt Mausoleum Moravian Cemetery



26. Woodbrook/Goodhuse House


Category: Blog, Brooklyn, Featured, Historic House, landmarks law, Landmarks Preservation Commission, Special Blog · Tags:

URGENT: Proposed Riverside-West End Extension II On The Chopping Block By LPC !

Posted by on Thursday, June 18, 2015 · Leave a Comment 

Skulls indicate approximate locations of buildings to be removed by the LPC from the originally proposed Riverside-West End Extension II map boundaries, heard at LPC Public Hearing on Oct. 25, 2011. 
June 18, 2015Meenakshi Srinivasan, Chair
New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission
One Centre Street
New York City, New York 10007

Dear Chair Srinivasan,

The Historic Districts Council (HDC) has several serious concerns about how the Landmarks Preservation Commission is choosing to proceed with its deliberations over the designation of the Riverside-West End Historic District Extension II.  The process, as we understand it, is that the LPC will hold a vote on Tuesday, June 23rd at a Public Meeting concerning the district.  This district was previously heard by the LPC at a Public Hearing on October 25th, 2011.  We understand from speaking with LPC representatives, elected officials and advocates that the agency recommendation to the Commissioners will be to designate a smaller area than what was presented at the earlier meeting.  Recently, furthermore, agency staff has characterized the heard but not designated area as a “study area”.  The same “study area” term has also been used in reference to the pending Bedford Stuyvesant Historic District, whose boundaries have also been proposed by the agency to be contracted.

There are now several elements of this hearing/process that are troubling for the city’s landmark procedures and its preservation community.  In the past, changing the boundaries of a proposed historic district after it has been heard at a Public Hearing has been a very rare occurrence.  It has principally happened because of mapping reasons involving improperly surveyed property lot lines[1]or because of existing building alteration permits that would potentially negate the benefits of landmark designation[2].  In the latter case, regarding existing building permits, the Commission has more often included these sites in the newly designated district than excluded them[3].  As far as HDC knows, neither of these instances is the reason behind the proposed contraction of these historic districts.

Given the LPC’s stated concerns about the previously considered properties on the agency’s backlog, and the constructive conversations that these concerns fostered, it would seem only fair and equitable to bring this modified proposal back to a Public Hearing so that community stakeholders can be better involved with this public process.This is especially appropriate in this instance.  As many of the present commissioners were not on the LPC at the time of the previous hearing, they did not have the opportunity to hear the information and support that the community shared with the LPC. At this juncture, it seems improper for these commissioners to deliberate on changes to the plan without having had the opportunity to gain primary information from the people it directly affects.

HDC is also gravely concerned with the newly emerging naming policy and assertion that makes properties that are pending designation implicitly – “study areas”.   While we understand that LPC authority over considered but undesignated properties is much weaker than over designated properties, in practice and under existing municipal procedure, once a property or site is scheduled for consideration as a potential landmark, the agency becomes a party to public and private land-use decisions affecting that property.  This is a power that HDC supports and applauds.  Indeed, we have in the past proposed institutionalizing this safeguard into the City Charter as we feel that it is a useful tool in fulfilling the agency’s mission to identify and protect New York City’s historically significant buildings. Regardless of its current status as an inter-agency agreement, it would seem that this power elevates properties under consideration to a rank or standing greater than “study areas”, which is an accepted land-use planning term implying merely observational status.  Perhaps we are reading too closely into a simple phrase, but it is troublesome, as “study areas” in land-use planning also indicates a process and a scope which city planning rarely exceeds and usually only refines.

As you are aware, designation of a New York City historic district is a complex and very-involved planning process that takes years and engages a vast array of stakeholders.  By the time the LPC officially acts to calendar a proposed historic district for a Public Hearing, a great deal of outreach and groundwork has already been done by the agency.  Public information meetings have been held, private owners have been consulted, official notice to all property owners have been sent out, site visits have been made and a great deal of preliminary building research has been done and accumulated – and that is only on the agency side.At the present juncture, to think of the current proposals put before the Commissioners for a vote to proceed as mere “study areas” disregards all that preliminary work.Thus, if this is a change in the LPC designation procedures, then that should be made clear to all parties.

Moving forward, all proposals to potentially designate historic districts should continue to be heard with the full public engagement of all the participants at the Landmarks Commission meetings.  If the meetings are kept open to the public, the boundaries of the “study areas” can be discussed and refined.Through this methodical open process, one might imagine that the boundaries of such “study areas” can be introduced and discussed so as to encompass the totality of an historic neighborhood, which could then be better refined, rather than the carefully-drawn, property-by-property boundaries which current practice introduces for votes to be calendared.

Regardless of any proposed future changes, this is not how currently pending historic districts were considered, and it should not be the one under which they are processed.  Fundamentally, HDC believes that if the LPC is considering shrinking the boundaries of the heard but not designated Riverside-West End Historic District Extension II, that the public hearing should be reopened and that public testimony by permitted on this new proposal.Thus, moving forward, HDC requests that the Landmarks Preservation Commission should continue to make its designation process transparent and open to public engagement in an equitable and accountable manner.

Thank you for your consideration of this matter and for all the important work you do for the City of New York.


Simeon Bankoff
Executive Director

CC: Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer
CM Rosenthal, District 7, Manhattan
Peg Breen, The New York Landmarks Conservancy
Josette Amato, West End Preservation Society
Claudette Brady, Bedford-Stuyvesant Society for Historic Preservation

[1]  East Village/Lower East Side Historic District (2012).
[2]  Madison Square North Historic District (2001).
[3]  NoHo Historic District Extension (2008), Upper East Side Historic District Extension (2010), and East 10th Street Historic District (2012).

The Reach of the Landmarks Law: A Balancing Act
Thursday, June 18 at 6:30pm

When New York’s landmarks law took effect 50 years ago, it forever changed the course of the city’s history. But has its proponents’ full vision been realized this past half century? In some cases, the law may have in fact been surpassed by newer legislation in other cities. Could ours be strengthened, or are additional preservation tools needed to complement the law? At this panel, preservation experts will discuss these and other questions exploring the possibilities, limitations, and challenges of the landmarks law. This program delves into the themes of our exhibition Saving Place: 50 Years of New York City Landmarkson view through September 13.

Reception to follow!

  • Alison G. Greenberg, HDC Board Memeber, Partner, Calcagni & Kanefsky
  • Leonard Koerner, Chief Assistant Corporation Counsel, NYC Law Department, Office of the Corporation
  • Paul W. Edmondson, Chief Legal Officer/General Counsel, National Trust for Historic Preservation
  • Sami Naim, Vice President, Law and Policy, Municipal Art Society of New York
  • Michael T. Sillerman, Partner, Kramer Levin Naftalis & Frankel
  • Meredith J. Kane (moderator), Partner, Paul Weiss

Co-sponsored by Bryan CaveBryant Rabbino, and Carter Ledyard & Milburn

1.5 LU AIA CES will be offered for attending this event.


Free for Museum members; $12 for students/seniors; $16 for general public.

Register Here

Copyright © 2015 Historic Districts Council, All rights reserved.unsubscribe from this list    update subscription preferences

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

The Historic Districts Council’s Summer Mixers!

Posted by on Monday, June 15, 2015 · Leave a Comment 

Raise a Glass and Lend Your Voice to

The Historic Districts Council’s Summer Mixers!

Join fellow preservationists and activists in your neighborhood for a spirited meet-up to share the latest in district development and preservation news.

Summer in New York is typically the time when large-scale plans are proposed, and this Summer is no different.  The City Planning Commission’s proposal for “Zoning for Quality and Affordability” is making its way through the public review process as a number of neighborhoods are studied for housing development and the Landmarks Preservation Commission is still studying its proposal to deal with the 100 properties awaiting action.

We’re hosting community parties in every borough for concerned advocates to catch up, discuss happenings in their neighborhoods, and plan ahead in order to strengthen the voice of their community.

Bring news, petitions and information about what’s going on in your area! The program is free, but reservations are required.


Staten Island: Sunday  7/12 at 11am (Alice Austen House: 2 Hylan Boulevard, Staten Island)


 To RSVP for a Summer Mixer click here 

promo image 2

Staten Island: Sunday  7/12 at 11am (Alice Austen House: 2 Hylan Boulevard, Staten Island)

Brooklyn: Thursday 7/ 16 at 6pm (Akwaaba Mansion: 347 MacDonough Street, Brooklyn)

Queens: Tuesday 7/21 at 6pm (Flushing Town Hall: 137-35 Northern Boulevard, Flushing)

Bronx: Monday 7/ 27 at 6pm (The Bronx Museum of the Arts: 1040 Grand Concourse, Bronx)

Manhattan: Thursday 7/30 at 6pm (Morris-Jumel Mansion: 65 Jumel Terrace, Manhattan)


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

HDC Testimony for LPC Hearing on June 16, 2015

Posted by on Monday, June 15, 2015 · 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
178-15 Murdock Avenue – Addisleigh Park Historic District
144604 – Block 10301, lot 62, Zoned R2

Community District 12, Queens

A free standing Tudor Revival style house with attached garage, built c. 1932. Application is to legalize façade alterations and the installation of a fence without LPC permit(s).

178-15 Murdock Avenue

178-15 Murdock Avenue-2

HDC feels that the work performed on this house is a good example of the kind of intervention that landmarking is meant to prevent. The LPC issues emergency permits for situations such as this, but the work performed goes beyond necessary repairs and introduces inappropriate elements to this building’s style. HDC is opposed to the removal of the stone at the base, and finds the brick replacement to be alien to the building’s character. The introduction of a bay window and modification of the front door are also unnecessary and non-restorative changes. Additionally, the half-timbering on this house is a fine, original feature, one that would greatly enhance and honor the house’s Tudor Revival style if repainted.

LPC determination: Approved with modifications


Item 3
65 Broadway – American Express Company Building – Individual Landmark
168495 – Block 21, lot 4, Zoned C5-5

Community District 1, Manhattan

A neo-Classical style office building designed by James L. Aspinwall of Renwick, Aspinwall and Tucker and built in 1916-17. Application is to alter entrances.

65 Broadway-1

65 Broadway-2

The proposed entrance provides a discreet way to provide ADA access. However, rather than replicating the treatment of the existing storefront sign band on the southern bay, which is too big, perhaps the central bay could provide a better model for both.

LPC determination: No Action


Item 6
837 Washington Street – Gansevoort Market Historic District
171645 – Block 645, lot 25, Zoned M1-5

Community District 2, Manhattan

A Moderne style market building designed by David M. Oltarch and built in 1938. Application is to install storefront infill and signage.

837 Washington Street

HDC finds the changes to the storefront to be appropriate, but asks that the large illuminated sign be brought down in scale. Given its massive size and the fact that it stands off the face of the building, its impact would be excessive for this historic district.

LPC determination: Approved with modifications


Item 7
59 East 2nd Street – East Village/Lower East Side Historic District
167917 – Block 443, lot 16, Zoned R8B

Community District 3, Manhattan

A Gothic Revival style religious building designed by J.C. Cady & Company and built in 1891. Application is to install signage.

59 East 2nd Street-1

59 East 2nd Street-2

HDC finds the proposed sign to be tasteful and sensitive to this lovely building. We would ask, though, that every effort be made to preserve the fragile stone by ensuring that the anchorage points for the sign are at the mortar joints only. That way, if the sign were to be removed at a later date, the stone will not be damaged.

LPC determination: Approved


Item 8
125 Fifth Avenue – Ladies’ Mile Historic District
169606 – Block 848, lot 4, Zoned C6-4M

Community District 5, Manhattan

A neo-Gothic style dwelling built c. 1850-51, and altered c. 1921-23 by Irving Margon. Application is to modify an elevator bulkhead built in non-compliance with Certificate of No Effect 09-3964, and to construct a rooftop addition.

125 Fifth Avenue

In addition to disrupting the character of this building and its distinctive roofline, the proposed rooftop addition is extremely visible from up and down this architecturally magnificent stretch of Fifth Avenue. We ask that more effort be made to pull it back from the street wall.

LPC determination: No Action


Item 11
347 West 84th Street – Riverside – West End Extension I Historic District
168073 – Block 1246, lot 14, Zoned R6B

Community District 7, Manhattan

A Queen Anne style rowhouse designed by Joseph M. Dunn and built in 1888-89. Application is to construct rooftop and rear yard additions.

347 West 84th Street-1

While HDC finds the designs of the rooftop and rear yard additions to be generally thoughtful in their approach, we would ask that more masonry be introduced on the rear façade, especially on the second floor. The windows along the lot line are somewhat odd, lending a “fish bowl” effect to the addition, which would not be in keeping with the neighborhood.

LPC determination: Approved with modifications


Item 12
55 West 90th Street – Upper West Side/Central Park West Historic District
168466 – Block 1204, lot 109, Zoned R7-2

Community District 7, Manhattan

A Queen Anne style rowhouse designed by William F. Burroughs and built in 1885-86. Application is to construct rooftop and rear yard additions.

55 West 90th Street

The peaked roofs on this row of houses are an important and distinctive feature, and should not be obstructed. As such, the proposed rooftop addition should be made completely invisible, including the guard rail, which is visible behind the roof peak in the mock-up photographs. Perhaps the addition could be pulled back a few feet to rectify this.

LPC determination: Approved


Item 13
188 Columbus Avenue – Upper West Side/Central Park West Historic District
168840 – Block 1140, lot 32, Zoned C1-8A

Community District 7, Manhattan

A neo-Grec style tenement building designed by Babcock & McAvoy, and built in 1885-86. Application is to legalize the installation of storefront infill without Landmarks Preservation Commission permits.

188 Columbus Avenue

HDC feels that this storefront was suffering to begin with, but the proposed design does nothing to improve it. A less banal storefront would be most welcome in bringing this building in the right direction.

LPC determination: Denied


Item 14
132 West 75th Street – Upper West Side/Central Park West Historic District
161479 – Block 1146, lot 48, Zoned R8B

Community District 7, Manhattan

A Renaissance Revival style rowhouse with Queen Anne style elements designed by Gilbert A. Schellenger and built in 1890. Application is to construct rooftop and rear yard additions, alter the rear façade, and excavate the rear yard.

132 West 75th Street

Our committee finds the proposed rear façade, with its varied fenestration pattern, to lack internal organization. This jumble of windows would be a disrespectful imposition on the character of the block. The rooftop addition appears to be invisible from the street, though our committee could not quite determine this without the proper documentation.

LPC determination: Approved


Item 16
18 East 63rd Street – Upper East Side Historic District
170928 – Block 1377, lot 160, Zoned R8B

Community District 8, Manhattan

A neo-Grec style rowhouse designed by Gage Inslee and built in 1876. Application is to alter the windows and window surrounds.

18 East 63rd Street-existing

18 East 63rd Street-previously approved

Some regrettable changes have been made to this building’s fenestration over the years. Absent a full restoration, HDC feels that reintroducing the fourth floor window sills to align with the neighboring rowhouse would improve the harmony of the façade. We would, therefore, prefer that the previously approved condition, rather than either Option A or Option B, be approved once more.

LPC determination: Approved



Category: HDC@LPC · Tags: , , , , , ,

The Frick Collection Rethinks Its Expansion Plan

Posted by on Thursday, June 4, 2015 · Leave a Comment 

Birds eye view

Last night, it was announced that the controversial plan to expand the landmark Frick Collection has been withdrawn by its Board of Trustees.  The Historic Districts Council vigorously opposed this plan, believing it to be a myopic solution which would compromise the museum’s unique character. We are very pleased that the leadership of the Frick Collection has chosen to rethink this move and we look forward to seeing a new proposal.
We would further like to thank the institution, which has been forthcoming with presentations and participated in a lively, well-mannered public discussion.
While this issue might seem extraordinarily local, it has important lessons for all New Yorkers who care about their neighborhoods. On the one hand, there was an institution which was open about its plans and welcomed community comment before seeking governmental approvals, which is a rare and welcome circumstance. On the other, there was a well-organized coalition of neighbors and concerned citizens who calmly and diligently gathered public and critical support while seeking viable alternative solutions that could solve the identified institutional concerns. 
HDC is proud to be part of this effort and we look forward to continuing the important conversation about how the Frick Collection can continue to prosper.  We further hope that other New York City institutions follow their lead and engage New Yorkers in a real public conversation when making plans for their future. 

Image courtesy of NYC&G 

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

Film Screening-Modern Ruin: A World’s Fair Pavilion

Posted by on Wednesday, June 3, 2015 · Leave a Comment 

Modern Ruin: A World’s Fair Pavilion

Documentary Film Screening

modern ruin a world's fair pavilion promo pic


The Paris Café119 South Street (at Peck Slip)

Join HDC for a film screening of Modern Ruin: A World’s Fair Pavilion, Matthew Silva’s documentary about an abandoned structure designed by modernist icon Philip Johnson for the 1964 World’s Fair. This screening will be held at 6:00pm on Tuesday, June 2 at The Paris Café, which first opened in 1873. This café was frequented by such personages as Thomas Edison and Theodore Roosevelt, and it nearly closed after sustaining damage from Superstorm Sandy.

Modern Ruin: A World’s Fair Pavilion tells the story of the Pavilion from the glory days of the fair, through the years of neglect, up to present day advocacy. The filmmakers hope this project will be the first step in engaging and informing people about the building in new and exciting ways. This whimsical, futuristic, and soaring structure, constructed for the 1964 fair, has been left abandoned for the greater part of 50 years. “It would be a shame if its story ended in demolition,” says producer Matthew Silva, “The dreamers see beyond the cracks, rust, and neglect to a thriving community space that will serve New Yorkers for generations.” The film’s goal is to contribute to the re-imagining of Flushing Meadows Corona Park and eventually lead to the repurposing of this great icon.

The New York State Pavilion’s abandoned observation decks and steel arena have inspired generations of New Yorkers who have grown up with this peculiar relic on the horizon. The Pavilion holds a great many surprises, and its best days may be yet to come.

Run Time: 80 minutes


This program is free and open to the public, but reservations are required.
To register, please  email Daria Tavana at or call 212-614-9107.

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


Category: Event, film, Queens · Tags: , , , ,

HDC Testimony for LPC Hearing on June 2, 2015

Posted by on Monday, June 1, 2015 · Leave a Comment 

Research Department Public Hearing Items

Item 2

Henry and Susan McDonald House, 128 Clinton Avenue, Brooklyn


Landmark Site: Brooklyn Block 1887, Lot 82

Community District 2


An Italianate frame house with Greek Revival style elements built in 1853-54.

The Henry and Susan McDonald House is a charming building that instantly reminds passerbys of another era.  Its striking columned porch, projecting bracketed eaves, and richly detailed window and door surrounds all speak strongly of 1850s Brooklyn.  Already part of the Wallabout National Register Historic District, 128 Clinton Avenue is deserving of the protection that can only come with city designation.

There was some disappointment when the New York City Wallabout Historic District did not include the beautiful houses along Clinton Avenue.  HDC is happy to see 128 here today, and we hope it will be only the first of many we will see proposed for designation on this avenue.


Item 3

M. H. Renken Dairy Company Office Building and Engine Room Building, 582-584 Myrtle Avenue (aka 192 Classon Avenue) and 580 Myrtle Avenue, Brooklyn


Landmark Site: Brooklyn Block 1909, Lot 32

Community District 2


Art Moderne structures by Koch & Wagner built in 1932 and 1937-37.

HDC supports the landmarking of the M.H. Renken Dairy Building as it helps tell more fully tell the story of the Clinton Hill neighborhood.  This simple Art Deco structure of pale yellow brick and bands of red brick was designed by Koch & Wagner and served as the head quarters for the dairy from its construction in 1932 until the company moved to Connecticut in 1962.  Its sign on the top floor would have been viewed easily by passengers on the former Myrtle Avenue El.  We thank the LPC for responding to neighborhood preservationists calls for a hearing for this unique structure and hope to see more in this section of Brooklyn.


Preservation Department Public Hearing Items

Item 2

272 Lafayette Avenue-Clinton Hill Historic District

16-1445- Block 1946, Lot 23, Zoned R6B

Community District 2, Brooklyn


An Italianate style rowhouse built in 1868. Application is to construct a rooftop addition.

272 Lafayette

This rooftop addition would be the first accretion to this otherwise unbroken row of houses. The addition is highly visible from the public way, and will also be shiny because of the material selected. HDC asks that its visibility and materials, both on the railings and the penthouse, be re-examined.


Item 3

16 Court Street, aka 206-212 Montague Street – Borough Hall Skyscraper Historic District

17-1029 – Block 250, Lot 14, Zoned C5-2A

Community District 2, Brooklyn


A neo-Romanesque style office building designed by H. Craig Severence and built in
1925-27. Application is to replace storefront and entrance infill and install a canopy.

16 Court

In general, this application is moving in the correct direction, especially the restoration of the entry surround. The applicant produced compelling archival research which influenced the design of the surround. We feel that the original photographs should prescribe its appearance, not simply inform it.  Working from these historic photographs , HDC would like to see a master plan for the future treatment of storefronts on this skyscraper.


Item 5

69 Greene Avenue – Fort Greene Historic District

17-0815 – Block 2121, Lot 45, Zoned R6B

Community District 2, Brooklyn


An Italianate style rowhouse built circa 1860. Application is to reconstruct the front
and rear facades, construct a rooftop addition, and excavate at the rear yard.

69 Greene Ave

HDC finds the extensive excavation troubling on this unreinforced masonry house. Because of this building’s siting, both the proposed rooftop addition and rear facades will be highly visible. The herringbone rear façade treatment is unusual and the Committee fears that what is supposed to look like an elegant brick arrangement will actually appear like a veneer. HDC suggests creating smaller areas, like spandrel panels for example, to incorporate the herringbone pattern.


Item 8

400 West Broadway – SoHo-Cast Iron Historic District Extension
17-0121 – Block 488, Lot 22, Zoned M1-5A

Community District 2, Manhattan


An Italianate style store building designed by William Jose and built in 1870-71, and
altered in the late 20th century. Application is to install a new storefront infill and

400 West Broadway

HDC finds this new storefront an improvement to the former, especially the incorporations of historically-derived elements like a recessed entry, bulkheads, and opaque transoms. The Committee suggests incorporating some type of simplified cornice, or projection to separate the storefront from the bricks, which currently reads as a bit flat.


Item 11

475 6th Avenue, aka 475-485 6th Avenue and 100-114 West 12th Street – Greenwich Village Historic District

16-7516- Block 607, Lot 38, Zoned C1-7, R6

Community District 2 , Manhattan


An apartment building designed by Horace Ginsbern & Associates and built in 1956.
Application is to establish a Master Plan governing the future installation of storefront signage and lighting.

475 Sixth Ave_a 475 Sixth Ave

The rusticated brick on West 12th Street is the only decorative element applied to this building, and was meant to be seen as it was executed at the pedestrian level. The Committee finds it unnecessary to cut perforations into this feature by means of a small storefront window and service door. If the window is meant to allure customers at the corner to direct them to the main entrance, this could be done in a reversible manner, such as a blade sign. Regarding the proposed signage, we ask the Commission to compare the scale of the neighboring rowhouse storefronts’ signage, and ask that the signage proposed in this application be reduced to reflect its context.


Item 12

355 Bleecker Street – Greenwich Village Historic District

17-0185 – Block 620, Lot 44, Zoned C1-6

Community District 2, Manhattan


A rowhouse built in 1829-1830. Application is to legalize window replacement and
storefront alterations performed without Landmarks Preservation Commission
permits.355 Bleecker

This illegal work resulted in the loss of both a bulkhead and a charming arch, elements which enlivened this storefront. At the very least, HDC asks that the transom be continued from the doorways across the show window in effort to reference a historic configuration. Regarding the illegal windows, the application did not contain sufficienct information for the Committee to determine any suggestions.


Item 14

9 Vandam Street – Charlton-King-Vandam Historic District

14-9769 – Block 469, Lot 9, Zoned R7-2

Community District 2, Manhattan


A Federal style rowhouse built in 1829-30. Application is to construct a rear yard
addition, modify a dormer, and excavate the cellar and rear yard.

9 Vandam facade 9 Vandam

HDC does not support this application. Federal style rowhouses, as the Commission knows, are few and precious survivors in New York City, and this is a house from 1830 with an unchanged footprint.. This proposal is essentially facadism; restoring a stoop does not justify the obliteration of this building’s original shape and fabric. If the applicant desires more square footage, we ask why a Federal style rowhouse was attractive to the applicant, as these structures were purpose-built to be diminutive, modest houses. There is an abdundance of grand 4 and 5 story townhouses in non-designated districts throughout the City that would better suit this type of space and taste.


Items 16-17

126 West 18th Street – 126 West 18th Street – Individual Landmark

17-1182 – Block 793, Lot 55, Zoned C6-2A

Community District 4, Manhattan

128 West 18th Street – 128 West 18th Street – Individual Landmark

17-1183 – Block 793, Lot 54, Zoned C6-2A

Community District 4, Manhattan


A round-arch utilitarian style stable built in 1864. Application is to install new
storefront infill.

126-128 W 18 St 126-128 W 18 St_2

This collection of buildings is one of only two remaining stable rows in Manhattan, the other being Sniffen Court. These little buildings were integral to the functioning of the City before the age of the auto and mass transit. Their still-gritty, utilitarian appearance is arguably a large part of these structures’ allure, and we ask the Commission and the applicant to consider this. HDC feels that the façade treatment of solid sheets of glass may detract from the interest of these façades. Perhaps mullions and muntins can be introduced to recall some memory of the stable door, or later garage door.


Item 18

354 West 20th Street – Chelsea Historic District

16-6412 – Block 743, Lot 76, Zoned R7B

Community District 4, Manhattan


An Italianate style rowhouse built in 1853-54. Application is to construct a rooftop
addition, alter the rear facade and rear yard, and excavate a sub-cellar.

354 West 20


While HDC does not take issue with the glassy rear elevation which will no doubt allow natural light to spill into this townhouse, we wonder why the excavation will dig so deep below this house to create a space which is quite the contrary—underground with no windows. The excavation component of this application is excessive, especially in a fragile, old neighborhood like Chelsea.


Item 21

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

17-0584 – Block 1147, Lot 41, Zoned R8B

Community District 7, Manhattan


A Renaissance Revival style rowhouse designed by Thom & Wilson and built in 1890-1891. The application is to construct rooftop and rear yard additions.

118 W 76

This is a case of where decades-long neglect resulted in an untouched, complete historic house from 1891.  HDC supports this home being restored and suitable for habitability again, but feels that this proposal moves too far in the speculative direction. The building’s original footprint is being obliterated by going full-width in the rear, adds clumsy and visible bulk to the roof, and hollows out the earth beneath it. There surely are better ways to deal with the rooftop mechanicals. The all-glass rear façade and doors appear strangely commercial, like entries to retail. HDC recommends a lighter-handed intervention to this house and also a closer look at the aesthetic approach of the new design, which at the moment, does not display sensitivity to nor derive its design from the historic district.

Category: HDC@LPC · Tags:

2015 Grassroots and Preservation Party Awardees

Posted by on Friday, May 29, 2015 · Leave a Comment 


Grassroots Winners:

SuzanneSuzanne Spellen learned to appreciate architecture and history by growing up in Gilbertsville, a historic village in upstate NY. After attending Yale University, she moved to New York City to pursue a career in opera. Suzanne is a board member of the Crown Heights North Association, Inc. (CNHA), which has worked tirelessly for landmark designation for the neighborhood. She is a columnist for the popular blog under the pen name “Montrose Morris.” Her expertise on the architecture and history of Central Brooklyn has led to lectures, walking tours and research projects for many organizations and causes. In 2012, Suzanne left Brooklyn for Troy, NY. She is a board member of Troy’s new Community Land Bank, and on the citizen’s advisory board for the Comprehensive Plan for Troy. Suzanne is the co-author of The Fallen Heroes of September 11th: The Wall of Remembrance at Coney Island, (2011). She is currently writing a designation report for the State and National Register of Historic Places on the Carnegie Libraries of New York City. She is also working on a novel, as well as planning two books about Brooklyn architecture and history.


Steven BarrisonSteven Barrison (Bay Improvement Group) is a third-generation resident of Sheepshead Bay, where he has lived for over 55 years. As an attorney currently practicing in midtown Manhattan, he has contributed between 1,000-2,000 hours each year to pro bono activities such as community preservation, enhancement, and revitalization in Sheepshead Bay in order to bring life and planning to its main streets. Steven has served as a member of the Board of Directors of the statewide non-profit New York Main Street Alliance since 1992, advocating Main Street revitalization from one end of New York State to the other. He has testified before numerous hearings on zoning issues as well as important Brooklyn landmarks such as The Carroll Street Bridge, the Parachute Jump, Cyclone, and the Wonder Wheel. Steven was a founding member and elected President of the Bay Improvement Group, which was organized in 1992 to preserve and comprehensively plan the revitalization of Sheepshead Bay’s main streets and its waterfront Special District. Steven has dedicated over 32 years of community service to making New York State, New York City, Brooklyn, and Sheepshead Bay better places to live, work, and visit.


People for the PavilionPeople for the Pavilion (PFP) is a 501(c)3 non-profit advocacy organization whose mission is to develop a vibrant community around the New York State Pavilion and to raise awareness about the structure. PFP works toward this goal through public programs, events, and online communications, and reaches out to individuals, organizations, and institutions about the preservation effort, particularly those based around Flushing Meadows-Corona Park. In 2014, PFP secured $4.8 million of the Capital Budget to restore the New York State Pavilion with help from Queens Borough President Melinda Katz, Mayor Bill de Blasio, City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, and the members of the City Council. Matthew Silva, co-founder of People for the Pavilion, has recently been engaged in a campaign to light the pavilion in order to raise awareness and funding for the restoration project. Silva also just completed a documentary film, two years in the making, called “Modern Ruin: A World’s Fair Pavilion.” The film explores the vibrant history of the structure through interviews with historians, architects and fairgoers, it premiered on May 22, 2015 at the Queens Theatre.


Teri DN pictureTeri Slater was a passionate preservationist, committed community advocate and fierce defender of her beloved Upper East Side. Longtime community board member, director and officer of the Historic Districts Council and numerous other preservation and community groups, she served the public with dedication, intelligence and passion tempered with grace, caring and humor. She was pivotal in numerous campaigns to protect her neighborhood from inappropriate development, especially from institutions such as hospitals and museums seeking to build enormous and unnecessary expansions. She was a convener of groups and connector of people. Teri passed on January 13, 2015, and her absence is unimaginable. She is survived by her sons Eric and Edward and all the many people whose lives she touched.


welcome2thebronx2Friend from the Media Award: Welcome2TheBronx
Ed García Conde is a social media consultant and successful blogger. Working as a real estate appraiser since 1998 has enabled him to become fluent about the histories of the five boroughs of New York City as well as the current social and cultural transitions of these areas. A lifetime resident of Melrose in the South Bronx, Ed has dedicated himself to social and environmental justice issues. Unhappy with mainstream media’s negative coverage of Melrose, the South Bronx, and The Bronx in general, he created websites to share the history and beauty of these neighborhoods and discuss with followers the issues that challenge the community, giving a voice to an otherwise voiceless neighborhood. His blog Welcome2TheBronx has become the most widely read and recognized Bronx blog (250,000 monthly visitors across all social media). Considered an authority on many Bronx issues, Ed’s stories often shape the local news, quoted by the mainstream media including The New York Times and serving as a basis for media outlet articles. In 2014, Ed and his teammates won the first ever Bronx Scavenger Hunt hosted by the Bronx Borough President’s Office.


Daniel GarodnickFriend in High Places Award: Council Member Daniel Garodnick, District 4, Manhattan
Dan Garodnick was born and raised in Stuyvesant Town/Peter Cooper Village. In 2006, Dan foresaw the sale of this property would put affordable, middle-class housing at risk in New York City and initiated an unprecedented, multi-billion dollar bid on behalf of 25,000 tenants to buy the property. As another sale became imminent, Dan organized over 50 elected officials from across New York to form a Coalition Against Predatory Equity, ensuring the commitment of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac not to lend to buyers motivated to run out middle-class tenants by destabilizing affordable units. Dan made the list of City Hall newspaper’s “Rising Stars” under the age of 40 and has been praised for his “independent streak,” and “creative problem solving.”A champion of neighborhood preservation, he has been pivotal in community-based efforts to expand landmark protections along Park and Lexington Avenues on the Upper East Side as well as inserting a measured, rational vision for East Midtown.

He currently serves as Chair of the City Council’s Economic Development Committee and has authored important legislation including the Tenant Protection Act, giving tenants an opportunity to sue for harassment; the City’s first Green Energy Code, reducing carbon emissions from buildings; and the expansion of the Transit Benefits Program, allowing employees to purchase Metrocards using pre-taxed earnings.

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

HDC Testimony for LPC Hearing on May 19, 2015

Posted by on Monday, May 18, 2015 · 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

150 East 42nd Street – Individual Landmark

166138 – Block 1296, lot 46, Zoned C5-3, C5-2.5

Community District 6, Manhattan


An International style skyscraper designed by John B. Peterkin and Harrison & Abramowitz and built in 1954-56. Application is to install signage.

150 East 42nd Street

While HDC does not object to the size and style of these signs, we do question the necessity of inserting more signage on this very simple base since this will not be a public facility for Mount Sinai.

LPC determination: Approved


Item 4

127 Noble Street – Greenpoint Historic District

167294 – Block 2566, lot 66, Zoned R6B

Community District 1, Brooklyn


An Italianate style house built in 1866. Application is to construct rooftop and rear yard additions.

127 Noble Street-existing

127 Noble Street-proposed

HDC finds the double-height rear yard addition to be out of keeping with the neighborhood and its heavy-handed masonry to overwhelm this remarkably intact house. The wood façade would be a nice feature to retain, at least in part, on the rear.

LPC determination: Approved with modifications


Item 5

413 Sterling Place – Prospect Heights Historic District

168089 – Block 116, lot 73, Zoned R6B

Community District 8, Brooklyn


A Renaissance Revival/Romanesque Revival style rowhouse designed by Axel S. Hedman and built c. 1898. Application is to alter the rear façade and construct a rear yard addition.

413 Sterling Place

The row of bay windows on these rear facades is a feature of the block, and we fear that the proposed removal of this one on number 413 would set a precedent for others to follow. The restoration of the bay, which appears to have originally been pressed metal, would be a more sensitive solution and would allow for the same amount of light in the rear. If access to the rear deck is desired, we would suggest extending one of the bay’s window openings down to become a door.

LPC determination: Approved with modifications


Item 7

249 Church Street – TriBeCa East Historic District

168660 – Block 174, lot 7501, Zoned C6-ZA

Community District 1, Manhattan


An Italianate/Second Empire style store and loft building built in 1866-67. Application is to install storefront infill and a barrier free access ramp.

249 Church Street

HDC finds this access ramp to be a very significant alteration to the ground floor. We would ask that the applicant explore other solutions for ADA access, such as lowering one storefront bay and installing an interior lift. We would also ask the overly simplistic storefronts be reconsidered in favor of a more detailed approach.

LPC determination: Approved with modifications


Item 8

36 East 68th Street – Upper East Side Historic District

164137 – Block 1382, lot 47, R8B

Community District 8, Manhattan


A rowhouse designed by R.W. Buckley, and built in 1879, and modified in the neo-Classical style by Morris & O’Connor in 1932. Application is to reconstruct the front façade, modify the roof and rear façade, and excavate the cellar.

36 East 68th Street

HDC finds many of the proposed changes to this house to be unnecessarily fancy, and asks that any changes be based on historical precedent for this house, rather than features found elsewhere in the neighborhood. Both the large central entrance and the copper roof appear heavy-handed, and our committee wondered why the window muntin pattern could not be retained on the front façade. As usual, we also ask that any excavation work be handled with care, especially given the breadth of what is proposed here.

LPC determination: Approved with modifications


Item 9

2195 Broadway – West End-Collegiate Extension Historic District

169149 – Block 1169, lot 57, Zoned C4-6A/R10A

Community District 7, Manhattan


A Romanesque Revival style flats building with neo-Grec style elements designed by Gilbert A. Schellenger and built in 1891-92. Application is to install storefront infill and signage.

2195 Broadway-existing

2195 Broadway

HDC appreciates that the cast iron elements will be restored, but finds the storefront design to be a disappointment in its minimalism. The proposed storefront bay without any signage looks as if it is unoccupied, while the bronze anodized aluminum storefront system has a generic appearance. More attention to details would enliven this proposal.

LPC determination: Approved


Item 11

555 West End Avenue – Riverside – West End Historic District

170198 – Block 1248, lot 36, Zoned R10A

Community District 7, Manhattan


A Collegiate Gothic style institutional building designed by William A. Boring and built in 1907-08. Application is to create a new entrance, install a canopy, create new window openings, replace special windows, construct a rooftop and rear yard additions, and modify the rear facades.

555 West End Avenue-2

HDC wishes to thank the applicant for an admirable restoration job and for bringing back so many of this magnificent building’s original features, including the parapets and the historic mullion and glazing pattern on the courtyard vault end. We look forward to seeing these improvements come to fruition.

LPC determination: No Action


Item 12

375 Park Avenue – Four Seasons Restaurant, Ground Floor and First Floor Interior Landmark; Seagram Building – Individual Landmark

168263 – Block 1307, lot 1, Zoned C5-2.5, C5-3

Community District 5, Manhattan


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 alter portions of designated interiors and alter the sidewalk canopies.

375 Park Avenue-Four Seasons-2

375 Park Avenue-Four Seasons-1

The Four Seasons Restaurant is an iconic space and a Modernist treasure in New York City. Its simple and streamlined rooms are enlivened and defined through innovative spatial arrangement, with multiple tiers and permanent fixtures creating intimate spaces and programmatic functions. In the Grill Room, this proposal seeks to remove one of these permanent fixtures and replace it with movable planters. HDC feels that this measure would undo the designer’s original intent, bringing the room closer to a 21st century desire for big, open floor plates, rather than the mid-20th century vision that this space continues to provide. HDC also feels that it is inappropriate to describe the glass and bronze partition as “non-original”, as it was, in fact, a later alteration by the original architect, Philip Johnson, and has been there for most of the life of the restaurant. It is, therefore, a significant component of the overall plan. The Commission may be aware that there are currently legal conversations in process about the approved transference of elements within the Interior Landmark spaces at 346 Broadway, and whether this constitutes a de-designation. The transformation of permanent fixtures into movable ones at the Four Seasons represents an effective de-regulation of those elements, similar to the situation at 346 Broadway. This leaves them vulnerable to future design changes without LPC oversight. HDC urges the Commission to avoid the emergence of a disturbing trend toward chipping away at Interior Landmarks in order to strip the LPC of its power to protect them.

HDC has for many years held its annual Landmarks Lion gala at the Four Seasons Restaurant, with people sitting on both levels of the Pool Room, and it works beautifully. HDC has a hard time understanding why the proposed operable panels are needed, given the expert functionality of the space. It would be a shame to tamper with what has become a classic, simply to appease a new owner’s sensibilities. Further, due to the pool’s position directly in the center of the room, opening up the panels to the upper dining space would change the perceived dimensionality and symmetricality of the room.We would also suggest that the carpet be reconsidered in favor of a more toned down color scheme.

LPC determination: Mixed (carpet was approved, other elements were not)


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

Thanks for Visiting

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

Contact Us

Historic Districts Council
232 East 11th Street
New York NY 10003
tel: 212-614-9107
fax: 212-614-9127

Donate To HDC

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

Join Our Mailing List