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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.

Six to Celebrate Tour- West Chelsea Street Art and Graffiti

West Chelsea Street Art and Graffiti Tour

Friday, June 23, 2017

5:00-7:00 pm

For more information and to register go to our

Six to Celebrate website 

Six to Celebrate Tour- Port Morris

Posted by on Thursday, May 18, 2017 · Leave a Comment 

Come celebrate Bronx week with HDC and the Friends of Brook Park on a tour around Port Morris! 5/21

Sunday, May 21, 2017

11:00 AM

For more information and to register go to our

Six to Celebrate website 

Category: Six to Celebrate · Tags: ,

Six to Celebrate Tour- Corona-East Elmhurst Walking Tour

Posted by on Wednesday, May 17, 2017 · Leave a Comment 

On this two-hour tour we will explore the cultural aspects of Corona-East Elmhurst’s heritage- June 10th

For more information and to register go to our

Six to Celebrate website 

Category: Featured, Six to Celebrate · Tags:

Secret Lives Tour: Met Arms & Armor Department

Posted by on Wednesday, May 17, 2017 · Leave a Comment 

Secret Lives Tour of the galleries and the Conservation Lab of the Met Arms & Armor Department- Wednesday, May 24

 

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

2pm-4pm

The Metropolitan Museum of Art boasts one of the most comprehensive and encyclopedic collections of arms and armor on the globe. The collection comprises approximately 14,000 objects, of which more than 5,000 are European, 2,000 are from the Near East, and 4,000 from the Far East. Join the Historic Districts Council for a special behind-the-scenes look with Stephen Bluto, the Department’s Collections Manager. The tour will include a trip to the galleries and the Conservation Lab, where Met Armorer Edward Hunter will explain the ins-and-outs of armor conservation. Don’t “shield” yourself from this unique opportunity!

Due to capacity constraints, attendance for this unique tour will be capped. Please do not delay in making your reservation.

$50 – Friends / Seniors

$75- General Admission

REGISTER 

 

Category: Featured, secret lives · Tags:

HDC Testimony for LPC Hearing on May 16, 2017

Posted by on Monday, May 15, 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

135-29 Northern Boulevard – Interior Landmark 

CERTIFICATE OF APPROPRIATENESS, Docket #Q10074

A Churrigueresque style movie palace interior designed by Thomas Lamb and built in 1928; including the ticket lobby, original ticket booth, grand foyer, ceilings, and fixtures and interior components of these areas. Application is to re-authorize Certificate of Appropriateness 06-1202 for the construction of a new building to enclose the interior landmark, and to disassemble, restore off-site, and reinstall salvaged ornamental plasterwork and woodwork and replicas.

While the Historic Districts Council has no objection to the proposed restoration of what is sadly left of this historic theater, we are very concerned about aspects of this larger project. Principally, our concern is regarding the eventual disposition of this long-fought-over Interior Landmark. As the commissioners are very aware, public accessibility to an interior landmark is a key characteristic of its designation, which only stands to reason as an inaccessible interior would be hard put to serve a public purpose. Historically, this consideration has prevented the Landmarks Commission from acting to designate private apartment lobbies as they are not “customarily open and accessible to the public or to which the public is customarily invited.” Unlike lobbies for office buildings or publicly-oriented spaces such as restaurants, theaters and bank lobbies, people are not permitted into the lobby of a residential building except at the invitation of a resident. Quite recently, this LPC chose not to act on the designation of the Osborne Apartments partially for this reason. The transformation of this theater lobby into a residential lobby must therefore be carefully examined with regard to its program, so that the essential nature of its designation as an interior landmark and public good remains intact.

From a physical design perspective, the glass antechamber with its idiosyncratic sloped roof separates the lobby from the street, visually as well as physically. Understanding the complexity of the regulatory web surrounding this building project, HDC nonetheless strongly suggests that specific aspect of the design, the interface between the street and landmark lobby be reexamined in order to facilitate greater public access to and awareness of the wonders which lie behind the doors. At the absolute, very least, appropriate and visible wayfinding and informational signage delineating hours of public accessibility must be posted where the public will see it.

This brings us to the next point; the programming of public accessibility to the designated space. While it might be beyond scope for the LPC to publicly deliberate on negotiations with the owners, it is imperative in this case that the Landmarks Commissioners ensure that the public will be able to regularly visit and experience this fantastic landmark, especially considering all the fine work which this team is putting into restoring it. More than any other interior landmark we can think of, the tortured history of the RKO Keith’s demonstrates the importance of binding public protections. This is a site which has been abused, neglected and passed from owner to owner like an albatross. We do not mean to judge the current owner by the misdeeds of previous ones, but the history of this site makes us very concerned about the future of the site when it inevitably changes hands and new management entities become responsible for this fragile landmark. There are two historic spaces – the ticket lobby and the grand foyer – which still exist, thanks to the Landmarks Law, and which this team is putting a great deal of work into restoring and recreating. They must both be open and accessible to the public in order for the Landmarks Law to be truly served. If there are concerns about security, they could possibly be answered with measures incorporated within the non-historic elevators, such as keypad security codes or key cards. The permittance of regular “open hours for the public” for the Grand Foyer which are publicly posted and supervised by building staff would be another, non-intrusive remedy for this concern. This could take a form of regulation analogous to how “privately-owned public spaces” are supposed to be regulated.

HDC urges the Landmarks Commissioners to legally insist on regular public accessibility to both these spaces before granting any other permits. 

 


Item 2

316 Grosvenor Street – Douglaston Historic District

CERTIFICATE OF APPROPRIATENESS, Docket #181695

An Arts and Crafts style house with Colonial Revival details designed by Edward A. Maclean and built in 1910. Application is to construct an addition and retaining walls and perform excavation.

The Historic Districts Council finds the proposed addition to be inappropriate. This Arts and Crafts style house has a simple, vernacular layout which appears to have remained unchanged for over a century. The sheer bulk of this addition destroys the character of this historic house. A small setback addition to expand the size of the bedroom and family room might be appropriate, but that is not what is being proposed here. This application seeks to nearly double the size of the house, and would disrupt the house’s symmetrical massing, central dormer, and two lovely bays.

Additionally, freestanding garages are a signature feature of the neighborhood whereas underground, in-house parking garages, while they do appear in the district, diminish the role of the house in its landscape, which is also a defining characteristic of the district.

We’ve seen excellent examples of sensitive additions to houses in Douglaston. This is not one of them.


Item 4

235 Lincoln Place – Park Slope Historic District

CERTIFICATE OF APPROPRIATENESS, Docket #197046

A Neo-Federal style apartment building designed by Charles Kreymborg and built in 1937. Application is to replace windows.

HDC questions the change in operation from an elegant arrangement of windows that open side by side to windows that run in the same direction but open right into the fire escape. Our committee would also strongly recommend the applicants replace the windows with thermally-broken rolled steel windows, which are readily available and have a much more slender profile than the windows currently proposed.


Item 5

456 East 18th Street – Ditmas Park Historic District

CERTIFICATE OF APPROPRIATENESS, Docket #Q09684

A Colonial Revival style house designed by Arlington D. Isham and built in 1905. Application is to replace the entrance stairs.

HDC does not support this application. The bluestone being proposed here, which is quite lovely, is an inappropriately fancy material for the lovely, informal nature of this house. An ideal historic restoration would return this stoop to its original wood, although a simplified brick stoop would be acceptable as well.


Item 6

77 Washington Place – Greenwich Village Historic District

CERTIFICATE OF APPROPRIATENESS, Docket #195554

A Greek Revival style townhouse built in 1844, and altered in 1917. Application is to construct rear yard and rooftop additions; modify masonry openings at the rear facades; and replace skylights and install railings at the roof.

HDC has no objection to the proposed modifications to the back house and the removal of the glass block infill on the rear of the main building. We would, however, ask that the rooftop mechanicals for the HVAC units be made less visible if possible, and that the upper portion of the rear façade which is not being covered by the elevator be retained and restored. This rear elevation is an interesting and visible layer of century-old history with windows, sidelights, and balconies which add historic character and complexity to a very old house.


Item 7

225 Fifth Avenue – Madison Square North Historic District

CERTIFICATE OF APPROPRIATENESS, Docket #194698

A Beaux-Arts style store, loft, and offices building designed by Francis H. Kimball and Harry E. Donnell, and built in 1906-07.  Application is to install sidewalk planters

HDC does not support this application. As many New Yorkers will know, pedestrian space on this busy stretch of Fifth Avenue is already a rare commodity. The proposed sidewalk planters add unnecessary clutter to a sidewalk that is crowded enough as is with hot dog carts, phone booths, parking meters, and a mailbox. In effect, the planters create a wall and a barrier in a place where space is at a premium and where pedestrianism and foot traffic should be encouraged, not deterred.  Finally, the reasoning behind these large planters eludes us, as there is a magnificent green space, one of the few in lower Midtown, directly across the street from this building.

 


Item 8

420 Lexington Avenue – Individual Landmark 

CERTIFICATE OF APPROPRIATENESS, Docket #Q10257

An Art Deco and Byzantine style office building designed by Sloan & Robertson and built in 1925-27. Application is to alter the façade and install signage.

HDC finds the changes to the historic Graybar Building proposed in this application to be inappropriate. Façade changes made prior to designation should not be a defacto guide to permitted work, especially when one considers that this building has been a landmark for less than a year. This application proposes to remove historic fabric for a transitory use in order to create a visual symmetry which erodes the monumentality of this building. It is important to consider that this building lies at the focal point of an important view corridor on 44th Street westward towards Grand Central. A far less intrusive solution, if a needless symmetry is desired, would be to affix the sign band to the stone such that it could be removed at some later date with far less impact on the historic material. 

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

HDC Testimony for LPC Hearing on May 9, 2017

Posted by on Monday, May 8, 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 2

108 Milton Street – Greenpoint Historic District

CERTIFICATE OF APPROPRIATENESS, Docket #198233

A three story building that was under construction at time of designation. Application is to alter the façade.

Our committee appreciates the applicant’s desire to improve the appearance of this house, but the design as proposed is neither here nor there. It seems that the applicant desires an aesthetic that reflects the 19th century and to achieve this, the proportions of the details must be studied more carefully. HDC suggests carefully examining similar structures where a garage or carriage house door has to live in concert with a 2-story structure, of which there should be ample precedent in the district. Elongating the windows was a positive move, but the proportions of the lintels appear too thick for their respective openings and do not have a relationship to the sills.

LPC determination: Approved 


Item 5

Governors Island Building 110 – Governor’s Island Historic District

CERTIFICATE OF APPROPRIATENESS, Docket #Q10524

A Utilitarian Romanesque Revival style storehouse built in 1870-79. Application is to alter the facades.

HDC does not support this application and the brick should be repointed and repaired. This was designed as a brick building and it survives in its historic condition today. While in 1904 there is evidence of a stucco application, HDC does not feel that this argument is strong enough to merit the building to be re-stuccoed. What’s more, at some point either the stucco failed or it became unattractive and it was decided to be removed.

The building in its current condition is attractive and has texture, while the renderings of the stuccoed facades significantly flatten the building. Features like contrasting limestone lintels, sills, and keystones are lost when the building will be applied in a material of the same color. Further, the buildings on Governor’s Island contain a large palette of brick, which speaks to their purpose-built history and connection to one another. Our committee would also like to remind the Commission that stuccoing a building can accelerate its degradation, while conducting a proper rehabilitation of these facades will make them ultimately last longer.

LPC determination: Approved 


Item 6

Governors Island Building 110 – Governor’s Island Historic District

CERTIFICATE OF APPROPRIATENESS, Docket #Q10309

A Utilitarian Romanesque Revival style storehouse built in 1870-79. Application is to install a barrier-free access ramp, replace areaway railings, and install rooftop mechanical equipment.

Our committee suggests the applicant work with staff to find an appropriate railing, perhaps a pipe railing reminiscent of the historic railings which are present, which would be less dense and wouldn’t obscure the historic façade behind it.

LPC determination: Approved 


Item 7

159 John Street – South Street Seaport Historic District

CERTIFICATE OF APPROPRIATENESS, Docket #Q09771

A Greek Revival style commercial building built in 1836. Application is to install new entry infill.

HDC does not support this application. Our committee prefers to leave the historic fabric of this 1836 building in place given its age, its pedigree, and its location in the oldest built section of the city. What’s particularly problematic about this application is the insertion of the stair and stoop into the corner of the building. The strong anchoring of this corner should remain and not be obscured by inserting an entrance, especially when there is a prominent entrance four bays away along John Street. Maybe the reversible intervention for this problem is to apply for signage along the Front Street façade denoting the shop’s presence. This portion of Front and John Streets is pedestrian-only, making way-finding to the entrance simple.

HDC does not believe that moving the door and destroying historic fabric will mitigate a retail store’s problems with competition from online retailers, which is affecting shops everywhere. Further, as a bargain lessee of city-owned property, Howard Hughes should go to great lengths to leave as small an impact as possible on our city’s public assets, especially the fragile Seaport. After all, the corporation is building a brand-new mall with LPC approval on Pier 17 just a block away, where there is plenty of opportunity for new entrances and retail.

LPC determination: No action


Item 9

121 Chambers Street – TriBeCa South Historic District

CERTIFICATE OF APPROPRIATENESS, Docket #193880

An Italianate style store and loft building built in 1860-1861.  Application is to construct a 2- story rooftop addition and remove a fire escape at the Reade Street façade.

While a one-story rooftop addition might be appropriate here, the proposed 2-story addition is not. The applicant’s work restoring the storefront is commendable and sufficient for a change of use, however it does not justify the change of bulk that would be increased with this addition. This addition will be visible, and the segmental arched windows on the top story draw attention to themselves, which gives the effect of stretching the building’s original proportion and openings far beyond the historic building’s termination. This addition should be scaled down and re-designed.

LPC determination: Approved 


Item 11

318 West 20th Street – Chelsea Historic District

CERTIFICATE OF APPROPRIATENESS, Docket #198808

A Greek Revival style rowhouse, built in 1837. Application is to construct a rooftop and a rear addition.

The alterations proposed in this application are completely inappropriate for an 1837 house. At 25 feet wide and 5,200 square feet in volume, this is not a diminutive rowhouse. The interior program is typical of a developer’s speculative kit for the maximization of profit, rather than a need for more space. The plans display full-length rooms of 25 feet in both the rear and front of the house and destroying the entire rear façade for a seven-foot bump out is not justified for so little gain.

HDC is not convinced that this house’s program cannot work without this extra square footage. At most, a rear extension on the first and second floors in the rear could be appropriate and salvage both the envelope of this Greek Revival house and the garden core, both of which are completely intact. Further, the proposed rooftop addition is actually nearly an entire story added to the house and should be reduced. It must be remembered that this is a nearly-200 year old house, in fine condition and protected by the Landmarks Law. It should be treated with respect and sensitivity, and not as a tabula rasa for castle-building.

LPC determination: No action


Item 12

267 Columbus Avenue – Upper West Side/Central Park West Historic District

CERTIFICATE OF APPROPRIATENESS, Docket #Q10479

A neo-Grec style flats building designed by Charles Buek and Co. and built in 1888-89.

Application is to replace cast-iron vault covers.

HDC would like to see this sidewalk repaired with new vault lights that match the existing ones. Vault lights are still manufactured, so they should be replaced in kind. A sensitive historic restoration of this feature would only create value in this subterranean space.

LPC determination: Approved with modifications


Item 13

269 Columbus Avenue – Upper West Side/Central Park West Historic District

CERTIFICATE OF APPROPRIATENESS, Docket #183856

A neo-Grec style apartment building designed by Charles Buek, and built in 1888-89. Application is to legalize signage installed without Landmarks Preservation Commission permit(s).

HDC objects to the proposed signage in this application. We wonder what confusion the applicant might have had about illegally modifying their property in an area that has been designated as a historic district for 27 years. We ask the Commission to take a firm stand in support of its own regulations requiring property owners in historic districts to seek approval of the LPC prior to working on their building, and to deny the application. To do otherwise is to undermine the Commission’s authority.

LPC determination: Approved with modifications


Item 14

50 West 77th Street – Upper West Side/Central Park West Historic District

CERTIFICATE OF APPROPRIATENESS, Docket #185320

A neo-Renaissance style hotel building designed by George F. Pelham and constructed in 1902-03. Application is to install a barrier-free access lift.

Our committee would like to see the entire barrier-free access lift painted black to match the historic existing ironwork.

LPC determination: Approved with modifications

Category: HDC@LPC · Tags: , , , ,

HDC Testimony for LPC Hearing on May 2, 2017

Posted by on Monday, May 1, 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 3

440 West 14th Street – Gansevoort Market Historic District

CERTIFICATE OF APPROPRIATENESS, Docket #196464

A neo-Grec style French flats building built in 1890, and a Queen Anne style French flats building built in 1887. Application is to legalize the installation of signage without Landmarks Preservation Commission permit(s).

Although historical signage did exist in the Meat Market, HDC finds this sign to be excessively large. Not only did the applicant install this sign without seeking permission, but it is much larger than the standard set up by the Department of Buildings and outlined in the LPC rules, which restricts commercial bracket signs in commercial districts to 12 x 24 inches—this sign is seven feet long. HDC asks that the Landmarks Commission reject this legalization. 

LPC determination: No action


Item 4

38 West 10th Street – Greenwich Village Historic District

CERTIFICATE OF APPROPRIATENESS, Docket #198768

An altered Anglo-Italianate style rowhouse built in 1858. Application is to modify the front façade and rooftop and to install an areaway gate.

HDC commends the restoration of the façade to its original historic appearance, but our committee is concerned about the layer of history that is being removed in this proposal. We recommend that the applicant preserve the studio window which, historically, has defined the artistic character of Greenwich Village and we would like to see retained, if only in physicality. 

LPC determination: Approved 


Item 7

710 Greenwich Street – Greenwich Village Extension I Historic District

CERTIFICATE OF APPROPRIATENESS, Docket #196852

Two neo-Classical style warehouse buildings designed by Moore & Landsiedel and built in 1909, and later altered with an addition designed by Matthew W. Del Gaudio in 1912. Application is to alter the façade, and install storefronts and signage.

710 Greenwich Street is a wonderful, muscular industrial building that should be treated with respect. This application minimizes the fact that the new proposed design disrupts the fundamental nature of the building by placing glass in front of existing piers. Wrapping piers in glass is entirely inappropriate and a disservice to the building. On a load-bearing building such as this, the piers provide structural support and should read as such. To emphasize their importance, the piers should be brought straight to the ground. Furthermore, once the piers are placed behind glass, they will become interior elements and will no longer be regulated as historic fabric. HDC looks forward to a revised proposal that takes these points into consideration and respects the industrial heritage and historic integrity of this building. 

LPC determination: Approved with modifications


Items 8-9

Belvedere Castle & Belvedere Castle Paths – Central Park – Scenic Landmark

CERTIFICATE OF APPROPRIATENESS, Docket #Q09659

A Gothic style observation tower designed by Calvert Vaux and built in 1867, and adjacent pathways, within an English Romantic style public park designed in 1856 by Olmsted and Vaux. Application is to construct a pathway and walls for barrier free access.

Central Park is one of the most scenic landscapes on the planet. It is world-renowned and used as model internationally for deliberate, picturesque landscape design. HDC finds the proposed pathway and wall an appalling affront. The wall and ramp are far larger than they need to be and violate the cardinal rule of historic preservation, that the lightest hand should be used at all times. Frankly, this proposal is heavy handed and worst yet, not easily reversible. It is a direct and distinct design intervention that runs counter to Olmsted and Vaux’s vision for New York City’s Central Park. Its height, length, and width’s impacts on the surrounding landscape and the castle itself, whose elevation will be substantially buried because of this intrusion, is counterintuitive. In short, the experience of the resource is being compromised to bring access to it.

If accessibility is really the main concern here, there are other solutions, such as re-grading existing paths. The Central Park Conservancy has a deep well of talented designers who have done remarkably sensitive work elsewhere in the park to create barrier-free accessibility. We cannot believe this is only solution and it certainly is not the best one. Moreover, maybe it is in the best interest for all parties for the Central Park Conservancy to propose a Visitor’s Center in an entirely new structure, which would allow for the proper public vetting that this application deliberately avoids and certainly deserves.  

Finally, HDC has concerns about the proposed windows. This castle was originally intended as an open folly with no doors or windows, which is why they are not present in the historic drawings that the Conservancy presented. For this reason, every effort should be made to achieve the appearance of transparency and non-reflection within these openings. HDC strongly recommends that the LPC view a sample of the proposed window glass prior to approval.   

LPC determination: Approved with modifications

Category: HDC@LPC · Tags:

2017 Grassroots Preservation Awards

Posted by on Tuesday, April 25, 2017 · Leave a Comment 

The 2017 Grassroots Preservation Awards : Tue., May 2nd,  at Saint Mark’s Church-in-the-Bowery

Every year, the Historic Districts Council celebrates New York’s brightest community preservationists with our Annual Grassroots Preservation Awards. The party will take place on Tuesday, May 2nd, from 6:00 to 8:00 pm at Saint Mark’s Church-in-the-Bowery, 131 E 10th St, New York, NY 10003 and we hope you’ll join us.

Please consider becoming a Co-Sponsor and help celebrate our awardees for their dedication to preserving New York City’s fantastic neighborhoods. This year’s Grassroots Awards recipients work on the ground, in public service and online to bring attention and resources to saving the heart and soul of New York City. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Category: Grassroots Awards · Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

HDC Testimony for LPC Hearing on April 25, 2017

Posted by on Monday, April 24, 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

230 Grosvenor Street – Douglaston Historic District

CERTIFICATE OF APPROPRIATENESS, Docket #198265

A Tudor Revival style house designed by Walter I. Halliday and built in 1927. Application is to modify window and door openings and replace windows.

While HDC is comfortable with the changes in the fenestration, we are confused about the proposed doors. The applicant’s presentation is unclear about the presence of the building’s historic door, and our committee would like to know whether or not it is currently extant,  as it is called out in the designation report as being a historic feature. Regarding the proposed storm door, we find an aluminum Anderson 3000 door to be inappropriate for a house of this age. 

LPC determination: Approved with modifications


Item 2

276 Hicks Street – Brooklyn Heights Historic District

CERTIFICATE OF APPROPRIATENESS, Docket #197411

A carriage house built in 1903. Application is to construct rooftop and rear yard additions, and replace a door.

276 Hicks is one of a few charming carriage houses remaining in historic Brooklyn Heights. Its historic alteration of a skylight extension contributes to its layered history and HDC recommends retaining this feature, not removing it. 

LPC determination: Approved 


Item 3

435 Clinton Avenue – Clinton Hill Historic District

CERTIFICATE OF APPROPRIATENESS, Docket #197611

A house built c. 1870 and subsequently altered. Application is to construct a rear addition.

HDC objects to this proposed rear addition. The proposed addition’s large arch and I-beam appears more as the ground floor retail of a primary façade rather than the rear of an 1870 rowhouse. While one set back might be appropriate here, the second balcony is unfortunate because it erases the third floor, subsequently eliminating any historic fabric from this facade. Given the applicant’s extensive undertaking in expanding the rear, our committee hopes that the façade will eventually be restored.

LPC determination: Approved 


Item 5

116 Lafayette Avenue – Fort Greene Historic District

CERTIFICATE OF APPROPRIATENESS, Docket #197155

An Italianate style rowhouse designed by Robert White and built in 1860. Application is to demolish a dormer window, and install a mansard roof.

HDC urges the applicant to refer to the historic 1930s photo of 116 Lafayette which shows 2 over 2 windows used on the entire façade. Given the applicant’s proposal to outfit the dormers with 2 over 2 windows, we would like to see these windows used on the rest of the façade, in keeping with the historic character of this building. Additionally, we wonder if the proposed hand railing is necessary given the fact that there is no habitable terrace on the roof. If a railing is desired, we recommend both the rear and front railings be set back in order to comply with the six-foot setback regulation and reduce visibility from the street. 

LPC determination: Approved 


Item 7

55 7th Avenue – Park Slope Historic District

CERTIFICATE OF APPROPRIATENESS, Docket #181560

A Second Empire style rowhouse built in 1871-72. Application is to construct a rooftop addition.

The Park Slope Historic District designation report calls this stretch of 7th Avenue “a dignified blockfront of French Second Empire design” and points out that it is the “only complete blockfront of mansard roofed houses in Park Slope.” Given this superlative, HDC finds the proposed rooftop addition to be inappropriate as it will be highly visible and mar the only row of intact mansards. The impact of this proposed addition is heightened because of the visibility into the rear yards from Lincoln Place. As mansard roofs are made of wood, HDC is also concerned about the structural feasibility of adding such a large addition to the roof, especially since the proposal; did not seem to show appropriate supports. 

LPC determination: Approved with modifications


Item 17

248 West 71st Street – West End Collegiate Extension Historic District

CERTIFICATE OF APPROPRIATENESS, Docket #196039

A Renaissance Revival style rowhouse with alterations designed by Thom & Wilson and built in 1892. Application is to modify the front façade and areaway, excavate at the areaway and rear yard, and construct rooftop and rear yard additions.

While the building envelope will remain unchanged, an all-glass rear façade seems out of character for this block. As the commissioners are well aware, windows are not transparent as much as they are translucent, and what is being proposed here is the replacement of a solid masonry box with a shiny one. HDC recommends that the design be rethought to be more in keeping with the basic nature of a masonry rowhouse.

LPC determination: Approved 


Item 20

301 Park Avenue – The Waldorf Astoria Hotel – Individual Landmark and Interior Landmark

CERTIFICATE OF APPROPRIATENESS, Docket #Q09644

An Art Deco style hotel skyscraper designed by Schultze & Weaver and built in 1931. Application is to alter portions of the designated interior spaces.

HDC commends the applicants on a thorough and spectacular presentation, fitting for a project of this importance, but we did notice some details which require attention. Our committee would like to see the historic 1931 chandeliers in the Silver Corridor on the 3rd floor replicated. We would also like to draw the Commission’s attention to a proposed alteration to the main lobby. Regarding the portals into the north and south lounges, historic photos show the original central bay to have a distinct tall articulation with a very strong vertical expression, characteristic of art deco design. The proposed changes look more like the existing conditions than the historic ones, however, and our committee would like to see the hierarchical expression of the cross axis returned. We would also like to see the clock returned as part of the treatment of that bay, which is slated to be removed.

LPC determination: Approved 

Category: HDC@LPC · Tags:

Now Hiring: Spanish-Language Fellow

Posted by on Monday, April 24, 2017 · Leave a Comment 

Seize the opportunity to preserve, improve, and celebrate the places that make New York great

Introducing the Spanish-Language Fellowship

The Historic Districts Council was recently awarded funding by Governor Cuomo and the New York State Council on the Arts to hire a paid Spanish-language fellow to work on outreach, organizing, and education efforts in bilingual communities throughout New York City!

The position is open to current undergraduates due to complete their studies in the spring as well as those who may have graduated a semester early this year.

This is a paid position with full medical and dental benefits. Qualified undergraduates with an interest in architecture, historic preservation, New York history, or community organizing should apply as soon as possible.

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¡Trabaja con Nosotros! Beca para Hispanoparlantes:

El Consejo para los Distritos Históricos recién ha recibido financiamiento de parte del Gobernador Andrew Cuomo y del Consejo para las Artes del Estado de Nueva York para contratar un becario hispanoparlante a quien se le pagará para trabajar en la coordinación y organización de actividades educativas en comunidades bilingües de la Ciudad de Nueva York.

Esta oferta laboral está disponible para estudiantes de bachillerato que se han de graduar en la primavera del 2017 y también para aquellos que se hayan graduado anteriormente en el presente curso escolar.

El trabajo es pago y con cobertura completa de beneficios médicos y dentales. Los estudiantes de bachillerato con las cualificaciones debidas e interés en la arquitectura, la conservación del patrimonio construido, la historia de la ciudad de Nueva York ó el trabajo comunitario deben aplicar lo antes posible.

Category: Featured, Special Blog, Uncategorized · Tags:

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The Historic Districts Council (HDC) 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.

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