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

Modern Ruin: A World’s Fair Pavilion Documentary Film Screening- Jan 19, Paris Cafe, 119 S. Street

Modern Ruin: A World’s Fair Pavilion

Documentary Film Screening

modern ruin a world's fair pavilion promo pic
Tuesday, January 19, 2016

The Paris Café119 South Street (at Peck Slip)

6 pm

Join HDC and director, Matt Silva for a film screening of Modern Ruin: A World’s Fair Pavilion, a documentary about an abandoned structure designed by modernist icon Philip Johnson for the 1964 World’s Fair.

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 structure in new and exciting ways. This whimsical, futuristic, and soaring piece of art, 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 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 is on its way to being properly restored and cared for and it is a direct result of this film. Since the movie’s release the Queens borough president Melinda Katz has helped to secure about $8 million in funding for the rehabilitation of the Pavilion. The structure has also recently been repainted with a donation from The New York Structural Steel Painting Contractors’ Association.

Run Time: 80 minutes

 

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

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

 

HDC@LPC Testimony for LPC Public Meeting on January 19, 2016

Item 1

CERTIFICATE OF APPROPRIATENESS

BOROUGH OF Brooklyn

178044- Block 2558, lot 6-

154 Franklin Street – Greenpoint Historic District

An Italianate style building built in 1858. Application is to install storefront infill.

While No. 154’s façade has suffered a dismal fate compared to its neighbors, this intervention is an opportunity to make it right again. As this building originally had a storefront, HDC welcomes a historically sensitive one back to this structure. The Committee strongly suggests modeling the storefront off of the neighbor at no. 150 to move in the correct direction, rather than what is proposed, which further confounds this building’s identity. If the storefront here is done properly, future work on this building will follow suit, including the inclusion of a cornice, which would immensely improve this façade.

154 Franklin

LPC determination: Approved

 

Item 2

CERTIFICATE OF APPROPRIATENESS

BOROUGH OF Brooklyn

179335- Block 2121, lot 26-

348 Clermont Avenue – Fort Greene Historic District

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

This proposal is not of the caliber of quality new construction within an historic district. The building that used to be here was demolished after designation, and this building falls short of a notable evolution of the site. Either follow the design of no. 150, which is the solo of what was a paired composition, or submit a proposal that has been considered. The current iteration fails to explain its design derivatives, whether it being the inappropriate cadence of the windows, or why brick was chosen, and whether or not this purpose-built addition will be visible from this prominent site which faces a park.

348 Clermont

LPC determination: No Action

 

Item 3

CERTIFICATE OF APPROPRIATENESS

BOROUGH OF Brooklyn

174091- Block 2112, lot 1-

147 St. Felix Street – Brooklyn Academy of Music Historic District

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

HDC appreciates the applicant’s considered design for the new building, which will finally complete this row of lovely homes. This corner site allows for the design of two facades, and HDC asks that the primary façade be brought into plane with the neighboring houses. There are a number of stylistic choices happening at once, including projections, recessions, crenellation, differing window sizes, and materials. If fewer of these design moves are featured, it would clean up an extremely busy primary and secondary façade. Further, the design references much of the new construction happening in this vicinity, when inspiration should be referenced from within the Brooklyn Academy of Music Historic District. Since this is such a tiny district cocooned from so much change around it, it should be aesthetically apparent as to whether this corner lot is a part of the district. This current iteration, at first blush, appears to have been carved out of the district.

147 St. Felix

LPC determination: Approved

 

Item 4

CERTIFICATE OF APPROPRIATENESS

BOROUGH OF Brooklyn

178537- Block 3339, lot 19-

1052 Bushwick Avenue – Individual Landmark

A classically inspired club building designed by Kock & Wagner and built in 1919-20. Application is to construct rooftop and rear yard additions, create and modify masonry openings, install a ramp, and replace paving.

HDC is more than pleased to see that new life will be breathed into this prominent neighborhood landmark, one of many free-standing grand structures along this noble stretch of Bushwick Avenue. HDC found the rear and rooftop addition treatment in brick is sensitive and modest in scale, and overall this is a well-handled composition. However, we ask the Commission to refine the window treatment on the Gates Avenue façade. The punctuations in the base are arbitrary, square holes and clash with the strong rusticated base of this neo-Classical structure, and they need more verticality. The new windows proposed at the rear of the building within the new construction should be modified, as their configuration is quite dismal compared to the other new openings on this façade. Finally, the paving proposed for the rear yard should be more urban and formal, currently it reads too much as a nature trail.

1052 Bushwick existing

1052 Bushwick proposed

LPC determination: Approved w/ mods

 

Item 11

CERTIFICATE OF APPROPRIATENESS

BOROUGH OF Manhattan

179232- Block 23, lot 7-

1 Wall Street – Individual Landmark

An Art Deco style skyscraper designed by Ralph T. Walker, and built in 1929-31. Application is to create window and door openings, construct rooftop additions, alter the facades, and install a canopy and vitrines.

HDC is pleased with the adaptive reuse proposal for One Wall Street, undoubtedly one of New York’s masterpieces of architecture, inside and out. We would like to acknowledge that the interior banking hall, which, throughout its history was closed off to the masses, will now be open to the public to serve a retail purpose. HDC would like Commissioners to begin to seriously think about interior landmark consideration for this, and other treasured spaces inside this skyscraper. Have trust that HDC, and others, will be following up with you on this matter.

There are a few, simple issues with this building’s transition that HDC would like to address. The first issue is the rooftop addition on the landmark site. It is hard to imagine needing more square footage on a skyscraper of this size—but here it is. This building needs to stand alone, as the carved limestone drapery it was intended to be. The zoning of the time in this City which influenced this building’s envelope and setbacks was the catalyst of an entire architectural style, whose forms were echoed across the country, even in municipalities where these envelope requirements were not compulsory. HDC asks that this building’s original envelope be preserved, and just because the current zoning allows for more square footage, doesn’t mean it belongs there.

In the vein of form, the corners of Art Deco buildings were particularly considered treatments, and to this end, HDC found the signage and vitrines an unnecessary addition to the corner. We respectfully ask that signage and other clutter in this area be eliminated.

One Wall ground

One Wall windows

LPC determination: Approved w/ mods

 

Item 8

CERTIFICATE OF APPROPRIATENESS

BOROUGH OF Manhattan

174213- Block 150, lot 8-

70-72 Reade Street – TriBeCa South Historic District

An Italianate style store and loft building designed by Samuel A. Warner and built in 1856-57. Application is to replace storefront infill and windows.

This is an excellent treatment of the storefront. The only thing that could make it better is if the Corinthian capitals are restored, once and for all. We hope the Commission will require the applicant to add this finishing touch to what is a superb job.

70-72 Reade

LPC determination: Approved

 

Item 5

CERTIFICATE OF APPROPRIATENESS

BOROUGH OF Brooklyn

177930- Block 175, lot 7504-

90 Franklin Street – TriBeCa East Historic District

An Art Deco style office building designed by Cross and Cross and built in 1930-31. Application is to replace windows.

In 1991, just prior to designation, this building had all of its windows replaced with one over one aluminum windows. By 1997, one-third of these windows were replaced again in the same configuration. If a master plan had been created at the time of designation, the building would already be one-third of the way back to its original 3-over-3 double hung configuration, rather than perpetuating the prolific, cheap double-hung aluminum. HDC supports a master plan, as buildings of this size derive so much aesthetic quality from their fenestration.

90 Franklin original90 Franklin proposed

LPC determination: Approved w/ mods

 

Item 9

CERTIFICATE OF APPROPRIATENESS

BOROUGH OF Manhattan

176753- Block 612, lot 64-

41 Greenwich Avenue – Greenwich Village Historic District

A late Greek Revival style house built by Foster & Van Ostrand in 1848-49, and later altered. Application is to alter the façade and construct a rear yard addition.

The applicant’s design for the storefront has negatively impacted the first story of this façade, as it appears to be a continuation of the openings. The windows on the second story should be left separated, as this large opening is inappropriate and this building retains its 1848 window arrangement. The rusticated base is without precedent, and further falsifies the history of this building. The loss of the stone lintel where the door used to be also seems to be an unnecessary erasure, and a sanitization of history.

41 Greenwich existing41 Greenwich proposed

LPC determination: Approved w/ mods

 

Item 15

CERTIFICATE OF APPROPRIATENESS

BOROUGH OF Manhattan

178369- Block 1165, lot 7503-

2109 Broadway – Individual Landmark

A grand Beaux-Arts style apartment-hotel building designed by Paul DuBoy and built in 1899-1904. Application is to install signage.

HDC felt that the sign announces this business adequately, and that a canopy is an inconsistent treatment of the ground floor openings of the Ansonia.

Ansonia

LPC determination: Approved w/ mods

 

Item 17

CERTIFICATE OF APPROPRIATENESS

BOROUGH OF Queens

169219- Block 8037, lot 40-

240-82 Beverly Road – Douglaston Historic District

An English Cottage style house designed by Alfred Scheffer and built in 1926. Application is to construct an addition, create a new curb cut, excavate the side yard, and install a driveway, retaining walls, railings, gates and posts.

While HDC agreed that the expansion of the house was well conceived, the driveway is another matter. For a proposal that seems to want privacy with this new configuration, it is ironic that this driveway announces itself so loudly. While the former driveway was subdued, the proposed width is overwhelming, the fieldstone posts are inappropriate and non-contextual, and the heavy wooden gate would fare better if it were transparent, as in one of the examples given.

Beverly Road existingBeverly Road proposed

LPC determination: Approved w/ mods

Category: HDC@LPC · Tags:

HDC@LPC Testimony for LPC Public Meeting on January 12, 2016

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.

**The following was read into the record on 1/5/2016**

1/12/2016

Items 1 & 2
CERTIFICATE OF APPROPRIATENESS
BOROUGH OF MANHATTAN
176559/176697 – Block 308, lot 14-
66-68 Allen Street – Individual Landmark

A Classical Revival style store and loft building, designed by Paul F. Schoen and built c. 1886. Application is to construct a rooftop addition, install mechanical equipment and railings at the roof, replace windows and doors, and remove a fire escape.

Application is to request that the Landmarks Preservation Commission issue a report to the City Planning Commission relating to an application for a Modification of Bulk pursuant to Section 74-711 of the Zoning Resolution.

There are several restoration issues which should be addressed prior to granting a 74-711, which are also suitable for an individual landmark. They are as follow:

Grand Street façade
HDC was pleased to find the 1886 window configuration copied exactly from the trade catalog. However, the segmental arch in the windows at the fifth story should be visible when in a closed position. Currently, the curved window is cut off by the frame and makes the special windows appear rectangular. Further, the storefronts were glassy expanses without transoms, accentuating the height of the base. We ask that these swaths of glass be put back in the new storefront configuration.

Regarding the cast iron restoration, the pilasters between the fourth and fifth stories need a little more attention. Originally, the fourth story pilasters between window openings had Doric capitals, and in classical order, the building’s pilasters terminated with Corinthian capitals at the fifth floor. The bases from these elements are also missing, and along with the appropriate capitals, we ask that these be brought back. The balustrade and finials which terminated the building’s columns are also missing. Without these details, the building appears stripped. Finally, the stone proposed for the bulkheads of the storefronts, while a quality material, is not an appropriate material on a cast-iron building.

Allen Street façade
While it is an anomaly to work on a schizo-façade of classical cast-iron and Art Deco brickwork, HDC would like to see this corner and these two styles married in a better fashion. It seems that the tax photo was successful in unifying these facades with its wrap-around storefront and also the presence of a base. Currently the vertical piers seem to run straight into the ground, and the two facades are disjunctive. The proposal seems to correct each façade rather than creatively fuse this wrinkle of history, which HDC believes is entirely possible. On a final note, we ask Commissioners to take a close look at the view from Grand Street of the rooftop addition, which HDC found to call much attention to itself.

66-68 Allen

Category: HDC@LPC · Tags:

2015 De-Calendared Items

Posted by on Tuesday, January 5, 2016 · Leave a Comment 

Update: 

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“.

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Click on the titles for more information about each site

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Category: Blog, Six to Celebrate 2015 · Tags:

Raise Your Voice: ZQA/MIH Hearing

Posted by on Tuesday, January 5, 2016 · Leave a Comment 

Who: NYC City Planning Commission

What: Public Hearing on Zoning for Quality & Affordability (ZQA); Mandatory Inclusionary Housing (MIH)

Where: National Museum of the American Indian, One Bowling Green

When: Tomorrow Wednesday, December 16, 9:00 am

 

Please click here to write Mayor de Blasio and the City Council urging them to listen to NY’s communities and to oppose this plan.


 

Brief examples of major problems with ZQA:

Send Your Letter Now

 

Category: Upzoning · Tags: ,

Pictures from the Pride of Lions – Landmarks Lions 2015 Event

Posted by on Tuesday, January 5, 2016 · Leave a Comment 

response card-2015 -cropped-flip side

Category: landmark lion · Tags:

HDC@LPC Testimony for LPC Hearing on January 5, 2016

Posted by on Monday, January 4, 2016 · 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

CERTIFICATE OF APPROPRIATENESS

BOROUGH OF Brooklyn

176630- Block 1982, lot 50-

48 Downing Street – Clinton Hill Historic District

An Italianate style rowhouse built c. 1868-70. Application is to construct a rooftop and rear yard addition.

48 Downing Street: an undisturbed 1867 house on an intact block. This proposal erases all that came before, and blows out this fragile structure to the max. Speculative development is completely legal, but speculative aesthetics are exactly the types of design that historic districts curb. There are hundreds of examples of rowhouses with intelligent interventions to allow additional light and room into these often narrow and darker spaces. The Commission has seen some today, even. This is not one of them.  The applicant is asking for the big three: full width extension, a rooftop addition and an excavation for a garden level addition. As the gardens and roofs on this block are heretofore untouched, HDC thinks that the full width rear yard addition is plenty for now.

48 Downing Street

LPC determination: NO ACTION

 

Item 4

CERTIFICATE OF APPROPRIATENESS

BOROUGH OF Brooklyn

174758- Block 325, lot 54-

26 Tompkins Place – Cobble Hill Historic District

A rowhouse built c. 1840-50. Application is to construct a rear yard addition.

HDC found the proposed footprint of the new addition modest, as the section comparing the original and proposed massing was especially helpful in determining appropriateness. The design is an improvement, however, While the glazing on the garden is full-width, we ask that the glazing be reduced on the parlor level and possibly introduce some brick.

26 Tompkins

LPC determination: Approved

 

Item 5

CERTIFICATE OF APPROPRIATENESS

BOROUGH OF Brooklyn

171583- Block 1068, lot 6-

105 8th Avenue – Park Slope Historic District

A neo-Classical style townhouse designed by Frank J. Helme and built in 1912. Application is to construct rear yard and rooftop additions, and alter windows.

The Park Slope designation report describes this building as, “a marble mansion worthy of Fifth Avenue…This building is the most notable example of a Neo-classical townhouse in the district.” Despite such a notable superlative, this proposal falls short of the landmark. This proposal will completely fill in the original footprint to create large floor plates which, with a large rooftop addition, will sterilize the unique identity of this former mansion. While the façade sells itself, this high-style mansion will be much more marketable if the floors are not maximized and homogenized like every other development. Further, these light wells were created for a reason, and would enhance the livability of the units. Even the eerie “entombment” of the stained glass windows is telling: the building’s best features are relegated for square footage, which is a mistake.

This block also has a wide alley, which allows views into the rear yard and rear facades of this block. The corner building, which is next door, took care to have three finished facades because of this alley. The rear of 105 should be no exception, and should appear more considered. 

105 8th Ave photo

105 8th Ave

LPC determination: NO ACTION

 

Item 6

CERTIFICATE OF APPROPRIATENESS

BOROUGH OF Brooklyn

179319- Block 1006, lot 1-

431 6th Avenue – Individual Landmark

A Classical Revival style library building designed by Raymond F. Almirall and built in 1906. Application is to alter the side yard with the installation of landscape features and fencing.

HDC is pleased to see the garden area put to use at a public library. Underutilized green spaces are much too often excuses for expansions, or other sell-offs. While the Committee appreciates the concept, we do have some design suggestions which would respond better to the garden’s host building. Overall, HDC found the plan and some design features a bit informal for the garden of a Beaux-Arts institutional building. For one, the gravel path should be straightened to align with the building, and also be reduced in size near the spill-out nearest the amphitheater. The planters should be eliminated and rather planted in the ground, as their rustic flavor doesn’t mix with the overall classical composition of the building and grounds. Finally, introduce brick beneath the coping on the seating. This, rather than fieldstone, will better speak to the library and tie it all together.

BPL 6th Ave

LPC determination: Approved

 

Item 7

CERTIFICATE OF APPROPRIATENESS

BOROUGH OF Brooklyn

177569- Block 5182, lot 56-

499 East 18th Street – Ditmas Park Historic District

A Colonial Revival style residence, built c. 1902. Application is to legalize the installation of a HVAC unit installed without a Landmarks Preservation Commission permit(s).

The easiest way to solve this problem is to introduce some plantings around these bulky units. Just make sure the new plantings are maintained, or there will be a double-eyesore in this spot.

499 East 18 St

LPC determination: Approved

 

Item 8

CERTIFICATE OF APPROPRIATENESS

BOROUGH OF Manhattan

162376- Block 180, lot 14-

13 Jay Street – TriBeCa West Historic District

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

This proposal’s argument rests on what the neighbors did to their rooftops next door, but HDC wonders if these large additions were pre-designation or not, as adding 25’ to a 5-story building is quite a large expansion. We almost bought that it wasn’t visible, but then we looked at the view from Hudson Street, which we implore the Commission to do as well.

13 Jay

LPC determination: Approved w/mods

 

Item 15

CERTIFICATE OF APPROPRIATENESS

BOROUGH OF Manhattan

162912- Block 2067, lot 25-

846 St. Nicholas Avenue – Hamilton Heights/Sugar Hill Northwest Historic District

A neo-Renaissance style rowhouse designed by John C. Burne and built in 1893-94. Application is to replace the stoop and areaway walls.

HDC commends the detail that will bring this stoop back to its ornate appearance; however, we are puzzled by its configuration. The tax photo (which obscures the crucial bottom step) seems to show a straight stoop, without a swooping curvature meeting the sidewalk. After looking closely, it is possible that there may have been a small curve, but certainly not the dramatic arc that is proposed. With stoop restorations, one should absolutely prove that what they are restoring was actually there, otherwise, it could set a precedent for the entire block.

846 St. Nicholas Ave

LPC determination: Approved

**To be heard 1/12 at Public Meeting**

Items 17 & 18

CERTIFICATE OF APPROPRIATENESS

BOROUGH OF Manhattan

176697 & 176559- Block 308, lot 14-

66-68 Allen Street – Individual Landmark

A Classical Revival style store and loft building, designed by Paul F. Schoen and built c. 1886. Application is to construct a rooftop addition, install mechanical equipment and railings at the roof, replace windows and doors, and remove a fire escape.

Application is to request that the Landmarks Preservation Commission issue a report to the City Planning Commission relating to an application for a Modification of Bulk pursuant to Section 74-711 of the Zoning Resolution.

There are several restoration issues which should be addressed prior to granting a 74-711, which are also suitable for an individual landmark. They are as follows: 

Grand Street façade

HDC was pleased to find the 1886 window configuration copied exactly from the trade catalog. However, the segmental arch in the windows at the fifth story should be visible when in a closed position. Currently, the curved window is cut off by the frame and makes the special windows appear rectangular.

Regarding the cast iron restoration, the pilasters between the fourth and fifth stories need a little more attention. Originally, the fourth story pilasters between window openings had Doric capitals, and in classical order, the building’s pilasters terminated with Corinthian capitals at the fifth floor. The bases from these elements are also missing, and along with the appropriate capitals, we ask that these be brought back. Without these details, the building appears stripped. Finally, the stone proposed for the bulkheads of the storefronts, while a quality material, is not an appropriate material on a cast-iron building.  

Allen Street façade

While it is an anomaly to work on a schizo-façade of classical cast-iron and Art Deco brickwork, HDC would like to see this corner and these two styles married in a better fashion. It seems that the tax photo was successful in unifying these facades with its wrap-around storefront and also the presence of a base. Currently the vertical piers seem to run straight into the ground, and the two facades are disjunctive. The proposal seems to correct each façade rather than creatively fuse this wrinkle of history, which HDC believes is entirely possible. On a final note, we ask Commissioners to take a close look at the view from Grand Street of the rooftop addition, which HDC found to call much attention to itself.

66-68 Allen

Category: HDC@LPC · Tags:

HDC@LPC: Looking Back at 2015

Posted by on Monday, December 21, 2015 · Leave a Comment 

HDC’s Public Review Committee is the only group that reviews every single Certificate of Appropriateness application submitted to the Landmarks Preservation Commission. This is a tremendous task, but keeps HDC on the pulse of all New York’s historic districts. Our volunteer committee and professional staff examine each proposal with scrutiny, and create intelligent testimony which is read to the Commission at every public hearing. The following properties were some of the biggest projects in the preservation world this past year, and HDC was at the forefront of shaping their outcomes.

 

70 Willow Street, Brooklyn Heights Historic District (January 6)

HDC felt that this project was more of a shopping spree for Greek Revival elements than a restoration, as architect Richard L. Bories’ proposal ditched an Italianate entry and door, ironwork and also a tea porch attributed to Truman Capote. The Commission heeded HDC’s determination of this project as more of a pastiche than preservation, and while the porch was lost, the historic door, ironwork and entryway were spared the dumpster when it was approved at a public meeting on January 13.

70 Willow Street (4) crop

10 Jay Street, DUMBO Historic District (February 3)

While the applicants, ODA Architecture, proposed to restore three out of four facades of this muscular, industrial building on DUMBO’s waterfront, its north façade, facing Manhattan and the East River, was a different story altogether. The plan called for the replacement of the façade’s brick with crystallized glass, which HDC argued was incompatible with and not representative of the district’s strong masonry character. The scheme was tweaked slightly before being approved by the Commission on March 24.
10 Jay Street

212-222 East 16th Street, Stuyvesant Square Historic District – Friends School expansion (April 21)

The Friends School applied for a series of large additions on top of their historic campus, as well as a complete modernization of its rear facades by Kliment Halsband Architects. HDC objected especially to the visibility of the easternmost rooftop addition, a large mass clad in grey zinc, from Stuyvesant Square. The Commission took no action at the April hearing, but approved a more toned down iteration of the scheme on May 19. The Stuyvesant Square community continues to fight this proposal.

Friends School

One Chase Manhattan Plaza (28 Liberty Street), Individual Landmark (May 5)

HDC was totally against putting glass retail storefronts in this Modernist masterpiece’s raised plaza, and changing the level of its public plaza by adding stairs. Our Committee asserted that a change in ownership and taste should not dramatically alter the appearance of one of our City’s most important skyscrapers, even though the original architecture firm, SOM, was proposing the changes. The Commission also took issue with the proposal, and SOM came back with an updated proposal on August 4. The updated version, approved by the Commission, called for a reduction of storefronts in the black granite plinth in exchange for the insertion of two glass cubes onto the plaza to direct customers to its subterranean commercial spaces. HDC sent a letter to the Commission, stating our opposition to the glass cubes, which would interrupt the Cedar Street pedestrian and view corridor – all in the name of signage display.

28 Liberty proposed

28 Liberty Street-One Chase Manhattan Plaza-3

The Four Seasons Restaurant, Interior Landmark (May 19)

A large number of prominent preservationists, including HDC, came out in force to testify against developer Aby Rosen’s scheme by Selldorf Architects for replacing components of the iconic Philip Johnson-designed Four Seasons Restaurant, a Modernist Interior Landmark within the Seagram Building. The Commission agreed with the testimony and could not approve the replacement of the Grill Room’s glass partition with movable planters and especially not the operable panels in the Pool Room. They did, however, approve new carpet for the space.

375 Park Avenue-Four Seasons-2

Fire Watch Tower, Marcus Garvey Park – Individual Landmark (July 14)

This 1857 Individual Landmark, currently sitting dismantled in Fort Totten, got one step closer to being reinstated in Marcus Garvey Park after the LPC approved its restoration by the Parks Department and Thornton Tomasetti. Commissioners listened to HDC and other testimony, asking for the stainless steel reinforcement bracing to be better concealed so that it does not detract from the cast iron structure.

Fire Watch Tower

McGovern/Weir Greenhouse, Individual Landmark (July 14)

As a trade-off for a restoration of the Weir Greenhouse, an overwhelming structure designed by Page Cowley Architects was proposed to envelope most of the landmark site. HDC had concerns about the greenhouse being diminished by this structure, and the LPC agreed, calling the design “really aggressive.” A new design has not been submitted or approved for this special landmark, which is the only Victorian commercial greenhouse extant in New York City.

Greenwood 2

187-191 Prospect Park West, Park Slope Historic District Extension – Pavilion Theater (August 18)

HDC joined a large number of Park Slope residents in opposing the large and overwhelming additions, as well as insensitive alterations, to the Pavilion Theater by Morris Adjmi Architects. The Commission agreed that the fifth story on the new building proposed along Bartel-Pritchard Circle was gratuitous, and at the very least, should be set back in order to reference the strong cornice line of the existing buildings along the circle. They also asked that the rooftop addition’s height be brought down. The revised proposal, presented on October 21 and approved by the Commission, brought very minimal changes, including setting back the new building’s fifth story and slightly reducing the rooftop bulk.

Pavilion Theater

Gilsey House (1200 Broadway) and Marble Collegiate Church (1 West 29th Street), Individual Landmarks (October 27)

This highly contentious proposal by HFZ Capital, designed by Moshe Safdie, was for a massive glass tower on the same block as Marble Collegiate Church, with a plaza fronting West 29th Street on the site of the demolished Bancroft Building. The applicants applied for a Section 74-711 special permit for the 64-story, 800-foot-tall tower, in exchange for restorative work already completed on the church and for proposed restorative work on Gilsey House, which HDC argued did not go far enough to justify the construction of a tower that would overwhelm both landmarks. HDC also testified against the proposed plaza, as such insertions into the urban fabric have been failures in the past. Additionally, the plaza would expose a secondary façade of the church, which would be “rebuilt”, thus giving this church a historically false sense of having been designed to be freestanding. The Commission did not have a quorum by the time the hearing ended, so stay tuned for this decision!

Marble-tower rendering-corner

60-74 Gansevoort Street, Gansevoort Market Historic District (November 10)

This controversial project, which drew mass opposition from Save Gansevoort, as well as Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer and City Council Member Corey Johnson, has not been approved by the LPC. Testimony in opposition was so numerous that LPC did not discuss the project as it became late in the evening; a “No Action” was called and the project will come back at a later date. A major issue with BKSK’s design was eliminating the scale of the market district by proposing to raise the heights of the low rise buildings, which characterize the block, as it is the only remaining intact street of market buildings.

Gansevoort

The Palace Theater, Individual Landmark (November 24)

As HDC testified: just because you can do something, does it mean that you should? PBDW Architects applied to move this Interior Landmark, not because it is in harm’s way, but rather, is in the way of progress. In this case, the theater’s interior is getting a complete restoration at a high price: it will be jacked up 29 feet to make room for ground floor retail beneath it. While HDC finds that moving an Interior Landmark is too dramatic, the LPC found it appropriate and will issue a peer review of the engineering to assuage concerns of preservation advocates and ensure the theater’s protection.

Pavilion interior

Palace proposed

 

Category: HDC@LPC · Tags:

Historic Districts Council Testimony for the ZQA /MIA December 16, 2015 Hearing

Posted by on Tuesday, December 15, 2015 · Leave a Comment 

December 16, 2015

Statement of the Historic Districts Council

City Planning Commission

Zoning for Quality & Affordability; Mandatory Inclusionary Housing Public Hearing

The Historic Districts Council is the citywide advocate for New York’s historic neighborhoods.  We represent over 500 neighborhood-based group dedicated to preserving the physical character of their communities. Many of our constituents have spent years working with property owners, Community Boards, City Planning and elected officials to enact appropriate zoning in order to better protect the character of their neighborhoods and encourage new development which enhances where they call home. It is on their behalf that we address our very strong concerns about these proposed citywide zoning text amendments.

HDC echoes the numerous civic organizations and community boards citywide in our opposition to Zoning for Quality and Affordability (ZQA). There is no panacea for New York’s affordable housing crisis, and ZQA is not even a cure for its symptoms. Rather, it seems that ZQA is a concession to developers to sweeten Mandatory Inclusionary Housing (MIH). MIH is the only part of this proposal which will might actually provide “affordable” units. In exchange for this oversight on development, ZQA is being offered as an olive branch to the real estate industry.  It loosens the entire city’s existing zoning to allow greater density for market-rate development, under the guise of creating affordable units, which, as we all know, is optional. The provisions for seniors have an expiration date, which ultimately will be converted to more market rate housing. While MIH is self-explanatory in title, ZQA is a wholesale upzoning of the entire city, and will not guarantee either goal of affordability or quality.

The notion that the City can only house people by relying on private investment with a market component lacks vision, while providing ZQA as relief for MIH is apologetic. HDC and civic leaders are grappling with what public good ZQA will actually provide, as an all-borough rezoning raises red flags, and is extremely rare. Further, MIH’s success is contingent on a massive upzoning on par with urban renewal, again as a plea to developers. This formula works under the assumption that affordable construction in New York will halt unless 200% bigger buildings with meager inclusionary units is the deal. In a housing crisis, why not demand 100% affordable within a human-scaled neighborhood?

This amendment as it is proposed, is a wholesale upzoning of all five boroughs.  It arbitrarily raises height limits and diminishes yard requirements across the board according to a mathematical nicety, not based in the actual built fabric of our city’s neighborhoods. Contextual zones came to fruition after years of effort by community-driven, carefully examined, neighborhood-specific studies. New York thrives because of the diversity of its neighborhoods, yet this proposal’s approach will deal with each neighborhood as the same, with a one-size-fits-all approach.  A calculation of potential growth based on a model is not the same as actual development, especially when one considers the diversity of New York’s built environment.. This potential impact on these properties must be studied carefully before being executed.

The Mayor’s administrative priority of our City’s housing crisis has been stated as two-fold: the creation and the preservation of affordable units. Thus far, the only push has been for creation, calling for a text amendment which will re-write our neighborhoods. There is a piece missing from this affordable housing armature, which is the preservation of units.   ZQA might incentivize demolition of existing housing in order to replace it with new development utilizing the proposed as-of-right height limits. The success of MIH, as proposed, is dependent on upzoning, which encourage the demolition of existing building stock. Nearly half (47%) of all housing in New York City is rent regulated, which translates to approximately 1,025,000 units. Where is the plan for the preservation of these units? Smaller buildings which are 100% rent regulated should be identified and spared from ZQA, which could replace them with taller buildings with a 20% affordable component. Bigger buildings do not equal lower rents, if that were the case, West 57th Street would be Manhattan’s newest neighborhood for the middle class.

Category: Upzoning · Tags: , ,

HDC@LPC Testimony for LPC Hearing on December 15, 2015

Posted by on Monday, December 14, 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 3

CERTIFICATE OF APPROPRIATENESS

BOROUGH OF Manhattan

170074- Block 593, lot 36-

30 Christopher Street – Greenwich Village Historic District

A store and loft building built in 1907. Application is to install a marquee.

HDC finds the proposed marquee to be too minimal and not in keeping with this lovely store and loft building. Perhaps precedents for other marquees on similarly-styled buildings could be investigated to inform this proposal.

30 Christopher Street

 

Item 5

CERTIFICATE OF APPROPRIATENESS

BOROUGH OF Brooklyn

178637- Block 5071, lot 90-

82 Stratford Road – Prospect Park South Historic District

A Dutch Colonial style cottage built in 1901. Application is to alter the rear and side façades.

HDC finds the extension of the deck to be an appropriate change, but asks that paired French doors be considered in place of the proposed sliding doors. French doors would be more contextual on this house and would reference the divided light windows on the upper floor.

82 Stratford Road

 

Item 6

CERTIFICATE OF APPROPRIATENESS

BOROUGH OF Brooklyn

175049- Block 1929, lot 3-

327 Vanderbilt Avenue – Clinton Hill Historic District

A carriage house and residence with Italianate style features, built in the 19th century. Application is to construct a rooftop addition and alter the front façade.

As the Clinton Hill Historic District designation report states, this property is “extremely well preserved.” It is part of a quirky row of carriage houses that lends a utilitarian character to the street and the district. Its off-set side door and general lack of symmetry are part of its charm, which is also found on the neighboring carriage houses. HDC finds that while the addition of a new garage door is a nice touch on the front façade, we would prefer to see its early and extant asymmetrical configuration left alone.

HDC also questions the proposed rear façade, which would add quite a bit of bulk above its neighbors, as well as an overwhelming amount of glass on the ground floor. The visibility of this addition above the rooftop is difficult to ascertain, so we would ask that the applicant do all in its power to bring down the height and conceal the addition as much as possible.

327 Vanderbilt Ave-front

327 Vanderbilt Ave-rear

 

Item 7

CERTIFICATE OF APPROPRIATENESS

BOROUGH OF Brooklyn

168087- Block 1675, lot 19-

334 Macdonough Street – Stuyvesant Heights Historic District

An English-Gothic style church designed by Arne Dehli and built in 1898-99. Application is to install a barrier-free access ramp and alter a fence.

HDC finds the proposed ramp to be both necessary and very well done. However, the existing iron fence has yet to be properly resolved. Hopefully the applicant can work with the LPC staff to determine how to best terminate the fence as it approaches the ramp or extend the fence in front of the ramp.

334 Macdonough Street

 

Item 8

CERTIFICATE OF APPROPRIATENESS

BOROUGH OF Manhattan

175748- Block 644, lot 53-

8-12 Little West 12th Street – Gansevoort Market Historic District

A vernacular rowhouse built c. 1852. Application is to alter the parapet, construct a rooftop addition, and replace windows and doors.

HDC asks that a more considered job of concealing the rooftop addition be attempted here. If the rooftop deck were terraced, rather than flattening the roofline all the way across, the entire ensemble could be lowered, including the stair bulkhead. We would also suggest the installation of a metal railing, rather than reflective and distracting glass, and that the railing be set back further from view. While the designation report indicates that the building’s cornice was removed at some point, historic photos show that this must have happened quite some time ago. If the LPC determines that it is appropriate to the building, perhaps the restoration of a cornice would help conceal both the railing and the rooftop addition.

8-12 Little West 12th Street

 

Item 10

CERTIFICATE OF APPROPRIATENESS

BOROUGH OF Manhattan

177008- Block 828, lot 27-

1145 Broadway – Madison Square North Historic District

An altered Italianate style converted residence, built in 1854. Application is to construct a rear yard addition and rooftop bulkheads, and modify the front façade.

HDC commends the proposed work on the front façade and the minimally visible rooftop bulkhead. We ask, though, that the applicant consider stripping the brick, rather than repainting it, and that since the building is low rise, a sheet metal cornice be installed instead of the proposed fiberglass.

1145 Broadway

 

Item 11

CERTIFICATE OF APPROPRIATENESS

BOROUGH OF Manhattan

174666- Block 1127, lot 44-

18 West 75th Street – Upper West Side/Central Park West Historic District

A Renaissance Revival style rowhouse with Queen Anne elements designed by John C. Burne and built in 1889-90. Application is to construct mechanical bulkheads, alter the entry, expand an existing rear yard addition, excavate the rear yard and construct a cellar level addition, and alter the windows.

The “restoration” of rowhouses back to their original single-family interior configuration is often touted to the LPC as a good thing for the building, despite the fact that use is not within the LPC’s purview. In a city with a housing crisis, it is difficult to see why the conversion of, in this case, 10 units down to one unit, is a step in the right direction. While of course we do not expect the LPC to comment on that, we do, however, find that with an agenda such as this, something should be given back to the public in the form of a more thorough restoration of the front façade. Rather than repainting it, the façade should be stripped and cleaned, and the stoop should most certainly be restored. As always, excavation should be undertaken with the utmost care for the existing building and its neighbors.

18 West 75th Street

 

Category: HDC@LPC · Tags: , , , , , ,

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