Secret Lives Tour- Hendrick I. Lott House

The Historic Districts Council is being granted exclusive access to the Lott House built in 1720/1800

Lott House

September 10, 2016

1940 East 36th Street, Brooklyn


The Historic Districts Council is being granted exclusive access to the Hendrick I. Lott House. The Lott House is currently being restored and is not open to the public. This vernacular Dutch American Farmhouse was built in 1720/1800 and remained in the family until New York City purchased it in 2000, making it the longest continual ownership by a single family in NYC. The interior craftsmanship is a result of Hendrick Lott’s carpentry skills. Unfortunately the interior has yet to be restored and is currently in a state of ‘preserved ruin’. HDC Board Director and President of Chrysalis Archaeology Consultants, Alyssa Loorya will guide us around the house and explain what work has been completed and what the future plans are. Restoration of the Lott House is a joint effort of the City of New York/Parks & Recreation, Historic House Trust of New York City, Marine Park Civic Association, and Hendrick I. Lott House Preservation Association.

The tour will begin at the Kings Highway B,Q subway station where HDC will provide transportation to the Lott House.

*Note – the house isn’t wheelchair accessible at the moment, sorry for the inconvenience

Category: Program & Events · Tags:

#PreservationPays Challenge Reveal-of-Winners Party!

#PreservationPays Challenge winners will be announced on Wednesday., September 28 at Jimmy’s 43

The Historic Districts Council, Sotheby’s International Realty, and Gothamist will announce the #PreservationPays Challenge winners on Wednesday, September 28 at Jimmy’s 43, 43 East 7th Street NY, NY 10003. This event is free and open to the public, everyone is welcome to join!

Five lucky winners will be treated to a private tour of the Woolworth Tower Residences in Lower Manhattan led by Historic Districts Council Adviser and official Woolworth Building Historian Lisa Renz. This tour, which is supported by Sotheby’s International Realty, is an once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to tour this iconic landmark.

Learn more about “How Historic Preservation Benefits New York City


Good Luck!


About the Buildings


  • Washington Square Arch (Page 3 of the Infographic)

Washington Square Park, Manhattan  |  A C E B D F M to W 4th St – Washington Sq

Designed by noted architect Stanford White and modeled after the Arc de Triomphe in Paris, this 77-foot-tall triumphal arch was built in 1892 to celebrate the centennial of George Washington’s inauguration as the first President of the United States.



  • Carnegie Hall (Page 5 of the Infographic)

881 7th Avenue, Manhattan  |  N Q R to 57th St – 7th Ave

How do you get to Carnegie Hall? Practice, practice, practice – and look for its rich façade of Roman brick, brownstone and terra cotta! This world-famous concert hall is celebrated for its impeccable acoustics – some of the best in the city.


  • Chavela’s (Page 7 of the Infographic)

736 Franklin Ave, Brooklyn  |  2 3 4 5 to Franklin Ave

This lively neighborhood restaurant draws a broad array of patrons with its captivating brick façades and whimsical storefront.


  • Battery Maritime Building (Page 9 of the Infographic)

10 South Street, Manhattan  |  1 to South Ferry or R to Whitehall St

The launching point for ferries to Governor’s Island, this Beaux-Arts beauty also serves as an architectural touchstone in lower Manhattan. Featuring cast-iron elements and Guastavino tilework, this New York City Landmark was restored in 2005 using historic preservation tax credits.


  • Jackson Heights Historic District (Page 11 of the Infographic)

33-52 81st St, Queens  |  7 to 82nd St – Jackson Heights

Home to one of the most magnificent groupings of apartment buildings in the city, this Queens enclave also boasts great restaurants, tree-lined streets, and a charming commercial spine. It was designated a New York City Historic District in 1993.


  • Alhambra Apartments (Page 13 of the Infographic)

500 Nostrand Avenue, Brooklyn  |  A C to Nostrand Ave

This castle-like, highly-ornamented New York City Landmark was designed in a combination of the Romanesque Revival and Queen Anne styles and completed in 1890.  It was restored in 1998 after a disastrous fire in 1994, and now contains 46 units of affordable housing and is a prime example of how historic preservation and affordable housing can work together to superior and inspiring effect.


  • The Woolworth Tower Residences (Not Pictured in the Infographic)

2 Park Place, Manhattan  |  2 3 to Park Place or R to City Hall

More than a century after the start of its construction, Cass Gilbert’s neo-Gothic masterpiece remains, at 792 feet, one of New York City’s most iconic skyscrapers.



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HDC@LPC – Testimony for LPC Hearing on September 6, 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.


Item 1

17 Fillmore Place – Fillmore Place Historic District


An Italianate style flats building built c .1853. Application is to reconstruct the façade.

Project architect: not listed

HDC’s Public Review Committee finds the overall intent of this scheme to be acceptable, but has serious concerns about its proposed execution. The wall section and brick replacement assembly should be studied further, especially concerning the use of corrugated galvanized metal ties. Our committee felt that the applicant should investigate replicating the blind header condition instead, and that the precast brownstone lintels and sills should be carefully planned to ensure the dimensions are just right.

LPC determination: Approved

17 Fillmore Place-existing

17 Fillmore Place-ex and prop


Item 2

303 Henry Street – Brooklyn Heights Historic District


A Greek Revival style rowhouse built between 1840-49. Application is to create masonry openings, replace cladding and a fence, remove a grille, and alter the areaway.

Project architect: Studio Nielsen

HDC finds most of the proposed work to be appropriate and welcome, including enclosing the areaway and removing the grilles on the front façade. However, we do take issue with the unnecessary regularization of the shingles on the side wall. While it is unclear what this façade’s original condition was, the Victorian-era shingles are a quirky and beloved feature of this very visible corner building. If the shingles are deteriorated, why not replace them with the same shingle patterns, which are readily available? Transforming this historic alteration into something far less interesting would be a waste.

LPC determination: Approved

303 Henry-ex

303 Henry-prop-render

303 Henry-shingles


Item 5

50 Bridge Street – DUMBO Historic District


An American Round Arch style factory building designed by William Tubby and built in 1894-95. Application is to establish a master plan governing the future installation of through-wall mechanical units and louvers.

Project engineer: Cowley Engineering, P.C.

HDC is not convinced that the proposed mechanical units are appropriate or absolutely necessary. Our committee wondered whether an internal mechanical system could be installed with cooling units on the roof in order to avoid punching holes in the façades of this factory building.

LPC determination: Approved

50 Bridge St


Item 6

 Fort Greene Park – Fort Greene Historic District


A park, originally known as Washington Park, designed by Olmsted and Vaux in 1867. Application is to construct a barrier-free access ramp, alter and construct pathways, and construct drainage infrastructure.

Project architect: NYC Parks Department

HDC is pleased to have the opportunity to comment on this application, which seems very sensitive overall. On the record, we are unclear about the public’s right to comment on inter-agency applications such as this one, as sometimes the public is not invited to testify on landscape applications. The public would certainly benefit from an explanation of these rules concerning designated public parks, those existing within historic districts and those that have been designated as scenic landmarks, in order to better understand its role in future applications concerning these publicly-owned historic properties.

LPC determination: Approved

Fort Greene Park


Item 7

1 Verona Street – Bedford Historic District


A neo-Grec style rowhouse with a Second Empire-style addition attributed to Thomas B. Jackson and built c. 1881. Application is to install a curb cut and parking pad.

Project architect: not listed

HDC finds the curb cut to be acceptable and the turfstone to be a perfectly good solution for the parking pad, but does not find it appropriate to install it all the way around the property. We could endorse this application if the turfstone were limited to the parking pad.

LPC determination: Approved with modifications

1 Verona St-plan

1 Verona St-turfstone


Item 8

564 9th Street – Park Slope Historic District


A neo-Classical style rowhouse designed by Thomas Engelhardt and built in 1902. Application is to replace windows and entrance doors.

Project architect: Jordan Parnass Digital Architecture

While the change to the windows is appropriate and imperceptible, we do wish to make a plea for a more closely replicated condition at the entrance. The glass proportions are much higher on the proposed door and transom than on the existing, so we would ask that the dimensions be studied and replicated. We also found the proposed hardware on the door to be strangely contemporary.

LPC determination: Approved with modifications

564 9th Street


Item 13

228 West 11th Street – Greenwich Village Historic District


A Greek Revival style rowhouse built in 1838. Application is to install security grilles and legalize painting of windows and cornice without Landmarks Preservation Commission permit(s).

Project architect: Jacobson Shinoda

HDC does not take issue with the black painted cornice and windows, but does find the security grilles to be too heavy-handed at the parlor level. Perhaps the applicant could investigate riot glass or some other security measure that would not represent such a dramatic and precedent-setting intervention on this quaint block.

LPC determination: Approved

228 West 11th Street


Item 14

61-63 Crosby Street – SoHo-Cast Iron Historic District


An Italianate style store and loft building with neo-Grec style features, designed by W. Joralemon and built in 1873-1874, and altered by Theodore A. Tribit in 1875. Application is to construct rooftop and rear yard additions, and remove fire escapes.

Project architect: David Grider Architect

While some visibility at the roof might be acceptable in this context, HDC wonders whether some of the height might be dropped down a bit by moving the elevator bulkhead to the rear part of the new addition. From certain vantage points, the addition is quite visible, and the elevator overrun seems excessive.

LPC determination: Approved with modifications

61-63 Crosby St-render

61-63 Crosby St-visibility


Dr. Westmoreland’s letter of opposition to LPC: Hopper-Gibbons House

Posted by on Wednesday, August 31, 2016 · Leave a Comment 

Meenakshi Srinivasan
Chair Person
Landmarks Preservation Commission
1 Centre Street,9th Floor North
New York , NY. 10007

Dear Ms. Srinivasan,

I am  writing  this  letter  in  support of  the  efforts  of  Fern Luskin, and the Friends  of  Lamartine Place  Historic  District Councils effort  to secure  an  order  from  the  Landmarks Commission directing  the  owner of  the  Hopper  Gibbons House 339 W. 29st to remove  a rooftop  addition , constructed   apparently without  a   building  permit . The  Hopper, Gibbons  is  an important  physical  element of  the   American Civil  War  that  survived  the July  1863 New  York  City  Draft  Riots ,and  is  only  remaining  building  that  was  attacked  because  the  then  owners  were  sheltering  Blacks  who  were  fleeing  enslavement, and the site of  meetings  between Black, and  White  Abolition  leaders .

The 1863 Draft  Riot in  New  York  City  began  as  a  violent  protest by  members  of  the  Irish  community against the  implementation  of the  draft , during the  Civil  War Incited  by  the  Democrats ,  felt  they  were  being  drafted  into  a  war  that  would  free enslaved  Black  People , who  would  compete  with  them for  jobs. The  Irish  were also  angry because middle, and  upper  class  White New  Yorkers were  able  to  pay  substitutes  to take  their  places in  the  Union  Army. The  anger  vetted against  the  Black community in  New  York  City  was a  violent  replay of that  of  1712  when  enslaved  Black  New Yorkers  were  executed  to suppress  a slave  revolt, starting July 13 ,1863 the  homes  of  Blacks  were  firebombed , the  Negro  orphanage, that  housed  more  than  200  children   was  burned . Before  the  battle  ended   more  than  200  people  were killed  , and  there  was  more  than  1million  dollars  ,( in 1863  money)  in  fire  damage . The  homes  of  people  thought  to  be  abolitionist  were  targeted ,and  many of  their  homes  were burned . The  home  of  the  Hopper Gibbons  family who  were Abolitionist  was singled out  by  the  arsonists,  and on  the  2nd  night  of  the riot (July 14, 1863) the Hopper  Gibbons  home  was  torched, the  occupants  would not go through the front  door to  the outside, in  fear of being  assaulted  or, worse  killed.

James Sloan  Gibbons , and his  daughter Lucy Gibbons  Morse  were  in  the house  when  the  inferno  began, Abigail Hopper Gibbons was  in the  South  with  a Union  army  regiment  serving  as  a  volunteer nurse . Mr. Gibbons  had  developed  an  alternate  plan  of  escape  with  the   help  of  his  neighbors  whose  homes  were attached  to 229 W. 29th  Street , and  while the  arsonist , the  bad  guys  , and  the  bullies  stood  on  the  street  waiting  to pounce  on  the  Abolitionist, James Gibbons, his  daughter Lucy, and others  trapped  in  the  melee climbed up  ladders  through  scuttles  which opened  on  the  roof , scampered  across roof  top to  another  scuttle, climbed  down  another  ladder  into a hallway  ,and  by  exiting   by  the  rear of the  building Mr.  Gibbons, and  his  daughter escaped harm.

The  New  York   Draft Riots  were  brought  to  an  end when after  four horrendous  violence, rape  and  pillage  , the US  Secretary of  War  ordered  the  transfer  of   four regiments  of  the New  York  troops that  participated in  the  Battle  of Gettysburg  to  the  streets  of  lower  Manhattan . Efficient , brutal ,and systemic action  broke  the  violent  action of  the  mobs  that  had  taken  control  of  the  streets  of  America.

Although  the  home of  the  Hopper Gibbons  family was gutted   by  fire the  family  rebuilt  the  interior, Mr. and  Mrs.  Gibbons would  not  only  become  celebrated  for their  abolition, and human rights  activity Mrs.  Gibbons became  a major  force in  women prisoners reform  with policies  that were  instated  nationwide .

The  roof at  339 W.29TH  Street ,provided  a flat ,safe contiguous  corridor to the  Gibbons  , and  anyone  else  needed  to  escape  the  flames that  gutted  the  Gibbons  home. The  use  of  that  roof  was  possible  because the  neighbors  were  willing  to provide James ,and  his  daughter  with  access to safety via  the  unlocked scuttles in  their homes. The  neighbors got  involved , the  took a  risk ,similar  to  that  taken  by  untold  numbers  of  White  people  who  lead all  but  one  of  the  Black  Orphans  to  safety.

The roof  should  be  PRESERVED  as  was ,as a flat stable  surface , a safe  corridor , that enabled  good  people ,who  were  doing  good  work to live , and  continue to help  those  seeking  dignity, and  freedom. The  removal of the newly constructed  vertical element,(theaddition) will  allow  people  in  generations  to  come to  stand  on  the  street below ,as I have  , and  marvel at the  courage  of people who risked  their  lives , running  at  full speed ,forty feet above their  pursuers in  the  dark  of  the  night  running toward  another righteous   battle .

Carl B.  Westmoreland

Senior Advisor at the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center

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20th Century Bronx

Posted by on Thursday, August 11, 2016 · Leave a Comment 


Wednesday, August 10, 2016 at 6PM

 Bronx Civic Center/ Executive Towers

Join the Historic Districts Council as we explore the past, present, and future of the Bronx Civic Center’s magnificent range of 20th Century architecture!

Guests will first be treated to a brisk walk with Adrian Untermyer, Deputy Director of the Historic Districts Council, with stops at the Art Deco Bronx County Building, the Grand Concourse Historic District, two Urban Renewal-era housing developments, and more.

Guests will then be treated to an intimate walk-through of the Grand Concourse’s mid-century Executive Towers with architect and Historic Districts Council Board Member Françoise Bollack, who is currently coordinating the lobby’s restoration and reconfiguration. Designed by architect Philip Birnbaum between 1959 and 1963, Executive Towers was touted in real estate brochures as “the first luxury skyscraper in the Bronx.”

The evening will conclude with wine and conversation in a high-floor apartment in the Executive Towers featuring exquisite views of the neighborhood.

$20 General Admission and $10 for Friends of the Historic Districts Council


Visit to become a Friend and unlock discounted pricing.

Exact meeting point will be provided via email after registration.

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Introducing Our Infographic!

Posted by on Wednesday, August 10, 2016 · 2 Comments 

Learn how historic preservation creates jobs, drives tourism, and supports local economies across NYC.

Preserving historic buildings and neighborhoods is good for New York City.

Most New Yorkers believe this to be true in their hearts, but it is sometimes helpful to have the facts to back it up. In response, the Historic Districts Council created a series of infographics entitled “How Historic Preservation Benefits New York City.”

The graphics have a simple message: as part of New York City’s multi-billion dollar tourism trade, a generator of good jobs and an attractive option for affordable housing, landmark buildings and historic districts are a positive force for the financial well-being of the city.

Based on the expansive 2014 report “A Proven Success: How the New York City Landmarks Law and Process Benefit the City,” the infographics consolidate critical facts and figures to demonstrate the value of historic preservation in our city.

We invite you to review the infographics below, and encourage you to take the #PreservationPays challenge to spread the word — and be entered to win a trip to the Woolworth Tower Residences!


Preserving buildings and providing affordable housing are not mutually exclusive. Landmark designation does not dictate the use of a building and certainly does not impede redevelopment of a property into affordable housing. Furthermore, there has been no provable correlation to suggest that rent increases are a result of landmark designation.


New York’s remarkable historic buildings are a unique attraction. Upwards of 54 million tourists visited New York City in 2013, spending more than $38 million dollars in the process. Tourists are drawn to our city for its rich culture, distinctive built environment, and historic shopping districts.


Maintaining New York’s distinct sense of place is a full time job for many New Yorkers. Construction on historic buildings results in more and better paying jobs than new construction and secures federal tax credit dollars. Historic hotels, museums, restaurants, and parks are a staple in New York City and maintain thousands of good-paying jobs.



We encourage you to use the infographic to help familiarize yourself with the facts, spread the word, join the effort, and enjoy your city!

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Meet Our New Advisers!

Posted by on Wednesday, August 10, 2016 · Leave a Comment 

The Historic Districts Council would like to introduce the newest additions to our Board of Advisers               |
The Historic Districts Council’s small professional staff is directed by our dedicated Board of Directors & Advisers, whose members represent over two dozen historic neighborhoods and are drawn from the fields of architecture, education, history, marketing, law, design, public relations, journalism and community activism.

We invite you to scroll down to learn about the latest additions to our team:


ANGELAngel Ayón is the founder of AYON Studio Architecture and Preservation. He is trained and experienced as an architect and a preservationist in both his native Havana and New York City. Mr. Ayón holds a professional degree in Architecture and a M.Sc. in Conservation and Rehabilitation of the Built Heritage from Havana’s Higher Polytechnic Institute, as well as a Post-Graduate Certificate in Conservation of Historic Buildings and Archaeological Sites from Columbia University. He is a former Fitch Foundation Fellow, was the leading advocate in the campaign to rehabilitate the Mount Morris Fire Watchtower in Marcus Garvey Park, and is the Vice-President of Save Harlem Now!.


PETER_UPDATEDPeter Bray is Executive Director of the Brooklyn Heights Association, an organization dedicated to preserving the physical fabric of the neighborhood and informing and advocating for residents and businesses on matters affecting the community. Mr. Bray also serves as a Trustee of the Park Slope Civic Council and has led the committee overseeing the expansion of the Park Slope Historic District.


CHRISTIANChristian Emanuel is a Licensed Real Estate Salesperson with Sotheby’s International Realty, working in the office of Stan Ponte. Prior to joining the company, Mr. Emanuel was a brokerage manager and founding-level agent of a startup brokerage in Manhattan. Also active in the preservation community, he helped lead the campaign to preserve the Long Island City Clocktower and worked closely with the Historic Districts Council under the auspices of our Six to Celebrate program. Mr. Emanuel is a graduate of New York University.


DANDaniel Karatzas is a Licensed Real Estate Associate Broker with the Beaudoin Realty Group as well as a board member and former president of the Jackson Heights Beautification Group. Mr. Karatzas is the author of Jackson Heights – A Garden in the City, which chronicles the history of Jackson Heights and its unique contribution to urban planning history. He holds Engineering and Business degrees from Columbia University, and worked with the Historic Districts Council to advance the preservation of Jackson Heights through our Six to Celebrate program.


RACHELRachel Levy is Executive Director of FRIENDS of the Upper East Side Historic Districts. A graduate of the historic preservation and urban planning programs at Columbia University’s Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Historic Preservation, Ms. Levy previously worked with the Park Slope Civic Council, Landmark West!, and the Municipal Art Society. She is currently working with the Historic Districts Council to advance the preservation of Manhattan’s Yorkville neighborhood under the auspices of our Six to Celebrate program.


JOYCE_UPDATEDJoyce Mendelsohn is an educator, historian, and preservation activist. Author of “The Lower East Side Remembered and Revisited,” Ms. Mendelsohn was the first Director of Education at the Lower East Side Tenement Museum, served as a consultant to the Historic House Trust, on the Board of Directors of the Lower East Side Jewish Conservancy, and is an adviser to the boards of the Lower East Side Preservation Initiative and Bowery Alliance of Neighbors. She is one of three founding member of Friends of the Lower East Side and was awarded the Historic Districts Council’s Mickey Murphy Lifetime Achievement Award in 2010.


LISA_UPDATEDLisa Renz is a preservationist and architectural historian specializing in nineteenth and early twentieth century American architecture. Ms. Renz holds a Bachelor of Arts in Architectural History and Theory and earned a Master’s Degree in Historic Preservation from Columbia University’s Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Historic Preservation. She is currently the official historian and tour guide of the Woolworth Building and previously worked on the restoration of Grace Church in Manhattan.


BRIAN_UPDATEDBrian Scott Weber is a director specializing in television commercials. In addition, Mr. Weber is a member of Manhattan Community Board Four, which encompasses the neighborhoods of Hell’s Kitchen and Chelsea. Mr. Weber was also active in the effort to preserve the former Christ Church on West 36th Street in Manhattan.

Please click here for a full list of Directors and Advisers.

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HDC@LPC – Testimony for LPC Hearing on August 9, 2016

Posted by on Monday, August 8, 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
152 Henry Street – Brooklyn Heights Historic District
A Greek Revival style rowhouse built in 1830-39. Application is to construct a rear yard addition, and replace windows.

Project architect: Formactiv Architecture

HDC applauds the return of the stoop and the parlor floor windows, which will reinstall the correct proportions of the façade. We suggest that staff look closely at the details in the stoop, ironwork, and window surrounds of this proposal to make sure that once this façade is fixed, it is done absolutely correctly. In the rear, the Committee thought it would make for a better design if the bulk mirrored the neighbor with a notch cut-out, and regularized the window arrangement: there is a picture window, one story has transoms, the other does not.

LPC determination: Approved with modifications

152 facade exist 152 facade proposed 152 Henry rear existing 152 Henry rear proposed

Item 4
220 Berkley Place – Park Slope Historic District
A brick apartment building designed by Kavy & Kavoritt and built in 1955. Application is to establish a master plan governing the future installation of windows.

Project architect: Rand Engineering & Architecture

The historic rendering of this building provides a compelling argument for the original window configuration. Highly unusual, with horizontal muntins, these windows are the substantial difference between a plain building and one with some design aesthetic. The small divisions in the glass, repeated many times over the façade lend an appearance of horizontality and help reveal the building’s era. HDC understands that many windows have been replaced, and that the building will fare better with a consistent window type. We hope LPC can determine a creative solution to introduce this pattern again, as the rest of the building is devoid of ornament.

LPC determination: Approved

220 Berkely Pl historic 220 Berkely Pl proposed

Item 6
14 St. Luke’s Place – Greenwich Village Historic District
A rowhouse built in 1852-53. Application is to replace windows.

Project architect: BarlisWedlick Architects

While quality windows are proposed for this house, HDC found them to be slightly heavy with some diminution of glazing. Perhaps it is possible to find a custom window with thinner mullions with the desired operation, which would preserve the sightlines.

LPC determination: Approved

14 St. Lukes

Item 8
442 West 22nd Street – Chelsea Historic District
A house built in 1846-47 and later altered. Application is to modify the front façade, construct rear yard additions, and perform excavation.

Project architect: Suk Design Group

HDC is thrilled that this marred façade will be restored to its historic appearance. Projects like this are proof that people want to live in historic homes, and that they are worth restoring back to their original splendor. In terms of the new rear that will be added, HDC consistently suggests leaving the top punched window openings intact on the top story. On the roof, the elevator bulkhead and HVAC is extremely visible because of the situation of the two-story rowhouse next door. In the mock-ups, the bulk of no. 442 seems to actually rest atop its neighbor. In a three story house, building an elevator for a rooftop literally seems over-the-top and unnecessary. HDC strongly suggests preserving the sightlines from 22nd Street over this row of different houses and eliminating any bulk, especially since so much square footage is proposed for the rear.

LPC determination: Approved with modifications

442 West 22nd St exist 442 West 22nd St proposed 442 West 22nd St rear

Item 9
200 Fifth Avenue – Ladies’ Mile Historic District
A neo-Renaissance style store and office building designed by Maynicke and Franke and built in 1908-09. Application is to install sidewalk pavers.

Project architect: Weidlinger Associates

HDC does not support this application, as we found the planters to further confound the clutter on this stretch of Fifth Avenue. On this immediate sidewalk, there are existing planters down the block, a mailbox, a street clock, a newsstand, phonebooths, a subway entrance, and trash receptacles. Collectively, these items form a wall surrounding 200 Fifth Avenue. There are currently perforations in this wall to allow pedestrians to cross the street from the people-saturated Flatiron Plaza and its subsequent food vendors. The proposed planters will essentially fill in these perforations and add to the chaos. We understand that the consultant of this proposal specializes in security, and leads HDC to believe that beatification is not the motivation behind these plants, but rather something more exclusive in nature. With heavy potted plantings and a green vista just across the street in Madison Square Park, these should be eliminated from the sidewalk.

LPC determination: Approved

200 Fifth Ave plan 200 Fifth Ave render

Category: HDC@LPC · Tags:

HDC@LPC – Testimony for LPC Hearing on August 2, 2016

Posted by on Monday, August 1, 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
368 Clinton Street – Cobble Hill Historic District
An Italianate style rowhouse built in 1843. Application is to modify the rear facade and rear extension, and install a deck.

Project architect: Frederick Tang Architecture

This applicant has proposed sensitive alterations to the rear, but looking to the future, when the next owner may proposed a rear extension, we ask that the top row of windows be preserved with their punched openings. Perhaps this large window proposed for the top story could be moved to a lower floor. While the deck is not a concern, HDC found the choice of tilt/turn windows unusual and some simple double-hungs would be more appropriate.

LPC determination: Approved with modifications.

LPC approved, but, in unison with HDC will ensure that the top story’s punched windows will remain to preserve a highly uniform row.

368 Clinton exist368 Clinton proposed
Item 4
536 1st Street – Park Slope Historic District
A neo-Renaissance style rowhouse built in 1909.  Application is to construct a rear yard addition.

Project architect: Buro NY

HDC found this addition modest in scale and overall, not a concern. Regarding the glass on the existing extension, one minor comment is that we thought it might look better to retain some of the masonry envelope, even if it were some thin divisions between the panes of glass. 

LPC determination: Approved with modifications.

536 1st St proposed

536 1st St proposed
Item 6
576 Bergen Street – Prospect Heights Historic District
A neo-Grec style rowhouse designed by Benjamin Estes and built c. 1884. Application is to construct rooftop and rear yard additions, alter the areaway and install a railing.

Project architect: Studio a+i

Since this row is comprised of only 2 story homes, any addition is going to impact the rear yards of these neighbors. To that end, HDC asks that the visual impact of this extension be reduced by selecting a sympathetic material to better harmonize with its surroundings. The cement fiber clashes in color and composition, especially when set within large expanses of glass. Punched openings and brick would make for a better extension.  

LPC determination: Approved with modifications.

Neighbors were incensed at what is the first rooftop and rear yard additions to their block since historic district designation. In the end, staff will work to lower the rooftop so that it is not visible.

576 Bergen exist

576 Bergen proposed
Item 8
334 West 20th Street – Chelsea Historic District
A Greek Revival style rowhouse built in 1836. Application is to construct a bulkhead, rooftop and rear yard additions, and excavate the rear yard.

Project architect: Andre Tchelistcheff

Just a week after Chelsea’s oldest house was allowed to be destroyed and its Federal envelope zipped open, here is a speculative proposal to obliterate its Greek Revival counterpart. The LPC designation report describes this as “an excellent example of the first houses built in Chelsea. The 25-foot width shows to advantage the impressive character of the Greek Revival style.”  25 feet unfortunately was evidently not enough, as there is so much bulk proposed for this house we wonder why there wasn’t an addition proposed for the front, as well. In fact, if Commissioners look carefully, the cornice will be raised to accommodate the bulk. Ruining the proportions of the façade to accommodate bulk is the essence of inappropriate. Simply put: accretions to this 1836 property should work for the house, the house shouldn’t work for the additions. Regarding the rest of the home, the historic roof line will be decimated, and so will any historic fabric, including window openings and four stories of 180 year old brick on the rear façade.

If LPC had to rewrite designation reports now for these buildings that are irreversibly altered with preserved facades, would they still be included as excellent examples of buildings of their respective eras? Would we be able to learn from these buildings about how they were put together, with their distinct rooflines, unusual brick bonds, and methods of construction, or would we have to learn these things from a book? The best way to understand the history of our city is to physically encounter it. This proposal destroys that history and robs New York of something precious and irreplaceable.

LPC determination: No Action.

Neighbors came out in droves to protest yet another ancient Chelsea home fallen victim to tasteless aggrandization. The Chair stated that the enlargement was “overwhelming this building and its age…it’s delicate.” The Commission also wished to see the restorative elements checked with staff. So, LPC took no action and this project will come back. If 404 West 20th’s approval is any indication of what to expect to be appropriate by the Commission, we expect the additions to be scaled down but still effectually destroying the house.

334 W 20 historic

334 W 20 proposed facade334 W 20 proposed

Item 14
1150 Fifth Avenue – Carnegie Hill Extension Historic District
A neo-Georgian style brick apartment building designed by J.E.R. Carpenter and built in 1923-24. Application is to construct a rooftop addition.

Project architect: no name on drawings

This J.E.R. Carpenter apartment building already has a 2-story penthouse on top of it, and HDC understands  that the building is currently built to its zoning capacity and will need a special permit to allow more bulk. Even if this wasn’t the case, this addition is clumsy and EIFS does not have a reputation for being a quality, long-lasting material. The proposed addition doesn’t match the uniform roofline, and hovers over it. For all of the consideration and design that goes in to most penthouse additions in this part of town, this bulk falls short in terms of appropriateness, visibility and quality of architecture. 

Project architect: no name listed

LPC determination: Approved with modifications

LPC has asked the applicant to change the material from EIFS to brick.

1150 Park proposed penthouse1150 Park proposed

Category: HDC@LPC · Tags:

HDC@LPC – Testimony for LPC Hearing on July 26, 2016

Posted by on Monday, July 25, 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 6

241 West 11th Street – Greenwich Village Historic District


A Greek Revival style rowhouse with Italianate style features, designed by Reuben R. Wood and built in 1851. Application is to legalize the construction of rear yard and rooftop additions in non-compliance with Certificate of Appropriateness 14-4486.

Project architect: MADE

HDC feels that the applicant should be asked to construct these additions according to the original Certificate of Appropriateness permit. To approve the present condition of this rowhouse would be to undermine the time and consideration the Commission previously gave to this project and set a standard for allowing applicants to disrespect this body’s expertise and authority.

LPC Determination: No Action

The Commission approved a proposal for a rear yard addition on this rowhouse back in 2014, but mid-construction, the owners hired a new architect who made significant changes without clearing them with the LPC. So, the applicant sought to legalize these changes. The Commissioners were not pleased, since the changes were not only significant, but much worse. They expressed strong emotions, calling it disturbing, a violation of the Landmarks Law and an insult to the Commission. One even suggested that the LPC impose bans or other penalties on applicants who knowingly circumvent the rules. The Chair decided that LPC General Counsel will need to explore the proposal over issues concerning DOB permits and how to proceed with potentially legalizing some aspects of the work and not others.

241 W. 11th-prev approved

241 W. 11th-proposed


Item 13

347 West End Avenue – West End Collegiate Historic District


An Eclectic Renaissance style rowhouse designed by Lamb and Rich and built in 1891. Application is to construct rear yard and rooftop additions and modify masonry openings.

Project architect: Architecture In Formation

HDC wishes to make a plea for the retention of the rear configuration that this building shares with its twin next door. The unified rear on these two buildings appears to be a formal construct that would be a shame to lose.

LPC Determination: Approved with modifications

347 West End Avenue-1

347 West End Avenue-3


Item 15

17-19 East 72nd Street – Upper East Side Historic District


A Modern/neo-Classical style apartment building designed by Rosario Candela and built in 1936-37. Application is to replace windows and install awnings and signage.

Item 16

17-19 East 72nd Street – Upper East Side Historic District


A Modern/neo-Classical style apartment building designed by Rosario Candela and built in 1936-37. Application is to request that the Landmarks Preservation Commission issue a report to the City Planning Commission relating to an application for Special Permit pursuant to Section 74-711 of the Zoning Resolution for a Modification of Use.

Project architect: PBDW Architects

While commercial spaces are commonplace along Madison Avenue, this section of East 72nd Street is residential in character, and this proposal would represent an odd departure from that existing architectural language. This shift would be more acceptable, however, if the proposed awnings and sign were guaranteed not to obscure any of the ribbon moldings of the masonry on this fine Rosario Candela building. HDC also wishes to note that much of the proposed restorative work to be performed in exchange for this change of use seems to represent only the minimum of repairs that building management would undertake on a normal basis, making the Special Permit application difficult to justify. Perhaps avoiding any obstruction of the building’s architectural details would be a good place to start.

LPC Determination: Approved

17-19 East 72nd Street-1

17-19 East 72nd Street-2


Item 18

7 East 84th Street – Metropolitan Museum Historic District


A rowhouse built in 1884-85 and redesigned as a neo-Regency style residence by Augustus N. Allen in 1906, and further modified with a garage at the ground floor installed prior to designation. Application is to alter the front and rear facades.

Project architect: Ferguson & Shamamian

HDC finds the proposed alterations to be well considered and appropriate. However, while the fencing is not mentioned in the application description, HDC wishes to point out that they are quite a bit taller than any of the other fences, railings or areaway enclosures on this block, giving them an inappropriately heavy-handed appearance. We ask the Commission to consider them carefully.

LPC Determination: Approved

7 East 84th Street


Item 19

153 West 121st Street – Mount Morris Park Extension Historic District


A neo-Grec style rowhouse designed by Cleverdon & Putzel and built in 1886. Application is to construct rooftop and rear yard additions.

Project architect: AtelierNY Architecture

HDC does not support this application as proposed. As one of the first applications to the LPC in this new historic district, we found the proposal disappointing in its context and in its design. This block is occupied by a school, leaving the surviving six rowhouses, which are only 15 feet wide, with an exceptionally small donut. This full-width, three-story proposed addition will be the first major incursion into this rear yard, and will set a precedent for other rear yard additions on this block. In this long-sought historic district extension, HDC asks the Commission to be diligent. The mass of this addition should be scaled down to one story so that its current configuration is less offensive in this small, shared rear yard.

LPC Determination: No Action

Since this three-story, full-width addition would be the first incursion into the rear yard and because of its less than inspiring design, the Commission asked the applicant to come back with something smaller and more finessed.

153 W. 121st Street


Category: HDC@LPC · Tags: , , , ,

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