HDC@LPC – Testimony for LPC Hearing on May 24, 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 2

CERTIFICATE OF APPROPRIATENESS

BOROUGH OF BROOKLYN

175212 – Block 2099, lot 20

39 South Elliott Place – Fort Greene Historic District

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

HDC urges the Commission to demand a higher quality design for this site, this block and this district. The proposed house is very clumsy in its proportions, neither working from the dimensions of its former twin, number 37 South Elliott Place, nor ignoring those dimensions completely in favor of a contemporary approach. Even if the applicant wanted something contemporary, the design should at least reference the grid and height established by number 37, as the site’s relationship to that existing house is immediately discernible by virtue of their unique and shared narrow width. Ignoring that relationship would effectively create a permanent “elephant-in-the-room” situation.

Regardless of how number 39 does not attempt to take cues from number 37, including its window placement and its stark and overpowering roofline, there are proportional issues even if it were a stand-alone house. Its lack of a stoop and door surround misses an opportunity to give the façade some depth, and makes the door appear proportionally tiny when compared with the façade’s very large windows. There are other awkward proportions on the front façade, as rendered, including the different widths between the windows on each floor and the fact that the front door and the window next to it on the ground level do not line up.

HDC also wishes to make a plea for better materiality. It appears that the façade is to be clad in stucco to mimic limestone, which is problematic for obvious reasons. Even if the applicant proposed to clad the house in limestone, there is no precedent for limestone facades – or rustication – on this block. Our committee also finds the stepping of the rear façade to be a form that is too fussy and not justified in this context. We ask that the overall design of the proposed house be rethought and dramatically refined, as is expected in our historic districts.

LPC determination: No Action

 39 S. Elliott-tax photo
39 S. Elliott-proposed

Item 5

CERTIFICATE OF APPROPRIATENESS

BOROUGH OF MANHATTAN

183594 – Block 1505, lot 63

16 East 94th Street – Carnegie Hill Historic District

A rowhouse built in 1891-92 and altered in the neo-Federal style c. 1925. Application is to alter the neo-Federal style front façade, and construct rear yard additions.
It is well established that 1920s neo-Federal and neo-Georgian alterations are a character-defining attribute of the Upper East Side’s townhouses. As architectural historians have noted, they mark a significant phase in the district’s history that should be respected. For this reason, HDC opposes the proposed alterations to the front façade of 16 East 94th Street. On first glance, the changes may seem innocuous, but this building’s austere, neo-Federal charm is evident already and not in need of gratuitous tinkering with historic fabric. HDC also finds that although the rear has been altered, the original masonry openings are still visible and the brick cornice lines are intact. It would be a shame to lose these historic details.
LPC determination: Approved

16 E. 94th-existing

16 E. 94th-proposed

 

Category: HDC@LPC · Tags: ,

2016 Grassroots Awards and Preservation Party Press Release

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

May 2016

Contact: Simeon Bankoff; Executive Director

212-614-9107 ext. 12

HDC HONORS NEIGHBORHOOD ORGANIZATIONS AND ACTIVISTS WITH ANNUAL GRASSROOTS PRESERVATION AWARDS

NEW YORK, NY – The Historic Districts Council (HDC) will present its annual Grassroots Preservation Awards to five organizations and individuals on Tuesday, May 24, 2016 at Saint Mark’s Church in-the-Bowery, 131 East 10th Street, New York, NY 10003.

This year’s awardees include:

  • The Art Deco Society of New York (Grassroots Award)
  • The Committee to Save the New York Public Library (CSNYPL), Citizens Defending Libraries (CDL) and the Library Lovers League (LLL) (Grassroots Award)
  • New Yorkers for a Human-Scale City (Grassroots Award)
  • New York City Council Member Ben Kallos (Friend in High Places Award)
  • Jeremiah’s Vanishing New York (Friend in the Media Award)
  • Beverly Moss Spatt, PhD, AICP (Mickey Murphy Lifetime Achievement Award)

Every year, HDC, the citywide advocate for New York’s historic neighborhoods, honors and celebrates the activists and groups who work to preserve New York City’s historic neighborhoods.

“These advocates are the foundation of the preservation movement and their efforts benefit everyone who lives, works or visits New York City,” said Simeon Bankoff, Executive Director of HDC. “It’s an honor and pleasure to be able to shine the spotlight on these civic and neighborhood leaders.”

About the 2016 Grassroots Awardees:

The Art Deco Society of New York (ADSNY) (Roberta Nusim, President) was founded in 1980 to celebrate and preserve the city’s rich Art Deco Heritage. Since becoming President in 2013, Roberta Nusim has focused on initiatives that reflect the organization’s founding principle: to ensure the protection of New York’s Art Deco treasures throughout the five boroughs for future generations through preservation and education. ADSNY has introduced the New York Art Deco Registry and Map, a reference tool of the city’s Art Deco buildings, and launched Documenting Deco, a program that engages middle- and high-school students with the architecture in their neighborhoods.

The Committee to Save the New York Public Library (CSNYPL), Citizens Defending Libraries (CDL) and the Library Lovers League (LLL) each formed to fight recent development plans which threatened New York City’s libraries. In 2011, the New York Public Library announced the Central Library Plan to sell the Mid-Manhattan and the Science, Industry and Business Libraries and demolish the historic research stacks in the 42nd Street Library. CSNYPL helped put faces and voices to the countless people who were staunchly against the plan, which was abandoned in 2014, thanks in large part to the group’s advocacy efforts. In addition to opposing the Central Library Plan, the CDL has fought the proposed redevelopment and loss of many historic libraries around the city, including the Pacific, Red Hook and Sunset Park Branches in Brooklyn, through protests, outreach and petitions. CDL also launched a Citizens Audit and Investigation into the library sales and shrinkages to raise awareness and funds for the city’s libraries. The LLL is a loose assemblage of longtime organizers, media experts and practitioners who have contributed to the successful campaigns to save the Pacific Branch Library in Brooklyn from demolition, and the NY Public Library’s proposed Central Library Plan.

New Yorkers for a Human-Scale City (Lynn Ellsworth and Mario Messina, co-founders) was founded in 2015 as a coalition and alliance of community organizations and civic groups concerned with tenants’ rights, historic preservation, parks and public space management across all five boroughs. The coalition was formed in reaction to the massive over-development occurring around the city with no regard to current neighborhood population, historic fabric or open space. The coalition currently has over 80 co-sponsors who have joined together as one voice in support of preserving our city.

Friend in the Media Award: Jeremiah’s Vanishing New York (represented by Lee Greenfeld) chronicles the changing landscape of New York City, everything from the closure of small businesses to hyper-gentrification. The popular blog was described by The New York Times as “a digital obituary column for the various mom-and-pop concerns that have fallen prey to the city’s endless search for higher rents.” Jeremiah Moss is the blog’s openly pseudonymous author and the founder of the grassroots preservation group #SaveNYC. His writing on the city has appeared in The New York Times, Playboy, The New Yorker and The Paris Review online. Currently, he writes editorials for The New York Daily News and is at work on a book about hyper-gentrification and the soul of New York City for HarperCollins publishers.

Friend in High Places Award: City Council Member Ben Kallos grew up on the Upper East Side and is a graduate of the Bronx High School of Science, SUNY Albany and SUNY Buffalo Law School. He represents Manhattan’s Fifth District, succeeding former Grassroots Award winner Council Member Jessica Lappin. Mr. Kallos has been a great friend to the preservation community by supporting, campaigning and funding initiatives both citywide and closer to home. In 2015, he stood with preservation and community groups in strongly opposing Intro 775, a bill that would have weakened the Landmarks Law by placing a moratorium on LPC’s ability to designate historic properties. The bill was met with extreme disapproval from dozens of community groups, but remains officially under consideration by the City Council. More recently, he joined Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer and Community Boards 6, 8 and 11 to improve the City’s Mandatory Inclusionary Housing and Zoning for Quality and Affordability proposals.

Mickey Murphy Lifetime Achievement Award: Beverly Moss Spatt, PhD, AICP has been a leader in the New York City planning and preservation communities for over 50 years. She served as a City Planning Commissioner from 1966 – 1970 and wrote the Dissenting Opinion to the proposed but never adopted 1969 “Plan for New York City”. Dr. Spatt served on the NYC Landmarks Preservation Commission from 1974 – 1982, and was its Chair from 1974 – 1978, during which time she continued the fight to preserve Grand Central Terminal and the Landmarks Law; hired Dorothy Miner as the LPC’s first general counsel; expanded designations throughout the five boroughs; created scholarship programs to encourage students and young people to become involved with preservation; and brought in federal funds to survey the entire city for potential historic districts – an effort that continues to bear fruit today. A life-long resident of Brooklyn and graduate of Brown University, Dr. Spatt holds a Master’s and Doctorate in Urban Planning from New York University. She has taught planning, preservation and public policy at Barnard College and serves on the boards of variety of community and philanthropic organizations, from the League of Women Voters to the Historic Districts Council. She continues to be an active writer and commenter on civic and planning issues.

About the Event:

The event is open to the public at a cost of $30 ($20 for Friends of HDC). Community sponsorships for the event are also available. To purchase sponsorships, please call 212-614-9107 or e-mail hdc@hdc.org. Individual tickets will be sold at the door. The event begins at 6:00pm, followed by a reception. For more information, go to www.hdc.org or call 212-614-9107.

About the Historic Districts Council:

The Historic Districts Council (HDC) is New York’s only citywide grassroots advocate for historic buildings and neighborhoods. Since 1970, HDC has been committed to preserving New York’s rich architectural and historical heritage, defending the integrity of the New York Landmarks Law and furthering the preservation ethic.

 

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HDC@LPC – Testimony for LPC Hearing on May 17, 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 2

CERTIFICATE OF APPROPRIATENESS

BOROUGH OF BROOKLYN

179343 – Block 1083, lot 69

563 5th Street – Park Slope Historic District

A neo-Classical style rowhouse designed by Axel Hedman and built c. 1907-08. Application is to enlarge a rear yard addition.

HDC would not object to an enlargement of this rear yard addition, but finds the butterfly-shaped roof to be too eye-catching, especially since the addition is visible through an alleyway. To avoid setting a precedent with this odd roof form, perhaps the applicant could investigate a flat roof for the addition.

LPC determination: Approved

563 5th Street

Item 5

CERTIFICATE OF APPROPRIATENESS

BOROUGH OF MANHATTAN

180436 – Block 592, lot 22

353 6th Avenue – Greenwich Village Historic District

A brick rowhouse built in 1829. Application is to replace storefront infill, construct a rooftop addition and modify the rear façade.

HDC finds the storefront infill and rooftop addition to be very sensitive, and is glad to see that the metal shutters on the upper floors of the rear façade will be restored. However, our committee felt that the second – or bottom – floor of the rear scheme lacks consistency with the quality of the rest of the design. The rear façade’s three-bay rhythm of punched openings should be maintained throughout in order to avoid an awkward resolution on the bottom floor. We also fear that punching large holes into the bottom of this historic masonry wall might be dangerous to the structure.

LPC determination: Approved

353 6th Avenue
353 6th Avenue-shutters
 

Item 9

CERTIFICATE OF APPROPRIATENESS

BOROUGH OF MANHATTAN

169554 – Block 525, lot 58

92 West Houston Street – South Village Historic District

A Federal style rowhouse built c. 1828 and altered in 1925. Application is to install an awning.

HDC feels that a new awning should play with the existing geometry of the façade, rather than introducing a new shape. This awning looks out of place here.

LPC determination: Approved

92 West Houston Street
 

Item 12

CERTIFICATE OF APPROPRIATENESS

BOROUGH OF MANHATTAN

179049 – Block 717, lot 64

440 West 20th Street – Chelsea Historic District

An Italianate style rowhouse built in 1853-54. Application is to construct rooftop and rear yard additions.

There are sensitive ways to expand rowhouses, and we have seen many heard by this Commission, but these proposed expansions do not rise to the level of being appropriate. There is significant loss of historic fabric in the rear, including the loss of stone lintels, and we ask for a redesign that retains some of this original masonry.The rear façade has the appearance of several different projects happening simultaneously, perhaps exhibiting a lack of internal design consistency. Our committee had a hard time understanding the functional reason for extending the stair to the roof, and finds the bulkhead to be unnecessarily tall. Perhaps the stair bulkhead could come down a bit and the rear of the rooftop addition pushed back farther from the floor below, so as not to overwhelm the house.

LPC determination: Approved with modifications (work with staff to make the rooftop addition and bulkhead as minimally visible as feasible)

440 West 20th Street
 

Item 17

CERTIFICATE OF APPROPRIATENESS

BOROUGH OF MANHATTAN

184635 – Block 823, lot 37

162 Fifth Avenue – Ladies’ Mile Historic District

A Beaux-Arts style store and loft building designed by Buchman & Fox and built in 1903. Application is to install entrance infill, a marquee, and rooftop mechanical equipment.

HDC asks that more consideration be given to retaining the form of the existing canopy on the south elevation, which, if not original, has been there since at least the 1920s. The new entrance infill should work within the existing geometry found underneath the canopy that is there, which itself should be restored or replaced in kind, if need be. The proposed modern bronze canopies appear quite common, lacking distinction in comparison with the historic, utilitarian canopy. 

LPC determination: Approved

162 Fifth Avenue-existing
162 Fifth Avenue-proposed

New Research From HDC!

Posted by on Thursday, May 12, 2016 · 2 Comments 

Our brand new report examines affordable housing and historic districting for the first time. (Read More)

EMBLEM

Affordable housing dominates New York City’s public policy discourse. And for years, it’s been used as a tool to attack historic preservation efforts.

Until now.

The Historic Districts Council engaged an independent housing and planning consultant to analyze the data and get the facts.

Funded by the New York Community Trust, the result is the first-ever quantitative and peer-reviewed study of the interplay between affordable housing and historic district designation in our city.

Here’s what we discovered:

STABLE AND AFFORDABLE

Historic districts mean stable housing. Rent burden increases at a slower rate in historic districts than in the rest of the city, and tenants are almost always likelier to retain their rent subsidies.

NOT RISING RENTS

Historic districts don’t make the rent too damn high. Incomes tend to rise with rents in historic districts, and subsidized housing is built even after historic districts are designated.

Read more and spread the word:

 

Executive Summary

 

Full Report

 

Video

 

Stand by our research. Make a contribution to HDC today!

Category: Affordable Housing, Featured · Tags:

East Midtown Rezoning- List of Calendared Buildings

Posted by on Wednesday, May 11, 2016 · Leave a Comment 

Update: The Landmarks Preservation Commission (LPC) voted to calendar 12 buildings in East Midtown

The Landmarks Preservation Commission (LPC) voted on May 10, 2016 to calendar 7 buildings in East Midtown, bringing the total number of calendared properties in the area to 12. The other 5 buildings were calendared in 2013, after the city unveiled its plan to rezone the neighborhood to encourage the construction of taller office buildings. The LPC identified three eras of significance for East Midtown, all anchored by the presence of Grand Central Terminal. The 12 buildings were divided into three categories: “Pre-Grand Central Terminal”, “Terminal City” and “Post-Grand Central Terminal”.

LPC Chair Meenakshi Srivivasan announced that the 5 previously calendared buildings (Pershing Square Building, Graybar Building, Shelton Hotel, Beverly Hotel and Hotel Lexington) will be heard on July 19, 2016.

 

Click here to read more about the rezoning

Pre-Grand Central Terminal

Minnie Young Residence, 19 East 54th Street (Hiss & Weekes, 1899-1900)

Martin Erdmann Residence, 57 East 55th Street (Taylor & Levi, 1908-09)

Terminal City

18 East 41st Street (George & Edward Blum, 1912-14)

Hampton Shops Building, 18-20 East 50th Street (Rouse & Goldstone, 1915-16)

Yale Club, 50 Vanderbilt Avenue (James Gamble Rogers, 1915)

Pershing Square Building, 125 Park Avenue or 100 East 42nd Street (John Sloane with York & Sawyer, 1915-23)

Graybar Building, 420 Lexington Avenue (Sloan & Robertson, 1925-27)

400 Madison Avenue (H. Craig Severance, 1928-29)

Shelton Hotel, 525 Lexington Avenue (Arthur Loomis Harmon, 1922-24)

Beverly Hotel, 125 East 50th Street (Emery Roth & Sylvan Bien, 1926)

Lexington Hotel, 509 Lexington Avenue (Schultze & Weaver, 1928-29)

Post-Grand Central Terminal

Citicorp Center & St. Peter’s Church, 601 Lexington Avenue (Hugh A. Stubbins, Jr., Emery Roth & Sons, E. L. Barnes, 1974-78; chapel: 1977)

 

Category: east midtown rezoning, Featured, News, Newsfeed, Special Blog · Tags: , , , , , , ,

Proposed East Midtown Rezoning

Posted by on Wednesday, May 11, 2016 · 1 Comment 

Update: The Landmarks Preservation Commission (LPC) voted to calendar 12 buildings in East Midtown
Update:

The Landmarks Preservation Commission (LPC) voted on May 10, 2016 to calendar 7 buildings in East Midtown, bringing the total number of calendared properties in the area to 12. The other 5 buildings were calendared in 2013, after the city unveiled its plan to rezone the neighborhood to encourage the construction of taller office buildings. The LPC identified three eras of significance for East Midtown, all anchored by the presence of Grand Central Terminal. The 12 buildings were divided into three categories: “Pre-Grand Central Terminal”, “Terminal City” and “Post-Grand Central Terminal”.

LPC Chair Meenakshi Srivivasan announced that the 5 previously calendared buildings (Pershing Square Building, Graybar Building, Shelton Hotel, Beverly Hotel and Hotel Lexington) will be heard on July 19, 2016.

HDC is pleased that the LPC has acted to recognize some of the important buildings in this area prior to any city action that might place additional development pressures on structures currently built to their allowable bulk. This is a good model for how planning should work in this historic metropolis. We are very disappointed, however, by the seeming disregard the agency has for the area’s non-designated Midcentury Modern office buildings. There are several in the area of exceptional quality – and New York City’s architectural patrimony would be better served if the LPC became involved in their stewardship and preservation.

Click here to view the 12 calendared buildings 

Update:

On November 12, 2013 City Council Speaker Christine Quinn and Council member Dan Garodnick announced that they would not support the current rezoning proposal for Midtown East. After the joint announcement the Bloomberg Administration withdrew the East Midtown Rezoning proposal. As a result the proposal will go through a more through review and the many questions surrounding the rezoning will hopefully be filtered out. For more information about see our blog post 

Update:

The Landmarks Preservation Commission released their own list of 31 buildings that are eligible for individual landmark status. HDC along with the New York Landmarks Conservancy and the Municipal Arts Society proudly support this list. To read the letter sent to the LPC Chair Robert Tierney click here. The map below reflects the new list of 31 buildings.

 

Historic Districts Council Identifies 33 Potential Landmark Buildings in East Midtown Rezoning Proposal

Click here to view the gallery of buildings. 

Click here to view full map 

 

7-18-2013-cropped

As the New York City Department of City Planning moves forward in the coming months with its proposal to rezone a large section of East Midtown to encourage taller buildings, the Historic Districts Council has compiled a list of significant buildings in the area that could be endangered by the rezoning. The Historic Districts Council is the citywide advocate for New York City’s historic districts and buildings meriting preservation.

“As New York’s most prominent business district, East Midtown is home to many significant commercial buildings,” according to Simeon Bankoff, Executive Director of the Historic Districts Council. “While there is certainly room for exciting and needed new development in the area, it is important to consider the numerous unprotected buildings of architectural and historic significance in order to preserve the essential character and history of the district,” said Bankoff.

In fall 2012, the Historic Districts Council surveyed the entire area proposed for rezoning to identify East Midtown’s architecturally and historically significant buildings worthy of consideration for landmark status. The survey tours were led by members of the Board of Directors of the Historic Districts Council, architects and architectural historians and attended by representatives of Manhattan’s Community Board 5, who contributed invaluable knowledge about buildings at risk. The result was a list of almost 80 significant buildings for City Planning to consider as part of its environmental review of the project. Historic Districts Council has further refined the list to 33 buildings worthy of New York City Individual Landmark designation, and has prepared official Requests for Evaluation to be submitted to the Landmarks Preservation Commission for each of these 33 buildings.

The buildings represent the area’s rich range of architecture: remaining 19th and early 20th century buildings that recall the residential, pre-Grand Central days of the area, hotels and office buildings that rose around Grand Central soon after its completion in 1913, and post-World War II modernist office buildings that helped solidify the district’s status as one of the world’s premier business addresses. “Together they tell the story of a transformative period in New York City history,” according to Françoise Bollack, a New York City architect and President of the Historic Districts Council.

The extent to which the East Midtown Rezoning proposal would increase the density of central Manhattan is illustrated in a map of the area created by the Historic Districts Council. Proposed rezoning boundaries are overlaid on the map of existing and proposed landmarks. The map shows that a majority of the proposed rezoning area would be unchallenged for development. Thumbnail photographs accompanying the map show the 33 buildings that the Historic Districts Council is proposing for landmark protection, with their address, date of construction, architect, and built and proposed FARs.  For a complete list of identified buildings including images and descriptions, go to http://hdc.org/hdc-across-nyc/manhattan/proposed-east-midtown-rezoning-proposed-individual-landmarks.

 

Category: east midtown rezoning, News, Newsfeed · Tags: , , , , , , ,

HDC@LPC – Testimony for LPC Hearing on May 3, 2016

Posted by on Wednesday, May 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 2
CERTIFICATE OF APPROPRIATENESS
BOROUGH OF BROOKLYN
180771- Block 190, lot 38-
247 Dean Street – Boerum Hill Historic District
A modified Italianate style rowhouse designed by John Doherty and Michael Murray and built in 1852-53. Application is to construct a rear yard addition.
As placing a veneer of brick on the front facade of this house would likely not be permissible, we ask that the same standard be applied to the rear. Rather than cover the 1850s brick, strip the paint and repoint it, and keep this original feature legible.
247 Dean Street
 LPC determination: Approved
Item 3
CERTIFICATE OF APPROPRIATENESS
BOROUGH OF BROOKLYN
181429- Block 43, lot 7-
75 Gold Street – Vinegar Hill Historic District
A rowhouse built between 1841 and 1850. Application is to construct a rear yard addition and modify a window opening.
This is an opportunity to harmonize the rhythm of the rear. While the existing openings on this rear facade were a peculiar choice, the proposal before us could do much better to ameliorate this alteration.
75 Gold existing
75 Gold proposed
LPC determination: Approved w/mods
Item 4
CERTIFICATE OF APPROPRIATENESS
BOROUGH OF BROOKLYN
183160- Block 1959, lot 18-
407 Clermont Avenue – Fort Greene Historic District
An Italianate style rowhouse designed by Thomas B. Jackson and built in 1866. Application is to construct rooftop and rear yard additions.
With such a large addition to this untouched house, HDC finds a two story addition more appropriate. Further, the third story’s high and solid parapet obscures the reading of the only original openings on the top floor of the rear facade and chops them in half. As a total composition, a brick treatment would fare much better than a dismal stucco, which has a hulking appearance amidst its neighbors.
407 Clermont existing
407 Clermont proposed
LPC determination: Approved
Item 6
CERTIFICATE OF APPROPRIATENESS
BOROUGH OF BROOKLYN
162804- Block 1669, lot 72-
221 MacDonough Street – Stuyvesant Heights Historic District
A rowhouse built in 1872. Application is to construct rooftop and rear yard additions.
While it could be a rendering discrepancy, HDC noticed that the dentils present in the tax photograph are missing in the proposed new cornice, and we ask that this detail be present to ensure continuity of this row, as this house is one of fourteen. 
Regarding the rooftop addition, the honesty of the visibility studies speaks for itself–it will be extremely visible, not only from the street corner but also from the playground, which offers broad views into the Stuyvesant Heights historic district.
221 MacDonough cornice
221 MacDonough visibility
LPC determination: Approved w/ mods
Item 7
CERTIFICATE OF APPROPRIATENESS
BOROUGH OF BROOKLYN
173102- Block 1066, lot 57-
929 President Street – Park Slope Historic District
A neo-Grec style rowhouse built in 1886. Application is to construct rooftop and rear yard additions.
As this accretion will provide access to a roof deck, the roof deck and its railings on top of the proposed addition are excessive, not to mention too visible. The material should also be reconsidered; the aluminum will be a glaring interruption, especially considering it is introducing itself as the first rooftop outcropping on this untouched block. 
929 Preident Street proposed
LPC determination: Approved w/mods
Item 8
CERTIFICATE OF APPROPRIATENESS
BOROUGH OF BROOKLYN
181003- Block 1100, lot 1-
419 7th Avenue – Park Slope Historic District
A flats building with stores designed by John Dennin Hall and built c. 1884, with later alterations. Application is to re-clad the existing rooftop addition.
Not to argue in any way that the 1999 outcropping is at all invisible, but there is something to be said about its current treatment appearing secondary to the street experience of the brick building which serves as its base. That said, cladding the entire 1999 addition in brick seems like an expensive, bad idea. The building, and the district would better be served by stuccoing this looming hulk in a beige matching the trim of the brick building and installing more attractive windows. This will diminish its size, appearance, and play up the historic building at a pedestrian level. 
419 7th Ave existing
419 7th Ave proposed
LPC determination: Approved
Item 9
CERTIFICATE OF APPROPRIATENESS
BOROUGH OF MANHATTAN
177258- Block 142, lot 7-
37 Harrison Street – Individual Landmark 
A Federal style townhouse built c. 1828. Application is to reconstruct a rear porch.
The Harrison Street houses are known for their craftsman-like attention to detail, yet somehow the proposed porch doesn’t emulate this quality. While its size isn’t an issue, it seems that the folly here is that traditional materials are being used in a modern way, and HDC found this porch to appear too heavy on this Federal house. Even though it is in the rear, what is approved today will pave the way in the future to justify its inevitable next intervention. With that in mind, we ask for a different design. 
37 Harrison Street
LPC determination: Approved w/mods
Item 12
CERTIFICATE OF APPROPRIATENESS
BOROUGH OF MANHATTAN
169436- Block 520, lot 43-
21 1/2 King Street – Charlton-King-Vandam Historic District
A Greek Revival style rowhouse built in 1846. Application is to modify the rear faзade, raise the parapet and construct a rooftop addition.
No wonder factions of this city view landmarked properties as an enemy to affordable housing when proposals like this are before us. It is ironic that the tenement–once a symbol of the squalid and poor, has now become the tenemansion.
These buildings, once deplored, now represent so much of our collective understanding of the evolution of urban housing, not to mention reform. To that end, rooftop additions do not belong on a 5 story tenement. This block is such an intact picture of history, especially with this tenement row abutting the low-rise federals on the end. Raising the parapet skews the original building’s profile and does nothing to diminish the bulk on its roof. Regarding the rear, the picture windows are unprecedented on this building type, not to mention on designated buildings. In the end, it’s still just a tenement, and it should read as such.  
21.5 King St front
21.5 King St rear
LPC determination: Approved w/mods
Item 13
CERTIFICATE OF APPROPRIATENESS
BOROUGH OF MANHATTAN
182648- Block 487, lot 16-
391-393 West Broadway – SoHo-Cast Iron Historic District
A warehouse building designed by John B. Snook & Sons and built in 1889-90. Application is to establish a Master Plan governing the future installation of painted wall signs.
It wasn’t clear to HDC how this sign before us deviated from the rules, with a new proliferation of painted wall signs before the Commission in recent months, we ask that these painted advertisements rely as closely as possible to the LPC rules.
391 West Bway
LPC determination: Approved w/ mods
Item 16
CERTIFICATE OF APPROPRIATENESS
BOROUGH OF MANHATTAN
182727- Block 496, lot 7-
91 Crosby Street – SoHo-Cast Iron Extension Historic District
A Renaissance Revival style store and factory building designed by Neville & Bagge, built in 1894-95, and altered in 1897-98 by Louis Entzer. Application is to construct rooftop bulkheads.
HDC feels that just as the commission implores applicants to retain fire shutters whenever possible, we feel the same argument can be applied to the preservation of this water tower. It wasn’t evident from reviews of the roof plan that its removal was compulsory, and this tank’s presence speaks to a past industrial use, endemic and essential to the history and feel of SoHo.
91 Crosby
LPC determination: Approved
Item 17
CERTIFICATE OF APPROPRIATENESS
BOROUGH OF MANHATTAN
183981- Block 459, lot 18-
64 East 4th Street – East Village/Lower East Side Historic District
A Greek Revival style rowhouse with neo-Grec style elements built in 1832-33 and altered in 1873 and again in the late 20th century. Application is to construct a two-story extension on the front faзade and install signage.
The key to this proposal’s success is determining how the inside will look from the outside, as there is a large amount of glazing. We ask that the applicant furnish this rendering to the Commission. We found the use of steel not employed at its best: steel could be used here to make the divisions in glazing much more delicate, rather than heavy. As the centerlines of the windows in the stories above have been removed for some time, it didn’t make sense to us to continue these verticals down to the storefront. Maybe there is a different way of making the new storefront referential to the above stories, but it does not read well in its current configuration. 
64 E 4 existing
64 E 4 propsoed
LPC determination: Approved
Item 18
CERTIFICATE OF APPROPRIATENESS
BOROUGH OF MANHATTAN
181919- Block 824, lot 32-
7 West 22nd Street – Ladies’ Mile Historic District
A neo-Renaissance style store and loft building designed by James Barnes Baker and built in 1900-01. Application is to replace windows.
HDC found the replacement of the special windows on the ninth floor problematic.  The existing and proposed clearly shows what a difference this intervention will make, and we strongly suggest the retention and repair of original windows whenever possible.
7 west 22nd St
LPC determination: Approved
Item 19
CERTIFICATE OF APPROPRIATENESS
BOROUGH OF MANHATTAN
183706- Block 818, lot 51-
114 Fifth Avenue – Ladies’ Mile Historic District
A neo-Renaissance style office and loft building designed by Maynicke & Franke and built in 1909. Application is to install signage.
HDC ad-libbed from Jack Taylor’s letter explaining how illumination on these types of signs are not allowed in this district, according to a 2001 LPC rule change.
114 Fifth Avenue
LPC determination: Denied
Item 20
CERTIFICATE OF APPROPRIATENESS
BOROUGH OF MANHATTAN
181012- Block 1267, lot 22-
75 Rockefeller Plaza – Individual Landmark
An office tower, designed by Robert Carson and Earl Lundin, with Wallace Harrison, and built in 1946 as part of an Art Deco-style office, commercial and entertainment complex. Application is to construct an addition at the 10th and 11th floors.
It goes without saying that this site is one of the most iconic architectural destinations in New York City and the world. As HDC testified against rooftop additions on One Wall Street: it is hard to imagine needing more square footage on a skyscraper of this size—but here it is, again. It is absurd that rooftop additions have spread from rowhouse blocks to individually landmarked skyscrapers and that the carefully intended massing of the Rockefeller Center Complex will be haphazardly altered for more square footage. Even worse, this addition will obscure and interrupt the uniform window treatments and ornate spandrel panels of the skyscraper, and it will be highly visible. 
These buildings encapsulate a well-loved style and era, and this application proposes to dispose of it with an exigency of the tasteless now. 
Rockefeller
Rockefeller existing
LPC determination: No Action
Item 21
CERTIFICATE OF APPROPRIATENESS
BOROUGH OF MANHATTAN
275 Madison Avenue
172897- Block 869, lot 54-Madison Avenue – Individual Landmark
An Art Deco style skyscraper designed by Kenneth Franzheim and built in 1930-31. Application is to replace a door.
As we are losing a feature that works quite well with the building, what is replacing it should be more appropriate than what is being proposed. Since the sidelights are going away to increase the width of the door, there needs to be some type of framing for these doors, as the wide glass is an interruption to all of the Art Deco geometry surrounding it.
275 Madison
LPC determination: Approved w/mods
Item 22
CERTIFICATE OF APPROPRIATENESS
BOROUGH OF MANHATTAN
181266- Block 1459, lot 1-
401-409 East 64th Street – Individual Landmark
A group of model tenement buildings designed by James E. Ware & Sons and built in 1898-1915. Application is to establish a master plan governing the future replacement of windows.
The windows proposed here lack any profile, and don’t do justice to this building, especially considering another landmark model tenement, the Cherokee, recently had all of its windows replaced in wood, in its original configuration. The poor condition of the wood can likely be attributed to poor maintenance, as the owner of this structure never planned to have the complex persist into the future.
City And Suburban windows
LPC determination: Approved w/mods
Item 24
CERTIFICATE OF APPROPRIATENESS
BOROUGH OF MANHATTAN
182750- Block 1379, lot 16-
25 East 64th Street – Upper East Side Historic District
An Italianate style rowhouse designed by John G. Prague, built in 1879-80 and altered in 1919 and 1926. Application is to construct a rooftop elevator bulkhead.
The proposed bulkhead is simply too visible to be appropriate.  We wonder if an hydraulic elevator that would not require this kind of bulkhead could be put installed rather than the type proposed, which would help reduce the size. 
25 East 64
LPC determination: Approved
Item 26
CERTIFICATE OF APPROPRIATENESS
BOROUGH OF MANHATTAN
182845- Block 1388, lot 7501-
923 Fifth Avenue – Upper East Side Historic District
An apartment building designed by Sylvan Bien and built in 1949-51. Application is to modify masonry openings and install railings and awnings setback.
This building has a regular window pattern. While this building is not particularly attractive in terms of its contribution to the historic district, changing the windows on just one floor on a primary façade which faces Central Park and Fifth Avenue seems like a further blight.
923 Fifth
LPC determination: Approved w/mods
Item 27
CERTIFICATE OF APPROPRIATENESS
BOROUGH OF STATEN ISLAND
160758- Block 70, lot 24-
806 Richmond Terrace – Individual Landmark
A Federal style house built c. 1770 with later additions. Application is to alter dormers, replace windows, and construct rooftop and rear yard additions.
This house is one of the few large pre-Revolutionary country houses still standing in New York City. While the front façade will be left intact, the rest of the house will be altered in ways not suitable for any Individual Landmark, let alone one built while our country was still a British colony. As this is a free standing house, the argument that there is a secondary façade doesn’t work here, as each façade is visible and has significant and historic features. While it may be possible to determine a more regular dormer arrangement in the rear, this would require a preservation strategy, not a demolition strategy as is being proposed. The enormous holes in the roof for skylights should be removed, and no historic, pedimented dormer should be removed from the roof.
Richmond Terrace existingRichmond Terrace proposed
LPC determination: Approved

Category: HDC@LPC · Tags:

Yorkville: A Celebration of Home

Posted by on Thursday, April 28, 2016 · Leave a Comment 

YorkvilleEventGraphic-Brochure_MM-LR

$15  friends / members, $20 non-members
To register, click here.

Performance by the Czech puppetry demonstration with the Czech American Marionette Theatre

Speakers include:

Majda Kallab Whitaker – Independent scholar and cultural historian contributing to the development of the Dvořák Room at Bohemian National Hall, a Board Member of the Dvořák American Heritage Association and the Bohemian Benevolent & Literary Association

Alexandra Kelly – Manager of Outreach Services and Adult Programming at the New York Public Library, and developer and director of the NYPL’s Community Oral History Project

Edward Kasinec – Born and reared in the post-war Czech, Slovak and Rusyn communities of Yorkville, serves as a Research Scholar at the Harriman Institute, Columbia University and since 2015 as Visiting Fellow at the Hoover Institution, Stanford University

Thomas Pryor – A native Yorkville resident, storyteller and author of I Hate the Dallas Cowboys – tales of a scrappy New York boyhood

Peter Walsh – Longtime Irish resident of Yorkville, writer, and musician

Irene Mergl – A lifelong Yorkville resident and member of the Sokol Hall, where she serves as 1st Vice President and Historian

Vít Hořejš – Co-founder of the Czechoslovak-American Marionette Theatre, who showcases traditional Czech marionettes, many of which were discovered in Yorkville’s Jan Hus Presbyterian Church

Gregory Dietrich – preservation consultant and proprietor of Gregory Dietrich Preservation Consulting, graduate of Columbia University’s Historic Preservation program, and an Advisor to the Historic Districts Council

 

Co-Sponsored by the Friends of the Upper East Side Historic Districts

This program is supported, in part, by public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council and Council Member Benjamin Kallos.

Category: Event · Tags:

HDC@LPC – Testimony for LPC Hearing on April 19, 2016

Posted by on Thursday, April 21, 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 1
CERTIFICATE OF APPROPRIATENESS
BOROUGH OF QUEENS
180907- Block 148, lot 63-
39-54 48th Street – Sunnyside Gardens Historic District

A rowhouse with Colonial Revival style details, designed by Clarence Stein, Henry Wright and Frederick Ackerman and built in 1925. Application is to legalize replacement of roofing, the installation of a deck and paving without Landmarks Preservation Commission permit(s), and to alter the entrance.

Upon completion, Sunnyside Gardens came with built-in design guidelines in the form of 40-year preservation covenants, which preserved open space and fostered awareness of architectural qualities. When these covenants expired in the 1960s, alterations arrived and began diminishing the special character of the planned community. Responding to these changes, the City implemented Sunnyside as a Special Planned Community Preservation District to curb further alterations in 1974. In 2007, the area was designated an official NYC Historic District, adding another layer of protection to the neighborhood by regulating the exteriors of its buildings.  It is with this long history of regulation in mind that HDC respectfully asks for these illegal alterations to be denied.

Sunnyside

LPC determination: approved w/mods

 

Item 3
CERTIFICATE OF APPROPRIATENESS
BOROUGH OF BROOKLYN
182034- Block 149, lot 75-
9 Dekalb Avenue – Individual Landmark and Interior Landmark

A neo-Classical style bank building with a designated banking hall designed by Mowbray & Uffinger, built in 1906-08, and enlarged and altered by Halsey, McCormack & Helmer in 1931-32. Application is to alter the designated interior and exterior, demolish a portion of the building and construct a new building partially on the Landmark site.

The designation report describes this landmark interior as a “large, uninterrupted banking room interior surmounted by a central skylight.” HDC found it inappropriate, therefore, that the banking counters are treated as interruptions. These fixtures are made of marble and have ornate grillework–they are complete works of art in themselves and not made to be taken apart and assembled somewhere else. They should not be removed.
 
When this plan was designed, it was not viewed as losing one third of square footage to the counters as the applicant argues. If the floor area was indeed too small, it would have been designed as a larger space, but it wasn’t. What’s more, there will be a 1,066 foot tower using part of this landmark site to fulfill its design, so there is plenty of room in the tower for retail or any other of the applicant’s needs. Interior Landmarks enjoy the same protection as any other type of landmark, and they are rare, with only 117 in the entire city. Yet, here again is a proposal to destroy and remove designated, significant features. This is supposed to be an example of one of the most notable interiors of a bank in the City. How will it read that way if the things that made it a bank are discarded?

9 Dekalb counters

9 Dekalb

LPC determination: approved w/mods

 

Item 8
CERTIFICATE OF APPROPRIATENESS
BOROUGH OF MANHATTAN
183418- Block 41, lot 1-
70 Pine Street – Individual Landmark and Interior Landmark

An Art Deco style skyscraper designed by Clinton and Russell, and Holton and George and built in 1932, with an Art Deco style lobby. Application is to establish a Master Plan governing the future installation of signage.

HDC found the blade signage excessive. The street grid is tight, and the streets are narrow in Lower Manhattan, diminishing the need for so many signs. Also, with shops in the bottom of this skyscraper, the building itself is an advertisement. Finally, clunky signs on the corners of Art Deco masterpieces are not encouraged, neither are poking holes into the limestone to hold them up.

70 Pine

LPC determination: NO ACTION

 

Item 9
CERTIFICATE OF APPROPRIATENESS
BOROUGH OF MANHATTAN
182967- Block 717, lot 46-
404 West 20th Street – Chelsea Historic District

A Federal era rowhouse building with Greek Revival style alterations built in 1829-30. Application is to construct additions and excavate the rear yard.

When reviewing this application, we had to wonder: does this applicant even like old houses? That said, there are a number of issues which puzzled us as to why this house was purchased, as it is being destroyed.
 
This is the oldest house in the Chelsea Historic District. This late Federal house has a rare feature, which is an alleyway with original clapboard from 1830, leaving a space between the house and the CPH Gilbert flats building next door. This “non-compliant side yard”, as it has been billed, has been here for 186 years, and there is nothing more innappropriate than filling in a rare feature with a brick wall, as it is proposed.
 
This house has been around long enough to be updated in both the Italianate and Greek Revival styles, all working with the house itself. Thus, the structure is preserved in its original Federal envelope, complete with its pitched roof. This current intervention in this house’s life will preserve nothing—the entire rear and roof are being blown out. The rear of this block is clearly visible through the block from two vantage points, and all of the houses in this row are currently flush with one another. This enormous addition and its glass will be visible from everywhere, and will successfully destroy the rhythm and proportions of the block, while its early 19th century fabric is discarded. Once again, a Federal house is too small for the desired square footage of its owner, and HDC hopes that these desires do not trump the oldest house in the district.

404 W 20 existing

404 W 20 proposed

404 W 20 rear

LPC determination: NO ACTION

 

Item 13
CERTIFICATE OF APPROPRIATENESS
BOROUGH OF MANHATTAN
171554- Block 829, lot 22-
1165 Broadway – Madison Square North Historic District

A Beaux-Arts style store and office building designed by Maynicke & Franke and built in 1906-07. Application is to install storefront and entrance infill, install lighting and replace windows.

HDC asks that the storefront configuration be consistent—we noticed the presence of bulkheads on Broadway, but there was a patch missing on 27th Street. Overall this is an improvement, but we ask for a better treatment of the entrance lobby in a more historic, less glassy configuration. The standard, all glass doors should especially be reconsidered.

1165 Bway existing

1165 Bway proposed

LPC determination: approved

 

Item 12
CERTIFICATE OF APPROPRIATENESS
BOROUGH OF MANHATTAN
183419- Block 1335, lot 5-
320 East 43rd Street – Individual Landmark and Interior Landmark

A Modern style office building designed by Eero Saarinen Associates, later Kevin Roche John Dinkeloo Associates, and built in 1963-67. Application is to modify hardscape and planting areas at the garden; install a barrier-free access lift; install security cameras and A/V equipment; modify existing windows and doors; and install new doors.

In so many cases under review, HDC and the Commission laments the loss of original features of a landmark. We see elements like doors, cornices, and storefronts recreated as best as possible from grainy photographs, and often, we can only speculate on how something may have looked.
 
At the Ford Foundation, time has been kind. With the exception of the plantings, this space has remained intact since its 1967 completion. It is with that in mind that we stress that the retention of original features must be paramount. An approval today can easily be a regret a generation from now.  The original bronze doors which are not ADA compliant: is there a way to make them power operated instead of merely throwing them away? Has every option been explored to try and save them?
 
The planters are an original design feature and designated as part of the interior landmark. These objects were inserted above grade almost as a foreshadowing to the garden enclosure that is just steps beyond them and were meant to be permanent, which is why they are anchored into the floor. Their removal is unjustified, as they are currently ADA compliant.
 
The interplay of the outside with the inside is a hallmark of Modernist design, and the Ford Foundation’s atrium, as a twist, brings the outside to the inside with its indoor landscaped vegetation. Luring the passerby inside, the tiled pavers used on the interior of the building continue through the curtain wall onto 42nd Street, melding together pedestrian and garden. If one follows the tiles and approaches the glass façade, the interior garden is revealed, with plantings abutting the majority of the 42nd Street façade. This important feature will be eliminated in this proposal, replacing the plantings along the glass with paving. This pathway is an inappropriate intervention to an interior landmark, and an accessible design should incorporate existing pathways instead of inserting one at the focal point of interaction between the street and the garden.
 
It can be a challenge to update an historic design to modern accessibility standards, but we are certain that this skillful team is up to it. The alternative, and what is proposed, risks losing the deliberate and protected sense of place.

Ford existing

Ford proposed

LPC determination: approved w/mods
 Item 13
CERTIFICATE OF APPROPRIATENESS
BOROUGH OF MANHATTAN
180251- Block 1322, lot 18-
241 East 48th Street – Turtle Bay Gardens Historic District

A rowhouse built in 1860-61 and redesigned by Clarence Dean in 1920-23. Application is to replace windows and construct rooftop and rear yard additions.

Regarding the rooftop addition, it should not be visible from the street or up the block. This rowhouse terminates with a pediment, an unusual feature, and this form should read clean against the sky. Perhaps a flat roof would work better. In the rear, the Committee found the fenestration inconsistent with the historic district itself. While the glass at the garden level is appropriate, the parlor level should retain its punched openings and thick cheek walls. This aesthetic is more palatable for the interior block, which does share a common garden area for which this district was designated.

turle facade proposed

turtle rear proposed

LPC determination: approved w/mods

 

Item 16
CERTIFICATE OF APPROPRIATENESS
BOROUGH OF MANHATTAN
174541- Block 1218, lot 36-
570-572 Columbus Avenue – Upper West Side/Central Park West Historic District

A Renaissance Revival style apartment building with Romanesque style elements designed by Jacob H. Valentine and built in 1893-1894.  Application is to install storefront infill.

As the original storefront is long gone, this space could easily be perceived as a blank slate, which is what HDC initially thought. Upon closer examination, it is clear that there are many historic elements that exist here, which should be preserved. On the 88th Street façade, there are rounded arched window surrounds above blind windows as well as rough-cut ashlar, surmounted by a terra-cotta dentilled cornice, and we are glad to know that these features will remain.  On Columbus Avenue, there is a Moderne recessed entry, complete with black paneling, mosaic step and curved glass. A creative and handsome storefront awaits, and we implore the Commission to ask for a re-design which incorporates these noted features.

columbus curved

columbus proposed

LPC determination: approved w/mods

 

Item 17
CERTIFICATE OF APPROPRIATENESS
BOROUGH OF MANHATTAN
176929- Block 1493, lot 69-
1009 Fifth Avenue – Individual Landmark

A Beaux-Arts style mansion designed by Welch, Smith & Provot and built in 1899-1901. Application is to alter the areaway.

HDC applauds the retention of the moat, a significant architectural feature once commonplace, which has become rare.  The Committee recalled two other landmarked buildings with moats, the Dakota and Evelyn (101 West 78th Street), which have survived with their cast-iron railings unadulterated. We ask that a more elegant solution be found here for the railing treatment, or even better, if it can be left alone completely. 

1009 5th Ave

LPC determination: approved w/mods

 

Category: HDC@LPC · Tags:

2016 Six to Celebrate Tours

Posted by on Monday, April 11, 2016 · Leave a Comment 

Yorkville/UES- May 15; Audubon Park – June 16; Crown Hts S. P1- June 23 Crown Hts S. P2- June 25

 

FB Banner Updated

Go to our Six to Celebrate website for more information on our

2016 Six to Celebrate walking tours

Category: Featured, Program & Events, Six to Celebrate, Walking Tour · Tags:

Thanks for Visiting

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