Yorkville: A Celebration of Home

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$15  friends / members, $20 non-members
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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.

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

Preservation in the News

History in the taking! Landmarks OKs Park Slope Historic District expansion, but preservationists want more

“It took a long time but we’re pleased its finally happened,” said Simon Bankoff of preservation advocacy group the Historic Districts Council, which championed the plan primarily driven by the Park Slope Civic Council. “We look forward to the rest of Park Slope being protected.”

Click here to read the whole article


Pepsi-Cola Sign in Queens Gains Landmark Status


Brooklyn Daily Eagle By:Lore Croghan

The renowned preservationist told the city Landmarks Preservation Commission (LPC) at a hearing Thursday that officials at the celebrated 19th-Century cemetery do an outstanding job of caring for the historic 478-acre graveyard.

He questioned whether it would be a wise use of  the agency’s limited resources to monitor the preservationist efforts of this institution with its history of impeccable behavior.

Click here to read the whole article


 

New owner shells out $20M for Williamsburgh Savings Bank retail with plan to attract major brand to iconic Brooklyn tower

NEW YORK DAILY NEWS BY KATHERINE CLARKE

 

“The interior of the space is truly fantastic,” said Simeon Bankoff of the Historic Districts Council. “It’s this glorious cathedral to thrift. A lot of very successful retail spaces operate out of landmarked buildings — like Grand Central Terminal. I’m excited that people will actually be using this space again.”

Click here to read the whole article

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Frick Museum Abandons Contested Renovation Plan

NY Times By 

The Frick Collection has yielded.

Facing a groundswell of opposition to a proposed renovation that would have eliminated a gated garden to make way for a six-story addition, the museum — long admired for its intimate scale — has decided to abandon those plans and start over from scratch.

“It just became clear to us that it wasn’t going to work,” said a museum official who spoke on the condition of anonymity because the board had not yet made the decision final with a vote.

Click here to read the whole article

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Revisiting Brooklyn’s Abandoned Admiral’s Row Before It’s Gone

Curbed by Nathan Kensinger

Many abandoned landmarks around the city have been swept up in the current development boom, and Admiral’s Row, while never declared an official New York landmark, is part of this wave of projects. The Brooklyn Navy Yard Development Corporation announced in May that almost all of the 11 structures along the row would be replaced with a 74,000-square-foot Wegmans grocery store, the first in New York City. For community activists, it is the end of a long battle, with no reprieve in sight.

Click here to read the whole article

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What’s Next for New York City’s Many Abandoned Landmarks?

Curbed by Nathan Kensinger

The landmarking process, however, does not guarantee a permanent safe harbor for buildings, and over the years many designees have been lost to decay, demolition, and legal maneuvering. Today, a surprising number of official New York City landmarks are abandoned, having been left to rot for decades, and are in danger of becoming victims of demolition by neglect.

Click here to read the whole article

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Despite cries of foul, Seaport building appears headed for the wrecking ball

Downtown Express

Because of the Tin’s precarious state, Hughes had proposed carefully dismantling it and restoring it close to its original state, so the latest news presumably should not change those plans, although not everyone is sure.

“It seems clear to me that the reason the Landmarks application for the Tin Building is not proceeding is because E.D.C. is intending to demolish both it and the New Market building,” Simeon Bankoff, executive director of the Historic Districts Council, wrote in an email to Downtown Express. “The people making decisions are acting in bad faith with regard to the public process and the historic buildings of the Seaport.”

His group, Community Board 1’s Seaport Committee, Save Our Seaport, and others have recently signed onto a draft letter to Mayor de Blasio criticizing the overall Seaport process for ”an egregious absence of transparency.”

Click here to read the whole article

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Howard Hughes: Here Comes The Tower

The fight that preservationists and Seaport residents have undertaken to stop the Howard Hughes Corporation’s plan to build a 494-foot hotel/condo tower has just suffered what appears to be a major setback, as the city has declared that two buildings that were part ofthe old Fulton Fish Market, the New Market Building and the landmarked Tin Building, are in danger of collapsing and must be demolished. Efforts to stop the development have, up until this point, focused on the preservation of those two buildings, but now that the Economic Development Corp. has issued a statement saying that they “are supported by piles that have deteriorated to the point that they cannot hold the structures above it,” they could be razed next month.

Click here to read the whole article

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Julian Niccolini on the Future of the Four Seasons Restaurant

Forbes by Karla Alindahao

One of New York’s legendary restaurants—the Four Seasons—is in its last season at the Seagram Building. This spring, real estate mogul Aby Rosen, who owns the iconic Mies van der Rohe tower (which has been home to the restaurant since it opened in 1959) filed plans to renovate the Philip Johnson-designed space with the local Landmarks Committee—without informing Four Seasons owners Julian Niccolini and Alex von Bidder.

Click here to read the whole article

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Council bill would give landmarks agency something new: deadlines

Legislation aims to prevent commission from keeping properties in limbo for decades

Crain’s New York By 

Should the bill pass, it would require the commission to hold a hearing on a structure or property within 180 days of receiving a request to consider it for historic status. The commission would then have another 180 days to vote. If an entire district is being considered, the commission would have a total of two years to make a call. In each case, if no action were taken, the property or district would be removed from the list and could not be resubmitted for five years.

Click here to read the whole article

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 Simeon Bankoff: Taking the Context out of Contextual Zoning

City Land

Since their introduction almost 25 years ago, many communities across New York City have looked to contextual zoning to help protect the character of their neighborhoods and encourage appropriate new development which enhances where they call home. These are not fly-by-night efforts; frequently volunteers spend years in meetings with community stakeholders and decision-makers, carefully crafting zoning regulations which correspond with the existing built neighborhood.  More often than not, professional planners and consultants are hired to guide the process, facilitate collaboration with all stakeholders and work with the Department of City Planning to determine if local plans can align with the agency’s citywide mandate.

Click here to read the whole article

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‘Citywide Rezoning Plan Would Benefit Developers, Hurt Neighborhoods’

 

Gotham Gazette by Andrew Berman

The mayor’s ‘Zoning for Quality and Affordability’ plan is not without good points, and its stated goals are worthy of support. But substantial modifications are needed to protect neighborhood character and benefit average New Yorkers before it can live up to its lofty premise, and before it should be considered for adoption.

Click here to read the whole article

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‘Zoning Changes Made in Haste Makes For Bad Government’

 

Sixteen years ago, the Chelsea Plan became a reality. It took years of grinding effort to accomplish. The idea began with Rowena Doyel, founder of the Council of Chelsea Block Associations, and Ed Kirkland, Chair of Community Board 4’s Chelsea Planning and Preservation Committee (now called the Chelsea Land Use Committee), and the originator of the (now-disbanded) Landmarks Committee. Tom Duane, then a CB4 member and Co-chair with Kirkland, was tireless in his efforts to guide the Plan to success.

Click here to read the whole article

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‘Zoning Process Too Fast For CB4’

 

“This is a citywide initiative that is being rammed through with not enough time to make even the most basic consideration of what [the department] should be studying,” Compton said.

Click here to read the whole article

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Record $71.9 million spent on lobbying New York City officials in 2014: report

Power players are spending more cash than ever to influence city government officials through lobbying, a new city report shows.

Lobbyists brought in $71.9 million to target city government in 2014, a record high, according to the report by the city clerk’s office covering the first year since Mayor de Blasio and the new City Council took office.

Click here to read the whole article

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Woodlawn group fights for historical district status

News 12 Bronx

One Bronx neighborhood has made the Historic District Council’s “Six to Celebrate” list.

Woodlawn, which sits in the north central part of the borough, is full of history that many don’t know about. It’s an old neighborhood that started as a community as a direct result of Woodlawn Cemetery.

The group Women of Woodlawn is behind getting Woodlawn chosen for the “Six to Celebrate” program as it strives toward getting the neighborhood recognized for its rich history.

Click here to read the whole article and watch the video of the Women of Woodlawn being interviewed

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Op-Ed: No Tower on the Seaport

Strausmedia BY MARGARET CHIN AND GALE BREWER

The mayor said: “We are not embarking on a mission to build towering skyscrapers where they don’t belong. We have a duty to protect and preserve the culture and character of our neighborhoods, and we will do so.”

That’s exactly the point we’ve made in our forceful opposition to the inappropriate 494-foot residential tower that the Howard Hughes Corporation has proposed to build in the heart of the South Street Seaport, one of the city’s most uniquely historic areas. While we’re committed to revitalizing the neighborhood, it’s true that we have a duty to protect the historic fabric of the Seaport—a low-rise area ever since it became active three centuries ago—from this kind of irresponsible development proposal.

Chin is the City Council member representing District 1 in Lower Manhattan; Brewer is the Manhattan borough president.

Click here to read the whole article

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Next TREASURES OF NEW YORK to Mark 50th Anniversary of NYC Landmarks Law, 2/3

On the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the Landmarks Law, the hour-long documentary Treasures of New York: The Landmarks Preservation Movement, premiering on Tuesday, February 3 at 7 p.m. on WLIW21 and Sunday, February 8 at 8 p.m. on THIRTEEN, will explore the history and the future of the wide-scale preservation efforts of New York City’s Landmark Commission to protect thousands of culturally and historically significant sites.

Click here to read the whole article

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Park Avenue Is About to Get Something It Hasn’t Seen in 40 Years

After decades in deep freeze, New York’s sacred avenue is about to get a new skyscraper

Bloomberg Business By 

he 893-foot (272-meter) tower will rise amid Manhattan’s biggest rush of skyscraper construction since the 1980s, with millions of square feet of offices in such projects as Hudson Yards on the far west side and the World Trade Center downtown. Levinson is building “on spec,” meaning without any tenants signed up. It’s a gamble on the staying power of today’s accelerating demand for space, and a practice that’s had a checkered history in the city, said Lawrence Longua, a retired real estate professor at New York University.

Click here to read the whole article

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Down the Block, Deep in the Stacks Nearly 30 Years of Documenting New York

New York Times By 

Michael Sterne, then the Real Estate editor of The New York Times, conceived of the Streetscapes column in 1986, and paid me the compliment of hiring me to write it. Now, with my final column, it may be appropriate to present an apologia for what I hoped to do, and what I have done.

Click here to read the whole article

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New York City Landmarks Panel’s Move Upsets Supporters—and Critics

Behind Commission Decision Are Almost 100 Tales of Potential Landmarks

Groups of school children gather a few times a week in front of Catherine and Alfredo De Vido’s 19th-century house on East 85th Street to start a tour about the history of immigrants in the Yorkville neighborhood.

The De Vidos were surprised to learn the city Landmarks Preservation Commission was planning to drop their rare Manhattan wood house from the list of potential landmarks, where it has been lingering since 1966.

Click here to read the whole article

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16 Stories o’ Condos Will Replace ‘Plain’ Little Flatiron Building

Curbed by Hana R. Alberts

Even the Historic Districts Council, which veers strongly to the preservation side of preservation vs. development, approved of the demolition, because the existing structure “appeared in pallor compared to the examples provided of the fanciful Ladies Mile-quality buildings in the district.”

Click here to read the whole article

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For a Student of the City, It’s Always New

Andrew S. Dolkart: A Chronicler of New York Old and New

New York Times By MATT A.V. CHABAN

If you’re curious about a particular building in New York, odds are that Andrew S. Dolkart knows something about it. Mr. Dolkart, the 62-year-old director of Columbia University’s Historic Preservation program, spends many Sundays wandering the city with his husband, Paris R. Baldacci, 70, a law professor at the Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law. Mr. Dolkart, in recognition of his tireless study of New York old and new — he has written dozens of books and essays, and is working on a book about the garment district — will receive the Historic Districts Council’s Landmarks Lion award on Nov. 19.

Click here to read the whole report

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Glass Dome Could Rise Over Union Square’s Landmarked Tammany Hall

By Heather Holland

A major renovation is coming to the former Tammany Hall headquarters in Union Square where owners want to put a new glass dome over the landmarked building and demolish a theater to make way for retail and office space, the project’s architects said.

The historic structure at 44 Union Square East, built in 1929 to house the Democratic Party machine, will undergo a major overhaul that will restore the facade, gut the existing theater and add windows and glassier storefronts, according to BKSK Architects which is designing the project.

The most striking change will be a new 30-foot glass dome on top of the building, which will add about 27,000 square feet to the structure and will house office space, according to Harry Kendall, a partner at BKSK.

Click here to read the whole report

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Independent Engineer Report Supports Dismantling the Harlem Watchtower

An independent report on the structural integrity of the watchtower atop Marcus Garvey Park supports the Parks Department’s claim that the tower needs to be taken down as soon as possible.

Preservationists called for the report after finding out that an emergency contract to take down the tower did not mention anything about the restoration process.

Both the Parks Department and the Department of Buildings cited a 2009 report by Thornton Tomasetti when saying the tower needed to come down immediately.

Click here to read the whole article

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Community plan to unlock south Bronx waterfront recognized by state

The state Department of Environmental Conservation named the Mott Haven-Port Morris Waterfront Plan, which turns six waterfront patches into boat hubs, flood protectors and parks, to a draft of its ‘Open Space Plan.’

NEW YORK DAILY NEWS, BY 

South Bronx residents have been demanding access to the waterfront — and it seems that state leaders have heard.

A plan to transform six parcels in Mott Haven and Port Morris into waterfront parks has been nominated for addition to a statewide list of land conservation projects.

The plan — cooked up by South Bronx Unite — would build boat hubs, restore a historic gantry and pier and install a waterfront trail that spans the Harlem River, the Bronx Kill and the East River.

Click here to read the whole report

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Frick Opponents Get Organized

“[The local community] regards this as the museum down the block,” said Simeon Bankoff, executive director of HDC, whose organization issued a statement in October opposing the plan. “They regard this as a wonderful amenity to their home. The feel very strongly about it.”

HDC cited the destruction of the Russell Page garden and the size of the addition as its major concerns with the proposal, which, its statement said, would “transform The Frick into an institutional environment.”

The fate of the garden is one of the most visible concerns among critics of the expansion, and its salvation is one of Unite to Save the Frick’s top priorities.

Click here to read the whole article

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Historic Districts Council Opposes Frick Expansion

New York Times, By 

The Historic Districts Council, which can influence the city’s decisions but has no official role, has come out in opposition to the Frick Collection’s planned expansion, the council announced on Wednesday.

The council’s public review committee — which examines proposals for work on landmark buildings that are to come before the Landmarks Preservation Commission — said in a statement that the proposed expansion “will destroy the design intent of Thomas Hastings’ residential composition and John Russell Pope’s graceful museum transformation.”

Click here to read the whole article

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Redevelopment of Former Indigent Farm Community Proposed

Plan for former Farm Colony would entail the demolition five out of eleven historic structures in the district, create senior housing. On September 30, 2014, the Landmarks Preservation Commission considered an application for the redevelopment of theNew York City Farm Colony-Seaview Hospital Historic Districtlocated in Staten Island in the Castleton area. The 45-acre property, which housed indigent and disabled New Yorkers in exchange for labor, operated roughly from 1898 to 1975, and was developed from 1874 to the 1930s. In addition to being a landmarked historic district, the Farm Colony is also zoned in a special natural area district, which mandates the preservation of any unique natural features. The colony’s buildings have been little maintained since its abandonment.

Click here to read the whole article

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How to Turn Your Block Into an Historic District

By Nikhita Venugopal

The surge of future development in Brooklyn has made a group of Sunset Parkers think about its past.

When local residents realized the neighborhood’s notable brownstones could be lost to redevelopment, they banded together to save the buildings through a historic district status.

“Sunset Park is in danger of losing its sense of place,” according to the Sunset Park Landmarks Committee’s website.

Click here to read the whole article

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City Planning appoints inaugural COO

Crain’s New York, BY 

After the Department of City Planning pledged earlier this year to streamline operations at the agency, it has created and filled a position specifically for that purpose.

Jon Kaufman, a former partner at consulting firm Bain & Co., was appointed the agency’s first chief operating officer Wednesday. While Mr. Kaufman comes from the private sector, he had already volunteered his time earlier this year at City Planning to help analyze the department’s organizational structure—which the de Blasio administration and City Planning Commission Chairman Carl Weisbrod have pledged to dramatically alter.

“Jon’s appointment underscores the de Blasio administration’s commitment to make our review and approval processes more transparent, more efficient and overall more expeditious,” Mr. Weisbrod said in an email to colleagues announcing the appointment.

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That ‘Temporary’ Frick Garden — It Was Created to Be Permanent

Huffington Post By Charles Birnbaum

This “temporary” idea is an important talking point in the Frick’s justification; the garden’s supposed planned obsolescence is foundational to their argument. There’s only one problem — the Frick created this verdant oasis as “a permanent garden” — at least that’s what the museum’s own February 4, 1977 press release about it states. An anonymous source recently sent me the seven page release (with a note saying “This document is on file at the Frick Art Reference Library”) and directed me to the fourth paragraph on page six — there it is, plain as day: “a permanent garden.”

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Scientists recreate old beer they dug up in Chinatown

New York Post By Natalie O’Neill

A beer bottle from the 1800s was unearthed by archaeologists in Chinatown — inspiring them to revive the rare old brew.

The scientists discovered the glass “California Pop Beer” bottle on Bowery Street near Canal Street, where a popular beer hall, Atlantic Garden, bustled in the 1850s, scientists said.

“It’s a light summer drink, slightly minty and refreshing” said Alyssa Loorya, 44, president of Chrysalis Archaeology, which headed the project.

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Decoding New York: Unearthing Treasures Beneath New York’s Streets

 

During the dig an old glass bottle was unearthed and the bottle’s label said it had contained ‘California Pop Beer’. Alyssa Loorya followed through and tracked down the original beer patent and then reproduced the beer using a home brewing kit. It’s a beer infused with ginger root, sarsparilla and wintergreen oil and reportedly has quite a kick, see Scientists Recreate Old Beer. You can try it yourself if you do the Historic Districts council ‘Historic Pub Crawl’ to be held Sept 6 at 1.00 pm for just $10. Go here for tickets, Historic Pub Crawl. it’s not everyone who can say they have drunk apart of New York’s past.

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The War on New York’s Waterfront

New York Times By PAUL GREENBERG, ROLAND LEWIS and JOAN K. DAVIDSON

What we don’t need, in a place whose uniqueness attracts the world, is another sterile development that further reduces Manhattan to an overstuffed version of every other city in the country. It will take time, thought, private investment and, dare we say it, significant public funds. But New Yorkers have done these kinds of bold things before. If you don’t believe us, next time you’re downtown on the East River waterfront, look up. There you’ll see a bridge that somebody managed to sell us.

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As New York City property values surge, historic sites reduced to memories

Reuters By Laila Kearney

As wealthy prospective buyers search for dwindling space to transform into high-end retail or apartment sites, city historians and sentimentalists fear that the shops and restaurants from some of Manhattan’s most notable eras have been marked for extinction.

“New Yorkers are seeing buildings and institutions they thought were going to be there forever disappearing,” said Simeon Bankoff, director of the city’s Historic Districts Council. “It seems to have reached a bit of a fever pitch.”

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Midtown East Steering Committee to Make Everyone Happy

New York Observer by: Tobias Salinger  

Representatives from a mishmash of 11 organizations, including Community Boards 5 and 6, preservation groups like the Historic Districts Council, business organizations like the Grand Central Partnership, urban planning research groups like the Regional Plan Association and the industry’s advocacy group, the Real Estate Board of New York, will figure out a way to jumpstart the 73-block rezoning proposal that died in the City Council last winter.

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Buildings With a Past

Creating New York Apartments From Unlikely Buildings

NYTimes By C. J. HUGHES

Land is extremely scarce, they say, and historic districts, which are numerous, make new construction tough. Besides, some old-time structures are far bigger than what zoning would allow on their lots today. Adaptive reuse can also be speedier.

But curb appeal may also have something to do with it. “There’s a general movement now that goes beyond real estate, a reaction to a world that’s become increasingly electronic,” said Toby Moskovits, president of Heritage Equity Partners, which is transforming a church-and-school complex into apartments in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. “People are more comfortable,” she added, “with something that feels authentic.”

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 Readers sound off on landmarks

Daily News By: Arthur Levin, Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation

What the Real Estate Board of New York study cited in this article fails to address is that, according to experts, the single largest factor contributing to the increasing unaffordability of our city is the disappearance of existing affordable housing — a fact acknowledged in Mayor de Blasio’s affordable housing plan. Historic districts in fact help preserve and protect thousands of units of affordable housing that might otherwise be lost to demolition.

An objective examination of potential solutions to our city’s housing affordability challenge is not really the agenda of REBNY, a trade association representing developers, which has long lobbied for reducing and eliminating affordable housing protections. The REBNY agenda is to maximize the freedom of its developer members to tear down and build whatever they want, wherever they want.

Click here to read the whole article

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Last Night’s Heavy Rainfall Turns Gowanus Canal Into One Big  Toilet Once Again

Pardon Me For Asking

Last night’s heavy rain caused another Combined Sewer Overflow event last night and by 11 PM, much of the waterway was covered with raw sewage.  The smell was unbelievable.  It was too dark to take photos, but I took a walk over both the Union Street and Carroll Street bridges at 6 am this morning, and took some pictures. It was still rather awful and smelly and the bacteria count in the water must have been off the charts.

It is unfathomable to thing that the new residents of the 700 unit Lightstone Group Project at the shores of the canal will have to deal with this every time it rains heavily.

Click here to read the whole article

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RIZZOLI CEILING SOON TO PERISH

 

Save Rizzoli

In the days preceding the ceiling extraction, we had been in communication with Vornado Realty Trust to acquire their permission and insurance requirements for our highly experienced crew to enter the site and remove large portions of the ceiling. By all accounts, they initially supported the endeavor, and everyone appeared to be on board. Our team only awaited the approval of Vornado CEO Steven Roth.

But then on Thursday, as our preservationists prepared to conduct a probe of the ceiling’s material condition, we learned our access to the site had been denied. At the last minute, Steven Roth intervened and thwarted our attempt to preserve the building’s architectural details for posterity.

Click here to read the whole article

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Library’s Rose Main Reading Room Closed for Six Months

Plaster Fell From the 52-Foot-Tall Ceiling in May

Wall Street Journal By Jennifer Maloney

The New York Public Library’s Rose Main Reading Room will remain closed for the next six months for inspection and repairs after a plaster rosette fell from its ceiling in May, library officials said Monday.

The reading room is the jewel of the library’s flagship Fifth Avenue building, which draws 2.3 million visits a year. The room’s 52-foot-tall ceilings are adorned with painted clouds and other decorations molded in plaster.

The library Monday didn’t have a cost estimate for the inspection or repairs.

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Mysterious Railroad Relic Unearthed on Governors Island

DNAInfo By Irene Plagianos

A recent dig on Governors Island unearthed a rusty relic of its military history — and island officials aren’t sure what it is.

While working on the island’s sewer systems, excavators found what appears to be part of a railway train car or hand cart once used on the island’s early 20th century railroad system, said Elizabeth Rapuano, a spokeswoman for the Trust for Governors Island.

“It’s a fun surprise — we’ve never found anything like it before,” Rapuano said. “We’re still trying to figure out exactly what it is…we’d love to get responses from the public about [it].”

Click here to read the whole article

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Closer look at two significant neighborhoods

This tour was made possible by the Historic Districts Council. It is part of the nonprofit’s “Six To Celebrate,” which offers tours of six areas the group deems worthy of preservation.

“These tours serve to highlight neighborhoods that many New Yorkers are unaware of to shine a light on unknown aspects of their history or built environment,” said Barbara Zay of HDC.

The Forest Close Association its neighborhood for the honor. Forest Close is a group of 1927 rowhouses bounded by 75th Road, 76th Avenue, and Austin Street.

Click here to read the whole article

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Ratner wins prize for best … preservationist?

Brooklyn Paper
BY MATTHEW PERLMAN

Preservationists at the Municipal Art Society issued their most prestigious award to Forest City Ratner’s chairman Bruce Ratner and head Maryanne Gilmartin on Wednesday night. Advocates that take exception to the builder’s biggest projects, Atlantic Yards and MetroTech Center, which have replaced and are slated to replace more than a dozen primarily low-slung blocks with hulking skyscrapers and the Barclays Center arena, are fuming at the decision.

“Forest City Ratner Companies has been bulldozing and demolishing huge tracts of land,” said Simeon Bankoff, executive director of the Historic Districts Council, a preservationist group that spun off from the Municipal Art Society in the 1980s. “They’re creating these places that are not places at all.”

Click here to read the whole story

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DOWNTOWN ALLIANCE RELEASES REPORT

Everything Old Is New Again: Conversions of Historic Properties in Lower Manhattan

Historic properties are being reimagined and preserved through significant new investment and changes in use. These projects show that preser­vation and economic development can be powerful partners. As new office space comes online across the district, historic former office buildings are being converted into new retail, hotel and residential spaces fitting for a 21st Century Downtown.

Click here to access the full report.

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Brooklyn’s Historic Churches Disappear to Make Way for Condos

 

Some preservationists and historians say the loss of churches is changing the face of some of borough’s most historic neighborhoods.

“I think it’s a tragedy that we are losing these unique and amazing structures,” said Sharon Barnes, a member of the Society for Clinton Hill. “They are part of the fabric of our streets and to lose so many is heartbreaking.”

But Simeon Bankoff, director of the Historic Districts Council, an organization that advocates for New York City’s historic neighborhoods, said that church to condo conversions are a practical way to preserve the historic nature of the buildings after congregations can no longer afford the upkeep.

“The actual physical character of the buildings is retained even when they are converted to residential use,” he said.

Click here to read the whole article

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The Value of Land: How Community Land Trusts Maintain Housing Affordability

 

Urban Omnibus by Oksana Mironova
Affordable housing is on New York City’s mind. A critical mass of civic organizations, academic institutions, city agencies, advocacy groups, and others are pondering the essential and perennial issue of how to ensure that the city becomes affordable for the extraordinarily diverse population that makes it work. What’s more, the conversation is riding a new wave of perceived political support from the de Blasio administration, which has tapped leading academics and esteemed private and public sector figures to deliver on its ambitious promise to build or preserve 200,000 units of affordable housing in ten years. With the details of the Mayor’s plan due to be released May 1st, we will undoubtedly be hearing a great deal of commentary about policy and implementation – development sites, low-income housing tax credits, preservation, NYCHA reforms – for weeks to come.
Click here to read the whole report

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Plan to Honor Big Developer in Brooklyn Is Criticized

NYTimes BY Matt Chaben

The Municipal Art Society is well known for campaigns to save Grand Central Terminal and Lever House and to stop towers that would have cast long shadows over Central Park.

But now the civic organization is the one defending itself, for deciding to award the developer Bruce C. Ratner its highest honor, one named for the very person who led some of those fights.

“We claim no ownership of the Onassis name, though we do draw on her spirit,” said Simeon Bankoff, executive director of the Historic Districts Council, a citywide preservation group. “To honor Forest City Ratner with an award named for someone so well known for fighting to preserve New York’s neighborhoods is just too much.”

Click here to read the whole story

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An economic defense of old buildings

Washington Post By Emily Badger

“For a long time, preservationists have been making the the cultural argument that these places feed our soul, and they connect us to our past,” says Stephanie Meeks, the president and CEO of the National Trust of the National Trust. “But this is the first time we’ve had empirical data to show that these places perform better economically and on many livability factors, as well.”

The report divided each city into a grid of 200-by-200-meter squares to allow comparison across neighborhoods (city blocks tend to be different sizes even across the same city, making that unit a poor measure).

Click here to read the whole article

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State will not move forward with historic district designation of Gowanus due to overwhelming opposition

Daily News BY 

The state Historic Preservation Office has decided not to pursue the designation of a large swath of the neighborhood, an area that would have covered 422 properties near the notoriously polluted Gowanus Canal

“It’s very disturbing that people went door to door . . . bullying people to go against this and giving them misinformation,” said Linda Mariano, co-founder of Friends and Residents of Great Gowanus, a citizens group that has pushed for the creation of a historic district since the early 2000s.

Click here to read the whole story

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This Is New York Now: Starbucks, Frozen Yogurt and Juice Bars

By 
We’ve been waiting for the other shoe to fall for months now, ever since Bleecker Street Records was pushed out of its longtime home at 239 Bleecker Street in August by a massive rent increase that would have required the record store to pay $27,000 a month. What purveyor of luxury goods would fill the home from which the vinyl mecca drew its name? (Miraculously, Bleecker Street Records found a space around the corner at 188 West 4th.)Now we know, h/t Grub Street: a Starbucks will be moving in.

Click here to read the whole article

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New Yorkers, Take Back Your City

 

The old-school gentrification of the 20th century, while harmful, wasn’t all bad. It made streets safer, created jobs and brought fresh vegetables to the corner store. Today, however, what we talk about when we talk about gentrification is actually a far more destructive process, one that I prefer to call hyper-gentrification.

Unlike gentrification, in which the agents of change were middle-class settlers moving into working-class and poor neighborhoods, in hyper-gentrification the change comes from city government in collaboration with large corporations. Widespread transformation is intentional, massive and swift, resulting in a completely sanitized city filled with brand-name mega-developments built for the luxury class. The poor, working and middle classes are pushed out, along with artists, and the city goes stale. Urban scholar Neil Smith wrote extensively about the phenomenon, calling it “a systematic class-remaking of city neighborhoods.”

Click here to read the whole article

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Public Library Is Abandoning Disputed Plan for Landmark

NYTimes By ROBIN POGREBIN

In a striking about-face, the New York Public Library has abandoned its much-disputed renovation plan to turn part of its research flagship on Fifth Avenue at 42nd Street into a circulating library and instead will refurbish the nearby Mid-Manhattan Library, several library trustees said.

“When the facts change, the only right thing to do as a public-serving institution is to take a look with fresh eyes and see if there is a way to improve the plans and to stay on budget,” Anthony W. Marx, the library’s president, said on Wednesday.

The renovation of the flagship, the Stephen A. Schwarzman Building, would have replaced the book stacks under the building’s main reading room with the new lending library. The project was to be paid for with $150 million from New York City and proceeds from the sale of the Mid-Manhattan Library, at Fifth Avenue and 40th Street, and the Science, Industry and Business Library in the former B. Altman building, on Madison Avenue at 34th Street.

Click here to read the full story

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New York Public Library Scraps Redesign Plans

The Controversial Renovation Plan Prompted Three Lawsuits

WSJ By JENNIFER MALONEY

The New York Public Library has scrapped a controversial renovation plan that would have gutted century-old book stacks from its landmark Fifth Avenue building.

Its decision came amid three lawsuits and skepticism from Mayor Bill de Blasio, who was under pressure from his supporters to claw back $150 million in city funding for the project.

The library on Wednesday said that an independent cost analysis it commissioned showed that the renovation of the Stephen A. Schwarzman building would have cost significantly more than the $300 million it originally projected.

“When the facts change, the only right thing to do as a public-serving institution is to take a look with fresh eyes and see if there is a way to improve the plans and to stay on budget,” Anthony Marx, the library’s president, said.

Click here to read the full article

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City unveils 200K-unit, $41B housing plan

 

Crains BY ANDREW J. HAWKINS

Mayor Bill de Blasio hails his effort as “literally the largest and most ambitious affordable-housing program” in the history of the nation. He promised to work collaboratively with the real estate industry but vowed to “drive a hard bargain.”

The mayor did not identify specific neighborhoods that would be targeted for aggressive development, however City Planning Commissioner Carl Weisbrod said the Planning Commission would initiate a “dozen” planning studies in the months ahead to start that process. His plan calls for additional building atop rail yards, such as with Atlantic Yards in Brooklyn and Hudson Yards in Manhattan, but does not identify specific locations.

Public housing will be a component of this plan, though likely not the building of new public housing, as Mr. de Blasio noted that funding from the federal government was essentially “frozen.” Asked if new legislation will be required from Albany to help entice developers or protect rent regulated apartments, Mr. de Blasio responded vaguely that his administration expected the full cooperation from both the federal and state governments.

“We insist on real involvement,” he said.

Click here to read the full story

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Mayor de Blasio’s Plan to Build More Cells

In considering ways in which space can be arranged to accommodate New York’s poor, the new plan is not the most sensible one. By Aaron Betsky

Does anybody care about the quality of housing? Apparently not, or at least not in New York. How and where you live is only a numbers game, as Mayor Bill de Blasio’s announcement of a plan to “spend” up to $40 billion to create “affordable” housing in the city makes clear.

Click here to read the full story

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The Giant New Building That Is About to Overshadow the Cathedral Church of St. John the Divine — And How the City Ought to Step In

New York Magazine By 

There’s a better way: negotiate. What matters most to the cathedral’s majesty is its presence on the street, not the height of its still-nonexistent central tower. So if Mayor de Blasio moves fast, before construction has actually begun, he can still broker a compromise:

Click here to read the full article

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HONORS> HISTORIC DISTRICTS COUNCIL DESIGN AWARDS

Architects Newspaper By: Alan G. Brake

One of New York’s leading preservation groups names winners of its first awards program

The Historic Districts Council, one of New York’s leading historic preservation organizations, has announced the winners of its first annual design awards. The goal of the awards program is to “broaden perceptions of the possibilities of design in historic settings,” according to a statement from the organization. AN served as a media sponsor for the awards, and I served as a juror for the awards along side jury chair James Stewart Polshek; Leo A. Blackman, principal, Leo A. Blackman Architects; Jean Caroon, principal, Good Clancy; Andrew Scott Dolkart, director of the Historic Preservation program at Columbia; and Adam Yarinsky, principal at ARO. Drawing over 70 entries from within the five boroughs, the award winning projects exemplify the power of contemporary design to engage with history and enrich the life of the city.

Click here to read the full article

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Supporters of Closing Rizzoli Bookstore Call for Reforms to City’s Landmarks Process

News 1

Supporters say the century old Rizzoli Building, which houses the Rizzoli Bookstore, deserves protection through landmark status, despite a rejection by the Landmark Preservation Commission. They say the commission’s process is slow and lacks transparency.

“We’re here today to ask that LPC immediately study those remaining buildings on West 57th street, particularly those on this block, to identify and landmark those that represent the best of their eras, so we don’t have any more Rizzoli situations,” said Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer.

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Demolition freeze may cover 80% of the city

 

Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer’s bid to protect buildings over age 50 frightens developers, construction unions and housing activists.

Crains By Joe Anuta

A politician’s proposal to protect the thousands of older buildings in New York that face demolition each year has triggered a backlash not just among powerful developers, but also among construction unions and advocates for affordable housing who fear the measure could drastically curb residential construction in the city.

The storm began on April 4 at a protest outside the stately, likely-to-be-razed Rizzoli bookstore on West 57th Street, when Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer pledged to do more to prevent such losses in the future. She offered to introduce a bill that would require a 30-day review by the Landmarks Preservation Commission of any demolition permit filed for a building over 50 years old. The measure would apply to nearly 80% of the city’s structures and 91% of those in Manhattan, according to city data.

 Click here to read the full story

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Museum fears plaster disaster from next-door hotel project

The Villager by Sam Spokony

  To the dismay of advocates for the historic Merchant’s House Museum, the city’s Landmarks Preservation Commission finally approved a plan for the construction of an eight-story hotel next to the museum, in a six-to-one vote on April 8.

The planned 27 E. Fourth St. hotel — which would sit immediately to the west of the 29 E. Fourth St. museum — had twice been rejected by L.P.C., after first being introduced in 2012 as a nine-story structure. But the final design’s slightly smaller scale, along with other exterior changes, apparently led the commission to allow it to go forward.

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Merchant’s House-Neighboring Hotel Approved by Landmarks

Curbed by Jeremiah Budin

The only Commissioner to vote against the proposal, Margery Perlmutter, called it “drab on so many levels.” “I feel likewe’ve been exhausted into saying yes to this proposal, so I’m saying no,” she said.

The hotel proposal has been a subject of controversy not just because of its underwhelming design, but also because of the neighboring Merchant’s House, which preservationists fear will be harmed by the construction. The developers have promised to take extensive measures to ensure that the almost-two-century-old structure will not be harmed, and the Commission had basicallysigned off on that aspect at the last hearing, so there was no further discussion of the museum. It’s supporters, wearing stickers urging the LPC to say no to the hotel, left quietly and dejectedly.

Click here to read the full article

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LPC Likely to Protect Ladies’ Mile Buildings From Demolition

 

Chelsea Now by Scott Stiffler

A developer’s plan to demolish two landmarked 19th-century buildings on West 19th Street was met with stiff resistance by the city’s Landmarks Preservation Commission (LPC), following similar opposition by community leaders and preservationists.

Although no official vote was taken at the April 1 hearing, the commissioners were nearly unanimous in their belief that Panasia Estate, the owner of 51 and 53 West 19th Street (between Fifth and Sixth Avenues), should focus on restoring the buildings — which lie within the Ladies’ Mile Historic District — rather than replacing them with a proposed 14-story residential building.

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“Everybody Has Been Bought Off”: Brewer, Neighbors Protest Imminent Rizzoli Bookstore Demolition

Gothamist by Ben Miller

A coalition of preservationists and community leaders held a rally and press conference today in front of the soon-to-be-demolished Rizzoli Bookstore, which has already been defaced, at least on the outside, by the developers who hope to tear it down and put up more glassy condos.

Click here to read the full article

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Sunset Park Leading Grassroots Effort to Preserve Its History

NY1 by Jeanine Ramirez

“We’ve got letters from all those homeowners saying that they are in support,” said one person.

On Wednesday, the community board voted unanimously in favor. It will now write a resolution to the Landmarks Preservation Commission.

Board members emphasized that the effort is not to make the working-class community more expensive, but to maintain its architectural significance.

“That character is one of affordability, said Daniel Murphy, the chair of Community Board 7. “We were never a bourgeois neighborhood. We want to preserve as much as that as we can.”

Click here to read the full article

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COOKFOX Wins Award for Front Street; BK Heights Tour

Curbed by Zoe Rosenberg

The Historic District Council has awarded an inaugural design award to Historic Front Street at South Street Seaport. Designed by COOKFOX Architects, the project infilled a number of empty sites along the stretch.

Click here to read the full article

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A Landmark Restored, From Mosaic Marble Floor to Grand Dome

Michael Nagle for The New York Times

Sandstone walls were painted white. Decorative walnut and mahogany woodwork was painted green. The hand-cut mosaic floors of the two banking halls were badly damaged, as were floors of encaustic tile elsewhere in the building. Most of the decorative hardware was gone. The bird-cage elevator was stilled.

Dust had accumulated so exactly along the lines of the framework behind the dome that Mr. Perez San Martin thought the dark spokes were part of the original mural. A cleaning and restoration by Sandra Spannan of See Painting revealed otherwise.

New encaustic tiles were ordered from the English firm Craven Dunnill & Company, which still had the molds and colors necessary to match the existing floors, Mr. Perez San Martin said. The walls and woodwork were stripped and restored.

Click here to read the full article

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Preservation Pays! REBNY’S Campaign Against Landmark Protection Is Misguided

By opposing preservation, REBNY and its allies oppose the will of the people

BY JEFFREY A. KROESSLER/New York Observer

Imagine New York City without a landmarks law protecting historic neighborhoods and buildings. Actually, one does not have to imagine. There are examples aplenty across the five boroughs. From urban renewal sites to the apartment towers rising in Williamsburg and Long Island City, from “McMansions” replacing older homes in Forest Hills and Kew Gardens to new construction breaking up an intact block of row houses in Sunset Park, there is evidence anywhere you look.

The Real Estate Board of New York has launched an aggressive media campaign against historic preservation. There are too many landmarks, they wail, and many of those are unworthy! They argue that historic districts impede growth and development. Their evidence on all fronts is slim to misleading. Here’s why.

Follow us: @newyorkobserver on Twitter | newyorkobserver on Facebook

Click here to read the full article

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Mayor de Blasio’s Brooklyn housing plan is building big worries

BY / NEW YORK DAILY NEWS

 

The fears crystalized Wednesday when the Planning Board approved a $1.5 billion project on the site of old Domino sugar plant in Williamsburg. It will have towers as high as 55 stories, or about 20 stories more than zoning on the site normally allows.

Permission for the taller buildings was granted in return for the developer setting aside 537,000 square feet, a quarter of all space, for 700 units of affordable housing.

That’s compared to 20% under a less dense 2010 plan.

Click here to read the full article
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Cities Mobilize to Help Those Threatened by Gentrification

By TIMOTHY WILLIAMS/New York Times

Newcomers, whose vitality is critical to cities, are hardly being turned away. But officials say a balance is needed, given the attention and government funding being spent to draw young professionals — from tax breaks for luxury condominium buildings to new bike lanes, dog parks and athletic fields.

“We feel the people who toughed it out should be rewarded,” said Darrell L. Clarke, president of the Philadelphia City Council, which last year approved legislation to limit property tax increases for longtime residents. “And we feel it is incumbent upon us to protect them.”

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Argument Over a Brownstone Neighborhood

The Case for and Against a Bed-Stuy Historic District

By /New York Times

Supporters contend that a designation would preserve an architecturally and historically significant part of the city while also rewarding residents who had stuck with the neighborhood during tough times, in part by increasing the value of their homes and preventing unwelcome new development.

Opponents predict that a designation would bring heftier renovation costs and a tangle of regulations for homeowners seeking to improve their properties, along with higher rents and sale prices that would force out the largely low-income minority residents who form the area’s core. Opponents also argue that most Bed-Stuy residents weren’t adequately informed about the proposal.

Click here to read the full article

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 Renovation, restoration the trend in Midtown East

By /Real Estate Weekly

With Midtown East’s controversial rezoning currently on hold for the foreseeable future, owners of properties in the district are taking a second look at extant buildings — and many like what they see.

125 Park Avenue

Numerous major renovations and restorations had already been launched in the area prior to the rezoning’s tabling, from SL Green’s swanky 2008 renovation of 125 Park Avenue, a 1923 Romanesque Revival office building directly adjacent to Grand Central, to a current restoration of 501 Fifth Avenue by Abramson Brothers, Inc., which will restore the 1916 Beaux Arts skyscraper’s original limestone façade.

In the wake of these are a slew of similarly ambitious projects, including RFR’s “reimagined” 285 Madison Avenue, a gut renovation and new ground floor at the equally impressive 292 Madison just across the street and a burnishing of 501 Madison Avenue that promises to bring a tarnished Art Deco jewel back to its original luster.

Click here to read the full article

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HDC’s Simeon Bankoff Talks About Life on the Preservation Front Lines

City Land Profile

Advice for the Uninitiated. Mr. Bankoff described HDC’s work as tripartite: education, advocacy, and community outreach. In addition to his ubiquitous presence at Landmarks, City Council, and community boards in support of preservation, HDC hosts lectures and tours, often in response to requests from civic groups. Mr. Bankoff likes to bring together civic groups with government representatives from Landmarks, Buildings, and Council, providing the agencies with an opportunity to meet communities in a neutral situation, and the communities with different perspectives on the designation process.

Click here to read the full article

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Potential Historic District Supported by Elected Officials and Community Boards

By: Jesse Denno/City Land

Representatives of Council Members Daniel Garodnick and Ben Kallos testified in support of the designation. A representative of Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney voiced her “full-throated support” of “this iconic area of our city,” and a representative of State Senator Liz Krueger testified that “threats to this section of Park Avenue are not merely theoretical.” Representatives of Manhattan Community Boards 8 and 11 also recommended designation.

Click here to read the full article
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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

 

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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:

2016 Conference Tours

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

Tours:  Sunnyside Gardens, Lincoln Square, El Barrio’s Artspace PS109, Gowanus, Terminal City,

Saturday, March 19, 10 AM          El Barrio’s Artspace PS109

After 15 years of neglect, Public School 109, a grand, neo-Gothic style school designed in 1898 by Charles B. J. Snyder, underwent a dramatic restoration and conversion to artists’ housing. Completed in 2015, this massive undertaking was carried out by Hamilton Houston Lownie Architects and Victor Morales Architects. The building, which now holds 89 units of affordable live/work space and 10,000 square feet of complementary space for arts organizations, reopened in 2015 as El Barrio’s Artspace/PS109. Artspace, a nationwide non-profit organization, operates 35 arts facilities in 15 states. Join us as Property Manager Rolinda Ramos takes us inside P.S. 109 for a tour of this renovated masterpiece that links the civic pursuits of historic preservation and affordable housing.

 

 

Meeting location provided after registration 

Friends | Student | Seniors – $10

General Public- $20

 


 

Saturday, April 2, 10 AM                 Gowanus: Community Planning

                                                                  in a Changing Context

 

Carroll Street Bridge3Walk the landscape and the bridges of Brooklyn’s famous coastal harbor inlet with members of FROGG: Friends and Residents of Greater Gowanus. Hear stories of old from tour guide Joseph Alexiou, author of the newly published book, Gowanus: Brooklyn’s Curious Canal. Learn how community planning and grassroots interactions have given shape to a future Gowanus, and experience firsthand the present-day impacts of Mayor de Blasio’s first experimental “high-rise affordable housing” now towering over the low-rise, early industrial district of the Gowanus Canal.

 

Meeting location provided after registration 

Friends | Student | Seniors – $10

General Public- $20

 

 


 

Sunday, April 3, 10 AM                    Terminal City: Past, Present, Future

Explore preservation, zoning, scale and development issues with this tour of iconic Park Avenue in Midtown with Architectural Historian, John Kriskiewicz, Associate AIA. The New York Central Railroad completed Grand Central Terminal in 1913 as a rational, monumental gateway to the city. Utilizing the progressive ideals of the City Beautiful Movement, the Terminal was conceived as the focal point of a much more comprehensive plan. The open air railroad yards to the north were replaced by new underground double deck rail yards. On top, a coordinated, income-producing real estate development called “Terminal City” took shape. The Post-World War II building boom brought about a frenzy of rebuilding on almost every block, transforming Park Avenue from a Beaux Arts Boulevard into a gleaming thoroughfare of International Style Modern skyscrapers. Today, remodeling, rebuilding and redevelopment are reminding us about the issues of preservation, zoning, scale and development. What is the balance? What is at stake? Can redevelopment be planned to fulfill the ideals of a 21st Century “Terminal City”?

 

 

 

 

 

Meeting location provided after registration 

Friends | Student | Seniors – $10

General Public- $20

 

 


 

Saturday, April 9, 10 AM            A Walk Through the Sunnyside Gardens

                                                                  Historic District

Photo ©2004 JFA Associates.

Jeffrey Kroessler and Laura Heim will lead a tour of this 1920s garden suburb designed by Clarence Stein, Henry Wright and Grosvenor Atterbury, with landscape architect Marjorie Cautley. The tour begins with a presentation on the history of Sunnyside, the struggles over preservation and the difficulties and opportunities of practicing architecture there. The tour will walk through several of the courtyards and includes a stop at Lewis Mumford’s house, and ends at the designated Phipps Garden Apartments, model tenements designed by Clarence Stein built in 1931. In addition, the tour will highlight renovation projects completed since designation in 2007.

 

Meeting location provided after registration 

Friends | Student | Seniors – $10

General Public- $20

SOLD OUT ! 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

Sunday, April 10, 2 PM                    Lincoln Square: Urban Planning in

                                                                  Mid-20th Century New York

Generally bounded by Amsterdam and West End Avenues and stretching from 59th to 65th Streets, Lincoln Square was famously the site of a major redevelopment scheme in the 1940s and 1950s. While the New York City Housing Authority cleared what was thought to be some of the city’s worst slums to build the Amsterdam Housing Projects, civic leaders including John D. Rockefeller III and Robert Moses made plans for Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts. Join architect and author of Old Buildings New Forms, Françoise Bollack, for a tour of a neighborhood transformed by urban renewal. The tour will take in the Amsterdam Houses, as well as a number of schools, including the Martin Luther King, Jr. Educational Campus and the Fiorello H. LaGuardia High School of Music & Art and the Performing Arts.

 

Meeting location provided after registration 

Friends | Student | Seniors – $10

General Public- $20

 

Category: conference, Program & Events · Tags:

HDC@LPC – Testimony for LPC Hearing on April 5, 2016

Posted by on Thursday, April 7, 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
182959- Block 2475, lot 12-82-10 Queens Boulevard – Individual Landmark and Interior Landmark Historic District.A neo-Classical style club building designed by Ballinger Company and built in 1923-24. Application is to replace windows, install through-window air conditioners and signage.The designation report mentions some historic wooden casement windows which survive on this building, but it was unclear from the presentation where they exist and if this configuration is being replicated. An historic photograph would have been helpful, and we are also curious as to the method of AC placement, and whether it is random or there is a master plan.

 LPC determination: APPROVED


Item 5
CERTIFICATE OF APPROPRIATENESS
BOROUGH OF BROOKLYN
181511- Block 1917, lot 30-
230 Washington Avenue – Clinton Hill Historic District

 

A French Second Empire style rowhouse built in 1872. Application is to construct a stair bulkhead, install rooftop railings and a cornice, construct a deck at the rear yard, and legalize the removal of a bluestone sidewalk without Landmarks Preservation Commission permit(s).

Providing a map of how little bluestone remains on this block is all the more reason to put it back. What was taken out illegally should be replaced in-kind: tinted concrete is quite a different thing. Despite that, HDC found the proposed work ameliorative on this house and especially welcomes the return of the lost cornice.

  LPC determination: APPROVED

 Item 8
CERTIFICATE OF APPROPRIATENESS
BOROUGH OF BROOKLYN
165631- Block 1097, lot 34-
624 11th Street – Park Slope Historic District

An apartment house designed by Axel S. Hedman and built in 1912. Application is to legalize the installation of windows without Landmarks Preservation Commission permit(s).

Illegal windows make quite a statement, and these appear too clunky for the building. Park Slope has been a designated historic district for some time now, all one needs to do is look at the street signs, and it is unclear how or why this happened.

 LPC determination: DENIED

 


Item 11
CERTIFICATE OF APPROPRIATENESS
BOROUGH OF MANHATTAN
165008- Block 181, lot 19-
175 Franklin Street – TriBeCa West Historic District

A Romanesque Revival style store and loft building designed by Martin V. B. Ferdon and built in 1889-90. Application is to legalize a rooftop bulkhead constructed in non-compliance with Certificate of No Effect 11-4477.

In an historic district, one foot can make all of the difference, and this improperly constructed bulkhead is perched right within the cornice, peeking above the building. HDC asks that any remediation be done here to fix this visible outcropping.

 LPC determination: APPROVED w/mods

Item 14
CERTIFICATE OF APPROPRIATENESS
BOROUGH OF MANHATTAN
174465- Block 588, lot 3-
86 Bedford Street – Greenwich Village Historic District
A house and stable built in 1831 and altered in the 20th century. Application is to legalize alterations at the roof completed in non-compliance with Certificate of Appropriateness 08-8732.
HDC understands that what happened here at no. 86 is not visible from the street, but for the record and as a matter of principle, we have to condemn this illegal mutilation of an 1831 pitched roof. The shed is especially large, and it is astonishing at how far the design falls from the LPC approved version, which did not allow this expansion but rather had a punched window configuration, complete with a sill and lintel, as opposed to this selfish suburbanization of this Federal style house. It is clear from the deviation of what was approved that the applicant did not make a mistake reading the drawings, but rather decided to flaunt the law and build what we have before us today. Further, abiding by LPC regulation is not a new or uncommon part of life for property owners in the Greenwich Village Historic District, and this alteration is exactly the type of alteration that the Law can prevent.
 

 LPC determination: APPROVED


 Item 15
CERTIFICATE OF APPROPRIATENESS
BOROUGH OF MANHATTAN
175791- Block 567, lot 16-
20 East 10th Street – Greenwich Village Historic District

A Greek Revival style rowhouse with Italianate Renaissance style details built in 1846. Application is to alter the front stoop and areaway, construct rooftop and rear yard additions, and excavate the rear yard.

The stepped, paneled wingwalls flanking the stairs are survivals from the original Greek Revival configuration of this house, which means that they date to 1846. To rip out the only original feature of the house and replace it with a false interpretation of an historic design is a myopic choice and should not be approved. Whether or not it is contextual or looks nice, or it happened down the block are not relevant factors in justifying the discarding of an attractive original feature. The applicant should conduct some research and determine what the original ironwork looked like within these wingwalls, and put that back as well.

  LPC determination: APPROVED w/mods

Item 16
CERTIFICATE OF APPROPRIATENESS
BOROUGH OF MANHATTAN
181733- Block 610, lot 75-
27 Christopher Street – Greenwich Village Historic District

A Georgian Revival style institutional building designed by Joseph Duke Harrison and built in 1911. Application is to replace entrance infill, install a flag pole, alter the rear façade, excavate the cellar, and construct a rooftop addition.

While HDC and the Commission regularly reviews institutional expansions, it is a difficult argument to pose that there is not enough room in this institutional building for a private residence. Everything on the roof should be eliminated, as the much-taller chimney problem is directly related to the large bulkhead being proposed. The appearance and preservation of Landmarks should not come at the price of the program of an interior, which in this case, there is ample space. Finally, while not visible, an excavation on a building of this size is supremely selfish, and HDC does not understand why it is necessary in old Greenwich Village.

  LPC determination: APPROVED w/mods

Item 17
CERTIFICATE OF APPROPRIATENESS
BOROUGH OF MANHATTAN
181572- Block 540, lot 13-
128 MacDougal Street – South Village Historic District

 

A Queen Anne style tenement building built in 1893. Application is to install storefront infill.

Tragically, while the building on Second Avenue did not survive last year’s explosion, HDC warmly anticipates Pommes Frites’ reopening farther west in the neighborhood, and we wish you all the success in your new location. This ground floor is truly a blank slate, and HDC felt that a different approach to your brand could be tried here in terms of the storefront design. The neo-Tudored, half-timbering seems odd in such a little expanse, and maybe it is more appropriate and beneficial to engage in the high volume, pedestrian nature of MacDougal Street. In a rare design suggestion from HDC, this may be an ideal place to have an open, accordion door storefront.

 LPC determination: APPROVED

Item 19
CERTIFICATE OF APPROPRIATENESS
BOROUGH OF MANHATTAN
180672- Block 1185, lot 88-
326 West 77th Street – West End Collegiate Historic District

 

A Renaissance Revival style rowhouse designed by Charles T. Mott and built in 1891-92, and altered in 1923. Application is to install a stoop, alter the areaway, construct rooftop and rear additions, and excavate the rear yard.

Mansard roofs should terminate as mansards, and this mass on top, including the glass railing behind the dormer windows, clashes with the building’s design. A small addition could have been hidden toward the rear of this roof, but this is not modest whatsoever.

 LPC determination: APPROVED

Item 23
CERTIFICATE OF APPROPRIATENESS
BOROUGH OF MANHATTAN
180406- Block 1390, lot 12-
11-15 East 75th Street – Upper East Side Historic District

 

Two Queen Anne style rowhouses designed by William E. Mowbray and built in 1887-89; and one rowhouse originally built in the Queene Anne style in 1887-89 and redesigned in the neo-Federal style by Henry Polhemus in 1923. Application is to replace the front façade of 11 East 75th Street; and alter the areaway and rear facades, remove party walls, construct rooftop additions, excavate the cellar and create green walls in the rear yard at all three houses.

Combining three individual mansions into one is a whole new level of egregious consumption, and HDC can only hope that the owner will have a sensitivity to these homes and to this block commensurate with the amount of space that is being taken over here. To that end, it is absolutely inappropriate to destroy the façade of no. 11. It is not an alteration in any way, but rather, a demolition. There is more than a dollars and cents price tag when one purchases history, there is also the cost of intelligent stewardship and this proposal is anything but.

It is well established that 1920s neo-Federal and neo-Georgian alterations are a character-defining attributes of the Upper East Side’s townhouses, rather than mistakes that must be corrected. The applicant showed several examples of this building type throughout the neighborhood as justification to get rid of it, but we feel all of these examples are clear arguments that this style has a well established home within the district. With the party walls being ripped out, HDC wonders how this building will not read as a large shell from the street? In the past, LPC has assured that these multi-building conversions maintain an appearance of individual homes from the street, and we hope every effort is made here as well. Finally, the rear façades’ obliteration renders this project to facadism, at best.

 LPC determination: NO ACTION

Category: HDC@LPC · Tags:

Broadening Our Coalition: Testimonials from the Trades

Posted by on Thursday, April 7, 2016 · Leave a Comment 

Some assume that all unions oppose historic preservation. But nothing could be further from the truth.

Historic preservation creates high-paying jobs that can’t be outsourced. That’s just one of the many reasons that the Bricklayers Union chose to endorse our efforts in January of 2016.

And it’s only the beginning. Weve spent the years reaching out to actual practitioners who work on historic buildings in order to broaden the preservation coalition.

Scroll down to read what they have to say!

 

Bricklayers

“Plasterers’ Local 262 resolutely opposes any attempt to override New York City’s established “landmark” protection and the “historic districts” that have been evidently successful in the preservation of our rich architecture of New York City.” – Operative Plasterers’ & Cement Masons’ International Association Local 262

“Contrary to popular belief, the designation of ‘landmark’ buildings and ‘historic districts’ lead to extensive employment opportunities for construction workers in New York City”Bricklayer & Allied Craftworkers Local Union No. 1  

“We find landmark requirements do not detract from jobs in New York, in fact they generate jobs and help make sure projects are historically accurate.”Boston Valley Terra Cotta

“New York Landmarks Commission is instrumental in creating and generating work for many construction trades and the training of artisans in the crafts” – Clagnan Stained Glass Studio

“The Landmarks Law must be upheld. Without it, real, highly skilled New York construction jobs would be in jeopardy.” –  Evergreen Architectural Arts

“We employ a workforce of 150 fulltime employees….many of the buildings we have maintained are designated landmarks” –  West New York  Restoration of CT

“Thousands of artisans continue to restore and make our city forever beautiful. These jobs are made possible and supported by a strong landmarks law and strong landmarks preservation.” – Sepp Leaf Products

“New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission… is vital (not only) for the beauty and welfare of our city but also for the health of my own business” – Aurora Lampworks

“We are a Union Contracting firm employing over 150 Tradespeople in the field and 20 office personnel. For anyone or any organization to imply that the preservation of historic buildings detracts from jobs in New York couldn’t be further than the truth.” – Nicholson & Galloway

“Both buyers and renters are drawn to historical and charming neighborhoods that are not just a mass of cookie cutter buildings” –  Welcome Home Real Estate

“Thanks greatly to the passing of the Landmarks Law, we have had successful growth and are continually hiring and training individuals in our craft, providing them with skills and career opportunities.” – Essex Works

Category: Featured, landmarks law, testimony, The Politics of Preservation · Tags: , , , , , , ,

Immigration on Roosevelt Island

Posted by on Monday, March 28, 2016 · Leave a Comment 

Roosevelt Island historian Judy Berdy will lead a tour of the north end of the island on Sat., March 26th at 2:30 pm .

Saturday, March 26,2016 at 2:30 pm

picture

Roosevelt Island, the sliver of land that sits between Manhattan and Queens, has a long history with immigration as most of New York City does. The City of New York purchased the island  in 1828 from the Blackwell family. During the 19th century Roosevelt Island, then known as Blackwell’s Island, was largely populated with prisons, asylums and welfare facilities. The prisoners, were responsible for much of the construction of the hospitals and the lighthouse all on the northern end of the island. The asylum housed the island’s poor immigrant populations. The island was leased to New York’s Urban Development Corporation and largely redeveloped in the early 1970s as the most ambitious effort of the New York State Urban Development Corporation. Roosevelt Island historian Judy Berdy will lead a tour of the north end of the island, including James Blackwell’s house, the former Lunatic Asylum aka The Octagon, the lighthouse and the 1970’s apartment complexes on Saturday, March 26th at 2:30 pm .

Friends of HDC $10 / General Admission $20

 

Category: Program & Events, Roosevelt Island, Walking Tour · Tags:

HDC@LPC – Testimony for LPC Hearing on March 22, 2016

Posted by on Monday, March 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 2

CERTIFICATE OF APPROPRIATENESS

BOROUGH OF Queens

180702 – Block 8051, lot 19

240 Park Lane – Douglaston Historic District

A Tudor Revival style house built c. 1935. Application is to replace windows.

HDC does not approve of destroying original, historic steel casement windows. The existing windows should be either restored or replaced with new steel casement windows to match the original configuration.

LPC determination: Approved with modifications

240 Park Lane-b

240 Park Lane-a

 

Item 3

CERTIFICATE OF APPROPRIATENESS

BOROUGH OF Brooklyn

178838 – Block 5118, lot 6

1440 Albemarle Road – Prospect Park South Historic District

A Colonial Revival style house designed by Robert Bryson and Charles Pratt and built in 1905. Application is to alter the rear façade and porch, replace siding, and install HVAC units and fencing at the rear yard.

The very reasonable and sensitive interventions proposed here, coupled with the removal of the unfortunate asphalt siding, moves this house in the right direction. HDC would like to commend and thank the applicant for this thoughtful proposal.

LPC determination: Approved with modifications

1440 Albemarle Road

 

Item 5

CERTIFICATE OF APPROPRIATENESS

BOROUGH OF Brooklyn

175951 – Block 1929, lot 49

215 Lafayette Avenue – Clinton Hill Historic District

A French Second Empire style rowhouse built in 1868-70. Application is to construct a rooftop bulkhead, deck and railings.

The low-rise character of this block renders rooftop bulkheads, like this one, significant interventions that undermine the quality of the street. The roofs on these houses were originally designed to be accessed via scuttles, so stair bulkheads end up looking too alien in their context and, perhaps, should not be allowed. HDC does not object to the railing, but this feature would not be necessary without the bulkhead.

LPC determination: Approved with modifications

215 Lafayette-b

215 Lafayette-a

 

Item 7

CERTIFICATE OF APPROPRIATENESS

BOROUGH OF Brooklyn

180159 – Block 321, lot 74

165 Degraw Street – Cobble Hill Historic District

An Italianate style rowhouse built in 1853-54. Application is to construct a rear yard addition and install lot line windows.

While HDC is glad to see the present addition removed, we feel that the proposed bulk could be reduced to lessen the burden into the rear yard. Perhaps the top two floors, whose three-bay configuration is quite nice, could be kept at the rear’s original plane instead.

LPC determination: Approved

165 Degraw-a

165 Degraw-b

 

Item 8

CERTIFICATE OF APPROPRIATENESS

BOROUGH OF Brooklyn

172512 – Block 323, lot 13

469 Henry Street – Cobble Hill Historic District

An Italianate style rowhouse built in the early 1850’s. Application is to construct a rear extension and rooftop bulkhead, and to demolish a shed.

While there are a few additions on this block that are of comparable heights to the one proposed here, it is not the predominant height of additions on this block. HDC finds that this addition would move the block in a direction in which such an incursion becomes normative, thus allowing for future enlargements of this size. The addition pays little attention to its neighbors on either side, and there is no precedent for the amount of glass proposed in the rear. HDC also objects to the visibility of the bulkhead from Strong Place.

LPC determination: Approved with modifications

469 Henry-b

 

Item 9

CERTIFICATE OF APPROPRIATENESS

BOROUGH OF Brooklyn

178243 – Block 1222, lot 1

839 St. Marks Avenue – Crown Heights North Historic District

A High Victorian Gothic style freestanding mansion designed by Russell Sturgis and built in 1870. Application is to alter the facades, demolish an addition, and construct a new connecting building on the lot.

This is a rare freestanding mansion in Crown Heights North, which, between roughly 1890 and 1920 was host to many grand mansions, which were largely concentrated on St. Mark’s Avenue. The avenue was such a prominent address that the broader neighborhood was briefly called the “St. Mark’s District.” While most of the freestanding mansions were demolished to make way for middle class housing with the arrival of the subway in the early 20th century, number 839 survives, described in the designation report as “one of the oldest and most important 19th century mansions remaining in the Crown Heights North district.” It is with awareness of this history that HDC approaches this application, which inarguably represents a major change to the character of the building and its context. We feel that more effort should be made to respect the mansion, especially on the St. Mark’s Avenue side, where more bulk should be sacrificed and setback to retain and honor the mansion’s freestanding orientation and allow for some breathing space.

LPC determination: No Action

839 St. Marks Ave-a

839 St. Marks Ave-d

 

Item 12

CERTIFICATE OF APPROPRIATENESS

BOROUGH OF Brooklyn

181149 – Block 1222, lot 40

120 Kingston Avenue – Crown Heights North Historic District

A Renaissance Revival style flats building designed by Axel Hedman and built c. 1900-02 with a streamlined style storefront added in the mid 20th century. Application is to request that the Landmarks Preservation Commission issue a report to the City Planning Commission relating to an application for a Modification of Use pursuant to Section 74-711 of the Zoning Resolution.

While we do not have comments about the change in use before you today, HDC would like to take this opportunity to thank both the applicant and the Commission for the sensitive restoration of this storefront, which includes colored and curved glass, stainless steel ribbing and neon signage. Our committee looks forward to raising a glass in the new Kingston Lounge!

LPC determination: Approved

120 Kingston Avenue

 

Item 13

CERTIFICATE OF APPROPRIATENESS

BOROUGH OF Brooklyn

181057 – Block 1222, lot 34

1290 Bergen Street – Crown Heights North Historic District

A Renaissance Revival style rowhouse designed by F.K. Taylor and built c. 1898. Application is to construct a rooftop bulkhead and modify masonry openings.

Much like 215 Lafayette Avenue in Clinton Hill, heard earlier in the day, and 120 Bainbridge Street in Stuyvestant Heights, heard on February 2nd, this rooftop bulkhead is unfortunately proposed for a location where it would be highly visible from multiple angles. Some houses in some areas, like this one, simply cannot accommodate bulkheads without disrupting the continuity and pristine quality of the street. HDC feels that alternative roof access should be investigated in such situations, such as the insertion of a scuttle on the roof.

LPC determination: Approved

1290 Bergen Street

 

Item 15

CERTIFICATE OF APPROPRIATENESS

BOROUGH OF Manhattan

175881 – Block 1234, lot 19

225 West 86th Street – Individual Landmark

An Italian Renaissance style apartment building designed by Hiss and Weekes and built in 1908-1909. Application is to install rooftop mechanical equipment.

Running new pipes through a building is a major undertaking, despite where the boiler system is placed, so HDC finds it difficult to understand why the placement of the new boiler system on the roof would be less disruptive than running the pipes from the basement. The installation of more visible equipment on the roof should be avoided if at all possible.

LPC determination: Approved

225 West 86th Street-existing

225 West 86th Street-proposal

 

Item 23

CERTIFICATE OF APPROPRIATENESS

BOROUGH OF Manhattan

181685 – Block 73, lot 11

95 Marginal Street – South Street Seaport Historic District

A neo-Classical style market building designed by the Berlin Construction Company, built in 1907, and rebuilt by Wank Adams Slavin Associates in 1995. Application is to dismantle, relocate, reconstruct and alter the building.

While HDC finds this proposal to be sensitive overall, and appreciates the care being taken to honor the Tin Building, we question the applicant’s strategy of presenting a segmented plan for a much larger scheme in the South Street Seaport. We urge the Commission to look ahead and consider the broader goals of this project and their impact on the historic district.

LPC determination: Approved with modifications

95 Marginal Street-Tin Building

 

 

Category: HDC@LPC · Tags: , , , , ,

Urban Vanguard Tour of Uber

Posted by on Wednesday, March 16, 2016 · Leave a Comment 

It’s the perfect setting for the Urban Vanguard’s next event.

UBER_CIRCLE_REV

Uber chose to locate in the Terminal Warehouse, a mammoth structure in the West Chelsea Historic District that was once home to the famous 1990s Tunnel Nightclub.

2016-03-04 -- Terminal Warehouse

We’ll meet up in the lobby, explore the historic building, head upstairs to tour Uber’s offices, and share a few drinks with their staff.

And one more thing:

Anita

 

We’ll finish things up with a rare live performance by Urban Vanguard member Anita Antoinette of NBC’s The Voice!

To register click here !

 

Final UV Logo

 

Category: Program & Events, urban vanguard · Tags: , , ,

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