Letter to Robert Tierney-P.S. 199 (270 West 70th Street)

P.S. 199 (270 West 70th Street)

April 16, 2013

Honorable Robert Tierney

Landmarks Preservation Commission Chair

Municipal Building

1 Center Street, 9th Floor

New York City, New York 10007

 

Dear Chair Tierney,

I am writing today to join Council Member Gale Brewer, Landmark West!, and others in urging you to calendar P.S. 199 (270 West 70th Street).

The school was constructed in 1963 as part of a larger urban renewal project which included Lincoln Center and the residential Lincoln Towers.  New York City’s Board of Education, breaking with tradition, went outside of its own Bureau of Design and commissioned leading post-war architect, Edward Durell Stone.  Stone designed an impressive colonnade of 166 white-glazed, textured brick piers supporting a thin roof that overhangs the building by six feet.  This hovering roofline is reminiscent of Stone’s noted design for the U.S. Embassy in New Delhi completed a decade earlier.

Architectural Forum praised P.S. 199 at the time of its construction, “This is one of Edward Durell Stone’s most vigorous buildings, formal but not a bit fancy.  Against a backdrop of apartment houses with their cliffs of punchcard windows and ledges of balconies, it stands free and clear, testifying to the dignity and seriousness of education, and to its rigors as well.”

Under your tenure, the Commission has designated many buildings that the city has constructed for the well-being of its citizens including libraries, fire houses, play centers, and, of course, schools.  These building have primarily been pre-World War II era, many of them dating back to the City Beautiful and progressive movements.   Just as those landmarks express the city’s hopes at the turn of the last century, P.S. 199 is an excellent example of post-World War II New York City’s vision of improving the present while building towards the future and should also be protected by landmark status.

Thank you for your consideration.

Sincerely,

 

Simeon Bankoff

Executive director

 

cc:  Council Member Gale Brewer, Landmark West!

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