HDC@LPC Testimony June 19, 2012

Item 29
130104- Block 829, lot 36-
236-238 5th Avenue – Madison Square North Historic District
A Beaux-Arts style loft building designs by Buchman and Fox and built in 1906-1907. Application is to legalize the installation of windows without LPC permits.

HDC finds that the windows are not up to the landmark quality of this Beaux-Arts style loft building and ask that you deny them as you would most likely would have had they come to you as applications for new work.  At the very least, a master plan for appropriate windows should be created.

LPC determination:  approved


Item 30
131299- Block 1274, lot 55-
22 Central Park South – The Plaza Hotel, Individual Landmark
A building originally built c. 1897, and enlarged and redesigned as a studio building by George M. McCabe in 1908-1909, included in the designated site of the Plaza Hotel, a French Renaissance style hotel designed by Henry J. Hardenberg and built in 1905-07, with an addition designed by Warren and Wetmore and built in 1921. Application is to redesign the front and rear façades and construct an addition.

This building is a nice, little reminder of the once low-rise Central Park South.  It may be an “accidental landmark”, but it is here before you today, and it should be looked upon as a happy accident.  HDC asks that more of the surviving historic material be incorporated in its redesign.  The dentiled cornice and the story above with its three pedimented windows would fit in well with the handsome new design.

LPC determination:  approved


Item 34
131110- Block 1335, lot 5-
320 East 43rd Street aka 321 East 42nd Street – The Ford Foundation Building, Individual Landmark and Interior Landmark
A Modern style office building designed by Kevin Roche  & John Dinkeloo Associates and built in 1963-67. Application is to alter a pathway, install a doorway, and install Ipad stands.

Overall HDC finds this proposal is in keeping with the simple elegance of the landmarked interior.  We just ask that the vestibule use a flat roof and as little framing as possible to keep it minimally intrusive.

LPC determination:  approved


Item 36
126519- Block 1115, lot 7501-
25 Central Park West – The Century Apartments, Individual Landmark, Upper West Side/Central Park West Historic District
An Art Deco style apartment building designed by Irwin S. Chanin, and built in 1931. Application is to establish a Master Plan governing the future installation of through-the-wall air conditioner.

While through-the-wall air conditioners have been approved for other Central Park West apartment buildings, the presentation’s examples show the unfortunate results.  Rather than repeating these mistakes at this Individual Landmark, HDC asks that the window master plan be revisited.  Casement windows with panels for air conditioning units are a less drastic measure than cutting into historic fabric and allow for easier adaptation of new technology in the future.  So if new windows need to be found, they should.  There is also a range of air-conditioning units to be explores, and the more the demand, the more the supply.  In the past year, the Commission has seen proposals such as the Sterner designed apartment building on East 19th Street and the triangular apartment building on Jane Street that were able to find the right fit.  The distinguished façade of the Century Apartments is a key piece of Central Park West and should be altered as little as possible.

LPC determination:  no action


Item 38
132554- Block 1386, lot 16-
19 East 71st Street – Upper East Side Historic District
A rowhouse with Queen Anne style features built in 1880-90 and later altered in 1937 by Joseph Furman. Application is to install awnings and signage.

In general, this is a very nice, simple proposal.  HDC just asks that the awnings be kept within the openings, as they typically are, rather than stretched across the door and window.

LPC determination:  approved with modifications


Item 40
127073- Block 1384, lot 24-
21 East 69th Street – Upper East Side Historic District
A residence built in 1885-86 and altered in the neo-Georgian style in 1926-27 by Sloan and Robertson. Application is to construct a rear yard addition.

This proposal is a good example of why nothing is or should be as-of-right in an historic district.  While an addition could be constructed, full height, full width, and full depth is simply too much.  The addition would be a huge intrusion into the middle of the open space shared with five other buildings, and HDC asks that it be reduced.

LPC determination:  no action


Item 41
122424- Block 1496, lot 1-
1030 5th Avenue – Metropolitan Museum Historic District
An apartment building designed by J.E.R Carpenter and built in 1924-25. Application is to construct a rooftop addition at the penthouse.

While the proposed is described as blending in with other trellises, HDC finds that it more resembles a wooden fence.  Built right up at the edge of the wall, it would be visible down East 84th Street and block views of the elegant water tower.  We ask that something smaller or more open be designed instead.

LPC determination:  approved


Item 43
128722- Block 1504, lot 29-
63 East 92nd Street – Carnegie Hill Historic District
A rowhouse built in 1886 and altered in the neo-Colonial style in 1928 by Edward Webber. Application is to construct rooftop and rear yard additions and alter front and rear facades.

63 East 92nd Street is not the most high style of the Upper East Side’s rowhouses that were renovated in the early 20th century, but it is a rather charming one with a very cohesive design.  HDC has concerns that the proposed alterations find too much inspiration in other buildings and not enough in number 63 itself.  Measures to address water problems are, of course, welcomed, but they do not need to include removing the shutters, altering the parapet to match that of the neighbor, or changing the door and window surrounds to be like those of a building on another block.  HDC feels that more of the design and character seen in the 1940 tax photo and still extent today should be retained.

Finally, while we find the extension of the rear yard addition minimal, HDC feels enlarging the rooftop addition is not appropriate.  The result would be readily visible and unlike anything on this block or other typical rooftop additions in this district.

LPC determination:  approved, with modifications


One Response to “HDC@LPC Testimony June 19, 2012”
  1. Annice Alt says:

    In re: Century Apartments application for through-the-wall air-conditioners.

    A Boak & Raad building at 7 Lexington Ave @22nd St. had through-wall air conditioners, an innovation for its time (1949) because David Rose the owner didn’t like window A/Cs dripping on pedestrians.

    When I was photographing the building, a resident came out and told me how much residents disliked these openings, because modern A/C units are smaller so there are constant problems with trying to prevent drafts and rain coming in where the openings were not adequately sealed. .

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