HDC Testimony for LPC Hearing on June 20, 2017

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

2 Pierrepont Street – Brooklyn Heights Historic District


An apartment house designed by Jerome Zirinsky and built in 1948. Application is to construct a barrier-free access ramp.

The Historic Districts Council commends the architect on a thoughtful job of preserving historic fabric and restoring the entry way of this building. The applicant has come up with a sensible way of accomplishing everything an ADA accessibility project should accomplish. Differently-abled people will enter the building at the same entrance as able-bodied people. The design is minimally disruptive, much of the planter beds have been maintained, and the original flags have been returned to the newly restored entryway. We applaud the applicant on this considerate approach.

LPC determination: Approved 

Item 5

310 West End Avenue – West End Collegiate Extension Historic District


A Romanesque Revival style apartment building designed by Emery Roth and built in 1924-25. Application is to alter windows and install louvers.

HDC objects to the removal of the historic sash on this apartment building. A more sensitive approach may involve putting an air conditioner in the top sash or tucking it behind the iron work. Both of these approaches would be reversible and minimally disruptive to the building’s historic fabric. An air conditioner that doesn’t protrude too far, one that would be flush with the wall, would be an even less intrusive solution.  

LPC determination: Approved 

Item 6

113 West 77th Street – Upper West Side/Central Park West Historic District


A neo-Grec style rowhouse designed by Christian Blinn and built in 1883-1884. Application is to legalize the installation of windows without Landmarks Preservation Commission permit(s).

Had this application been brought before the Commission as it was supposed to have been, HDC hopes the Commission would never have allowed such an inappropriate installation of windows. For a historic building of this nature, located on such an important block with such remarkable historic integrity and cohesiveness, details matter. The plane of the window and reveal of the masonry are both important elements in this building’s historic design. This unsympathetic and poorly executed window installation negates that very important masonry reveal, taking away from the character of the opening. The windows this applicant has chosen are the wrong color and the wrong material. We urge the Commission to reject this request for legalization and instruct the applicant to install the correct windows.  

LPC determination: Approved with modifications

Item 7

122 East 66th Street – Upper East Side Historic District


A neo-Regency style club building designed by Thomas Harlen Ellett and built in 1931-32. Application is to install mechanical equipment at the terrace.

The terrace of this graceful building is not an appropriate place for bulky mechanical equipment. These beautiful porches were not designed as storage areas. The neo-Regency style reflected in this historic building’s design is very uncommon for New York City and the elaborate ironwork is a major contributing factor to this building’s unique and elegant style and this equipment will only detract from that ornate design. On an important block directly facing the Armory, visibility of this equipment should be carefully considered. This mechanical equipment is far too visible.

Our committee suggests the applicant investigate other possibilities for the location of this mechanical equipment. Perhaps they could install this on the roof or on the back of the building. Maybe they could sacrifice a room to put in a split system and put a louver in the side window, which would allow for air to circulate through the whole floor. A number of different options would be preferable to what the applicant has proposed today.

LPC determination: Approved 

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The Historic Districts Council (HDC) is the advocate for all of New York City's historic neighborhoods. HDC is the only organization in New York that works directly with people who care about our city's historic neighborhoods and buildings. We represent a constituency of over 500 local community organizations.

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