HDC@LPC August 13, 2013

Item 15
131817- Block 1150, lot 48-
140 West 79th Street – Upper West Side/Central Park West Historic District
A neo-Tudor style apartment designed by Rose & Goldstone and built in 1913-14. Application is to construct a rooftop addition.
blog uws rta
HDC finds that the visibility of the new rooftop addition would be increased by its shape, size, and color.  While we can see that the applicant is attempting to respond to the architecture of the neo-Tudor style brick apartment building, the plan does not quite work.  The roofline with large eaves and the red clay finish give an almost barn-like feel, a small building placed on top of another building.  There is certainly enough room on this roof to add space discreetly, and HDC asks that the proposal be revised to create something less visible and more typical of rooftop accretions in this historic district.

LPC determination:  approved with modifications


Public Meeting Item 1
139228- Block 312, lot 10-
218-220 Baltic Street aka 281 Clinton Street – Cobble Hill Historic District
A brick building altered as a garage by Millman and Son in 1920. Application is to legalize alterations to the parapet and rear elevation without LPC permits.
blog parapet
While an attempt was made to match the materials and retain the decorative pattern of this 1920 garage, HDC finds that the illegal work to the stepped parapet is too great an alteration to the building and its primary design feature.  It is highly unlikely the commission would have approved this as an application for new work, and we ask that you not approve it after the fact.  Instead, the parapet should be restored and alternatives, such as a railing, considered to meet the applicant’s needs.

LPC determination:  approved with modifications


Item 1
141293- Block 2574, lot 39-
826 Manhattan Avenue – Greenpoint Historic District
A one-story commercial building designed by Samuel Gardstein and built in 1938. Application is to install illuminated signage.
blog greenpoint

In general, acrylic, illuminated signage is not appropriate to historic districts, and such signage, pin mounted into terracotta, should not be allowed here at 826 Manhattan Avenue.  The show windows of this 1938 commercial building provide more than enough room for interior signage.  If the applicant wishes, they could also explore using the transom as a sign band or installing a blade sign, as seen in the historic photo.

LPC determination:  no action


Item 9
145361- Block 229, lot 30-
29 Greene Street – SoHo-Cast Iron Historic District
A store building designed by J. Webb & Son and built in 1877-78. Application is to construct a five-story addition, remove a loading dock, and install new infill.
blog soho
In general, HDC approves of this proposal s.  While the structure will be taller than originally, it will still fit in the context of the street.  We do ask though that, rather than fiber glass, the new cornice be made of sheet metal, which can be readily produced locally.

LPC determination:  approved with modifications


Item 14
145523- Block 1141, lot 126-
115 West 69th Street – Upper West Side/Central Park West Historic District
A Renaissance Revival style rowhouse with Romanesque Revival style elements designed by Thom & Wilson and built in 1891. Application is to excavate the front areaway to create a light well and to alter the rear façade.
blog uws
HDC finds the prior approvals for work at 115 West 69th Street sufficient and appropriate, and we ask that the further modifications proposed now not be approved.

On the rear façade, three doors to the terrace, all leaving the same room, are not necessary.  The previously approved single door does the job, and retaining the other two windows means more of the top floor fenestration remains intact.

On the front façade, the application would turn a well-planned areaway typical of the district’s rowhouses and create an atypical lightwell with windows far below grade.  The practicality of such a plan, little light or air will make it down to the windows through the small grates and the issue of drainage is not addressed in the presentation boards, makes one question the necessity or even desirability of the work.

LPC determination:  approved with modifications


Public Meeting Item 3
145622- Block 483, lot 15-
520 Broadway – SoHo-Cast Iron Historic District
A Beaux-Arts style store and loft building designed by Buchman & Fox and built in 1900-01. Application is to replace storefront infill.
blog storefront
HDC finds the proposal for this storefront infill, with its flat planes of shiny stainless steel, inappropriate for this Beaux-Arts style store and loft building.  The proposal would also lead the loss of detailing such as the tripartite transom, sign band, and framed doors which help make the existing storefront infill more proportionate and a better fit for the historic building.  HDC asks that the proposal be rethought to incorporate more of these elements.

Finally, this storefront already has a flag pole, and, unless the applicant is willing to remove the pole, a blade sign is unnecessary.

LPC determination:  no action


Public Meeting Item 7
145054- Block 1268, lot 1-
51 West 52nd Street – CBS Building, Individual Landmark
A skyscraper designed by Eero Saarinen & Associates, completed by Kevin Roche and John Dinkeloo and built in 1961-64. Application is to install planters at plaza.
blog CBS rendering
HDC is appreciative of the research which has uncovered original plans and historic photos of the plantings at the CBS Building.  The proposed is along those lines and certainly more appropriate than the existing trees in buckets.  LPC only regulates the planters, but we would like to take this chance to ask the applicant to consider a simpler, more monochromatic planting scheme that would better harmonize with the building’s “dark dignity”, as Ada Louise Huxtable described it in 1964.  While designing what would later be called Black Rock, Saarinen is known to have quipped, “It’s even going to make the Seagram building look gaudy.” A planting scheme that could blend with the austere elegance of the individual landmark to create a whole, integrated design would be ideal.

LPC determination:  no action

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