HDC@LPC – Testimony for LPC Hearing on April 4, 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

244 Dean Street – Boerum Hill Historic District


A frame house built in 1857-58. Application is to construct a rear yard addition, excavate the rear yard and replace windows.

HDC finds the proposed rear yard addition to be too busy, with too many architectural moves happening simultaneously. The result is each floor appearing as three different sets of ideas and should be simplified into a more coherent design. Regarding the rear fenestration, the application proposes square windows on a house with nothing square on it. Either the top story should be preserved, or the new window design should recall a historic proportion. 

LPC determination: Approved

Item 3

418A Lewis Avenue – Bedford Stuyvesant/Expanded Stuyvesant Heights Historic District


A rowhouse built c. 1870-71 and later altered. Application is to alter the façade and entry and construct a rear addition.

HDC is concerned with the size of the rear yard addition, which doubles the volume of the house and is out of scale and context with this rowhouse-scaled block. In addition to violating the 30-foot rear yard requirement, the over-sized addition’s bulk turns this rowhouse into an apartment building and an addition this size would never be permitted in the rear of a single-family house.

LPC determination: Approved

Item 4

209 Broadway – St. Paul’s Chapel – Individual Landmark


A Georgian style church building and graveyard attributed to Thomas McBean and built in 1764-1766, with a porch added in 1767-1768, and a tower designed by James Crommelin Lawrence added in 1794. Application is to modify a fence and install a barrier-free access ramp.

HDC commends the applicants for this proposal. It is refreshing to see a sensitive solution for an accessibility ramp on a cherished landmark building which does not detract from the façade. 


LPC determination: Approved

Item 5

38 West 10th Street – Greenwich Village Historic District


An altered Anglo-Italianate style rowhouse built in 1858. Application is to modify the front façade and rooftop and to install an areaway gate.

HDC commends the restoration of the façade to its original historic appearance, but our committee is concerned about the layer of history that is being removed in this proposal. We recommend that the applicant preserve the studio window which, historically, has defined the artistic character of Greenwich Village.

Item was laid over day of hearing. 

Item 6

699 Fifth Avenue – The St. Regis Hotel – Individual Landmark


A Beaux-Arts style hotel building designed by Trowbridge & Livingston and built in 1901-1904, with an extension designed by Sloan & Robertson and built in 1927. Application is to amend Certificate of Appropriateness 19-0847 and alter the Fifth Avenue façade, install storefront infill, awnings, signage, and display vitrines.

HDC finds the nine signs proposed in this application to be excessive. Our committee has faith in shoppers’ ability to identify this store using fewer signs.

LPC determination: Approved with modifications

Item 7

150 Riverside Drive – Riverside – West End Historic District


A Neo-Renaissance style apartment building designed by Maurice Deutsch and built in 1926-28. Application is to install a marquee and signage.

The building’s marquee already calls attention to this prominent apartment building and thus HDC finds the proposed corner signage to be excessive and unnecessary. With no precedent for this kind of signage in this historic district, and given the building’s prominent corner siting, HDC asks the Commission to deny the corner sign on this building’s base. 

LPC determination: Approved

Item 9

277 West End Avenue – West End Collegiate Extension I Historic District


A Medieval Revival style apartment building designed by George & Edward Blum and built in 1925-26. Application is to establish a master plan governing the future replacement of windows.

It is unfortunate when a master plan arrives at LPC and a standard one-over-one aluminum window formula is proposed. Master plans are inherently an opportunity to correct and improve a building’s appearance and establishing the correct fenestration for the future. Given the clear historic documentation of the original window configuration, HDC would like to see the applicants install six over one windows. Our committee suggests the applicant take advantage of advanced technology that would allow for the use of aluminum clad windows that are cost-effective and historically sensitive. Further, on apartment buildings of this size, the collective fenestration is essential to the overall building’s character. With this in mind, George and Edward Blum had a particular aesthetic in mind when they chose the windows that they did. This careful attention to detail should be followed, especially now that we have the chance with a master plan. 

LPC determination: Approved with modifications

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