HDC@LPC – Testimony for LPC Hearing on February 6, 2018

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

276 Lafayette Avenue – Clinton Hill Historic District

CERTIFICATE OF APPROPRIATENESS, Docket #1920411

An Italianate style rowhouse built c. 1868. Application is to modify rear windows.

While HDC does not take issue with modifying the configuration of this bottom floor, we do wish to suggest that the brick piers on the second floor be extended down so that the new windows line up with the ones above. This slight tweak to the design would make the overall impact more sensitive and proportional.

 

Item 2

156 Lafayette Avenue – Fort Greene Historic District

CERTIFICATE OF APPROPRIATENESS, Docket #1916595

An Italianate style rowhouse built c. 1857 with later 19th century alterations. Application is to alter the façade of the free-standing associated garage.

Overall, HDC finds this approach sensitive to the existing garage, but would suggest that the applicant consider leaving the north façade’s door intact and adding a window wall that lines up with the underside of the front façade’s garage door lintel. The existing north façade is a handsome utilitarian design. Introducing a new window while keeping the door would be a more appropriate intervention into the fabric. We would also suggest that the window wall material match that of the existing garage door.

 

Item 3

452 Henry Street – Cobble Hill Historic District

CERTIFICATE OF APPROPRIATENESS, Docket #1918027

An Italianate style rowhouse built in 1855. Application is to construct a bulkhead and rear yard addition.

While we found the front façade work to be commendable and the bulkhead innocuous, HDC finds several elements of the rear composition to be questionable. The parlor floor windows are strangely proportioned and seem too tall, while the substitution of French casements for double hung windows makes the rear façade look out of place with its neighbors.

 

Item 4

565 9th Street – Park Slope Historic District

CERTIFICATE OF APPROPRIATENESS, Docket #1919405

A neo-Renaissance style rowhouse designed by Benjamin Driesler and built in 1902-03. Application is to alter a rear extension.

Given the fact that this pristine block has all of its rear bay windows intact, HDC objects to removing the bay – an architecturally significant feature – on number 565. This house is part of a row of twelve houses that were built for the same owner and designed by the same architect as the rowhouses back-to-back with them on 8th Street, thus making this entire donut very cohesive. Our committee surmised that perhaps this house featured a rear extension because it was built for the developer himself. In any event, its placement was intentional and its bay is part of the overall cadence of bay windows on this block, so we urge the Commission to insist on its retention and restoration, not demolition. The rear wraparound deck is also not very well detailed or sensitive to the aesthetic of the rear, and we ask the Commission to check whether its bulk is even allowed in an undersized backyard such as this one.

 

Item 5

1015 Grand Concourse – Grand Concourse Historic District

CERTIFICATE OF APPROPRIATENESS, Docket #195793

A Moderne style building designed by H. Herbert Lilien and built in 1941. Application is to legalize alterations to the secondary facades in non-compliance with Certificate of no Effect 17-8326.

HDC found the provided wall section to be insufficient in providing evidence that the applied stucco is, in fact, waterproof. If the stucco is vapor impermeable, it will hasten the deterioration of the masonry underneath, so we ask that the Commission check this with the applicant.

 

Item 8

1 Perry Street – Greenwich Village Historic District

CERTIFICATE OF APPROPRIATENESS, Docket #1913719

A late Greek Revival style building built in 1844-45. Application is to modify and paint the ground floor and install a storefront, signage, awnings and HVAC equipment.

HDC finds the proposed scheme to be a missed opportunity to return this building’s commercial base to its historic appearance. Given the ample photographic documentation of the clever and beautiful historic storefront that used to exist here, we would advocate for an approach that honors that. We also question the proposed painting of the ground floor in grey, which would unnecessarily set it apart from the rest of the building.

 

Item 9

5-7 Mercer Street – SoHo-Cast Iron Historic District

CERTIFICATE OF APPROPRIATENESS, Docket #1913435

A warehouse designed by John B. Snook and built in 1861. Application is to construct a rooftop addition and enlarge the elevator bulkhead.

Item 10

5-7 Mercer Street – SoHo-Cast Iron Historic District

CERTIFICATE OF APPROPRIATENESS, Docket #1920348

A warehouse designed by John B. Snook and built in 1861. Application is to request that the Landmarks Preservation Commission issue a report to the City Planning Commission relating to an application for a Modification of Use and Bulk pursuant to Section 74-711 of the Zoning Resolution.

HDC does not take issue with the proposed rooftop addition and enlarged bulkhead, but given the scope and scale of the renovation, as well as the Modification of Use and Bulk that the applicant seeks, we feel that extending the fire escape up to the roof – and obscuring the cornice in the process – should not be allowed. Instead, the fire escape, which is not particularly decorative, should be removed entirely and egress should be resolved inside or at the rear of the building.

 

Item 11

495 Broadway – SoHo-Cast Iron Historic District

CERTIFICATE OF APPROPRIATENESS, Docket #187470

A Beaux-Arts style store and loft building designed by Alfred Zucker and built in 1892-1893. Application is to replace storefronts and windows, and install signage and lighting.

While the storefronts, windows and lighting seem like sensitive changes, in this historic district we question the installation of an illuminated blade sign, which would evoke a garage, rather than a store and loft building.

 

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