HDC@LPC – Testimony for LPC Hearing on June 7, 2016

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 8
179537- Block 823, lot 75-
60 West 22nd Street – Ladies’ Mile Historic District
A converted dwelling built in 1853 and redesigned in a late 19th century commercial style by Jordan & Giller in 1891. Application is to remove vault covers and install paving.

HDC does not support this application. In the past, diamond plate was used as a place holder solution because vault lights manufacturing became obsolete.  Now, these round relics are being produced again and we strongly encourage the restoration of vault lights whenever we have the opportunity. Pouring concrete here will eradicate any opportunity in the future to put this lovely feature back.  The fact that vault lights are not readily found in the Ladies’ Mile makes their existence here all the more interesting.

60 W 22

LPC determination: Approved


Item 9
180868- Block 208, lot 317-
190 Columbia Heights – Brooklyn Heights Historic District
An Italianate style rowhouse built in 1856. Application is to legalize the installation of windows without Landmarks Preservation Commission permit(s), and to modify HVAC units installed without Landmarks Preservation Commission permit(s).

This promontory location serves as the first glance of Brooklyn Heights from the waterfront. The rear facades here are arguably not secondary in terms of normal measurements of appropriateness because of their visibility. HDC holds that tilt-turn windows are not a permissible feature in this historic district, and found that the AC units clutter this façade. We suggest that the applicant explore placing these units on the rooftop.

190 Columbia Heights

LPC determination: Approved


Item 11
181772- Block 252, lot 22-
34 Grace Court – Brooklyn Heights Historic District
An Italianate style rowhouse built between 1861 and 1879. Application is to remove a bay window and to construct a rear yard addition.

The prescriptive all glass rear façade seems like a lot of demolition work for little gain. The bay, while likely not original, is charming and should be incorporated somehow into the rear façade.

34 Grace existing

34 Grace Court proposed

LPC determination: Approved


Item 12
180715- Block 253, lot 13-
89 Joralemon Street – Brooklyn Heights Historic District
An Anglo-Italianate style rowhouse built in 1861-79. Application is to replace windows, alter the rear faзade, excavate the rear yard and install rooftop mechanical equipment and a bulkhead.

HDC found the choice of materials inappropriate for Brooklyn Heights. Black, stacked bricks are an unusual choice of color and bond, and choosing an earthly colored brick would be more harmonious. The proposed palette, coupled with steel railings, has the appearance of new condo construction, not the rear of a Civil War era house.
89 Joralemon

LPC determination: Approved


Item 16
182255- Block 200, lot 6-
14 Old Fulton Street – Fulton Ferry Historic District
A one-story gas station. Application is to construct a mechanical shed addition, and install new infill, signage, lighting, awnings, rooftop mechanical equipment, and paving.

HDC found it refreshing that this defunct building will be adaptively reused without demolishing and/or substantially enlarging it. This popular, but small, district is the pedestrian pathway to the Brooklyn waterfront, and unlike neighboring DUMBO, this strip has retained its scale and avoided the infiltration of glass boxes. Projects like these help keep its character.

old fulton historicold fulton proposed

LPC determination: Approved


Item 18
185667- Block 1206, lot 7501-
327 Central Park West – Upper West Side/Central Park West Historic District
A neo-Renaissance style apartment building designed by Nathan Korn and built in 1928-29. Application is to replace windows.

What is the point of regulating windows if individual apartments in skyscrapers each have a different window? If anything, these types of applications should move in the direction to correct inappropriate fenestration, not further confound it. There is certainly such a thing as precedent, and this is a glaring example. Further, the application purports that this is not visible from a public thoroughfare. Is Central Park not the largest public park in Manhattan?

327 CPW

LPC determination: Approved

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