HDC@LPC Testimony for LPC Public Meeting on February 16, 2016

Item 2
174568- Block 249, lot 1-
100 Clinton Street – Brooklyn Heights Historic District
A neo-Classical style office building designed by Burke and Olsen and built in 1923. Application is to construct a rooftop addition and to install a rooftop fence, new infill, signage, flagpoles and a marquee.
HDC thanks the applicant for making a special presentation to our Committee and for the thoughtfulness and care that went into this project. The adaptive reuse of this building is laudable, as is the non-visible new construction on the roof. The beautiful and colorful terra cotta rainscreen is a welcome adornment for what will be an art classroom. The window configurations, signage and plaques all augment the classical composition of this structure and were excellent selections. While HDC appreciates the design inspiration for the rooftop fence, we feel that this is the only part of the project that has gone awry. Surely there is a solution for this design rather than chain link or the current iteration, and we strongly suggest choosing a fence which is more transparent and better matches the formal compositions of the host structure.
LPC determination: Approved w/mods



Item 3
173830- Block 1061, lot 3-
69A 7th Avenue – Park Slope Historic District
A neo-Grec style rowhouse designed by William Flanagan and built in 1880 and subsequently altered with a two-story commercial addition. Application is to construct a rear addition.
HDC found this proposed commercial enlargement excessive—filling in the entire rear yard with a huge brick box is just too much. The Committee agreed half the yard could be reasonable, but if the applicant needs to fill in every square inch of open space on the lot, then maybe they should relocate their business to a larger building.
LPC determination: NO ACTION

Item 4

179451- Block 1079, lot 64-
593 3rd Street – Park Slope Historic District
A neo-Italianate style residence designed by Eisenla & Carlson and built in 1911. Application is to replace windows installed without Landmarks Preservation Commission permit(s).
HDC appreciates the time and research that went into rendering the historic façade configuration of this house, and that the transoms will be restored. That said, why go half in when you can go all the way? With a small number of windows on the façade, bringing them back to their original appearance will not be an arduous task, but rather a handsome reward, as evidenced in the originals still in existence at no. 597.

LPC determination: Approved 

Item 7
181126- Block 1143, lot 91-
75 St. Marks Avenue – Prospect Heights Historic District
A neo-Grec style rowhouse with a storefront designed by Octave A. DeComps and built in 1878. Application is to construct rooftop and rear yard additions and alter the rear yard.
While perfectly fine the way it has existed for 138 years, suddenly, in 2016’s real estate market, no. 75 now has the misfortune of being half of a story shorter than its brownstone neighbors along this stately block. Thus, this space above its roofline must be maxxed out, and its proposed enlargement is an affront to the block, the house, and the district. Visible rooftop additions are not a hallmark of the Prospect Heights Historic District, and further, this pseudo-studio configuration is unprecedented here.  
While the front is proposed to be expanded as tall as the other buildings, the rear of the building will grow to be taller than the rest of the row. The rooftop addition should be eliminated from view, and the rear addition should be scaled down to one story, not two.
LPC determination: NO ACTION

Item 10
180952- Block 19, lot 11-
67 Greenwich Street – Individual Landmark
A Federal style townhouse built in 1809-10, with alterations in 1872 performed by Detlef Lienau, and a one-story rear storefront addition in 1922. Application is to demolish the one-story rear addition, modify windows and doors, remove fire escapes, alter the roof, install rooftop fencing and a bulkhead, install signage, alter the rear yard and connect to the adjacent new building internally and cantilever portions of the new building above the landmark site.
This very special survivor was built in 1810 by builders associated with Charles Pierre L’Enfant, famous for laying out the street grid for Washington, D.C. That it is still with us today is pure luck, or chance. One look and one can see than Manhattan has risen around it, and this house has remained, despite incredible circumstances. All in all, every house around #67 was torn down between 1850 and 1950.
For instance, in 1845 a huge fire in Lower Manhattan raged all night, stopping a mere 350 feet away from no. 67.  After 1855, the houses immediately north of it were torn down and replaced by a large five-story building. Then, in the 1940s the houses across the street were torn down and those immediately south of it were demolished for the entrance to the Brooklyn Battery Tunnel. In 2001, the house was spared again, little more than a quarter mile away from the World Trade Center site.
And finally, in 2005, the Landmarks Preservation Commission designated the Dickey house as an individual landmark. This designation has allowed for the adaptive reuse of the building and the programmatic conjoining with the super-tower development next door, ensuring its permanence here. HDC overall is pleased with its restoration, but wishes to see the brickwork on the façade and the rear attended to as carefully as possible. Painting them did not seem to be the most sensitive route. Also, what about a 19th century stoop restoration?
LPC determination: NO ACTION

Item 11
176671- Block 623, lot 49-
269 West 11th Street – Greenwich Village Historic District
A rowhouse originally constructed in the Greek Revival style by Andrew Lockwood in 1836, and altered prior to 1940. Application is to construct a stoop and entry surround, rooftop bulkheads, and a rear-yard addition, and excavate the rear yard.
HDC was puzzled as to why a high-speed elevator was needed in a small house.  A hydraulic elevator will only set the residents back a matter of seconds, but will set back the height of the bulkhead tremendously. While the footprint is not being expanded, the composition and materials (aluminum and stucco) of the rear are rather lackluster. The examples the applicant furnished for other glassy rear facades were not visible through the block as this rear façade will be. Also, the examples shown incorporated red brick masonry as a material, which seemed to work nicely.
LPC determination: Approved

Item 12
177473- Block 529, lot 55-
27 Bleecker Street – NoHo East Historic District
A Romanesque Revival style store building designed by Albert Buchman and built in 1887-88. Application is to remove cast iron vault lights.
HDC does not support this application. We strongly encourage the restoration of vault lights whenever we have the opportunity. Our Committee would like to point out that the individually landmarked Puck Building occupies a whole city block and has restored its vault lighted moat and staircases, and this illumination at night is striking.  Discarding such an historic feature for cement is a terrible loss. Concrete is drab—let there be light. 
LPC determination: Approved w/mods

Item 16
181012- Block 1267, lot 22-
75 Rockefeller Plaza – Individual Landmark 
An office tower, designed by Robert Carson and Earl Lundin, with Wallace Harrison, and built in 1946 as part of an Art Deco-style office, commercial and entertainment complex. Application is to construct an addition at the 10th and 11th floors.
It goes without saying that this site is one of the most iconic architectural destinations in New York City and the world. HDC testified last month regarding rooftop additions to One Wall Street: it is hard to imagine needing more square footage on a skyscraper of this size—but here it is, again. It is absurd that rooftop additions have spread from rowhouse blocks to individually landmarked skyscrapers and that the carefully intended massing of the Rockefeller Center Complex will be haphazardly altered for more square footage. Even worse, this addition will obscure and interrupt the uniform window treatments and ornate spandrel panels of the skyscraper, and it will be highly visible. 
These buildings encapsulate a well-loved style and era, and this application proposes to dispose of it with an exigency of the tasteless now.  

Item 15
180292- Block 1168, lot 56-
250 West 77th Street – Individual Landmark
An Art Nouveau/Secessionist style hotel designed by Emery Roth and built in 1901-03. Application is to alter the ground floor and install a canopy.
The Hotel Belleclaire is a very early Emery Roth commission, and what’s more, it is executed in the rare Art Nouveau/Secessionist style. HDC could not be more pleased with this ground floor restoration, and would like the Commission to take note that it is possible for applicants to work from archival research and resuscitate a building back to its beautiful, intended configuration and in a way that is functional in our present day. What once was architecture floating above a base of banality, now this building will once again have stone that meets the ground and reclaim its imposing presence on Broadway.   
LPC determination: Approved

Category: HDC@LPC · Tags:

Leave A Comment

About Us

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.

Contact Us

Historic Districts Council
232 East 11th Street
New York, NY 10003
Tel: (212) 614-9107
Fax: (212) 614-9127
E-mail: hdc@hdc.org

Donate Now

Become a Friend of HDC! Your donation helps preserve, improve, and celebrate the places that make New York great.

Join Our Mailing List

Receive updates on programs, events, action alerts, and our Landmarks Preservation Commission testimony.