HDC@LPC Testimony: June 12, 2012

Item 1
128594- Block 8049, lot 44-
357 Arleigh Road – Douglaston Historic District
A vernacular New England Colonial Revival style house built circa 1930. Application is to replace the roof.

HDC asks that if real slate is not a practical replacement material here at 357 Arleigh Road, a faux slate like EcoStar which matches the color and shape of the existing be used instead.

LPC determination:  no action


Item 2
131651- Block 8103, lot 25-
240-27 Depew Avenue – Douglaston Hill Historic District
A vernacular Greek Revival style free-standing house built in the mid-nineteenth century. Application is to construct new foundations, raise the level of the house, re-grade the site, and construct additions.

HDC applauds the use of quality natural materials and the thoughtful retention of the  fenestration on the front elevation, but, after raising the roof, building an addition larger than the existing house, and altering a number of small details,  we wonder if the mid-19th century oysterman cottage would still exist.

While the commission does approve visible additions to free-standing houses in historic districts like Douglaston Hill, they are always subservient to the landmarked building.  An extension rather than an expansion of the house is in order here, for example, with a much smaller addition that is perpendicular to the house allowing it to retain its existing form and roofline.  Another way to think of this is too look at how vernacular, rural houses on Long Island (including Queens and Brooklyn) and Staten Island have been added to over time.

The designation report refers to this building as one of two oysterman cottages that pre-date the 1853 subdivision of the agricultural land into a suburban development. (The other cottage was remodeled in the early 20th century and survives today in the guise of a much larger house.)   The report also points out historic details that remain such as the overhanging eaves and paneled wood-and-glass entryway.  These eaves should remain open rather than boxed, and the entryway should be restored rather than installing the proposed door with an arched window. The existing plain posts rather than decorative pillars also seem to be a better fit.  These may seem like minor details, but on a small, simple, vernacular structure, every little piece plays a role in the overall character and composition.

This charming cottage is an important reminder of rural Queens, and HDC asks that as much of its historic fabric, design and character be retained as possible.

LPC determination:  no action


Item 5
121858- Block 1158, lot 37-
212-220 Prospect Place – Prospect Heights Historic District
Two neo-Classical style residential buildings built in 1913. Application is to legalize the installation of decking, garbage enclosures, and planters in the areaway without LPC permits.

HDC finds that the illegally installed decking, garbage enclosures and planters clutter the base of these handsome  buildings.  Seeing as these items would most probably not have been approved by the commission had they come forward as an application for new work, examples of how trash and plantings are handled in other landmarked apartment buildings should be studied.

LPC determination:  approved with modifications


Item 6
13-1095 – Block 443, lot 24-
326A President Street – Carroll Gardens Historic District
A neo-Grec style rowhouse designed by Theodore Pearson and built in 1883.  Application is to legalize alterations to the stoop without LPC permits.

Just last week, the commission approved the installation of a new stoop railing and areaway fence at 110 Berkeley Place in the Park Slope Historic District.  The handsome proposal which featured the same heft of the historic ironwork was made up of stock catalog parts.   HDC asks that 326A President Street be guided in the same direction.

LPC determination:  approved


Item 15
12-9607 – Block 632, lot 45-
757-731 Greenwich Street, aka 116-122 Perry Street – Greenwich Village Historic District
Four rowhouses, built in the early 19th Century and remodeled in the Spanish Colonial Revival style by Ferdinand Savignano in 1928.  Application is to relocate a through-the-wall air conditioner installed without LPC permits.

If a through-the-wall air conditioner is necessary in this location,  HDC asks that the other door arch is not be altered.  Retention of historic details is more important in this case than consistency.

LPC determination:  approved with modifications


Item 16
13-1695 – Block 588, lot 1-
84 Bedford Street – Greenwich Village Historic District
A vernacular Greek Revival style rowhouse built c. 1826, and altered in 1872 and c.1900; and a house built in 1846, with a ground floor store in the mid-19th century, and altered before 1879.  Application is to legalize work done in non-compliance with Certificate of Appropriateness 08-9177 and subsequent amendments to alter the street façade, construct a stoop and enlarge the rooftop bulkhead.

This address and the neighboring buildings have been before the commission a number of times in recent years.  By now the owners certainly know the process – apply for permits and, once approved, make sure they are followed.  HDC asks that the details which were worked out originally such as the paneled, recessed  entrance surround, light fixture, and faux door be carried out as approved, and that a less conspicuous spot and/or a different type of security camera be found.

LPC determination:  denied in part, approved in part

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