May 8, 2012

Item 5
128403- Block 2090, lot 37-
206 Adelphi Street – Fort Greene Historic District
An Italianate style frame rowhouse built circa 1866. Application is to demolish an existing rear yard addition, construct a new rear yard addition, and alter the rear façade.

Although the materials an design of the raised rear façade are handsome, HDC cannot approve the proposal.  The commission regularly maintains the memory of rowhouses’ original massing through requiring the retention of the top floor plane and fenestration and pulling rooftop additions away from rear walls as well as not allowing full-width dormers.  With its rear façade readily visible, 206 Adelphi Street deserves similar protection.

In addition, the proposed rear yard extension would expand deeper into the garden core than those of the neighboring sister buildings.  Along with the proposed roofline work, there would be too much being added to a little house.

LPC determination: approved with modifications


Item 6
128323- Block 2090, lot 44-
220 Adelphi Street – Fort Greene Historic District
A highly altered Italianate style rowhouse built in 1860s. Application is to demolish the existing rear yard addition and construct a new rear yard addition.

The present addition at 220 Adelphi is six feet deep, and, while it certainly could be redesigned, HDC finds that extending almost another ten feet inappropriate.  The solid to void ratio of the proposed façade is a nice change of pace from the walls of glass often asked for, but we find the double wide arched windows too grand and feel a better finishing material than red stucco should be used.

LPC determination:  no action


Item 8
128582- Block 1061, lot 53-
223 Berkeley Place – Park Slope Historic District
A neo-Grec style rowhouse with Italianate features built in 1874. Application is to construct a rear addition.

HDC is opposed to a full height rear yard addition on this rowhouse.  Instead the top two floors (the original top floor and the 1910 additional story) should be retained at their present plane with their existing fenestration.

LPC determination:  approved with modifications


Item 13
130939- Block 7510, lot 475-
60 Grand Street – SoHo-Cast Iron Historic District
A neo-Classical style building designed by Cleverdon and Putzel and built in 1895-96. Application is to install a painted wall sign.

In February 2008, responding to commissioners’ comments regarding preservation of the historic ghost signs, an applicant brought a creative design which allowed the old, faded signs to be read, the past and the present coexisting.  Now that design is proposed to be replaced by something similar to what commissioners did not want just four years ago.  HDC asks that rather than the proposed which will cover half of the historic remnants, another option be devised.

LPC determination: no action


Item 17
127860- Block 588, lot 12-
30 Grove Street – Greenwich Village Historic District
A vernacular Greek revival style townhouse with early Italianate style and transitional features built in 1851-52. Application is to construct rooftop and rear yard additions and alter the ironwork.

HDC finds the proposed additions to be inappropriate for a number of reasons.  The rear yard addition should go no deeper than those on the sister buildings on either side, and it should not extend full height.  The full-width rooftop addition with its 16-foot tall peaked roof would be built on the edge of the existing rear façade.  We ask that it be brought down in height and pulled away from the rear wall.

With all that is going on with the additions, it could be easy to forget the proposal to alter the ironwork.  HDC does not see a need for such an alteration and ask that it not be permitted.

LPC determination:  no action


Item 22
127343- Block 744, lot 20-
333 West 20th Street – Chelsea Historic District
A rowhouse built in 1855, and altered in 1893. Application is to construct a rear yard addition.

While HDC finds the design of the proposed rear yard addition handsome, we urge that it be kept closer to the same plane as the neighboring buildings rather than match the depth of some of the larger additions further down on the block.  The largest, worst case scenario should not be considered the standard.

LPC determination:  no action


Item 28
131115- Block 2106, lot 1-
2301 Amsterdam Avenue – Highbridge Play Center, Individual Landmark
An Art Moderne style pool complex designed by architect Aymar Embury II, landscape architects Gilmore D. Clarke and Allyn R. Jennings, and civil engineers W. Earle Andres and William H. Latham, and built in 1934-36. Application is to demolish a mezzanine and install new infill within the breezeway.

While happy to see some of the 1980’s accretions removed, HDC is sorry to see the proposed new infill of the Highbridge Play Center’s breezeway.  This large central entrance is a key design feature, both monumental in its size and welcoming in its openness.  The breeze is being knocked out of the breezeway though with glass, a number of aluminum muntins and mullions, and rather chunky doors.  If this great space truly must be enclosed, something more transparent, like the enclosure of the loggia at the Frick Collection which the Commission approved a few years ago, is in order.

We are also concerned about the seemingly segmental approach being taken to creating a year-round space in a structure built for seasonal use.  Last May, a proposal to construct pavilions was approved by the Commission.  A year later, there is an application to significantly alter the breezeway.   Are there more applications planned on a yearly basis as each class finishes a project?  What might be good for teaching might not be the best plan for an individual landmark.  HDC asks that a more holistic approach be taken to renovations of one of Northern Manhattan’s finest public spaces.

LPC determination:  approved


Item 25
130199- Block 1408, lot 50-
149 East 73rd Street – Upper East Side Extension Historic District
A Renaissance Revival style apartment building designed by J.E.R. Carpenter and built in 1924. Application is to establish a Master Plan governing the future installation of windows.

A Master Plan does not only provide a chance for a more unified façade, it also provides an opportunity to bring a landmarked building closer to its historic appearance.  With this important latter factor in mind, HDC does not approve of the use of one-over-one windows on a building that clearly had divided lights.

J.E.R. Carpenter is credited as the father of tall apartment buildings in New York City.  He successfully challenged a seventy-five foot height restriction on Upper East Side construction and created luxury buildings that lured the well-to-do out of their single-family homes and into a new, modern way of life.  Carpenter knew how to take what could have been an unwieldy structure and make it elegant and domestic through the details of his designs.  In the case of 149 East 73rd Street, that included using divided-light windows.

This is the first application for a window Master Plan in the Upper East Sides Historic District Extension.  Let’s start this new district off on the right foot with a plan that will create a more harmonious, more historically accurate façade.

LPC determination:  approved with modifications


Item 2
130335- Block 1399, lot 8-
121 East 64th Street – Upper East Side Historic District
A residence originally designed by John McCool and built in 1876-77, altered by James E. Casale with a neo-Tudor style façade in 1919-22. Application is to alter the façade and replace ironwork.

While HDC approves of the restoration work on the front façade of this impressive neo-Tudor style residence, we find the six-foot tall fence too high.  The style may change, but the fence height should be restricted to four feet, six inches like the existing ironwork.

LPC determination:  approved

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