September 8, 2009

LPC Docket Number: 101991
Brooklyn, Block: 1159, Lot: 52
136 Underhill Avenue – Prospect Heights Historic District

A Romanesque/Renaissance Revival style rowhouse designed by William H. Reynolds and built circa 1896. Application is to remove a rear bay window.
HDC Testimony
It is worth noting that this is the first CofA application for the Prospect Heights Historic District, and as the first, it sets the tone for how the district will be regulated.  HDC is concerned about the precedent set by removing the bay in a row of houses where three quarters retain their historic bay windows (admittedly in differing states of condition, but bays none the less) in  return for a rather large glassy opening.    A deck could still be built in this location while retaining the bay by turning one or more of the existing window openings into doors.   HDC recommends the applicant work with staff to consider this possibility or others that could fulfill the owners’ wishes while respecting the historic fabric and context of the block.
LPC Determination: Approved

LPC Docket Number: 099415
Brooklyn, Block: 1067, Lot: 45
118 8th Ave – Park Slope Historic District

An apartment house designed by M.E. Ungarleider and built in 1936. Application is to establish a Master Plan governing the future replacement of windows.
HDC Testimony
HDC is pleased to see a proposal that retains the look of the lovely 1930s casement windows and regulates the placement of air conditioning units. The windows are a very close match, but we ask that rolled steel windows rather than aluminum be considered.  Although organized better, the a/c units will remain an intrusion, making it more important to adhere as close as possible to the original windows in design, material, and scale.
LPC Determination: Approved

LPC Docket Number: 094578
Brooklyn, Block: 296, Lot: 47
147 Congress St – Cobble Hill Historic District

A Queen Anne style house built circa 1900. Application is to construct a rooftop addition.

cobble hill

HDC Testimony
HDC’s public review committee struggled with this application for this fully visible rooftop addition.  Some committee members felt that, as the addition was in the correct style with suitable materials and there are other examples of such construction in the district, it was appropriate. Others felt that no matter how well designed it may be, the addition, which is a whole new floor not a minimally visible rooftop addition, made the building something it never was.  Both groups agreed that the proposed side treatment needed more study.  Due to its shorter neighbors, this building should be treated as a corner building.  The mansard should wrap around, and the back which is quite visible should use a design language more in keeping with the side and front.
LPC Determination: Incomplete

LPC Docket Number: 098705
Manhattan, Block: 498, Lot: 5
565 Broadway – SoHo-Cast Iron Historic District

An Italianate style store and dwelling building designed by John Kellum and built in 1859-60. Application is to install signage.


HDC Testimony
While there are parts of this application that are appropriate, HDC does not approve of the large pin  mounted and channel letters atop the entrance.  There  may be similar examples in the area, but they are not appropriate for mid-19th-century stores buildings.  The exisiting awning is a more traditional way of marking the entrance and identifying the store, not to mention an added convenience for shoppers.  HDC recommends using an awning, considering signage in the transom window above the door, or reworking the size and material of the proposed to create signage that is less suburban mall-like, and something instead more appropriate to the SoHo-Cast Iron Historic District.
LPC Determination: Approved with modifications

LPC Docket Number: 101649
Manhattan, Block: 483, Lot: 1
488-490 Broadway – SoHo-Cast Iron Historic District

An Anglo-Italianate style store and loft building designed by J.P. Gaynor and built in 1857. Application is to paint the building and to install signage.
LPC Docket Number: 102036
Manhattan, Block: 483, Lot: 1
488-490 Broadway – SoHo-Cast Iron Historic District
An Anglo-Italianate style store and loft building designed by J.P. Gaynor and built in 1857. Application is to install a canopy.


HDC Testimony
HDC does not approve of the dark paint proposed for the lower level of this individual landmark that is also an anchor of the SoHo-Cast Iron Historic District.  Doing so would create a disconnect between the base and the rest of the building.  Also, as we testified earlier, dark paint colors obscure the ornament and detail that is so important to cast iron structures. In addition, the tax photo indicates a lighter color, at least in the 1930s.

HDC finds the proposed free standing, polished stainless steel signage too mallish and not in character with this special building and the historic district.  Similarly we feel a canopy of this size, style and material is inappropriate.  We urge the applicant to look to shopping palaces of the mid-19th century for guidance rather than proposing a sleek, generic looking canopy.
LPC Determination: Incomplete

LPC Docket Number: 101952
Manhattan, Block: 566, Lot: 2
11 Fifth Avenue – Greenwich Village Historic District
A brick apartment building built  in1956. Application is to establish a master plan governing the future installation of terrace enclosures.

old brevoort

new brevoort

HDC Testimony
HDC is opposed to this proposed master plan governing terrace enclosures as it would encourage the destruction of one of the most important design features of the Brevoort, its open corners.  While some terraces have been enclosed over the decades, the number is not overwhelming and Boak and Raad’s original design concept is evident.  As evident by these unsympathetic alterations, 1950’s apartment buildings have not always been properly protected.  In the past years though, the commission has developed an appreciation and respect for mid-century architecture.  Now is the time to stop any further encroachment onto these terraces by denying such a master plan and instead encouraging the restoration of the open spaces.
LPC Determination: Incomplete

LPC Docket Number: 100474
Manhattan, Block: 1392, Lot: 34
77 East 77th Street – Upper East Side Historic District

A Beaux-Arts style carriage house designed by A.M. Welch and built in 1897-98. Application is to legalize the construction of a rooftop addition in non-compliance with CofA 06-1798.


HDC Testimony
In 2004 HDC spoke against the original application for what amounted to a case of facadism on this charming carriage house at 77 East 77th Street.  While the proposed rooftop addition was reduced in size and height, we were disappointed by the eventual approval, and we are now even further disappointed that the addition was not even constructed in compliance with the certificate of appropriateness issued.  The applicant’s photos show the addition obscured in trees, but it is visible and will certainly be more so of course in another month or two.  HDC urges the commission to deny this legalization and require that the addition be altered to match the originally approved plans.
LPC Determination: Approved

Comments are closed.

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

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.