HDC@LPC – Testimony for LPC Hearing on April 17, 2018

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 3

800 Marcy Avenue, Brooklyn – Saint George’s Protestant Episcopal Church – Individual Landmark

CERTIFICATE OF APPROPRIATENESS, Docket #1914700

A High Victorian style church building designed by Richard Michell Upjohn and built in 1887- 1888. Application is to modify stained glass windows.

In the absence of a true restoration of the wood tracery, HDC encourages the applicant to investigate a more responsible approach than the proposed heavy-handed aluminum frame, which is not befitting of this Richard Upjohn-designed Individual Landmark church. One option would be to remove and restore the stained glass, and until the wood tracery can be restored, install painted exterior plywood over the opening to stabilize it. Another option would be to install protective glazing on the exterior of the window while leaving the historic materials in place. Such an approach might buy some time until funds can be raised to do the work. Or, perhaps the applicant could investigate applying a painted wood profile around the aluminum frame to give it more depth and closer replicate the original tracery. Further consideration is certainly needed here in order to prevent something irreversible.

 

Item 4

334 President Street – Carroll Gardens Historic District

CERTIFICATE OF APPROPRIATENESS, Docket #1922176

A neo-Grec style rowhouse built by William J. Bedell in 1881. Application is to replace the sidewalk.

Because a significant portion of the original bluestone material is in good condition, we would advocate for its preservation and consolidation in bands closest to the house. If there is an issue with trucks damaging the pavement, we would suggest that the applicant consider installing bollards to protect against further damage. Unfortunately, there is little bluestone paving left in the very small Carroll Gardens Historic District, and efforts should be made to preserve what remains of this distinctive historic characteristic.

 

Item 5

1260 Bergen Street – Crown Heights North Historic District

CERTIFICATE OF APPROPRIATENESS, Docket #1921628

A building designed by Tucciarone & Amin and built c. 1972. Application is to alter the facades and areaway, and to install signage.

HDC does not find this to be an improvement to the existing building. The proposed changes would result in a more institutional style that would be completely out of context with the historic neighborhood. We ask the Commissioners to request a more welcoming design for the façade that responds better to its context, especially one that doesn’t exacerbate the fact that this building is already out of line with the street wall. We would even ask the Commissioners to request that the façade be pushed back in order to align with the adjacent buildings and street wall.

 

Item 7

41 Greenwich Avenue – Greenwich Village Historic District

CERTIFICATE OF APPROPRIATENESS, Docket #1912296

A late Greek Revival style house built in 1848-49 and later altered. Application is to reconstruct the brick façade and replace the cornice.

HDC has several concerns with this proposal. First, we are opposed to the installation of a fiberglass cornice in place of the original wood. A wood cornice would better honor this building and its long-term preservation. We also noted that certain architectural details might lead to water management issues once this design is carried out, so we encourage the Commissioners to discuss the apparent downward pitch of the cornice and the lack of drip details on the cornice, sills, and lintels. The proposed pitch would be a hazard at the street level, dripping rain and snow on passersby and posing a threat to the façade materials. We would suggest the Commissioners ask that the cornice be pitched to the roof, rather than to the street, and that drip edges be applied to the sills and lintels.

 

Item 12

990 Park Avenue, Manhattan – Church of St. Ignatius Loyola – Individual Landmark

CERTIFICATE OF APPROPRIATENESS, Docket #1920094

A Renaissance Revival church building designed by Schickel & Ditmars and built in 1895- 1900. Application is to remove and modify stained glass windows, and install an elevator enclosure, a barrier-free access ramp, and signage.

While we found most elements of this proposal to be well considered, we found the proposed LED signage to be a harsh contrast to this ornate building, lacking gravitas and appearing too commercial for this venerable institution. We feel that the original signage respects the austerity of the building, which has been a meeting place for many notable figures over the years.

 

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