135 Bowery Denied Landmark Status
This afternoon, the City Council Subcommittee on Landmarks, Public Siting & Maritime Usage voted 4 (Halloran, Lander, Sanders, Williams) to 1 (Mendez) to deny the Landmark designation of the Hardenbrook Somarindyck House at 135 Bowery. The designation was opposed by the building’s owner, First American International Bank, who found a strong advocate in local Council member Margaret Chin. CM Chin, who has a good record on preservation issues and has worked closely with community preservationists, changed her initial support of preserving the building after learning more about the building’s condition from the owners and their plans to develop below-market-rate commercial rental space on the site. “”I just hope that the advocates will see my point of view on this,” Chin said at the hearing (as reported by WNYC). “And that we will have opportunity to continue to work to preserve the historic character of Bowery. But on this building we will have to differ.” It is almost inevitable that the full City Council will vote to deny this landmark designation next Wednesday.
HDC was the first to testify in favor of the designation at the hearing and our testimony is below. As part of our testimony, we submitted 49 letters we received as emails from you – our friends and readers – in response to our alert earlier this week. At the hearing, we were joined by over 25 Bowery residents and enthusiasts who gave incredibly intelligent, passionate, articulate and heart-felt testimony. We are incredibly proud to be part of such as strong community.
It was mentioned more than once by council members that their action was reflective of a broader view of the community and it was their responsibility to take the bigger picture into account. What was not evident from the hearing was any indication that the decision to be made was any more than helping a bank with a development rather than supporting a popular governmental decision. HDC is very disappointed in this decision.
Historic Districts Council
232 East 11th Street
New York, NY 10003
To read HDC’s statement on 135 Bowery go here: http://hdc.org/Testimony/135-Bowery-Statement.pdf