Alterations Pulled on Lexington Avenue Residence to Circumvent Designation

Yesterday, scaffolding was erected to allow for disfiguring alterations to 859 Lexington Avenue and 861-863 Lexington Avenue, also known as the Kean Residence or Crocodile Hall. In an increasingly common tactic, permits have been filed for disfiguring work to historic buildings presumably to avoid landmark designation.

Current permits from the DOB are to demolish the upper floors of the Kean House and to install a glass curtain wall at 859 Lexington Avenue–all on a busy New York City street. For more info visit our website at http://www.friends-ues.org

Located on the southeast corner of East 65th Street and LexingtonAvenue, the Kean Residence anchors a distinctive and architecturally rich corner on the Upper East Side and lies within the proposed expansion of the Upper East Side Historic District.

Prior to the issuing of the demo permits, representatives of Friends of the Upper East Side Historic Districts met with Councilman Daniel Garodnick to alert him to this potential demo. Councilman Garodnick reached out to the Landmarks Preservation Commission. The LPC did not take action to protect the building or neighborhood.

HOW YOU CAN HELP!

•SPEAK at the upcoming Community Board 8 Meeting on Monday July 21st, 6:30 p.m. (Hunter College School of Social Work, 129 East 79th Street). The community board will be voting on the proposed expansion. Please attend and show your support for the protection of this neighborhood!

•WRITE a letter of support for the expansion to LPC Chair Tierney at and Mayor Michael Bloomberg. Visit our website for a sample letter http://www.friends-ues.org/wp-content/uploads/2008/02/support-letter.pdf

•SIGN our ONLINE PETITION at www.thepetitionsite.com/1/lexingtonavenues/

•TELL your friends and neighbors how they can help.

In July 2007, Friends of the Upper East Side Historic Districts submitted a request for the LPC to expand the Upper East Side Historic District to include portions of 17 blocks along Lexington Avenue. 861-863 and 859 Lexington Avenue lie in the heart of that expansion, and are bordered by an exquisite Gingerbread Cottage residence on East 65th Street and by a full block of intact 1880’s brownstones fronted by early twentieth century storefronts along Lexington Avenue.

If the expansion of the Upper East Side Historic District is not designated by the Landmarks Preservation Commission, the architectural character, pedestrian scale and charm of Lexington Avenue will be replaced with large out-of-scale development.

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