February 2, 2010

LPC Docket Number: 104968
Brooklyn, Block: 45, Lot: 7509
72 Front Street – DUMBO Historic District

An Industrial neo-Classical style factory building designed by William Higginson and built in 1911.  Application is to install a bracket sign.
HDC Testimony
While bracket signs may be fitting for traditional shopping districts such as the Ladies’ Mile, they are not appropriate in an historically industrial area like DUMBO.  Bracket signs gussy up the very simple, clean lines of Industrial neo-Classical style factory buildings like 72 Front Street, and after a while they lose their effectiveness, the clutter of signs all canceling one another out.  Other forms of signage such as lettering on the windows would be a better fit.  Examples shown seem to be primarily grandfathered or illegal and should not be used as automatic of standards of appropriateness.  If a bracket sign is approved here, HDC asks that it at least be attached to the modern infill rather than in the historic concrete fabric.
LPC Determination: Approved

LPC Docket Number: 104512
Brooklyn, Block: 252, Lot: 60
31 Joralemon Street – Brooklyn Heights Historic District

A Greek Revival style house built in 1845.  Application is to construct a rear yard addition.
HDC Testimony
A rear addition already exists on this 1845 Greek Revival style house, and HDC questions the need and appropriateness of adding more.  We also find that the proposed design’s abundance of glazing to not be in keeping with  the historic house and ask that it be reduced some
LPC Determination: Approved with modifications

LPC Docket Number: 103809
Brooklyn, Block: 5032, Lot: 9
130 Maple Street – Prospect-Lefferts Gardens Historic District

A neo-Renaissance style rowhouse designed by Axel Hedman and built in 1908-1911.  Application is to construct a rear deck and alter opening.
HDC TestimonyHDC finds the proposed opening to be sympathetic in design and scale with the rest of the rear elevation of 130 Maple Street, and we would like to see this consistency in design carried over to the deck.  While HDC does not object to the construction of a rear deck here, we find the proposed design to be rather industrial.  More traditional porch details using wood or wrought iron would be a more appropriate fit.
LPC Determination: Approved

LPC Docket Number: 103122
Manhattan, Block: 193, Lot: 26
35 Walker Street – TriBeCa East Historic District

A building built in 1808 and altered in the mid-19th century features originally built as a house.  Application is to reconstruct side walls, construct roof-top additions, install a barrier-free access ramp, and doors, and remove a fire escape.

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HDC Testimony
HDC does not have any issues with the side walls, roof-top addition, or fire escape portions of this proposal.  On the base of the building we question the use of aluminum for the doors and storefront and ask that the transoms be aligned.  HDC feels the cluttered railing on the proposed ramp should be restudied to find a more fitting design.
LPC Determination: Incomplete

LPC Docket Number: 105026
Manhattan, Block: 515, Lot: 15
155 Wooster Street – SoHo-Cast Iron Historic District

A Classical Revival style store and loft building designed by George F. Pelham and built in 1897-1898. Application is to install a painted wall sign.
HDC Testimony
This application appears to meet most of the usual guidelines for painted wall signs such as being set back from the wall and roof edges and having a painted border.  HDC’s only question is that of size.  Although it is similar to signs approved in 1999 and 2004, the proposed sign takes up 27% of the exposed wall surface.  We request that the sign be reduced so that it be no larger than the typically approved 20%.
LPC Determination: Incomplete

LPC Docket Number: 104067
Manhattan, Block: 632, Lot: 55
535 Hudson – Greenwich Village Historic District

An apartment building designed by Samuel Roth and built in 1951-1953. Application is to construct rooftop addition and rear yard additions.


HDC Testimony
The presentation boards at Public Review on Friday consisted only of photos and renderings, no plans or elevations.  In particular, the single photo showing the massing of the proposed rear yard addition in the space and no other details made this part of the plan impossible to assess.
Due to its size and location, the proposed rooftop addition is quite visible, a fact made worse by cladding it in white stucco.  The mobile home-like design also does not help the addition blend in with its surroundings.  The construction of this addition would fill in the crenelated roofline, a key design feature of this otherwise simple, mid-century apartment building.  With these issues in mind, HDC asks that the application be restudied to reduce the visibility and impact of this addition as much as possible.
LPC Determination: Incomplete

LPC Docket Number: 104692
Manhattan, Block: 572, Lot: 52
17 West 8th Street – Greenwich Village Historic District

A Greek Revival style house built in 1845-46. Application is to alter the faηade and install windows and storefront infill.
HDC Testimony
HDC is happy to see the second story  (originally the parlor level) returned to its three bay configuration, but we feel more should be done to incorporate this floor with those above it.   The cast concrete belt course should not be added as it creates a division neither original to the building design nor typical of its style, and the window heads should match the existing ones, as seen in the tax photo.
LPC Determination: Approved

LPC Docket Number: 102680
Manhattan, Block: 746, Lot: 20
331 West 22nd Street – Chelsea Historic District

An Italianate style rowhouse built in 1850. Application is to legalize the installation of window grilles without LPC permits and alterations to the areaway completed in non-compliance with  Permit for Minor Work 06-2142.


HDC Testimony
HDC asks that the window grilles on the upper stories and the basement level not be legalized.  While parlor level grilles are typical on 19th-century rowhouses, they are not appropriate for the upper floors.  In addition, their design does not seem to reference anything historic.   Although a simpler grille could be appropriate for the basement level windows, those that were installed are far too dense and ornamental.  The addition of these various grilles takes away from an otherwise thoughtful, thorough restoration.
LPC Determination: Incomplete

LPC Docket Number: 103014
Manhattan, Block: 1216, Lot: 27
101 West 85th Street – Upper West Side/Central Park West Historic District

A Renaissance Revival style apartment hotel designed by John G. Prague and built in 1889-90. Application is to modify the areaway and install a barrier-free lift.
HDC Testimony
In general, HDC finds this a sympathetic response to the tricky issue of  dealing with accessibility.  Rather than disrupt the existing rail though, we would like to suggest that it be left as is and additional rail be added behind or on top just around the lift where it is needed.  We would also like to recommend that the design of this additional metal work follow the twisted picket design on the fire escape landing seen in Photo #8.
LPC Determination: Approved with modifications

Posted Under: HDC@LPC