February 7, 2012

Item 6
126822- Block 194, lot 28-
52-54 Lispenard Street – TriBeCa East Historic District
An Italianate style store and loft building, built in 1866-68 and an Italianate style store and loft building with Second Empire elements, built in 1867-68 and altered in 1937 by the removal of the upper three stories after a fire. Application is to demolish 52 Lispenard Street, construct a new residential building as an extension to 54 Lispenard Street, and construct an addition, alter the rear façade, and install new storefront infill at 54 Lispenard Street.

HDC is opposed to the demolition of historic fabric and the loss of character of not one but two structures on this block of the TriBeCa East Historic District.  52 and 54 Lispenard Street have been neighbors for almost 150 years now.  Despite the removal of three upper floors of 52 after a fire in 1937, the two mid-19th century store and loft buildings make up a charming, if slightly lopsided, duo.  The Historic District report points out a number of historic elements on 52, which was designed by the prominent New York firm of D. & J. Jardine, including cast-iron paneled end piers and metal cornice on the first-story storefront and segmentally-arched openings on the second floor.  These details should not be sacrificed for a plain addition made up of a terra-cotta rain screen.  While the existing 52 and 54 are close, there is no doubt that they are two separate buildings.  The lack of a door on the proposed extension wipes out the memory of a second, separate building here and along with the rooftop additions that uniformly span the two lots creates the feeling of one large building instead.  As in other cases around the city when buildings are combined, care needs to be taken to preserve their individual character.

A proposal that retained the existing historic fabric at 52 Lispenard and reinterpreted the lost three floors with some rooftop additions could be considered.  Removing the structure all together though and replacing it with something that is barely even a background building, would be regrettable.

LPC determination: denied


Item 11
126270- Block 510, lot 6-
278-290 Lafayette Street aka 115-127 Crosby St. – SoHo-Cast Iron Extension Historic District
A neo-Grec style factory building built in 1891-92 and designed by John R. Thomas.  Application is to replace storefront infill and install a condenser unit.

The Crosby Street façade, with its historic metal and glass storefronts, serves as the best model for infill elsewhere on 278-290 Lafayette Street.   The proportions and relations of the store windows, entrances and transoms should be reviewed and followed in this proposal.  Not only would this be more historically appropriate, it would also help create a more cohesive base on this landmark.

LPC determination:  no action


Item 13
123152- Block 573, lot 7502-
6th Avenue & West 9th Street – Greenwich Village Historic District
The northwest corner of 6th Avenue and West 9th Street. Application is to install a newsstand.

HDC questions the location of this proposed newsstand.  This crowded corner of Sixth Avenue and West 9th Street would provide only 9 feet, 9 inches of sidewalk while the nearby existing newsstand allows for 14 feet.  In addition to blocking the sidewalk, the stand would interrupt the view to one of Greenwich Village’s most iconic buildings, the Jefferson Market Courthouse.  HDC asks that a more appropriate location be found instead.

LPC determination:  approved


Item 17
127798- Block 645, lot 29-
416 West 13th Street – Gansevoort Market Historic District
A neo-Classical style factory and office building designed by Trowbridge & Livingston and built in 1901-02. Application is to replace windows.

P.F. Collier and Son Building is a striking building.  The Gansevoort Market Historic District report comments, “The building’s two fully-developed neo-Classical style facades by the eminent firm of Trowbridge & Livingston, with their tripartite composition and well detailed fenestration, and the elaborate main entrance on West 13th Street, make it a significant presence in the Gansevoort Market Historic District.”  Considering that most of the impressive façades are made up of windows, something more than aluminum replacements is called for.  If the cast-iron mullions cannot be repaired, replacement in kind should be explored.  Similar attention should be paid to the wood windows.

LPC determination:  approved


Item 24
125098- Block 211, lot 15-
72 Poplar Street – Brooklyn Heights Historic District
A police station with attached garage designed by Beverly King and Harry Walker, and built in 1912. Application is to construct rooftop additions, alter the rear façade, alter window openings at the facades; and install doors and infill.

In 2009, a proposal for new glassy infill and extremely large rooftop additions to the former police precinct was not met with much support.  HDC is happy to note that this proposal before you today includes much more sensitive infill and much smaller additions.

While minimally visible, the rooftop addition on the main building is two-stories, something the commission rarely approves.  We ask that it be reduced to one story, making it not visible from the public way and more appropriate to the overall massing and bulk of the landmarked building.  On the garage, the addition remains a considerable and very visible one.  The depth of the garage would allow the addition to be further pulled in at the front and the back, and other measures, such as sinking the addition into the existing roof and reconsidering the design to more resemble typical rooftop accretions, could help in reducing the new piece’s impact.

Finally, HDC finds that the proposed rear fenestration, particularly when considering its ready visibility, resembles a front façade more than a back wall, and we ask that it be simplified.

Again, we are glad to see a much more reasonable proposal for 72 Poplar Street, one that with a few more changes, could be found appropriate.

LPC determination:  no action

Posted Under: HDC@LPC

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