June 28, 2011 – Designations

Item 15
LP – 2245

Garner Mansion has been in landmark limbo, heard but not designated, for forty-five years.  HDC has testified before on the striking architecture and the cultural and historic importance of this building, and we hope that its time for designation is nearing.

HDC was happy to hear that the proposed site was recalendared to include more land.  The country atmosphere was not only key to the summer house when it was built around 1860, it is also what drew the Sisters of Charity to establish St. Vincent’s Hospital here.  Much like the land of the designated Seaview Hospital, the Garner Mansion’s open space speaks to the important role of fresh air in medical treatments.

We are disappointed though that the extension now seems to be denigrated by the presentation.  The handsome extensions, in particular the wooden Colonial Revival frame addition dating from the time first hospital c.1903-1906, originally nurses’ training school, are important layers of this building’s rich history.  Just last year, the LPC write up on the wing noted it is “a significant reminder of its [the hospital’s] early history.  Clad with shingles, the wing retains most of its Colonial Revival wood trim including a fanlighted entry, multi-light windows and denticulated cornices.”  When demolition of all the buildings of St. Vincent’s medical complex in Manhattan was proposed in 2008, LPC required that the majority of the buildings be saved, all of them decades younger than the Garner addition.  HDC sincerely hopes that the physical reminders of the historic Staten Island St. Vincent’s outpost, the oldest structures built for the Sisters of Charity and their important work in New York City,  will receive similar consideration and protection.  At the very least, this piece should remain in the landmark site as a significant feature so that future alterations or development can be regulated sensitively by the commission.  Extra land protected on the perimeter of the property is no trade off for historic construction physically joined to the building.

Item 13
LP – 2473

Even in a neighborhood as architecturally rich as Richmond Hill, the Daniel Eldridge House is a true stand-out.  The striking Italianate style free-standing house topped with a cupola has long been considered by many here a landmark, whether officially designated or not.  The cupola has the added history of being the spot from which Mr. Eldridge, a Tweed Ring member, is said to have watched for the arrival of policemen to arrest him on embezzlement charges.  The incident is an interesting reminder of the connection between this then-rural area and Manhattan even in pre-consolidation days.

Richmond Hill has quite a stash of 19th-century and early-20th-century architecture.  While it has been depleted some over recent years, there are still more buildings deserving of designation and protection.  HDC is buoyed by the LPC’s consideration of this property despite the installation of replacement siding, and hope that this broader view of non-obtrusive architectural alterations is indicative of the possibility of considering other, similar landmarks in the future.  HDC is thrilled to support the designation of the Daniel Eldridge House and we hope it is not the last of Richmond Hill we will see here at LPC.

Item 1
LP – 2477
150 CAROLL STREET HOUSE, 150 Caroll Street
Item 2
LP – 2487
GRAMMAR SCHOOL No. 102, 190 Fordham Street
Item 3
LP – 2479
Item 4
LP – 2488
SAMUEL H. & MARY T. BOOTH HOUSE, 30 Center Street

HDC is happy to see LPC’s attention turning to City Island, a truly unique corner of the city.

Public School 17 was City Island’s first public school and served nearly 80 years of students, a heritage still proudly on display at the City Island Historical Society and Nautical Museum which is housed in part of the building.  C.B.J. Snyder left his mark with handsome schools throughout the city typically with his H-plan, but it is interesting to see what Snyder could do when freed from the constraints of tight urban blocks.  Here the rectangular structure, expanded around 1930 as the island’s school-age population grew, was designed in Colonial Revival style, an unusual choice for Snyder but a comfortable fit for City Island.

The houses being heard this morning, in addition to all being respected and well cared for, are each different pieces that help tell the history of City Island.  The c.1850s 150 Caroll Street House is a reminder of early development of the island.  Its compact design, symmetrical features and full-length parlor floor windows to catch the breezes from the water work together to create a lovely island interpretation of the Greek Revival style. The Booth House, built at the end of the 19th century is a larger, more rambling house full of charming Queen Anne style details including multiple gables, decorative verge board, turned columns, and brackets.  Finally, the 1930 Captain John H.  Stafford House is a unique example of a housing type rarely found in New York City, a Sears, Roebuck and Company catalog house.  The house’s striking resemblance to the catalog illustration speaks to its well-preserved state.  Although the illustration is titled “From the Golden West” it feels perfectly at home in this East Coast setting.

In 2008, the Bronx Historic Preservation Task Force suggested an historic district on the island, a suggestion that should still be considered.  City Island’s small scale and village atmosphere creates that “special sense of place” so often talked about in historic districts and a more holistic plan to protecting it would be ideal.


Item 16
LP 2462

The Historic Districts Council has been impressed by LPC’s swift and generous response to neighborhood advocates’ request to landmark West End, and we are pleased to support the designation of the proposed West End-Collegiate Historic District Extension.
When walking through the Upper West Side, it is sometimes difficult to tell what is designated and what is not.  The buildings within the proposed district share not only the same history as nearby landmarked buildings but also many of the same architects and designs.  From the late 19th century revival-style rowhouses by the likes of Clarence True and C.P.H. Gilbert, to the elegant apartment buildings that sprung up in the first years of the 20th century after the opening of the Broadway subway line, to taller, classically ornamented high-rises designed by Rosario Candela and others following World War 1, through to the Great Depression and World War II era apartments of Sylvan Bien and his contemporaries, the proposed buildings have all the hallmarks of Upper West Side landmarks.

Posted Under: HDC@LPC