~HDC thanks Friends of LaMartine Place, our elected officials, our partner organizations, and the LPC~
On Tuesday, May 23, 2017 the Landmarks Preservation Commission denied the application to legalize the fifth story addition on the designed Hopper-Gibbons House aka 339 West 29th Street! We would like to thank Grassroots Preservation Award Winners Friends of the Hopper-Gibbons Underground Railroad Site, NY State Assemblymember Richard Gottfried, Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer and Michael Hiller; Six to Celebrate group Save Chelsea; the Landmarks Preservation Commission as well everyone one else who staunchly advocated to preserve the history of the Hopper-Gibbons House. Finally, after a decade of fighting to have the fifth story removed the owner Tony Mamounas has no more legal recourse and will have to adhere to the Dept. of Building order to correct and remove the addition.
The height of the building tells an integral part of New York City’s Civil War Draft Riots, the deadliest riot in United States history. From July 13-16 in 1863 a mob of men angry about being drafted into the Civil War rampaged through Manhattan, setting their sights on the people and places they believed were the reason for the War. The crowd violently attacked and killed Black men, women, and children, and set fire to known houses and businesses with anti-slavery ties. On July 14th several hundred rioters marched down West 29th Street and arrived at the Hopper Gibbons house, home of prominent abolitionist Abigail Hopper Gibbons. As the crowd broke into the house and began destroying everything in sight, smashing furniture, burning books, and eventually setting fire to the house itself, the frightened Gibbons daughters who were home at the time made their way up to the rooftop in a desperate attempt to escape the mob’s attack. Because 339 and its neighboring houses had flat rooftops with the same height, the young women were able to flee across the roofs and duck into a nearby building where they found shelter.