an update on what’s been happening at the Landmarks Preservation Commission
LPC Continues Deliberation on
Last week, HDC, Preservation Greenpoint, the Municipal Arts Society, Society for Architecture of the City, Brooklyn Community Board 1 and several residents denounced a proposal to demolish an 1855 wood frame house in the Greenpoint Historic District. At the Landmarks Commission public hearing, the applicant’s engineer told Commissioners that the house was in “very bad shape” and a wall was “unstable” and needed to be torn down. Despite this claim, the owner, who works in real estate and is a professional appraiser, is currently renting this property to tenants. A 2-bedroom was listed last year for $2850.
The applicant also used LPC terminology to bolster their argument, claiming the building was “non-contributing” to the historic district. In fact, there are NO properties in the Greenpoint Historic District that are described this way, and the designation report describes wooden buildings as integral to the district’s history, as they are directly tied to the ship-building industry in the mid-19th century in Brooklyn.
The LPC took No Action on this application, with Chair Srinivasan stating that “…none of the things the engineer said were irreparable [and] the age of the building makes it hard for me to justify demolition.” Many old, altered, wooden buildings in Greenpoint resemble 111 Noble Street, and many have been lovingly restored. This proposal will return to a future Public Meeting (plans to be determined) and we need your help to make it clear to the LPC that is not acceptable for designated landmarks to be acquired with the sole intent of tearing them down and replacing them with luxury developments.
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LPC Designates Old St. James Parish Hall in Queens;
Calendars 827-831 Broadway buildings in Manhattan
Old St. James Parish Hall, 86-02 Broadway, Elmhurst
The LPC voted to designate the Old St. James Parish Hall yesterday, after an initial request for landmarking was rejected by the agency in 2015. HDC is thrilled that the agency reconsidered and with broad support from the community, the New York Landmarks Conservancy, elected officials and the owner, landmarking has finally become a reality for this very-worthy 18th century structure. From the LPC’s press release:
The Church was built in 1735-36 in what was called Newtown Village, and is historically significant as New York City’s second-oldest religious building, and oldest remaining Church of England mission church within the five boroughs. Retaining both 18th and 19th century historic design, workmanship, and materials, it is an architecturally significant example of the Colonial Meetinghouse form, combined with 19th century Gothic Revival and Stick style decorative details.
827-831 Broadway, Manhattan
There were plans for a 300-foot office building to rise at the site of 827-831 Broadway, but yesterday morning the Landmarks Preservation Commission officially calendared these two 1866 cast-iron buildings for landmark protection. Like St. James Parish Hall, the LPC initially rejected the buildings for landmark status. Thanks to a concentrated campaign and research by our colleagues at the Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation, the buildings’ cultural significance was enhanced by the discovery that these buildings were home to renowned artists Willem de Kooning, Elaine de Kooning and Paul Jenkins.