E-BULLETIN OF THE HISTORIC DISTRICTS COUNCIL
April 2013, Volume 10, Number 5
South Street Seaport Updates
Last month City Council voted to approve the rezoning of South Street Seaport requested by the Howard Hughes Corporation, with a few changes. Those changes may sound good, but, as the Save Our Seaport Coalition shows, other than allowing present tenants one last summer of business, the deal managed to avoid just about every request of the community and seaport supporters.
While Howard Hughes repeatedly insisted that the rezoning only had to do with the Pier 17 project, soon after the deal passed, more information regarding plans for the area emerged. A Letter of Intent, dated December 12, 2011, between Howard Hughes and the city’s Economic Development Corporation, reveals plans for a “mixed use project” of residential, retail, and hotel spaces. Local advocates had obtained copies of the Letter of Intent under the Freedom of Information Act earlier, but paragraphs regarding this key issue had been blacked out. The project will probably begin the Unified Land Use Review Process (ULURP) this summer, and we will keep you posted. Although the LOI does not say where this project would be exactly, given the amount of square footage discussed, it will likely be on the waterfront at the site of the WPA-era New Market Building. The distinctive building, formally part of the Fulton Fish Market and for the past few years the back drop to the New Amsterdam Market, is the only historic building not included in the city-designate historic district (it is part of the National Register district.) Last week, HDC submitted a Request for Evaluation to include the New Market Building. Please tell LPC Chair Robert Tierney that, just as it served as a key piece of the Fulton Fish Market for 66 years, the New Market Building would be a major contributor to the South Street Seaport Historic District if designated.
We are also sad to report that the South Street Seaport Museum, a longtime anchor (no pun intended) of the district, has been forced to close its galleries at 12 Fulton Street due to ongoing problems since Hurricane Sandy. You can still visit Bowne Printers, the museum’s recreation of a working 19th century print shop, and donate to the museum’s Sandy Relief Fund.
New York Public Library
Thank you to everyone who contacted us with your support for the requests to designate interior spaces of the New York Public Library’s Central Branch! We knew New Yorkers loved the library, but it was extra nice to hear your stories. Please share your thoughts with LPC Chair Robert Tierney and write him a letter supporting the landmarking of these remarkable rooms (and don’t forget to send a copy to email@example.com). You can also mail letters to the chair at 1 Centre Street, 9th floor, New York City, New York 10007.
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