Statement on the Proposed Park Place Historic District

Statement of the Historic Districts Council

Before the Landmarks Preservation Commission

Regarding the Proposed Park Place Historic District

October 26, 2010

The Historic Districts Council is the citywide advocate for New York’s historic neighborhoods. In the course of fulfilling our mission, we are regularly contacted by community organizations who wish to gain preservation protection for their neighborhoods and are looking for information and guidance. We attend community meetings, discuss the benefits and responsibilities of landmark designation and advise on practical strategic methods to organize communities and interact with decision-makers in order to best further the community’s preservation goals.

In August 2008, HDC was an invited speaker, along with Council member Letitia James and community groups from Crown Heights North and Prospect Heights, at a special meeting of the Crow Hill Community Association to discuss the landmark process. Crow Hill residents had begun a campaign to gain landmark designation for their neighborhood and, in fact, had been at least cursorily surveyed as part of broader preservation efforts in the community sponsored by the Brooklyn Community Board 8 and CM James.  The proposed study area was about 9 blocks and included approximately 200 buildings. After the meeting, the association continued to gather information and support for their proposal, and HDC remained in contact with community members.

Therefore, we were pleased when we learned that the Landmarks Preservation Commission was considering on designation activity in the area, but surprised when we saw that the proposed historic district was a mere 13 buildings. The proposal before the LPC today is definitely meritorious as handsome examples of late-19th century speculative residential development in New York City. The same could also be said of other sections of Crow Hill so we urge the Landmarks Commission to consider this small designation as an amuse bouche before embarking on a broader historic district in this worthy neighborhood.

By the way, if indeed there is a connection between Joseph Mason Kirby and the Coney Island Elephant Hotel, we would strongly recommend that in addition to honoring an architect best-known for his work in Coney Island, that the Landmarks Commission take the plunge and consider the remaining historic buildings of Coney Island’s historic heyday while they still exist. There aren’t that many of them ,and they’re not long for this world.

Posted Under: Brooklyn, Coney Island, Designation, HDC@LPC, LPC

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