Certificate of Appropriateness Testimony

HDC@LPC – Testimony for LPC Zoom Hearing on May 4, 2021

The Historic Districts Council (HDC) reviews every public proposal affecting New York City’s landmarks and historic districts and provides testimony to the Landmarks Preservation Commission (LPC) whenever it is needed.

Please continue reading for our testimony regarding the latest items under consideration by the Commission. We invite you to visit the HDC@LPC blog for an archive containing all of our past testimony.

PLEASE NOTE: In an effort to curb the spread of COVID-19, the Landmarks Preservation Commission (LPC) is adjusting its processes and procedures to ensure the agency continues to provide services to the city while protecting the health of its employees and the general public. The agency is currently holding public hearings and meetings through Zoom, and live-streaming them through its YouTube channel. This enables applicants to present their projects to the Commission and the public to watch the presentations live on YouTube. Interested members of the public will also be able to provide live testimony by joining in through the Zoom app or by calling from any telephoneFor information regarding online public participation, visit the LPC’s website here.

Item 1

121 MacDonough Street – Stuyvesant Heights Historic District


An Italianate style rowhouse built in 1872. Application is to construct a rear yard addition.

Architect: Dumbo Designs & Consulting

In examining the block plan, HDC noticed that there are no three-story additions within this donut. This addition is asking to expand to full width and full height, and we believe that a two-story addition would better integrate into this context.

Item 2

Orchard Beach Bath House & Promenade – Individual Landmark

BINDING REPORT, Docket #2008771

A Modern Classical style waterfront recreation complex with Beaux-Arts elements designed by Aymar Embury II and landscape architects Gilmore D. Clarke and Michael Rapuano and built in 1934-37. Application is to construct barrier-free access ramps and a bulkhead; enclose a covered pavilion; replace stairs and guardrails; modify masonry openings and paving; regrade a plaza; and install infill, partitions, signage, mechanical equipment, railings and light fixtures.

Architect: Marvel

HDC applauds this application which is a sensitive, thoughtful, and remarkable restoration of the Orchard Beach site. Despite being a victim of decades of deferred maintenance, Orchard Beach remains a high-volume summer destination for Bronx and Upper Manhattan residents. That people still come here in its state of neglect demonstrates the inherent success of the original design and location. The people who come here deserve this restoration and this project will elevate the entire borough of the Bronx. We cannot wait to see people in these spaces, and for this architecture to become activated and newly accessible to everyone.

Because of the tremendous attention to detail throughout this application, our Committee wondered why the canopied storefronts (page 47) do not entirely follow the historic drawings. Specifically, the loss of horizontal framing members. Since most components of this project closely replicate the documented historic conditions, we are curious why that did not occur here. That said, we did not find the proposed storefronts to be inappropriate.

HDC understands that to make this complex usable again, substantial HVAC systems must be introduced. We appreciate the study of user experience time in the drop off area versus the beach area, however, we hope that further study of the visibility of the rooftop mechanicals can be explored to reduce and/or relocate them. In a similar vein, we felt that the exposed HVAC system in the newly enclosed North Waiting Room appears a bit haphazard and intrusive in this space. Overall, this is a spectacular project and will allow one of the gems of the Bronx to once again shine.

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