Certificate of Appropriateness Testimony

HDC@LPC – Testimony for Hearing on December 11, 2018

HDC regularly reviews every public proposal affecting Individual Landmarks and buildings within Historic Districts in New York City, and when needed, we comment on them. Our testimony for the latest items to be presented at the Landmarks Preservation Commission is below.

Item 1

48-14 39th Avenue – Sunnyside Gardens Historic District

CERTIFICATE OF APPROPRIATENESS, Docket #1920582

A Colonial Revival style rowhouse designed by Clarence Stein and Henry Wright and built in 1927. Application is to legalize the installation of a door without Landmarks Preservation Commission permit(s).

The illegal door is totally inappropriate for the Sunnyside Gardens Historic District. The tax photo displays a legible, horizontally paneled door with six lights. A door that recalls this design should be returned to this façade and the current door should be removed.

LPC determination: Approved


Item 2

215 Manor Road – Douglaston Historic District

CERTIFICATE OF APPROPRIATENESS, Docket #1926941

An English Cottage style house designed by Louis O. Rohland and built in 1926. Application is to replace windows.

While the new divided light fenestration is an aesthetic improvement, this may not be the case if these are clipped-in muntins, which will cheapen the appearance of this house. Since this is the first window replacement in nearly 100 years, we wonder if a higher quality window can be used for this historic home.

LPC determination: Approved


Item 4

165 Columbia Heights – Brooklyn Heights Historic District

CERTIFICATE OF APPROPRIATENESS, Docket #1930140

A carriage house built in the 1880s. Application is to modify a rooftop addition, replace windows, and install paving and railings.

There is no reason the modifications to the rooftop addition have to be visible. Both the bulk and the railings of this mass don’t attempt to conceal themselves and are unwelcome distractions atop this otherwise small carriage house. HDC found the fenestration pattern currently reflects a historic condition, and that steel windows are not appropriate for this type of building, which would have never had them. That being said, the large center window’s design could be open to many interpretations, given its long history of change and an uncertain original design.

LPC determination: Approved with modifications


Item 5

484 Broome Street – SoHo-Cast Iron Historic District

CERTIFICATE OF APPROPRIATENESS, Docket #187060

A Romanesque style warehouse designed by Alfred Zucker and built in 1891. Application is to modify a storefront and install signage.

Per the designation report, the asymmetrical arrangement of window bays is an important part of the architectural composition. While HDC concedes that this intervention is proposed in a sensitive manner, we are concerned about losing the intact nature of this original ground floor configuration. We wonder if there is possibly another way to satisfy the programmatic needs of the tenant without sacrificing this cast-iron fabric.

LPC determination: No Action


Item 6

424 Broadway – SoHo-Cast Iron Historic District

CERTIFICATE OF APPROPRIATENESS, Docket #1931086

An Italianate style store and lofts building designed by Henry Engelbert and built in c. 1868. Application is to replace storefront infill.

There is ample evidence provided in the drawings set which document this storefront’s historic condition. There are columns beneath this storefront, and they should be re-exposed and this ground floor should be re-dignified. The historic condition should be the goal now, not at a later time.

LPC determination: Approved with modifications


Item 8

155 Mercer Street – SoHo-Cast Iron Historic District

CERTIFICATE OF APPROPRIATENESS, Docket #1933268

A Renaissance Revival style department store building designed by D.H. Burnham & Co. and built in 1903-07, with an addition built in 1924-25. Application is to legalize the installation of neon lighting without LPC permits.

Corporate flagships should know better than to self-determine their brand’s appearance in New York’s Soho neighborhood, which has been a historic district for 45 years. We ask that the applicant work with staff to determine if this neon is appropriate for this particular block.

LPC determination: Denied


Item 10

227 Riverside Drive – Riverside – West End Historic District

CERTIFICATE OF APPROPRIATENESS, Docket #1923273

A neo-Renaissance style apartment building designed by John Woolley and built In 1897-98. Application is to legalize the installation of a barrier-free access ramp without Landmarks Preservation Commission permit(s).

The largest issue with this proposal is the loss of the frontal entrance stair. Adding a ramp should not equate to losing a building’s formal entryway, and this front entrance should be re-instilled with a proper street-facing staircase. Since the applicant chose to duplicate the design of the railings for the new ramp, we ask if it might be possible to replicate the piers of this design as well.

LPC determination: Approved with modifications

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