Certificate of Appropriateness Testimony

[email protected] Testimony for January 11th, 2022

Item 1

403 Pacific Street – Boerum Hill Historic District

A modified Italianate style rowhouse designed by John Doherty & Michael Murray and built in 1850-1855. Application is to construct a rear yard addition and alter the rear façade.
Architect: Sarah Jacoby architect
Overall HDC appreciates the modesty and restraint of this addition’s bulk.  However, HDC is concerned that the proportion of glass to masonry at the garden level is a bit unbalanced, and we believe that larger brick piers at the property line would go a long way toward finding a more appropriate balance. Additionally and more significantly, we find the alignment of the single masonry opening on the east side of the parlor floor façade to be awkward and unnecessary.  The applicant should be asked to maintain the existing masonry opening  and alter the fenestration within the masonry opening to accommodate the interior program.
Landmarks Commission: Approved with modifications


Item 2
204 Washington Park – Fort Greene Historic District
An Italianate style rowhouse built c. 1870. Application is to remove a bay window and alter the rear extension and rear façade.
Architect: baao
This proposal is inappropriate and unnecessary. While the existing two-story extension and its oriel window may not be original to the building, we believe that they are a designed and considered an addition, and that maintaining the major elements of that composition should be required. Given the visibility of this alteration from the public right of way, it is unacceptable to replace a handsome façade with something that looks more appropriate for a suburban office park. The masonry portion of the addition should be rebuilt, using modern masonry techniques on a code compliant foundation. The bulk of the new structure should be brick, and the oriel and its well-considered wood details should be carefully surveyed and recreated. Reinterpretation of the masonry openings in the façade, and the size of oriel itself, might be appropriate, but the wholesale replacement of this handsome façade with a poorly detailed stucco box clearly violates the spirit of the donut, the block, and indeed this particularly exquisite historic district.
Landmarks Commission: No Action

Item 3

23 West 83rd Street – Upper West Side/Central Park West Historic District
A Romanesque Revival style rowhouse designed by Charles H. Lindsley and built in 1891-92. Application is to replace a window.
HDC believes that this building, like any other apartment building, should have a master plan for window replacement – a master plan that works towards restoring windows more appropriate to this rowhouse structure than the clunkily detailed all-aluminum units that have been proposed. An aluminum-lad wood window, or fully wood window, is the appropriate product for this application.

Landmarks Commission: Approved

Item 4

256 West 88th Street – Riverside – West End Historic District

A Renaissance Revival style rowhouse designed by Nelson M. Whipple and built in 1884, and altered by C. Jackson in 1911. Application is to construct rooftop and rear yard additions.
Architect: Grasso-Menziuso
HDC finds the proposed three-story full width rear yard extension to be inappropriate.  A two-story, full width extension would be more appropriately scaled for this building, its neighbors and the donut that it occupies. While it is not yet a rule of the Commission, it has become a generally accepted strategy to leave the upper two floors of existing rowhouse rear facades unaltered – in this case, the large flat-arch topped windows on the rear façade are a historically interesting feature and should be maintained. The poorly executed – presumably pre-designation addition to the adjacent building – should not serve as precedent for this project.
Landmarks Commission: Approved

Item 5
173-175 Riverside Drive – Riverside – West End Historic District
A neo-Renaissance style apartment building designed by J.E.R. Carpenter and built in 1925- 26. Application is to reconstruct and modify the rooftop parapet and balustrade.
HDC would like to commend this applicant on the sensitivity of their design solution to this common and often sticky problem. Finding elegant ways to bring a decorative parapet up to code and maintain the architectural intent of the original design is no easy task – this applicant has done it beautifully.
Landmarks Commission: Approved

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