Certificate of Appropriateness Testimony

[email protected] Testimony for January 10, 2023

Certificate of Appropriateness Testimony

101 St. John’s Place – Park Slope Historic District
A neo-Grec style rowhouse built in 1881-82. Application is to construct a rear yard addition
Architect: NDNY Architecture and Design
HDC finds the massing of this proposed addition appropriate, but we agree with our colleagues at the Park Slope Civic Council that the fenestration on the ground and parlor floors is inappropriate. Specifically, we feel the windows lack compositional consistency and read as 4 different styles. The second-floor windows should remain the same as the floor above. The lintels should bear on 4 inches of masonry on either side of the masonry opening and the sills should extend no more than 2 inches past the Masonry opening.
Action: Unanimously approved

79-81 Charles Street – Greenwich Village Historic District
Two French Second Empire style row houses designed by William H. Hume and built in 1866. Application is to combine the buildings, construct rooftop and rear yard additions, and excavate the cellar and rear yard.
Architect: Steven Harris Architects
HDC finds the massing of this rear yard extension to be appropriate in scale and context. However, we find the single ribbon of glass along the garden elevation to be inappropriate as it does nothing to suggest the fact that the buildings were formerly separate, and are now combined. We believe the architect could develop a scheme that achieves the undoubtedly desired visual connection to the garden while somehow acknowledging the original separation.
Action: Unanimously Approved

131 Charles Street – 131 Charles Street House – Individual Landmark – Greenwich Village Historic District Extension
A Federal style rowhouse built in 1834 with a back house. Application is to construct a dormer and rear yard addition, alter facades, eliminate a passageway and excavate the cellar and rear yard.
Architect: The Turett Collaborative
131 Charles Street is one of New York City’s earliest designated individual landmarks, and a treasure of Federal-style row house architecture in Greenwich Village. We feel that a structure of this rarity and import should be altered as little as possible. Though we find the proposed changes to the back house to be modest and respectful, the rear building has a composed court-yard-facing facade that we think should be maintained.

We note that this building dates to 1834 and is built on landfill, which would make any excavation dangerous, and if inexpertly handled, catastrophic. We appreciate that this applicant has been deeply thorough and conscientious in their excavation plans, and we feel this level of care and rigor should serve as a baseline for any applicant wishing to do excavation work. LPC must enforce this level of compliance in every application. Instead, the Commission has allowed more than a dozen landmarked buildings, including 10 in Greenwich Village, to be demolished over the past year alone, due to negligence and illegal work. We  plan to submit to the LPC a more detailed list of recommendations we believe could help to stop this alarming trend.

Action: No Action

458 West 20th Street – Chelsea Historic District
A Greek Revival style rowhouse built in 1845. Application is to relocate through-wall louvers and legalize façade work performed without Landmarks Preservation Commission permit(s)
Architect: C. Wall Architecture
HDC finds nothing appropriate about this solution. Instead of centering through-wall louvers underneath windows on the primary facade, the applicant should restore the building’s original window configuration back to 3 per floor, and utilize the air shaft as a more appropriate location for running condensate lines to the roof.
Action: Unanimously approved with modifications to restore blind windows.

400 West End Avenue – Riverside – West End Historic District Extension I
An Art Deco style apartment building designed by Margon & Holder and built in 1930-31. Application is to replace windows.
Architect: Mabbott Seidel Architecture
We concur with our colleagues at Landmark West that these windows should be part of a masterplan, and feel that the master plan should be based on the building’s historic window configuration.
Action: Approved 6-1

16 East 79th Street – Metropolitan Museum Historic District
A neo-Georgian style townhouse designed by Warren & Wetmore and built in 1901-03. Application is to establish a Master Plan governing the future installation of windows.
Architect: Design Primitives LLC
In this Master Plan, the applicant should maintain the visual intent of Warren and Wetmore’s window design. They can refer to the 1908 – 1911 photo for precedent. We believe that double-hung windows may offer a solution more in-keeping with Warren and Wetmore’s original intent than what is proposed here.
Action: No action

Morningside Park – Morningside Park Scenic Landmark
A public park designed in 1873 and revised in 1887, by Frederick Law Olmsted, Calvert Vaux, Jacob Wrey Mould, Julius Munckwitz, and Montgomery A. Kellogg. Application is to install a concessions kiosk.
Architect: George Ranalli Architect
We are happy that park-goers will have access to concessions, but we feel the proposed kiosk design is too bare-bones. We would like to see the concession stand offer more visual interest. We believe that the design of Morningside Park and its Seligman Fountain can offer inspiration for a design with greater movement, whimsy, and monumentality.
Action: Unanimously approved

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