Certificate of Appropriateness Testimony

[email protected] Testimony for July 19th 2022

Certificate of Appropriateness Testimony

140 West Broadway (aka 140-142 West Broadway and 82 Thomas Street) – Tribeca West Historic District
An Italianate/neo-Grec style store and loft building designed by Carl Pfeiffer and built in 1866. Application is to remove and relocate vault lights and replace the sidewalk and loading dock.
Architect: A-squared
HDC finds this proposal to be not fully developed and not terribly convincing. The proposed manipulation of the granite, while clever, would reverse an interesting historical feature of this sidewalk, that shows how these industrial work zones were altered depending upon the required function of that time. We are also not convinced that the proposed flipping of the stone would work and we are therefore concerned that the applicant will end up requesting an all concrete sidewalk. We believe that the redesigned loading platform should be entirely steel with no concrete components. HDC asks the Commission to ask this applicant to do more research into what was once here and propose a design more sympathetic to the original configuration and materials.

176-178 Waverly Place – Greenwich Village Historic District
A pair of Greek Revival style houses built in 1839. Application is to construct rooftop and rear yard additions, excavate the cellar and rear yard, and alter the rear façade.
Architect: SUK
HDC finds this proposal to be the definition of inappropriate. The roof top and rear yard extensions are completely out of scale and proportion with its context. The obliteration of the top floor of the existing buildings with an inappropriately scaled addition overwhelms these two 19th century rowhouses. We ask the commission to reject this proposal in its entirety and ask the applicant to develop something more in scale and keeping with its neighbors and itself.

34 West 12th Street – Greenwich Village Historic District
A late Italianate style rowhouse built in 1860 and altered by the 1940s. Application is to construct a stoop, install ironwork, and alter the rear façade.
Architect: STUDIOSC
HDC appreciates the proposed work on the front façade and the overall scale of the project. We find the proposed manipulation of the fenestration of the upper three floors of the rear façade, however, to be inappropriate and unnecessary. We also find the proposed windows to be out of character for this façade. Finally, the proposed design of the garden and parlor floor rear windows and the replacement of the masonry piers with clad piers is visually awkward.
 We would ask the commission to have the applicant work with staff on developing a design that maintains the original masonry openings of the upper three floors and rework the lower level fenestration to work more coherently with the upper floors.

229 West 71st Street – West End – Collegiate Historic District Extension
A rowhouse built in 1884 and altered in 1946-1948 with a new facade attributed to Irving Kudroff. Application is to substantially demolish the existing building and construct a new building.
Architect: Sdgi
HDC believes that a new building can be appropriate in this location but we are not convinced by this proposal. In particular, we believe the balconies in their current form to be inappropriate. The building’s base and cornice detailing are awkward and in need of further study and detailing. This façade needs to be either much less busy or much more modern to occupy this space. We ask, therefore, that the commission require the applicant to explore other options for this façade.

4881 Broadway – Dyckman House – Individual Landmark
A Dutch Colonial style farmhouse built c. 1785. Application is to construct an addition and provide barrier-free access to the house and the site.
HDC finds the proposed addition to be inappropriate. Attempting to recreate a larger version of some formerly extant side structure will only take away from the original building and the story of its evolution. If the museum is in need of extra space and facilities for a caretaker and other functions, we believe it would be best achieved by building a fully separate and probably modern structure elsewhere on the site.

65 Jumel Terrace – Morris-Jumel Mansion – Individual and Interior Landmark – Jumel Terrace Historic District
A Georgian style mansion built in 1765, and remodeled in 1810 in the Napoleonic Empire style with Federal style details. Application is to provide barrier-free access to the building and replace rooftop railings.
HDC is generally in support of this proposal, but we find two items to be in need of further consideration and study. The ADA ramp would be less noticeable and blend more with its surroundings if it were executed in black painted steel similar to the guard rails currently located at the stair to the cellar that is directly adjacent to the proposed ramp location. We also find that changing the brick path on the east side of the house from straight to winding creates an awkward interface with the new ADA ramp. It appears to us that these to elements deserve further study and refinement.
While we generally feel that real wood is a superior material to composite wood, we may in this case be comfortable with this application given its distance above ground, however, we would ask LPC to verify with the applicant that the composite material is paintable and that the applicant be required to apply the paint to this roof railing system with a brush, so that it reads from afar as being painted wood, not some shiny plastic thing.

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