Certificate of Appropriateness Testimony

HDC@LPC Testimony for July 25, 2023

Certificate of Appropriateness Testimony

154 West 73rd Street – Upper West Side/Central Park West Historic District

A neo-Grec style rowhouse with Queen Anne style elements designed by Martin V. B.
Ferdon and built in 1882-83. Application is to construct rooftop and rear yard additions
and excavate the rear yard.


HDC finds this proposal to be largely appropriate, well thought out and well detailed.

However, we find the bulk of the rear yard addition to be awkward. We believe that the line of the upper two floors of the house should be maintained and the lower three floors should be a single plane. A two tiered rather than three tiered arrangement tends to be more sympathetic to the neighboring elements of the donut.

Action: Unanimously Approved

985 Fifth Avenue – Metropolitan Museum Historic District

An apartment building designed by Wechsler & Schimenti and built in 1969-70. Application is to demolish the existing building and construct a new building.


HDC finds this proposal to be architecturally appropriate – and an improvement over the current edifice.

However, we question why the applicant needs to demolish the entire existing building. This is a robust post war structure that contains an immense amount of stored energy that should be added onto and not demolished. Given that the “greenest” buildings in the world are those that already exist – we see no compelling reason to take down one pile of concrete and replace it with another pile of concrete.

Add the new facade, add the new bulk, rework the interior – but do not tear down a perfectly good structure.

Action: Unanimously approved with modification that applicants work with staff to simplify the rear facade, consider mullion details, pull in the 4th floor balcony, and explore pulling the verticality through the middle.

10 East 76th Street – Upper East Side Historic District

A rowhouse designed by John G. Prague and built in 1881-82 and altered in the BeauxArts style by Schwartz & Gross in 1907-08. Application is to replace areaway ironwork
installed without Landmarks Preservation Commission permit(s), replace windows, alter
the rear facade, and construct a rear yard addition and rooftop bulkheads

Architect: Steven Harris Architects

HDC finds this to be a challenging application. We are aware that the divided lights on the front facade are not original to this building, but since their installation on the second and third floors in the 1920s, they have become a compelling element of the facade – as such and we believe they should be maintained, or accurately recreated.

Action: Unanimously approved with modification that applicants work with staff to reduce the visibility of the HVAC units

163-165 East 78th Street – 163-165 East 78th Street House – Individual Landmark

A pair of vernacular rowhouses with Italianate style influences built in 1861 and later
combined and enlarged. Application is to modify an entry, alter the penthouse,
construct rear yard and rooftop additions, and excavate to lower the cellar floor.

Architect: Workshop APD

HDC finds this proposal to be largely appropriate.

However, HDC believes that the configuration of the current windows and transoms should be maintained in the replacement units.

Also, the extra bit of extension on the third floor is inappropriate and unnecessary- it clutters an otherwise handsome mass.

Action: No Action

37-45 87th Street – Jackson Heights Historic District

An Anglo-American Garden Home style semi-detached house designed by C.F. McAvoy
and built in 1924. Application is to legalize the construction of a side addition and to
modify a retaining wall and fence installed without Landmarks Preservation Commission

Architect: Gesture Ink

HDC finds the side yard addition to be appropriate – however the proportions of the front yard ironwork and wall are inappropriate and should be modified to align with the neighboring properties.

Action: Unanimously approved with modification that they finish the return in brick

41 Willow Street – Brooklyn Heights Historic District

An altered rowhouse built before 1900 and a freestanding garage. Application is to
modify the façade and install a bay window, construct a rear yard addition, excavate in
the rear yard, install fencing and enlarge and alter the garage.

HDC finds that the proposed renovations and additions to front and rear  facade to be  appropriate – given the Brooklyn Heights’s history of supporting well executed modern work within the district. 

That said, and given the resources being deployed to realize this project, we believe strongly, that the applicant should be required to do a robust and historically accurate reconstruction of the front facade and stoop. 

The juxtaposition of a quality reconstruction of the primary street facade with similarly well conceived and detailed modern elements will provide a far richer project to the neighborhood.

Action: No Action

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