Certificate of Appropriateness Testimony

[email protected] Testimony for June 28th 2022

Certificate of Appropriateness Testimony

Fort Totten Campus – Fort Totten Historic District
Various locations throughout the Fort Totten Historic District. Application is to construct a new switch gear house and install transformers and generators with enclosures.
HDC is generally in support of this proposal but with two minor questions/observations:
First, we find the proportions and treatment of the transom window over the front door to be compositionally awkward.
Second, we note that the neighboring buildings that have a large expanse of brick above the windows have some sort of decorative, corbelled brick transition between the wall and overhang. We believe that a similar architectural detail would improve the proportions and detailing of the building. Page 21 of Stantec’s presentation shows this detail on the existing FDNY building.

1 Water Street – Marine Fire Boat Station – Fulton Ferry Historic District
A fire boat station built in 1926. Application is to install signage.
HDC believes that a single white lamp is the appropriate level of lighting on this façade and will better blend with the building.

60 Wall Street
A Postmodern style office tower designed by Roche-Dinkeloo and built in 1985-1989 pursuant to a special permit under Zoning Resolution Section 74-79, which found a harmonious relationship between this building and the lndividual Landmark at 55 Wall Street, a Greek Revival style exchange building designed by Isaiah Rogers and built in 1842, with an addition designed by McKim, Mead and White and built in 1907. Application is to amend CR 85-004 (LPC 84-0715) to alter the base of 60 Wall Street.
Architect: KPF
Historic Districts Council does not find the proposed alterations to the façade of 60 Wall Street to be in keeping with the harmonious relationship to 55 Wall Street. As called out in the original landmarks report, LPC-840785, CR 85-004, the Commission found a harmonious relationship specifically calling out among other things the height, rhythm and massing of the first floor colonnade. We do not find that the current proposal is acceptable in maintaining those elements in relation to 55 Wall.
The new columns are articulated as thin, vertical piers. The base loses its rhythm and massing and becomes instead too flat and abstracted to relate to 55 Wall. We do not agree with the applicant’s assertion that the design is a “Basic form of the colonnade…is not a duplicate of [55 Wall]” but “contemporary,” “sensitive response.” To HDC it seems to bear little connection with 55 Wall, but rather evokes a standard, contemporary corporate design as can be seen at any number of large, corporate skyscrapers across the city.
The existing exterior columns at the base and the exterior details up to the fifth floor
would all be largely erased with the proposed design changes, eliminating the very
important harmonious connection, which includes a strong visual connection of the
columns between both structures.
The proposed changes at the base of 60 Wall would negatively impact the overall
consistency of the building, making it look like it is two buildings. Therefore it also loses the harmonious relationship not just with 55 Wall but with itself as a cohesive,
architectural design.
A small note on the visibility of the landmark at 55. The applicant claims that the new
glass entrance to the POPS will provide increased visibility of the landmark. But in
numerous renderings they include hanging greenery that would block views of 55 Wall, making this unlikely.
Finally, in addition to our comments on the harmonious relationship, we urge the
Commission to consider this building for exterior and interior designation. It is a very
significant example of Post Modern design in New York and is widely seen by critics
and scholars as one of the best examples of the period. We know the Commissioners cannot consider that in their deliberations today but urge the LPC staff to actively consider the designation of this site in the interim. In fact, HDC used the interior image on Slide 13 to illustrate the concept of “Landmarks of the Future” as part of our 2020 Six to Celebrate.


468 Broome Street – SoHo-Cast Iron Historic District
An Italianate style store and loft building built in 1860. Application is paint the ground floor of the building.
HDC finds this proposal to be fully inappropriate. The proposed color will detract from the building’s otherwise monochromatic composition and draw unnecessary attention to itself. This is particularly problematic given that 464,466 and 468 are meant to be read as a single composition. A more complete presentation of the building’s entire façade and its neighboring context would show this discordant condition clearly. We ask the Commissioners to reject this proposal.




225 West 4th Street – Greenwich Village Historic District
A utilitarian brick building built in the 1920s, and two rowhouses built in 1873. Application is to reconstruct an enclosed sidewalk café, modify openings and install storefront infill.
Architect: Grzywinski + Pons
HDC asks that the neighborhood map on West 10th Street, shown on slide 17 of the presentation, be maintained.



323 West 87th Street – Riverside – West End Historic District
A Renaissance Revival style rowhouse designed by Francis A. Minuth and built in 1889. Application is to construct a rooftop addition and replace a transom window.
HDC would like to commend the applicant on a very modest and sensitively considered proposal. In particular, the proposed restoration work is thoughtful. The decision to keep the building’s bulk more compatible with its neighbors is a responsible way to work within historic districts.


105 East 64th Street – Upper East Side Historic District
A rowhouse designed by W. P. & A. M. Parsons built in 1881-1882, and later altered c. 1941. Application is to construct a new building.
HDC finds the proposed change to the buildings floor to floor heights and aspects of its new bulk to be inappropriate and as such the proposal should be rejected in full.
105 East 64th is one of a row of 5 rowhouses originally built in 1882. Those five houses have been substantially altered over the years, but throughout their existence they have always shared unbroken alignment of their floor to floor heights, window sill and head heights, and cornice lines. Any alterations to this building at the present time should respect the basic original underlying grid of this row of houses. HDC can imagine a façade design that uses the classical language proposed in this application but one that is developed and applied using the basic geometry of the row.
This proposal contains a number of precedent images for buildings that have had their facades replaced with early 20th century and more recent neo-classical facades. We appreciate this effort, but want observe that in the majority of these precedent images the floor to floor heights have been maintained and the basic pattern of fenestration remains aligned with neighboring structures.
There is no compelling architectural or programmatic reason for altering the floor to floor heights of this building and for expanding its bulk on the 3rd and 4th floor. In fact the introduction of basically uniform floor to floor heights eliminates a pleasing hierarchy from this façade, it is perhaps this game that is resulting in a series of awkward façade issues.
The change in floor to floor heights also increases the visibility of the added mansard floor more than necessary, thereby interrupting the handsome roof profile of the Howell house at the corner of Park and 64th.
The extension of the 3rd and 4th floor plates beyond their original line, the loss of the rear yard cornice line, and the elimination of the three punched window openings on these two floors are also unacceptable violations of the generally accepted rules for altering and expanding rowhouses.
It is for these reasons that we believe that LPC should reject this proposal and ask the applicant to develop a design that adheres to the rules laid out in the LPC guidelines for extensions and additions. We believe that incorporating these rules into this proposal will in the end result in the creation of a well-proportioned, handsome, and urbanistically more elegant solution.

1002 Madison Avenue – Upper East Side Historic District
A neo-Federal style bank building built in 1930. Application is to replace entrance infill and screen the windows.
Architect: HS2 Architecture
HDC appreciates the goal of this proposed façade work but finds the solution to be inappropriate. We believe the wood elements including the columns, pilasters and entablature, as well as the fan light, should be maintained. Perhaps then the minimalist games can be played with the door and side lights.

Central Park – North Meadow Center – Scenic Landmark
A building constructed c. 1910, within an English Romantic style public park, designed in 1857 by Frederick Law Olmsted and Calvert Vaux. Application is to modify masonry openings, replace infill, and install retaining walls, storage enclosures, paving and fencing.
HDC is generally supportive of these proposed renovations. We do want, however, to emphasize the importance of carefully detailing the proposed changes to stonework, such that the new openings are of the same quality as the original structure.


2041-2051 Madison Avenue, aka 50-52 East 130th Street – Church of All Saints (Roman Catholic), Parish House and School – Individual Landmark
A Gothic Revival style parochial school building designed by William W. Renwick in 1902-1904 and enlarged by Neville & Bagge in 1907. Application is to replace entrance infill.
Architect: Tang Studio ARCHITECT LLC
HDC prefers Option 1 of this proposal as it visually minimizes the introduction of an asymmetrical door into an otherwise symmetrical opening. Perhaps a single centered door with two equal solid sides would be better still.

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