Certificate of Appropriateness Testimony

[email protected] – Testimony for LPC Zoom Hearing on August 4, 2020

PLEASE NOTE: In an effort to curb the spread of COVID-19, the Landmarks Preservation Commission (LPC) is adjusting its processes and procedures to ensure the agency continues to provide services to the city while protecting the health of its employees and the general public. The agency is currently holding public hearings and meetings through Zoom, and live-streaming them through its YouTube channel. This enables applicants to present their projects to the Commission and the public to watch the presentations live on YouTube. Interested members of the public will also be able to provide live testimony by joining in through the Zoom app or by calling from any telephoneFor information regarding online public participation, visit the LPC’s website here.

The Historic Districts Council (HDC) reviews every public proposal affecting New York City’s landmarks and historic districts and provides testimony to the Landmarks Preservation Commission (LPC) whenever it is needed.

Please continue reading for our testimony regarding the latest items under consideration by the Commission. We invite you to visit the [email protected] blog for an archive containing all of our past testimony.

Item 1

54-66 Livingston Street – Brooklyn Heights Historic District


Five rowhouses built in 1845‐1847 and two rowhouses built in 1861‐79, all later altered. Application is to replace windows.

Architect: Gerald J. Caliendo Architects

HDC does not support this proposal. While the buildings lack integrity, this proposal offers nothing to help them better blend into the Brooklyn Heights Historic District. Instead, the proposed one over one aluminum windows further cheapen this unfortunate swath. While not original, at least the two over two windows help to attenuate the facades of these buildings and offer a hint of character. This is a large project comprising five separate buildings–five buildings is nearly half of the size of some historic districts. The extraordinary value derived from the location of these buildings within this historic district should be reciprocated by proposing work that at the very minimum moves these properties in the proper direction.

Item 2

351 Canal Street – SoHo Cast-Iron Historic District


A store building with neo‐Grec style elements designed by W.H. Garylor and built in 1871‐ 72. Application is to remove a fire escape.

Architect: Alfred Karman

While this fire escape may not be original, it is present in the 1939 tax photograph and therefore is a historic feature of the building. Further, it is not a simple, utilitarian fire escape but rather a designed, considered object. In fact, trouble was made to replicate its attractive design on the second fire escape that was added to the Wooster Street facade. Both fire escapes are well-placed within two bays of the large building, and do not obscure any cast-iron ornament. Just as cast-iron buildings are largely a narrative about the evolution of fireproof construction, historic fire escapes on our City’s former store and loft buildings also have a story to tell, even as they get scrubbed clean.

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