Certificate of Appropriateness Testimony

[email protected] – Testimony for LPC Zoom Hearing on December 15, 2020

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.

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.

Item 1

98 Milton Street – Greenpoint Historic District


A frame house built in 1855. Application is to alter the primary façade and construct a rear yard addition.

Architect: Jonathan B. Held & Space Exploration

This is house is another successful example of how including altered architecture in historic districts can pay off in the long term. Greenpoint would not be Greenpoint without its 1850s vernacular frame houses, and HDC applauds the remarkable transformation proposed for 98 Milton Street.

Item 5

238 East 15th Street – Stuyvesant Square Historic District


An Italianate style house built in 1850. Application is to construct a rooftop addition and excavate the cellar.

Architect: Architects h2n

This row house is a part of a small patch of surviving 1850s Italianates on 15th Street. The proposed rooftop addition is in clear view from Stuyvesant Square Park, which alters the intact nature of some of the oldest homes of the district. While the areas outside of the district are varied, visible rooftop additions are not characteristic of the Stuyvesant Square Historic District.

While not before the Commission, HDC applauds the proposed façade work. The restoration of the segmental window openings is a tremendous undertaking toward the original Italianate appearance. We wondered if the restoration includes extending the cornice brackets back down to their original length with drips into the masonry, a small detail that further attenuates the façade’s proportions.

Item 8

29-27 41st Avenue – The Bank of the Manhattan Company, Long Island City Branch Building – Individual Landmark


A neo-Gothic style commercial building designed by Morrell Smith and built in 1925-27. Application is to establish a Master Plan governing the future installation of windows.

Architect: Darius Toraby Architects

The Long Island City Clocktower is a rare link to the past in a neighborhood virtually transformed by development. As HDC testified in July 2020 regarding the New York Historical Society, we do not find aluminum windows to be an appropriate substitute for original bronze windows on an Individual Landmark. Given the dearth of landmarks in Long Island City, we hope the LPC will consider preserving its authenticity, as not much else from this era survives here.

Item 9

60-53 68th Avenue – Central Ridgewood Historic District


A Renaissance Revival style house built in 1909. Application is to legalize alterations to the front stoop and replacement of areaway fence without Landmarks Preservation Commission permit(s).

Architect: None listed

If bullnose-edge granite treads were proposed for any rowhouse in any historic district in New York City, HDC would implore the LPC to deny the application. This material is inappropriate, especially when added to a brick and brownstone palette. The removal of the original cast and wrought iron areaway fence is a total loss, and if not in a landfill should be repaired and reinstalled. Historic districts like Ridgewood derive their special character from their unifying elements and the lack of attention to detail here has compromised this aesthetic continuity.

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