Certificate of Appropriateness Testimony

HDC@LPC- January 10, 2012

Item 1
115004- Block 8023, lot 19-
336 Knollwood Avenue aka 240-30 Knollwood Avenue – Douglaston Historic District
A contemporary Colonial Revival style freestanding house built in 1965. Application is to enlarge and alter the house, construct an addition and garage, remove a tree, and relocate a curb cut.

This block of Knollwood Avenue, lined with 1960s Colonial Revival style houses, is not a typical one in the Douglaston Historic District.  Undoubtedly the other houses on the block will eventually be redesigned, and this new house at 336 could set the tone for the others.

HDC applauds the use of quality, natural materials in this project, just the right sort of example to be setting.  While the new house basically retains the footprint of the existing, certain design elements give the feeling of a much larger house.  The triple wide windows directly above the porch roof and below attic overhang lends a strong horizontality, while the dormers and their oversized pediments pull the building in the other direction and enforce the feeling of a third story.  These elements should be restudied to create a more harmonious fenestration.  The rear façade with its profusion of pilasters, paneling and windows should be toned down to look less like a front façade.  There is also a question of style.  Douglaston is filled with charming examples of various early twentieth-century revival styles, but nothing quite so Victorian farm house.  If Colonial Revival is the revival of choice, in addition to decreasing the size of the openings, the porch should be toned down and the pilasters framing the windows should be removed.

Finally, it seems the straight driveway would make the most aesthetic and practical sense, but we encourage the applicant to plant a sizable tree elsewhere in the front yard to replace the one that will be lost.

LPC determination:  no action


Item 5
123743- Block 547, lot 30-
715-721 Broadway – NoHo Historic District
A Renaissance Revival style store and office building designed by Robert Maynicke and built in 1894-96. Application is to relocate two flagpoles and install a stretch banner.

New York University seems to have a plan for marking its buildings – flags and stretch banners.  Unfortunately, this plan does not really take the landmark buildings or the historic districts into account.  Moving the existing flagpoles up creates the need for more visibility closer to the ground, a self-imposed problem.  Instead of adding stretch banners, something largely eschewed by the commission, the flagpoles should simply be left in place.  If further signage is required to identify the individual schools and departments, other more traditional locations could be considered such as in the windows or on the base of the piers.

LPC determination:  banner denied


Item 6
123742- Block 545, lot 15-
726 Broadway – NoHo Historic District
A neo-Classical style garage, factory and warehouse building designed by Wm. Steele and Sons Co, and built in 1917-19. Application is to install three stretch banners and a sign.

Again, HDC feels that while the signage on the wall directly next to the door is appropriate, the proposed stretch banners are not in keeping with this landmarked building or its historic district.  The existing flag readily identifies 726 Broadway as part of NYU, and further signage could be considered on the entrance canopy if that is not enough.

LPC determination:  banners denied, sign approved

Item 10
126235- Block 575, lot 67-
35 West 11th Street – Greenwich Village Historic District
A modified rowhouse built in 1849-50. Application is to paint the façade and replace the windows.

This modified rowhouse with its cheery pink façade is a fun spot along West 11th Street.  The   stucco, paint, windows, removal of the stoop and creation of basement entry were likely undertaken all together as part of a renovation in the early 20th century, a quirky, but typicaly Greenwich Village sort of remodelling.  Changing the windows and the paint color without changing other elements seems unecessary and inappropriate.  While another color could be possible, matching the grey of the house next door is both visually drab and does not make much sense as renovations on both houses have long ago taken away their unity.  If the desire is to reunite 35 West 11th Street with its estranged sisters at 37 and 39 then far more work is needed including a stoop and new entrance.  Better yet, the building’s individuality should simply be retained and enjoyed.

LPC determination:  approved


Item 11
125352- Block 611, lot 32-
135 7th Avenue South, aka 163 West 10th St. – Greenwich Village Historic District
A Victorian Gothic style apartment building designed by Charles Guentzer and built in 1866. Application is to construct addition.

HDC finds that the nondescript aluminum storefront is not enough of a replacement for the loss of this interesting notch that recalls the creation of Seventh Avenue South, and we ask the commission to reject this application.

LPC determination:  approved with modifications


Item 15
126871- Block 1290, lot 1-
689 Fifth Avenue – Aeolian Building, Individual Landmark
A neo-Classical style building with French Renaissance style detailing designed by Warren & Wetmore, and built in 1925-27. Application is to install a marquee, modify the ground floor, and establish a master plan governing the future installation of storefront infill.

When 686 Fifth Avenue was completed in 1927, it was awarded a gold medal by the Fifth Avenue Association, featured in leading architectural magazines, and was hailed as a “Fifth Avenue-New York message of inspiration and good-will to the country.”  This striking building at such a prestigious shopping address deserves an elegant storefront, and what better storefront than the one Warren & Wetmore designed?  Rather than taking the unfortunate 1970’s storefronts and turning them into plain expanses of glass reminiscent of storefronts designed for meat market buildings, the applicant should take advantage of the wonderful historic drawings and photographs in the presentation.  The historic storefronts allowed for ample show windows, and who would not be drawn in by the ornate, curved corner entrance?  Although the long-time tenant, Elizabeth Arden, will be moving out soon, this is still a chance for a lovely makeover that could help peel back the layers of time and return the storefronts to their glowing, youthful appearance.

LPC determination:  no action


Designation Reports:
Landmarks Preservation Commission:  http://www.nyc.gov/html/lpc/html/forms/reports.shtml

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