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July 23rd, 2010, 10:35 AM
Preserving Historic Preservation in New York City

by Vin Cipolla

New York City became a world leader in historic preservation following the demolition of the original Penn Station in 1963 and the threatened destruction of Grand Central Terminal shortly thereafter. Now nearly 50 years later, a public debate has emerged around whether the city is taking landmarks preservation too far.

Certainly much has been accomplished in the intervening years. With leadership from the Municipal Art Society and other civic organizations, a Landmarks Preservation Commission was created in 1965; its powers were expanded in 1973, and the constitutionality of the city's Landmarks Law was upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court in 1978, thereby preserving Grand Central. Historic preservation has become a core value of the city, and many of the city's greatest architectural treasures have been protected.

Yet even as eminent an architectural authority as Paul Goldberger recently warned that increasing numbers of landmarked buildings risk turning the city into "some grotesque version of Colonial Williamsburg on the Hudson." And New York City-bred Harvard urban economist Edward Glaeser recently published a blog posting titled "Reservations About Landmark Preservation." The criticisms focus on stifling the development of new buildings - with the hope that those new buildings will add contemporary architectural vitality (and perhaps future landmarks) and greater housing stock (and lower housing costs) - all admirable goals.

But the criticisms ignore a number of facts about historic preservation that should be kept in mind:

Historic Districts Make up Only a Tiny Percentage of the City: In New York City, there are 115 historic districts and 1,265 individual landmarks, totaling approximately 27,000 buildings - out of a total of about 975,000 buildings. The protected buildings thus make up less than three percent of the city's building stock.

Development Can and Does Take Place in Historic Districts: New residential buildings that the Landmarks Preservation Commission has recently approved include the 11-story 1 Jackson Square in the Greenwich Village Historic District, a 23-story building at 39-41 West 23rd Street, and a 17-story building at 4 West 21st Street, both in the Ladies' Mile Historic District. Despite the common misconception, the Commission sometimes approves very tall buildings, too. Just look at the 46-story Hearst Tower addition.

Zoning, Not Historic Districts, Drives or Limits Development: Zoning, which is under the domain of the City Planning Commission, determines the size and use of buildings. The Landmarks Preservation Commission regulates the appearance of buildings and how any new development relates to the surrounding district but does not set limits on a building's size. The real driver of development is the amount of unused zoning capacity in a neighborhood or on a particular lot. That said, zoning alone does not create housing, especially affordable housing. Subsidies, tax incentives, and government policy have as much, if not more, impact on the development of new housing.

The City is Dynamic and Growing: New York City has continued to grow while the Landmarks Preservation Commission has designated more buildings and historic districts. Data collected by the Municipal Art Society shows that from 2003 to 2008 the gross square footage of the city's building stock increased by nearly 300 million square feet, roughly equivalent to the construction of 250 Chrysler Buildings in just a five-year period.

"New Ideas Require Old Buildings": This quote from the renowned urban activist and author Jane Jacobs says it best. New York's older and existing buildings provide the most affordable places to start a business or live. Galleries in old warehouses in Long Island City, small manufacturers in the Brooklyn Navy Yard's longstanding buildings, and restaurants opened by up-and-coming chefs in Fort Greene, are just some of the present-day examples of the creative ideas that are the backbone of New York's identity being born and realized in old buildings.

Preservationists Need to be Part of the Planning for the City's Growth: Mayor Bloomberg's PlaNYC 2030 makes clear the need to plan for an increase to accommodate an expected population growth of one million people. It is critical that we ensure that the benefits and burdens of that expansion are fairly distributed. Historic neighborhoods tend to be located near transit centers, and many have amenities that make them attractive places to live and site affordable housing. With comprehensive planning that allows for community participation, neighborhood character can be retained while creating higher-density affordable housing in an equitable manner.

There are many ways in which preservation promotes a more sustainable city, and there is no reason why we have to choose between protecting our historic resources and developing New York City. With comprehensive planning, we can balance the city's growth while preserving the places that give New York City its identity and soul.


July 23rd, 2010, 11:52 AM
Great points all ^ It's been bookmarked for easy reference.

July 28th, 2010, 05:11 AM
I'm glad the Look Building (http://www.emporis.com/application/?nav=building&lng=3&id=lookbuilding-newyorkcity-ny-usa) is now landmarked.

City Review (http://www.thecityreview.com/mad488.html)

Midtown's New Landmarks

July 27, 2010, by Joey

MIDTOWN—The Landmarks Preservation Commission (http://www.nyc.gov/html/lpc/html/home/home.shtml) blessed two Midtown buildings today with landmark status, and talk about an odd couple! First up is the Look Building at 488 Madison Avenue (named for the magazine that once lived there), a Modernist 21-story office building designed by Emery Roth & Sons. The Burrill House at 36 East 38th Street is a bit more old school, a five-story Beaux Arts brownstone built in 1903 for a prominent attorney by Hoppin & Koen, the same architecture firm that did the amazing old police building down on Centre Street. [LPC]

http://ny.curbed.com/archives/2010/07/27/midtowns_new_landmarks_another_secret_swimming_poo l.php

Look Building Is Named a Landmark


It was in the Look Building, the cakelike office tower in Midtown Manhattan, that a very young Bob Dylan recorded “The Times They Are a-Changin’.”

Change though they may, the New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission (http://topics.nytimes.com/top/reference/timestopics/organizations/l/landmarks_preservation_commission/index.html?inline=nyt-org) voted on Tuesday to preserve an era and award landmark status to the Look Building, on Madison Avenue and 51st Street.

The building, noted for its Modernist style and tightly rounded corners, was built by the firm of Emery Roth & Sons, which also had a hand in building the World Trade Center. The building was completed in 1950.

It was named for one of its first tenants — Look magazine, which folded in 1971. Other tenants have included Esquire magazine and Pocket Books.

The commission also awarded landmark status to the Middleton S. and Emilie Neilson Burrill House, a Beaux Arts-style mansion on 38th Street between Madison and Park Avenues. Robert B. Tierney, the chairman of the commission, said the house recalled a time when Murray Hill was “an exclusive enclave for the upper class.”


July 28th, 2010, 09:31 AM
I love that building on Madison. The curved corners add a lot to it.

August 20th, 2010, 10:35 AM
LPC Renovates Owner Manual!

The Landmarks Preservation Commission has updated and revamped its Rowhouse Manual, a handbook that assists owners of the buildings that lie within New York City’s 116 historic districts and extensions maintain their special properties. It also offers step-by-step instructions on how to work successfully and efficiently with the Commission throughout the permit process.

New York City’s character stems not only from its towering, 20th-and -21st-century skyline, but also from the 19th-century low-scale brownstone, limestone, brick and wood clapboard rowhouses that line many of its streets and avenues. Preserving and protecting their character is truly a partnership between the Commission and property owners, and the latest version of the manual is designed to reflect our commitment to this collaboration.

Please click on this LINK (http://www.nyc.gov/html/lpc/downloads/pdf/lp_rhmanual.pdf) for a PDF of the manual (40 + pages)

September 1st, 2010, 05:16 AM
A New Beginning for West End Avenue

Matt Chaban

http://farm5.static.flickr.com/4049/4332538162_c138ab8bf2_z.jpg?__SQUARESPACE_CACHEVER SION=1283271215400
The Landmarks Preservation Commission is preparing to preserve a large swath of
West End Avenue and the surrounding buildings. (Ed Yourdon/Flickr)

The West End Preservation Society could only save two of the buildings it had hoped for, but an entire neighborhood has been preserved in the process.

Back in 2007 (http://www.observer.com/2009/real-estate/city-moves-designate-west-end-avenue-historic-district), a clutch of concerned citizens living on West End Avenue were dismayed to learn that two pairs of brownstones were bound for the wrecking ball, to be replaced by the sliver buildings much in vogue in Manhattan’s narrow upper reaches over the past decade. The houses at 732 and 734 West End Avenue are currently being demolished (http://a810-bisweb.nyc.gov/bisweb/JobsQueryByLocationServlet?requestid=1&allbin=1033716&allstrt=WEST+END+AVENUE&allnumbhous=732), but 508 and 510 West End Avenue survive, and likely will for some time thanks to the efforts of the society. The LPC is now preparing to finalize plans for a new, expansive historic district—lobbied for by the preservation group—running the length of West End Avenue from 70th Street to 109th Street. The result will be two-miles of almost uniterrupted pre-war grandeur.

http://farm5.static.flickr.com/4078/4946054952_4a5b9d0386_z.jpg?__SQUARESPACE_CACHEVER SION=1283282957761
734 and 732 West End Avenue, casualties that spurred a movement to landmark the entire throroughfare.
(Courtesy Google Maps)

The commission recently sent out letters to affected property owners notifying them of a September 15 informational meeting at P.S. 75 (located in the district-to-be at 735 West End Avenue). Such meetings are typically a precursor to “calendaring” a project, when it officially enters public review, a step that is now expected by October or November. Commission spokeswoman Elisabeth de Bourbon said a final map of the proposed district will be released at next month’s meeting, and it will include 745 new buildings—large by most historic district standards, though the Upper West Side already boasts some 2,035 landmarked buildings.

http://farm5.static.flickr.com/4088/4945587155_6b36c97332_z.jpg?__SQUARESPACE_CACHEVER SION=1283282848060 (http://www.landmarkwest.org/maps_and_data/whole_mapwishlist2.jpg)
A map showing UWS historic districts. The commission will stitch together the five along
West End Avenue into one super district. CLICK TO ZOOM (Courtesy Landmarks West)

Technically, the commission will not be creating one new district but expanding five that line West End Avenue. Though the result will be one contiguous stretch of landmarks, de Bourbon said the idea was to group them in a way that would honor the individual character of each district, “its history and its rhythms.” By expanding the existing districts, the commission will also protect more buildings on the side streets, further what many consider one of the most pristine stretches of pre-war architecture in the city.


September 16th, 2010, 06:32 AM
Commission Adds Three Buildings to Landmarks List

September 15, 2010, by Sara


Another Wednesday morning, another set of new landmarks on the city's roster. Yesterday, the Landmarks Preservation Commission grew its jurisdiction by three buildings. The newbies: the Eleventh Street Methodist Episcopal Chapel, an 1868 church designed by William Field and Son; the Thomas W. Lamb-designed Loew's Canal Street Theatre at 31 Canal Street, which has hopes (http://gothamist.com/2010/01/11/canal_street_loews.php) of becoming a cultural arts center; and 97 Bowery, which housed a carriage supply business back in the Bowery's more industrial days. Aside from their status as architectural special snowflakes, "these buildings collectively speak to many aspects of the immigrant experience in the East Village and on the Lower East Side in the 19th and early 20th centuries," according to the LPC press release. We do like our landmark designations themed!

Landmarks coverage (http://ny.curbed.com/tags/landmarks-preservation-commission) [Curbed]

http://ny.curbed.com/archives/2010/09/15/commission_adds_three_buildings_to_landmarks_list. php

September 17th, 2010, 06:26 AM
Huge New UWS Historic District Surprises Even Preservationists

September 16, 2010, by Joey


Though West End Avenue already has five small historic districts protecting many pre-war buildings, some folks feel that isn't enough. They don't want slices kept safe from developers, they want the whole pie taken off the windowsill. Led by a group called the West End Preservation Society, Upper West Side preservationists have been pushing hard to establish a historic district protecting all of West End Avenue from 70th Street to 109th Street. It's been a successful campaign (http://blog.archpaper.com/wordpress/archives/8708), even as complaints have mounted (http://www.nypost.com/p/news/regional/item_Gk8kjLj7PBhbEaeJIcBxSI;jsessionid=E2AEE91C637 C236A57CC24B4325B104C) that the area will be turned into a "mausoleum." Yesterday the Landmarks Preservation Commission held a meeting for neighborhood property owners in which the map of the potential Riverside-West End Historic District was revealed for the first time, and it's even bigger than what preservationists were dreaming of.

The map appears below (click to expand it), but what eventually gets calendered and approved by the LPC could wind up looking different. The stitching together and expansion of the existing historic districts would cover 745 additional buildings on West End Avenue and various sidestreets, a list compiled by the LPC after preservationists formally requested that the commission take a look. Today the West End Preservation Society alerted its followers to the good news, writing in an email:
Remarkably, the new district boundaries included not only the WEPS proposal but was expanded, by the LPC, to include the neighboring avenues of Riverside Dr, many blocks of the west side of Broadway and cross streets stretching from Riverside to Broadway from 70-109th Sts, for a count in the study area to exceed 700 buildings. WEPS looks forward to the LPC placing this district on their calendar quickly, so they can move ahead to the public hearings. That will bring them one step closer to a designation vote and the protection of the still vulnerable properties.Guess that mausoleum just keeps on growing!

http://ny.curbed.com/uploads/2010_9_westendave2-thumb.jpg (http://ny.curbed.com/uploads/2010_9_westendave2.jpg)
(click to enlarge)

'Historic' Battle for NYC (http://www.nypost.com/p/news/regional/item_Gk8kjLj7PBhbEaeJIcBxSI;jsessionid=E2AEE91C637 C236A57CC24B4325B104C) [NYP]
West End Avenue coverage (http://ny.curbed.com/tags/west-end-avenue) [Curbed]

http://ny.curbed.com/archives/2010/09/16/huge_new_uws_historic_district_surprises_even_pres ervationists.php

September 17th, 2010, 02:30 PM
And the museumization of NYC continues apace. :(

September 17th, 2010, 06:41 PM
Thank goodness gracious, LPC finally gets something right. :D

Apace....dont I wish.

September 17th, 2010, 07:36 PM
Great news indeed! Next up should be the South Village!

September 17th, 2010, 09:24 PM
Landmarks Reviews Morningside District

http://3.bp.blogspot.com/_UKr9URsCkeE/TJNmw8fCnlI/AAAAAAAALyc/r-tTQZ-raQQ/s400/IMG_2394.JPG (http://3.bp.blogspot.com/_UKr9URsCkeE/TJNmw8fCnlI/AAAAAAAALyc/r-tTQZ-raQQ/s1600/IMG_2394.JPG)

http://2.bp.blogspot.com/_UKr9URsCkeE/TJNmwst2nmI/AAAAAAAALyU/VGSh8FC_6VQ/s400/District+Proposed+for+Morningside+Heights.jpg (http://2.bp.blogspot.com/_UKr9URsCkeE/TJNmwst2nmI/AAAAAAAALyU/VGSh8FC_6VQ/s1600/District+Proposed+for+Morningside+Heights.jpg)
(click to enlarge)

Monday, September 20th, 6:00 PM at Riverside Church, Room 10-T (entrance located at 91 Claremont Avenue). Assembly Member Daniel O'donnell's office has been sending out notices about the big meeting with the Landmarks Preservation Commission this coming Monday on the proposed Morningside Heights Historic District. LPC has recently extended historic neighborhoods in Brooklyn, the West Village and the Upper West Side so it's about time they focus more on the neighborhoods above 110th Street.

Monday's meeting will have LPC provide information to homeowners and is one of several initial steps on possibly getting the district set up based on feedback. These meetings will also influence the size of the district which could include more than the above map if there is enough interest (double click map to enlarge). The formal request for the designation started back in 1996 and it looks like things might be happening sooner than later.

Read more in last year's New York Times: LINK (http://www.nytimes.com/2009/03/02/arts/design/02heights.html). This one is also important for Central Harlem since the extended Mount Morris Park Historic District has been on the table for years and LPC seems to be making their rounds this year.


September 17th, 2010, 10:37 PM
Though West End Avenue already has five small historic districts protecting many pre-war buildings, some folks feel that isn't enough.

http://ny.curbed.com/uploads/2010_9_westendave2-thumb.jpgGood that those tiny districts will be folded into one large area. Like the not-quite block long West 71st St District (http://www.nyc.gov/html/lpc/downloads/pdf/reports/WEST_71ST_STREET_HISTORIC_DISTRICT.pdf) at the lower left.

When designated in 1989, it was a dead-end street, with the drop down to the railyard. Riverside South development has since been added, with the new Riverside Blvd in the background. But the dead-end was retained to keep thru traffic out.
http://img408.imageshack.us/img408/4255/w71st01.th.jpg (http://img408.imageshack.us/i/w71st01.jpg/)

http://img37.imageshack.us/img37/8241/w71st02.th.jpg (http://img37.imageshack.us/i/w71st02.jpg/) http://img198.imageshack.us/img198/9926/w71st03.th.jpg (http://img198.imageshack.us/i/w71st03.jpg/)

September 17th, 2010, 10:49 PM
^ The building in the second photo on the left is gorgeous.

September 18th, 2010, 09:56 AM
It's near that guy that's looking at me taking his picture.

I was checking out how they connected Riverside Blvd to W72nd St and the Henry Hudson Parkway, and only happened down W71st. Should have taken more photos.

The very budget Hotel Riverside Studios is on the left side of the street. Nice limestone base.

Funny how this one street got landmarked, when the neighboring area is more of the same.

September 18th, 2010, 09:26 PM
Thanks, Zippy.

Is this the entrance? Not very stylish.

September 18th, 2010, 10:25 PM
Back entrance, Merry. :)

The entire complex is called the Chatsworth Apartments and Annex. Original two buildings sit on a common base with the entrance on W72.

A picture here. (http://www.landmarkwest.org/maps_and_data/Chatsworth.htm) Webpage has a link to the LPC designation report.

September 18th, 2010, 10:31 PM

September 18th, 2010, 11:59 PM
Thanks, Zippy. I did wonder whether it was part of the Chatsworth :o.

September 21st, 2010, 05:33 AM
West End Avenue Historic District Clears Hurdle

An effort to protect 790 buildings in a historic district along West End Avenue got a boost this week.

By Leslie Albrecht

http://s3.amazonaws.com/sfb111/story_xlimage_2010_09_R8966_West_End_Avenue_Histor ic_District_091710.jpg

slide show (http://dnainfo.com/20100920/upper-west-side/west-end-avenue-historic-district-clears-hurdle/slideshow/popup/36939)

UPPER WEST SIDE — In a victory for preservationists, plans to create a historic district that could protect up to 790 buildings along West End Avenue moved ahead this week.
The city's Landmarks Preservation Commission agreed to study the area where the district would be located, an important first step toward creating the district.

The historic district could span from West 109th Street to West 70th and include side streets between West End and Riverside Drive. The area includes many 19th-century architectural gems adorned with decorative cornices and grilles.

Creating the district would make it more difficult to change the outside of the neighborhood's elegant residential buildings.

Some worry that historic districts create a "mausoleum effect" that stalls progress in a city that thrives on constant change.

But Josette Amato, spokeswoman for the West End Preservation Society (http://westendpreservation.org/index.html) — the group that's led the charge to create the historic district — said historic districts have been shown to boost property values and enhance a neighborhood's desirability.

"Everybody benefits," Amato said. "The neighborhood looks better, the property values go up. Change and alterations and building still goes on in historic districts. It's not an end to anything, but it does add an extra step to the process."

In a historic district, some alterations to buildings' exteriors require special permission from the Landmarks Preservation Commission, Amato said.

The next step in creating the district is to research the buildings that could be included. They Landmarks Preservation Commission will study each building's history, who built it, what materials were used and other details.

The commission will also look at whether the area has a unique sense of place, Amato said.

Biulir Felix, a porter at 490 West End Avenue at West 83rd Street, said he likes the idea of creating a historic district.

Felix said people often stop in front of 490 West End Avenue's iron and frosted glass canopy to take pictures. The building's entry is flanked by two Doric columns. The building was built in 1913, city records show.

"They see this and they're kind of amazed at how the place looks," Felix said. "I love the old style. The modern buildings downtown, they have no life, they're generic."
A map and report about the proposed West End Avenue historic district is on the Landmarks Preservation Commission website (http://www.nyc.gov/html/lpc/html/home/home.shtml).


September 23rd, 2010, 05:37 AM
Morningside Heights Historic District Could Exclude St. John the Divine

The Landmarks Preservation Commission is considering a historic district that excludes important buildings.

By Della Hasselle

MORNINGSIDE HEIGHTS — Imagine a historic district in Morningside Heights without St. John the Divine, Riverside Church or the picturesque brownstones near Morningside Park.
That's exactly what the city's Landmarks Preservation Commission is considering.

At a Landmarks meeting Monday, tensions rose when residents of Morningside Heights clashed with the Commission over the potential plan for a historic district in the area, which, for the most part, would only include the Columbia University campus.

"Most people felt that the proposal the Landmarks Commission made was too small. It was just a sliver," said Walter South, a member of the neighborhood's Community Board 9. "You miss all these institutions that are incredibly interesting."

The Commission initially proposed a historic area from West 110th to West 119th streets, from Claremont Avenue and Broadway on the east side to Riverside Drive on the west.

South has been trying to establish a historic district for the area since 1996, and said that the area should extend farther east to Morningside Park so that it can include such landmarks as the Cathedral of St. John the Divine on Amsterdam Avenue at West 112th Street.

Adding to the tensions, residents were upset that the Commission met only with Columbia University before Monday's meeting to discuss the campus property that would fall within the proposed historic district — they did not notify CB9 or any local political figures with an interest in the area's history, including Assemblyman Daniel O'Donnell.

"What they did not do, and what I suggested, is a meeting with other players in the community," South said.

"They felt they have all the expertise, they felt they did all the research. But the reality is that they should have broadened their number of participants."

Lisi de Bourbon, a spokeswoman for the Landmarks Preservation Commission, said that the meeting with Columbia was a very preliminary step for the potential creation of a historic district and added that the Commission was open to the expanded areas suggested at the meeting.

A spokesperson for Columbia University was not immediately available for comment.


September 23rd, 2010, 10:57 AM

Lisi de Bourbon is a parakeet.

September 23rd, 2010, 10:59 AM
That's less than a parrot.

September 23rd, 2010, 11:07 AM
A lot less.

Parrots are said to be intelligent.

October 7th, 2010, 06:21 AM
Mini Empire State Building Tapped For Landmark Status

The Hotel Wolcott, the Mills Hotel and 500 Fifth Ave. are being considered for landmark status.

By Jill Colvin

http://s3.amazonaws.com/sfb111/story_xlimage_2010_10_R3615_Three_midtown_building s_tapped_for_landmark_status.jpg
500 Fifth Avenue, which the Landmarks Preservation Commission is hoping to designate as a landmark.

MIDTOWN — Three Midtown buildings are being eyed by the Landmarks Preservation Commission for landmark status, including a miniature Empire State Building and what was once deemed the "world's biggest hotel."

Members of Midtown Community Board 5's Landmarks Committee scrambled to weigh in on the Commission's plans, which they were notified of just two hours before their monthly scheduled meeting Tuesday evening.

The Commission is set to hold a public hearing on the designations on Oct. 26.

The first building, the 12- story Hotel Wolcott on W. 31st between Broadway and Fifth Ave, was designed by architect John H. Duncan, the man behind Grant's Tomb in Riverside Park and the Soldiers' and Sailors' Memorial Arch in Brooklyn's Grand Army Plaza, according to descriptions provided by the Commission.

http://s3.amazonaws.com/sfb111/story_lrgimage_2010_10_R6102_Three_midtown_buildin gs_tapped_for_landmark_status.jpg
Hotel Wolcott on W. 31st between Broadway
and Fifth Ave is one of three midtown buildings
the Landmarks Preservation Commission
would like to landmark. (Flickr/Otterman56)

"It's a very handsome building," chair Howard Mendes said as the committee weighed in.

The second, the 500 Fifth Avenue Building on the northwest corner of W. 42nd St. has often been described as a mini Empire State Building — and for good reason. The 59-story Art Deco Skyscraper was designed by the same architect, Shreve, Lamb and Harmon, and built at the same time.

With a plot of land measuring just 100 feet by 208 feet, the firm used all the upward space it had, and dealt with different zoning requirements by creating asymmetrical set-backs, according ot the Commission's notes.

Several committee members said they were surprised it hadn't been landmarked earlier.

The third building, the 16-story Neo-Renaissance Mills Hotel No. 3 at 485 Seventh Avenue was originally designed as a residence for more than 1,000 single men and was once described by the New York Times as the "world's biggest hotel," the Commission said.

While the committee questioned its architectual significance, the Mills was one of the first "light-court tenements" in the country and served as a prototype for future designs, the Commission said.

The committee, which has an advisory role, voted to approve all three buildings for landmark status.


October 7th, 2010, 02:03 PM
Here's the 3rd building listed at 485 Seventh Avenue (where they added some glass at street level in the last year or so -- hopefully without trashing the stone at the base):

485 Seventh -- Google Street View (http://maps.google.com/maps?client=safari&q=%22485+Seventh+Avenue+New+York+NY%22&oe=UTF-8&ie=UTF8&hq=&hnear=485+7th+Ave,+New+York,+10018&gl=us&ei=5dOtTIj7HcKBlAfysPCxBQ&ved=0CBQQ8gEwAA&ll=40.752284,-73.989764&spn=0.000719,0.001034&t=h&z=20&layer=c&cbll=40.752254,-73.989625&panoid=aUhQksK-mMcsT6JRl-LBrA&cbp=12,342.37,,0,-27.07)

October 22nd, 2010, 06:01 PM
terrible shame (http://ny.curbed.com/archives/2010/10/05/seriously_how_bad_is_this_historic_broadway_buildi ngs_makeover.php)

October 22nd, 2010, 06:50 PM
^ Good to see you here again MTG.

What's been done to that building is unbelievable.

More about it in the Five Franklin Place (http://wirednewyork.com/forum/showthread.php?t=11517&page=5) thread.

October 23rd, 2010, 10:37 AM
Thanks for the welcome Merry. :)

Catching up with things I missed while traveling, I didn't know this was already discussed somewhere else.

What a handsome building that used to be. New York is being chewed away by these rats who do things like this.

November 4th, 2010, 07:02 AM
Commissioner Is Removed From Landmarks Panel


Roberta Brandes Gratz (http://www.pps.org/rbgratz/), a member of the Landmarks Preservation Commission known for taking a hard line on protecting historic buildings, has been removed from the commission after seven years. She is expected to be appointed to the mayor’s sustainability advisory board.

“I obviously have a lot of mixed feelings because I care deeply about what goes on at Landmarks,” said Ms. Gratz, whose last day was Oct. 26. “I also love the idea of working on sustainable development issues.” Both appointments, made by the mayor’s office, are nonpaying.

Asked why the commission asked Ms. Gratz to go, Elisabeth de Bourbon, a spokeswoman for the commission, said only: “She was asked to do something else.”

Ms. Gratz has often been a thorn in the side of the commission, freely speaking her mind, even if her views clashed with other commissioners, City Hall or the chairman, Robert B. Tierney.

Preservation advocates said they were sorry to see her go.

“She’s a preservationist, she’s of the preservation community, she knows these issues backwards and forwards and has always demonstrated the ability to be independent, to not take marching orders from the mayor or the chairman,” said Kate Wood, executive director of Landmark West (http://www.landmarkwest.org/), a nonprofit preservation group.

“With Roberta on the commission, there was at least one person who you knew would speak up,” Ms. Wood added. “The question now is, what does this mean about the direction the commission is going to go?”

But Ms. Gratz — whose latest book, “The Battle for Gotham: New York in the Shadow of Robert Moses and Jane Jacobs (http://www.nationbooks.org/book/202/The%20Battle%20for%20Gotham),” was published by Nation Books in April and who has fielded questions from City Room readers (http://cityroom.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/05/10/ask-about-the-legacy-of-robert-moses/) on Moses’s legacy — said she would not hesitate to weigh in on issues of concern.

“I don’t plan to disappear,” she said. “I even alerted my fellow commissioners in farewell conversations: ‘You’ll hear from me when appropriate.’”

Among those being considered for Ms. Gratz’s seat is Michael Devonshire, an architectural conservator at Jan Hird Pokorny Associates in Manhattan


November 16th, 2010, 06:54 AM
The Coolest Townhouse in Town Becoming a Landmark

By Matt Chaban


The Observer has already sung the praises of the Brutalist architect Paul Rudolph (http://www.observer.com/2010/real-estate/highway-nearly-crushed-soho-miniature), and the Landmarks Preservation Commission is poised to follow suit, turning perhaps his greatest project into an official city landmark tomorrow.

Until Rudolph moved in in 1961, 23 Beekman Place on the Upper East Side was simply another stately townhouse. Built a century before Rudolph's arrival, the building could easily have qualified as a landmark simply for being a fine example of limestone townhouse architecture from the period. Then Rudolph showed up and began to experiment. The result is a rooftop addition of three-stories, a cantilevered mass of steel bars, concrete planes and airy windows (some of which were imfamously bricked over by an irate (http://www.observer.com/2008/tear-down-wall-beekman-place-townhouse-hits-market-25-m)
neighbor (http://www.observer.com/2008/tear-down-wall-beekman-place-townhouse-hits-market-25-m) a few years ago).

Rudolph's original drawings for the penthouse.

The interiors were the building's true signature, all lucite walkways without railings and other architectural shenanigans. Those were altered after the house was purchased in 2003 (http://nymag.com/homedesign/fall2006/21968/), to the dismay of some—the owners insisted, kind of rightly, that it was a nearly inhabitable space—but now the one-of-kind exterior will be saved at least.

The commission's designation report points out that the building is not only unique for its design but also for the fact that "relatively few buildings survive that have been designed and built by architects for their own use." Still, it is for the architecture that this building is being saved, as the report makes clear:
Though some neighbors on Beekman Place objected to the penthouse and the views that were lost, his was certainly a unique solution that reflected a bold and distinctive architectural philosophy. Abstract and minimal, open and closed, classical and industrial, 23 Beekman Place has a strong sculptural quality - a quality rarely found in Manhattan's residential streetscape.
It will become a rather ironic landmark, as a number of commissioners joked last October, when the project was certified (http://blog.archpaper.com/wordpress/archives/4853), that, were it proposed today, the commission would almost certainly disapprove of its construction, forbidding such an ostentatious structure atop a historic building.


November 18th, 2010, 07:04 AM
Historic Little Italy Buildings on Grand Street Designated as City Landmarks

The Federal-style buildings at 190 and 192 Grand St. were built in 1833 and maintain much of their original features.

By Patrick Hedlund

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The buildings at 190 and 192 Grand St. in Little Italy were designated landmarks by the city this week.

LITTLE ITALY — The city designated a pair of low-rise Grand Street buildings that are among the oldest in Manhattan as landmarks this week.

The Federal-style houses at 190 and 192 Grand St., between Mott and Mulberry streets, were constructed around 1833 by former New York Lieutenant Governor Stephen Van Rensselaer as part of a row of five contiguous, single-family properties.

The Piemonte Ravioli Company has occupied the ground-floor storefront of 190 Grand St. since 1930, while Florio's Restaurant has occupied the storefront at 192 Grand St. since the 1960s.

The three-story buildings maintain much of their original architectural features, including red brick laid in the Flemish bond pattern, molded brownstone lintels on the third story, and a pitched roof with segmental dormers.

"Both of these houses are rare examples of the Federal period that have survived the past 180 years with very few changes, even as their surroundings changed dramatically," said Robert B. Tierney, chairman of the city Landmarks Preservation Commission, in a statement.

The properties are among 20 Federal-style houses that have been designated city landmarks since 2003.


November 23rd, 2010, 07:11 AM
Plans For West End Avenue Historic District Criticized by Realtor Group

The Real Estate Board of New York said a proposed West End Avenue historic district would halt development.

By Leslie Albrecht

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UPPER WEST SIDE — A plan to create a historic district that could include more than 700 buildings along West End Avenue has drawn criticism from the real estate industry.

The proposed historic district, which would run from West 70th Street to West 109th Street along West End Avenue and Riverside Drive, cleared an important hurdle last week when the Landmarks Preservation Commission voted to hold hearings on the district.

That's a key step in the approval process for such districts. The West End Preservation Society, the group pushing for the historic district, said it was "delighted" by the LPC vote.

But the Real Estate Board of New York, the state's largest real estate trade association, issued a statement criticizing the LPC. The real estate group argued the historic district would "impede development, which is vital for our city’s physical and economic growth," REBNY President Steven Spinola said in the statement.

The REBNY said the Upper West Side was already home to nine historic districts and several landmarked buildings, and that the proposed West End Avenue historic district would make "virtually the entire neighborhood" a historic district.

Too many historic districts would lead to "the loss of needed new housing and commercial development, job creation and tax revenue for basic services and the innovative architecture that has helped to make New York a truly global city," Spinola said.

Creating the historic district would make it more difficult to change the outside of buildings in the neighborhood.

But the West End Preservation Society's spokeswoman Josette Amato said that wouldn't mean a halt to development.

"What we're looking to do is preserve the character of the area," Amato said. "That may mean you'll have to rethink your design if you want to develop a building. You may have to think not just in terms of what you want, but how it will affect the entire neighborhood."

The Landmarks Preservation Commission is expected to start holding hearings on the proposed West End Avenue historic district in early 2011, Amato said.


November 23rd, 2010, 09:12 AM
But the Real Estate Board of New York, the state's largest real estate trade association, issued a statement criticizing the LPC. The real estate group argued the historic district would "impede development, which is vital for our city’s physical and economic growth," REBNY President Steven Spinola said in the statement.

Smoke & mirrors, Plenty of other WS areas to mow down.

Too many historic districts would lead to "the loss of needed new housing and commercial development, job creation and tax revenue for basic services and the innovative architecture that has helped to make New York a truly global city," Spinola said.

People like to throw the "global city" term around a little too much. NY's been a global city for hundreds of years. Wonder what he's really getting at?

December 15th, 2010, 04:38 AM
DoBro Fights Landmark District

DOWNTOWN BROOKLYN—The Borough Hall Skyscraper Historic District, which aims to slap landmark status on 20 tall buildings in the Downtown Brooklyn area, was a hot topic at a Landmarks Commission Preservation hearing today. Several residents of 75 Livingston Street urged the LPC to exclude the failure of a building (http://ny.curbed.com/archives/2010/12/08/insulting_dobro_tower_residents_dont_want_to_be_pa rt_of_history.php) because of the economic burden that landmarking would create. A pair of 75 Livingston residents also spoke out in favor of landmarking.

The president of Brooklyn Law School also questioned the Brooklyn Heights Association's inclusion of 184 Joralemon Street (one of the school's dorms) in the district, because the group panned the school's two Robert A.M. Stern buildings back when they were constructed. The LPC didn't vote. [CurbedWire Staff]

http://ny.curbed.com/archives/2010/12/14/dobro_fights_landmark_district_coney_islands_shore _preserved.php


December 15th, 2010, 05:05 AM
Good news about 500 Fifth :).

Coney Island’s Shore Theater Is Named a Landmark


The Shore Hotel on Surf Avenue in Coney Island.

The Shore Theater in Coney Island, a neo-Renaissance Revival contemporary of the Cyclone and the Wonder Wheel, is now a landmark. The Landmarks Preservation Commission approved the designation for the Shore and three other buildings on Tuesday afternoon. The Shore, originally known as the Coney Island Theater, was built between 1924 and 1925. Beginning in the mid-1960s, the theater began housing musical revues and burlesque. A few years later, following a brief experimentation with adult film, it catered to a (presumably) different demographic: bingo players. Today, at seven stories high, the vacant building is one of the tallest in the area.

Other buildings that were given landmark status include an Art Deco skyscraper at 500 Fifth Avenue designed by the architects of the Empire State Building and completed in 1931; the Rogers Peet building at 258 Broadway, an eight-story neo-Renaissance building built in 1900 near City Hall; and Alderbrook House, a country home built in 1859 in the Riverdale section of the Bronx, then a holiday spot for wealthy families.


December 15th, 2010, 05:24 AM
It’s been neglected and abandoned for years
Well, why has the LPC taken so long to do something about it? :rolleyes:

Dilapidated TriBeCa Landmark Is on the Road to Repair

The 191-year-old building at 502 Canal St. is severely deteriorated, the city said.

By Julie Shapiro

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The landmarked building on the corner of Canal and Greenwich streets has fallen into disrepair. (DNAinfo/Julie Shapiro)

TRIBECA — The owner of a dilapidated TriBeCa landmark is taking steps to repair it after the city expressed concerns that parts of it could collapse.

The 191-year-old building at 502 Canal St. caught the city’s attention over a year ago, when inspections revealed that the front and rear facades had "deteriorated to a point where their architectural and structural integrity could be compromised," said Lisi de Bourbon, spokeswoman for the city Landmarks Preservation Commission.

The LPC could have filed a demolition by neglect suit, which would accuse Ponte Equities, the building’s owners, of allowing the landmark to fall apart on purpose.

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The three-story building at 502 Canal St.
and its neighbors, shown in 1965.
(John Barrington Bayley/Courtesy of Landmarks Preservation Commission)

But the Ponte family agreed to "extensively restore" the building and has hired an architect and a preservation consultant, which satisfied the LPC, de Bourbon said.

So far, no work has been done on the modest three-story brick building at Canal and Greenwich streets, but the owners have applied for their first permit to remove metal shutters, de Bourbon said.

The landmark, which also has an address at 480 Greenwich St., was built in 1819 for John Y. Smith, who manufactured starch and hair powder on the ground floor and lived above with his family, according to the LPC.

"Its presence is a striking reminder of the initial phase of the development of New York City in the years of the early republic," the LPC said in its designation report.

Today, scaffolding rings the facade, graffiti-scrawled shutters block the entrances and plywood covers the upstairs windows.

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The grills on 502 Canal St. are tagged with graffiti.
(DNAinfo/Julie Shapiro)

Concerned that the building could be in danger, Community Board 1’s Landmarks Committee decided last week to contact the LPC and the city Department of Buildings to ask them to intervene.

"It’s been neglected and abandoned for years," said Andy Neale, a TriBeCa resident and public member of Community Board 1. "It looks like the building is in imminent danger of collapse."

Neale was relieved to hear this week that 502 Canal St. was on the road to repair, but he said it should never have been allowed to fall apart in the first place.

The adjacent 504 Canal St., another landmark owned by the Pontes, is also in disrepair and is slated to be restored as well, de Bourbon said.

Vincent Ponte, president of Ponte Equities and owner of the nearby Filli Ponte Ristorante, did not return calls for comment.

In 1997, Ponte pleaded guilty to paying a bribe to obtain a government construction contract, and his father Angelo Ponte pleaded guilty to working with the Mafia to inflate garbage collection prices.


December 16th, 2010, 06:43 AM
Brooklyn Sounds Off on Skyscraper District

Neighbors and developers weigh in on potential designation of downtown historic district

Tom Stoelker

Brooklyn's Borough Hall sits in the shadow of the downtown skyscrapers
Courtesy Scouting NYC

Skyscrapers filled the horizon at the Landmark Preservation Commission hearing on Tuesday morning, but it was Brooklyn’s skyline that overshadowed Manhattan’s. After swiftly approving landmark status for Shreve, Lamb, and Harmon’s 500 Broadway on the corner of 42nd and Fifth Avenue, the commission shifted to the contentious debate surrounding the proposed Borough Hall Skyscraper Historic District that includes a smattering of tall buildings from about the 1890s to the 1960s.

Borough President Marty Markowitz voiced support for the proposal, while maintaining reservations about the potential hardship on the only residential building that falls within the proposed district, the terra cotta clad 75 Livingston. As Markowitz departed he stopped to shake hands with preservationist and co-founder of the Brooklyn Heights Association, Otis Pratt Pearsall. Pratt Pearsall sees the newly proposed district as the obvious extension of Brooklyn Heights historic district, and a bit of unfinished business from the days when he and neighbors waged war against Robert Moses to make Brooklyn Heights the first historic district in New York City.

“We imagined that the control of these major buildings would be powerfully connected interests perhaps in a position to sink our entire enterprise,” said Pratt Pearsall, who is the local voice of authority about all things Brooklyn-based.

Proposed boundries for the Borough Hall Skyscraper District.
Courtesy NYC LPC

Downtown Brooklyn developed a gritty vibe beside its swanky residential neighbor. The term Court Street lawyer came to define the area’s 1-800 law professionals. It’s a reputation that many would like to shed. Several speakers disparaged Court Street retail by picking apart the fried chicken and check cashing joints. Nevertheless, over the course of 170 years a variety of architectural styles crammed their way into the district, including Beaux Arts, Greek, Gothic and Romanesque Revivals and International Style. The destruction of the 1857 Brooklyn Gas Light Co. building in 2004 spurred preservationists back into action, a Brooklyn-based version of Penn Station.

There are those who oppose the designation, among them the Court/Livingston/Schermerhorn Street BID and several residents of 75 Livingston. They contend that the designation will keep the area downtrodden and down-market.

Former Bloomberg press secretary and external affairs director for the Durst Organization Jordan Barowitz, a 75 Livingston resident, argued, “If you want an area to be developed you don’t landmark it and impose additional constrictions on how storefronts can be configured.”

His neighbor Terri Matthews told the commissioners not to romanticize the area. While gesturing to representatives from the Municipal Art Society (MAS) she added, “There are people with a civic bent for modern architecture. I think they see them as old friends that they were never particularly fond of.” 

MAS’s Melissa Baldock asserted that modern buildings in the proposed district are over 50 years old, well past the 30-year requirement for landmark status. After hearing the arguments against saving modern buildings, Baldock said, “I think every generation suffers from a dislike of the architecture from the generation before. What you want to do is give buildings the opportunity to come into their own.”

But Mark Tulip, a lawyer representing an office building within the district, thinks the preservation effort is a smokescreen put in place by Brooklyn Heights Association to protect their members’ skyline views.

“What I’ve got here is nothing special,” he said of 26 Court Street. “I could knock it down and build something big. What you've got are old crappy buildings. There’s nothing remarkable about this.” The commission will vote on the designation in the new year.


December 21st, 2010, 07:29 AM
New Mobile App Pinpoints New York City Landmarks Updated 13 mins ago

Many of the city's 1,300 landmarked structures are easily missed — one new mobile application hopes to change that.

By Tara Kyle

slide show (http://www.dnainfo.com/20101221/manhattan/new-mobile-app-pinpoints-new-york-city-landmarks/slideshow/popup/51367)

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MANHATTAN — Nobody misses Grand Central Station, but many of the city's 1,300 landmarked schools, cemeteries, churches and synagogues are easily overlooked — and the developer of one new mobile application hopes to change that.

Walk down any street in TriBeCa or Harlem, Jackson Heights or Bay Ridge, and the new "Landmarks: New York" application lets you identify which landmarked buildings or structures lie within a given radius.

Developer and longtime Chelsea resident Steven Romalewski drew on his expertise as the director of CUNY's Mapping Service to create the application, which he believes is the first of its kind.

"There are tourist applications that purport to include landmarks information, but they just hit the high notes. They'll have the Empire State Building or the Statue of Liberty," said Romalewski, who is 48. "There's a lot more to New York City landmarks than people realize."

Users can search the data, culled from 45 years of Landmarks Preservation Commission records, in four ways. The "Nearby" function allows them to use GPS technology to find a list of landmarks within a quarter or half mile from their present location. Landmarks are also searchable by name, neighborhood or street address.

The $1.99 application is now available for Palm Pre, with an iPhone release slated for January. A free version, which only provides data by neighborhood or landmark name, has been downloaded by over 900 people since its November launch.

For Romalewski, who had no prior programming experience, creating the application has been an evening and weekend pursuit for nearly half a year. He also blogs about the work, has released a San Francisco version, and plans to roll out editions for Portland, Boston and Chicago in the coming months.

Preservationists, architects and urban planning students are a natural consumer base for the application, but he also hopes to reach tourists searching for a more in-depth glimpse into the city's history.

"I think people are also interesting in uncovering those little jewels that are undiscovered," Romalewski said. "I hope that my little application will help them do this."


December 29th, 2010, 11:25 PM
The current state of the Seaman-Drake Arch is one of the saddest sights in NYC :(.

Inwood Chosen as One of Six Neighborhoods That Deserve Historic Preservation

Inwood was named one of six neighborhoods in New York that warrant preservation of architectural landmarks.

By Carla Zanoni

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Former Seaman Mansion, which sat on the Park Terrace area of Inwood where Isham Park sits today.

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The Seaman-Drake Arch today.

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Seaman-Drake Arch in the early 1900s

INWOOD — Manhattan's northernmost neighborhood is receiving some long overdue accolades for its architectural diversity and unique landscape design.

Chosen as one of two Manhattan neighborhoods that warrant preservation, Inwood was named part of the Historic Districts Council’s first annual "Six to Celebrate," an effort that will be made through a coalition of community groups to preserve neighborhood treasures throughout the five boroughs.

"Neighborhoods throughout New York are fighting an unseen struggle to determine their own futures," said Simeon Bankoff, HDC’s executive director. "By bringing these locally-driven neighborhood preservation efforts into the spotlight, HDC hopes to focus New Yorker’s attention on the very real threats that historic communities throughout the city are facing from indiscriminate and inappropriate development."

The six neighborhoods — which also include the Bowery and Morris Park in Manhattan; Bedford Stuyvesant and Gowanus in Brooklyn; and Jackson Heights in Queens — were selected from applications submitted by community organizations and were based on the "architectural and historic merit of the area, the level of threat to the neighborhood, strength and willingness of the local advocates, and potential for HDC’s preservation support to be meaningful," according to the group.

"We're very excited about it," Gail Addiss, a founding member of Volunteers for Isham Park, a local Inwood preservation group, which will work with HDC in the coming year to identify neighborhood landmarks to propose to the for landmarking, which will likely include historic sites surrounding the Park Terrace area of Inwood, including Isham Park and the Seaman-Drake arch.

The Landmarks Commission will then have a final say in which sites receive the distinction.

Addiss and fellow Isham Park group member Pat Courtney plan to kick off the new year by presenting a proposal for the centennial celebration of one of Inwood’s more historical sites, Isham Park, which was donated by Julia Isham in 1912 in remembrance of her father William B. Isham, a wealthy leather merchant whose mansion once sat on the site.

The draft proposal will be presented during the Community Board 12 Parks and Recreation committee meeting on Tuesday, Jan, 4, at 7 p.m, at 711 W. 168th Street.


January 3rd, 2011, 06:15 AM
HDC Announces Six To Celebrate

Posted on January 3, 2011 by The Changeling

(http://www.bedstuyblog.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/01/Six-to-Celebrate-Logo.jpeg)The Historic Districts Council just listed Bedford-Stuyvesant as one of the six neighborhoods that deserve to be celebrated through preservation efforts. Here’s the complete news release:

The Historic Districts Council, New York’s city-wide advocate for historic buildings and neighborhoods, is pleased to announce the first annual Six to Celebrate, a list of historic New York City neighborhoods that merit preservation attention. This is New York’s only citywide list of preservation priorities.

The Six were chosen from applications submitted by neighborhood groups around the city on the basis of the architectural and historic merit of the area; the level of threat to the neighborhood; strength and willingness of the local advocates, and where HDC’s citywide preservation perspective and assistance could be the most meaningful. Throughout 2011, HDC will work with these neighborhood partners to set and reach preservation goals through strategic planning, advocacy, outreach, programs and publicity.

“Neighborhoods throughout New York are fighting an unseen struggle to determine their own futures. By bringing these locally-driven neighborhood preservation efforts into the spotlight, HDC hopes to focus New Yorker’s attention on the very real threats that historic communities throughout the city are facing from indiscriminate and inappropriate development.” said Simeon Bankoff, HDC’s Executive Director. “As the first list of its kind in New York, the Six to Celebrate will help raise awareness of local efforts to save neighborhoods on a citywide level.”

Founded in 1971 as a coalition of community groups from New York City’s designated historic districts, the Historic Districts Council has grown to become one of the foremost citywide voices for historic preservation. Serving a network of over 500 neighborhood-based community groups in all five boroughs, HDC strives to protect, preserve and enhance New York City’s historic buildings and neighborhoods through ongoing programs of advocacy, community development and education.

The 2011 Six to Celebrate (in alphabetical order):

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Bedford Stuyvesant, Brooklyn

The Bedford Stuyvesant neighborhood contains an astonishing number of architecturally, historically and culturally significant structures, including rowhouses, mansions, religious buildings, and schools dating from the 19th and early 20th centuries. Although there are currently two designated historic districts in the area, the vast majority of Bedford Stuyvesant’s architectural splendor is unprotected. The recently-formed Bedford Stuyvesant Society for Historic Preservation, a coalition of concerned neighborhood block associations, and the landmarks committee of Brooklyn Community Board 3 are working to correct that.

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The Bowery, Manhattan

One of Manhattan’s oldest thoroughfares, the Bowery, stretching from Cooper Square to Canal Street, has a fascinatingly rich history which has left an equally rich built environment. From a fashionable shopping and residential neighborhood at the end of the 18th century, to bustling center of drygoods, hardware and other specialty stores, to an entertainment mecca and later the notorious “skid row” in the 20th century, the Bowery was always a part of the city’s culture, for better or for worse. In recent years,, the mix of historic structures along the street has been extremely threatened by high-rise hotel development. The Bowery Alliance of Neighbors was formed to help save the remaining historic buildings on the Bowery and to celebrate the avenue’s interesting and important history.

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Gowanus, Brooklyn

The Friends and Residents of Greater Gowanus nominated the neighborhood surrounding the Gowanus Canal in Brooklyn. This unique area retains its largely industrial character, with some of the businesses dating back more than 75 years. In recent years, plans for the canal have conflicted with the existing character of the neighborhood and some significant industrial structures have been demolished for out-of-scale, speculative development. However, with the canal’s recent designation as a federal Superfund site, there is now an opportunity to successfully advocate for the preservation of the industrial character of the area and retention of significant structures associated with this history.

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Inwood, Manhattan

Inwood, at the very northern tip of Manhattan, combines striking geography of hills and views with notable architecture that includes art-deco apartment building, Tudor Revival houses, and unique elements such as the 215th Street Steps, the Seaman-Drake Arch and the historic Isham Park. Despite this, very little of the neighborhood’s historic buildings are protected or even official acknowledged. The Volunteers for Isham Park is working to identify and protect the neighborhood’s landmarks.

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Jackson Heights, Queens

Jackson Heights is New York City’s first planned neighborhood of “garden apartments” and “garden homes”. These airy, light-filled residences, combined with commercial, institutional and recreational buildings, provided an attractive environment for middle-class families to live when it was developed in the early 20th century, and it still does today. The Jackson Heights Beautification Group, established in 1988, is seeking to extend the boundaries of the existing Jackson Heights Historic District, landmarked in 1993, to better reflect and protect the actual historic neighborhood.

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Mount Morris Park, Manhattan

The residential area adjacent surrounding Mount Morris Park in Harlem includes elegant rowhouses and larger apartment buildings from the late 19th and early 20th centuries in Romanesque Revival, neo-Grec and Queen Anne styles. The longtime civic group, the Mount Morris Park Community Improvement Association, is seeking to expand the boundaries of the current city-landmarked Historic District, which does not adequately represent the elegant architect of this Harlem neighborhood.


January 6th, 2011, 08:53 AM
This is a great honor for all the chosen districts. If you would like more information about landmarking efforts in Bedford Stuyvesant visit http://www.bedfordstuyvesantsocietyforhistoricpreservatio n.org/

January 6th, 2011, 10:52 AM
See article for then and now photos.

Older related article (http://wirednewyork.com/forum/showthread.php?t=16030&p=217518&viewfull=1#post217518)

Change to Civil War-Era Building Disputed


A building owner has ignored the city’s demands to dismantle a fifth story that was added to a landmark mid-19th-century row house in Chelsea that may be the only surviving documented Manhattan station on the Underground Railroad.

The owner, listed by the city as Tony Mamounas, had been ordered by the New York City Buildings Department to remove the addition by last month, but neighbors say that work instead has been proceeding on the property, once home to Abigail Hopper Gibbons and her husband, James, who were prominent New York City abolitionists.

“It’s just come to this desperate situation,” said Fern Luskin, an architectural historian who lives on the block and has taken up the cause of protecting the historic integrity of the building, a Greek Revival house at 339 West 29th Street, between Eighth and Ninth Avenues. “It’s like taking a serrated knife and lopping off our history,” she said of the addition. “It will permanently disfigure the evidence of what happened there.”

The owner is expected to appeal the order.

The Buildings Department initially allowed the addition in March 2005, and the owner later began construction. But officials revoked the permit in July 2009 after hearing complaints about the project, the city said, and after conducting an audit that found that the expansion did not meet state fire-safety codes.

Three months after the permit was revoked the city’s Landmarks Preservation Commission designated the building, along with others on the block, as part of the Lamartine Place Historic District, calling No. 339 “one of the very few extant sites to be associated with the pivotal events of those days.”

“Although the houses in the row have experienced alterations over time, this small group of houses continues to exist as the city changes around them,” the commission wrote in its designation report.

Work on the building was ordered stopped in July 2009, although last year the city agreed to let the owner address any emergency safety issues.

In November, after receiving complaints that construction on the building was continuing, the city ordered Mr. Mamounas to remove the additional floor by Dec. 7. A day before that deadline his lawyer, Marvin Mitzner, notified the city that he planned to ask its Board of Standards and Appeals to let him complete the addition, said Tony Sclafani, a Buildings Department spokesman.

A spokesman for the appeals board said it had not yet received such an appeal.

The city has a range of remedies to address illegal additions, including fines, orders to fix a condition and criminal court summonses.

It is somewhat unusual for a building permit to be revoked. But Mr. Sclafani said that when the permit was originally approved in 2005, the city allowed the owner to provide alternative fire-safety measures, like sprinklers and fire escapes, instead of the fireproof stairwell required by state law. In 2008, he said, the appeals board ruled that the city lacked the power to waive the fire-safety requirements, so the permit was revoked upon review by the auditors.

Mr. Sclafani said that while the additional floor had not been removed, inspectors on a recent visit found no evidence that construction to complete the additional story was moving forward.

“If any other work was performed that is not related to the emergency work that we’ve ordered, we will take the appropriate action,” Mr. Sclafani said.

Neighbors, however, said they believed the owners were proceeding with construction. “They’ve completed that illegal fifth story,” said Barbara Testi, who has lived in the building for 30 years. “It’s very frustrating. It shouldn’t even be there.”

Assemblyman Richard N. Gottfried, a Manhattan Democrat, said the case warranted stronger enforcement action by the city.

“The issue is not only the destruction of a landmark and the desecration of a site on the Underground Railroad,” he said. “It’s an owner who is flagrantly violating local zoning and building codes and landmark restrictions. The buildings department really needs to ramp up its enforcement actions against him.”

Calls to Mr. Mamounas’s office seeking comment were not returned. Alvin H. Glick, chairman and a founder of the Mautner-Glick Corporation, said that he was the managing agent for the building, but that he did not know the status of the project.

The Gibbonses, abolitionists before the Civil War, used the house as a meeting place, where they helped escaping slaves en route to Canada. “They were like the Schindler of their day, taking such a chance, harboring slaves that were running for their lives,” said Ms. Luskin, referring to Oskar Schindler, who rescued Jews during the Holocaust.

In a letter cited by the landmarks commission in its designation report, Joseph Choate, a friend of the Gibbonses, wrote that he had dined with them along with William Lloyd Garrison, the abolitionist, and a black man “on his way to freedom.” The Hopper Gibbons house was attacked and burned during the Draft Riots of 1863. Two of the Gibbonses’ daughters escaped the mob by climbing over adjacent roofs to a waiting carriage on Ninth Avenue, descending through the house at 355 West 29th Street, where Abigail Gibbons’s sister and her family lived.

Ms. Luskin, who with Julie Finch is a chairwoman of the Friends of the Hopper Gibbons Underground Railroad Site and Lamartine Place Historic District, said that on an aesthetic level the building’s alterations disrupt the street’s uniform cornice line.

Simeon Bankoff, executive director of the Historic Districts Council, an advocacy group, said the Hopper Gibbons house offered a valuable window into the role of Chelsea in the city’s abolitionist history. “You don’t necessarily think that this radical movement was going on amidst all this gentility,” he said.

The landmarks commission is optimistic the situation will be resolved. “We’re not so concerned if the top floor is removed within the next few weeks or months,” John Weiss, the commission’s deputy counsel, said. “We’re confident that, in the long run, the work that was not approved by the buildings department will be removed and the building will be the better for it.”


January 11th, 2011, 10:17 PM
Queens One Landmark Down After Council Committee Vote

January 11, 2011, by Sara Polsky


The Landmarks Preservation Commission celebrated its own unofficial Queens Day October 26, discussing enough Queens buildings that, if they were all landmarked, the borough's landmark total would be 40 percent larger. One of the landmarks officially designated that day was the Grace Episcopal Church Memorial Hall, a 1912 Tudor Revival building (and the last un-landmarked component of its church complex). But it probably won't be part of the neighborhood's tally for long: the City Council's landmarks subcommittee voted to overturn the designation today, the Historic District Council's Simeon Bankoff tells us.

The decision comes after a West-Park-style campaign by the church's congregation, which argued that landmarking would be too costly for the non-profit despite its ability to sell development rights. There's still a chance that the decision could be reversed when the City Council's land use committee or the full Council vote on the issue in the next few weeks. Failing that, Mayor Bloomberg could overturn the Council's decision by taking the LPC's side. But such reversals are rare.

http://ny.curbed.com/archives/2011/01/11/queens_one_landmark_down_after_council_committee_v ote.php

January 11th, 2011, 10:46 PM
Mount Morris Park Advocates Want to Expand Their Historic District

A larger historic district would offer more protection to old buildings, but some fear it would bring more headaches.

By Jon Schuppe

http://s3.amazonaws.com/sfb111/story_xlimage_2011_01_R7383_Harlem_Morris_District _Expansion_01112010.jpg
These buildings aren't in the current city-designated Mount Morris Park historic district.
But they are included in the expansion plan. (DNAinfo/Jon Schuppe)

HARLEM — A group of Mount Morris Park residents wants the city's Landmark Preservation Commission to expand the boundaries of a historic district so it can protect more of the neighborhood's grand old townhouses.

The proposal is being pushed by the Mount Morris Park Community Improvement Association, which was scheduled to outline the plan at a meeting of Community Board 10's Landmarks Committee meeting Tuesday night.

The current boundaries, which roughly cover the streets between Marcus Garvey Park and Lenox Avenue, were set by the commission in 1973 when it set up one of New York’s first historic districts. But the association says there are many more properties to the west that deserve the same protections.

http://s3.amazonaws.com/sfb111/story_lrgimage_2011_01_R2574_Harlem_Morris_Distric t_Expansion_01112010.jpg
The boundaries of the current city landmarks district
border, in red, and the proposed new boundary, in blue.

Their proposal would redraw the lines closer to Adam Clayton Powell Jr. Boulevard.

If approved, the new map would mirror the boundaries set by the U.S. Department of Interior when it placed the neighborhood on the National Register of Historic Places. The national and city designations have slightly different rules regarding the restoration and renovation of existing buildings.

The original boundaries set by the Landmarks Preservation Commission "have left unprotected many buildings of the same character, scale, style and architects as those in the (historic) district," the association says in literature promoting the new boundaries.
The plan has been endorsed by the Historic Districts Council as a project that should be among the the landmarks commission's top priorities this year.

http://s3.amazonaws.com/sfb111/story_lrgimage_2011_01_R6714_West_122nd_Street_in_ Harlem.jpg
This block of West 122nd Street between
Lenox and Seventh avenues would be included
in the expanded Mount Morris Park Historic District.
(DNAinfo/Jon Schuppe)

The Mount Morris Park Historic District is lined with townhouses built in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, along with several churches, in the streets surrounding what was then called Mount Morris Park. Now Marcus Garvey Park, the open space has served as the centerpiece of the neighborhood's revival, but was the scene of a grisly murder recently. Many of the houses have been elegantly renovated, but some others are in disrepair.

Some homeowners have resisted the association’s proposal, saying they worried it would make it too difficult to make changes to their properties. Others have suggested that changing zoning laws would be more appropriate.

Tuesday’s hearing before CB10’s Landmarks Committee will be held in the 2nd Floor Art Gallery at the Adam Clayton Powell State Office Building, 163 West 125 Street.


January 12th, 2011, 08:59 PM
Those buildings in Harlem are magnificent.

January 28th, 2011, 06:35 PM
A Decent Bed, and With Luck a Dry Towel



In 1897, he opened a similar enterprise, Mills House, on Bleecker
Street between Sullivan and Thompson

Mills Hotel No. 3 in 1907, the year it opened.


THE dour, run-down office building at Seventh Avenue and 36th Street looks little different from its gritty garment center neighbors. But it is earlier than almost all of them by a decade, built in 1907 by Darius Ogden Mills as a model lodging house for working-class men, and now it appears headed for landmark designation.

Mr. Mills, a railroad man and banker, died with $36 million, but was not blind to the misfortunes of others. In the 1890s he visited London and saw the Rowton Houses, large, barracklike low-cost lodgings for working men.

In 1897 he opened a similar enterprise, Mills House, on Bleecker Street between Sullivan and Thompson, with single rooms for poor and working-class men at 20 cents a night. Mills House No. 2 followed in 1898, at Chrystie and Rivington, and the two buildings gradually became known as Mills Hotels.

In 1905 Mr. Mills embarked on another hostel for “those injured in life’s battle,” at Seventh Avenue and 36th Street. The New York Times later called it “the Ritz” of the three.

Neighboring property owners grumbled. C. C. Hickok, their representative, told The Times that he had no problem with the deserving poor, but feared the hotel would attract “the vicious and dangerous classes as well.”

The 1,875 rooms of Mills Hotel No. 3 opened in 1907. Mr. Mills insisted that the hotel was not a charity, which would insult the independence of the guests. Patrons were charged 40 cents a night for an 8-by-8-foot room and 30 cents for an 8-by-6. According to one report, Mr. Mills was happy with a 3 percent return.

A reporter from The Times visited in early 1908, gracelessly unappreciative. To him the bare concrete rooms were “drawn on microscopic plans,” the bed “criblike,” the raw white room simply an “encasement of steel and concrete for one sleeping man,” the thin window giving “the effect of a prison light.”

The transoms above the doors were open, so in the morning, the reporter wrote, you could hear residents calling to one another, room to room, like prison inmates: “Hi there, Telegraph — you got a job?”

The steel doors began banging early, and the common towels were soaking wet unless you were among the first in line at the communal showers. The ground floor was relatively sumptuous, with a palm-dotted, marble lobby and six lounges. That was good, because residents had to be out of their rooms between 9 and 5.

From the street they had a chance to contemplate their place in the housing market, a 16-story structure designed by Copeland & Dole in light brick and stone. The architects made an attempt to present a civilized facade, but the regular slotlike windows do lend the place the air of a house of detention.

Early census returns show mostly American-born residents: laborers, chauffeurs, bricklayers, cooks, salesmen and clerks as well as a man who gave his occupation as “own income.”

From overseas came men like John Carlsen, 35, a Norwegian bachelor who had arrived in the United States in 1895, according to the 1910 census. If he was seeking work in New York, his was a small niche: he was a farmer by trade. The 1930 census listed Georgi Panis, 69, a Greek-born florist, widowed and in the United States since 1904.

Despite the good they accomplished, in time the Mills Hotels became associated with their least fortunate residents. William Bullock used one as the setting for his 1910 story “The Gambler,” in which James Corlett, ruined in the stock market, and five down-and-out pals inaugurate the “Mills Hotel Stock Exchange.” The characters trade millions of imaginary dollars of stock every day, “shaking fingers in one another’s flushed faces; buying, selling, in an intoxicated, maddened state of nerves and mind bordering on insanity.”

And then there was Frank Holt’s crime spree in 1915. Mr. Holt, who had been staying at Mills Hotel No. 3, set off a bomb in the Capitol in Washington, caught a train back to New York and shot J. P. Morgan at his country house on Long Island. He was protesting American munitions shipments to Europe in World War I.

Three years later, Harry Newton, a German sympathizer and resident of Mills No. 3, told an undercover officer that for $5,000, he would blow up a railroad works or, if preferred, Morgan’s headquarters on Wall Street.

The Mills Hotels did their part for struggling writers. In 1929 William Saroyan wrote a friend in California: “I am back at the Mills. Here Xmas brought me the flu; fever 104; burning hot in sweat; no friends; too homesick to want to die; had dreams for 4 days and nights of home and the old scenes and meals.”

Mills No. 2 closed in 1934, then served as a city shelter, and was demolished sometime after 1966. No. 1 survives; it is now an apartment house. Mills No. 3 was converted to offices in the 1950s, and last fall the Landmarks Preservation Commission held a hearing on the building’s bid for landmark status; designation almost invariably follows.

Whereas the first two Mills Hotels, designed by Ernest Flagg, had a certain Beaux-Arts grace, No. 3 is factorylike in appearance, which will make writing the designation report an unusual challenge.


January 29th, 2011, 09:24 AM
That whole area has scores of gems!

January 30th, 2011, 05:37 PM
January 30, 2011, 2:59 pm

To Happen Upon City Landmarks, by Way of an App

By KERRI MACDONALD (http://cityroom.blogs.nytimes.com/author/kerri-macdonald/)

http://graphics8.nytimes.com/images/2011/01/30/nyregion/30landmark-cityroom/30landmark-cityroom-blog480.jpgMichael Appleton for The New York Times
Steven Romalewski, who has created a smartphone application to track New York City’s landmarks, visited the Hall of Fame at Bronx Community College.

Steven Romalewski stood at the intersection of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard and West 181st Street in the Bronx the other day and peered at an old church across the street. In the cold, his right thumb slid across the screen of his black Palm Pre phone.

“I want to see if that church is landmarked,” he said, humming as the device generated a list of landmarks nearby.

Mr. Romalewski, a tall and soft-spoken data mapper-turned-urban explorer, was thumbing for history, using a mobile application he designed that tracks landmarked sites across the five boroughs. He had a destination in mind, a site that GPS had picked up when he stepped off the No. 4 train at Burnside Avenue. But the church also looked landmark-worthy.

“If you’re looking for a prominent landmark, or a somewhat prominent one,” he said, stepping over a snowbank to head toward Bronx Community College a minute later, “you might not realize that there’s another landmark nearby.” (The church, University Heights Presbyterian Church, was just another old church.)

Mr. Romalewski, the director of the CUNY Mapping Service (http://www.urbanresearch.org/about/cur-components/cuny-mapping-service) at the Center for Urban Research, developed Landmarks: New York (http://developer.palm.com/appredirect/?packageid=com.spatiality.nyclandmarkfinder090) to pinpoint a user’s location and find nearby sites, providing open-source statistics and photographs. Users can search by neighborhood, address or landmark name, or, with the paid version of the app, use GPS to track the closest landmark.

It’s not complicated. For a mobile application, it’s not even very sophisticated. Compare it to the Android app Goggles (http://www.google.com/mobile/goggles/#text), which can recognize spots that have been heavily photographed, or another application that provides context about 7,000 landmarks nationwide. But Mr. Romalewski’s creation is, so far, the only one focused solely on New York City landmarks — his attempt to make the city’s architectural history more accessible.

After checking out the church, Mr. Romalewski, 48, took an app-guided stroll in University Heights. “It’s this area of the Bronx where you wouldn’t really expect this really prominent, landmarked site,” he said as he led the way toward the Hall of Fame for Great Americans (http://www.bcc.cuny.edu/halloffame/), the spot that had popped up when he activated the GPS.

The Hall of Fame (http://www.neighborhoodpreservationcenter.org/designation_reports/index.php?action=detail&resource_id=1486&request=a%3A5%3A{s%3A6%3A%22action%22%3Bs%3A4%3A%2 2list%22%3Bs%3A5%3A%22title%22%3Bs%3A12%3A%22hall+ of+fame%22%3Bs%3A8%3A%22keywords%22%3Bs%3A0%3A%22% 22%3Bs%3A14%3A%22year_published%22%3Bs%3A0%3A%22%2 2%3Bs%3A7%3A%22boolean%22%3Bs%3A3%3A%22AND%22%3B}&start=0), an open-air colonnade overlooking the Harlem River that The New York Times deemed a “forgotten gem (http://www.nytimes.com/2009/12/05/nyregion/05metjournal.html),” is lined with the stately busts of famous Americans.

Built in 1900, it received landmark designation in 1966, one year after the Landmarks Preservation Commission was established. The commission has since designated more than 1,250 individual landmarks.

Mr. Romalewski, a Chelsea resident, grew up on Long Island and got a masters in urban planning at Columbia University. After years working with computer mapping technology, he knows city data intimately. It seemed natural — and necessary — to make use of public city data.

“Even though the city provides the data through their data mine Web site, they don’t do a lot online with that information,” he said.

When he finds himself in a new neighborhood, Mr. Romalewski looks at the app to see if any architectural marvels can be added to his lexicon — like the Bowling Green Fence (http://www.neighborhoodpreservationcenter.org/designation_reports/index.php?action=detail&resource_id=1683&request=a%3A5%3A{s%3A6%3A%22action%22%3Bs%3A4%3A%2 2list%22%3Bs%3A5%3A%22title%22%3Bs%3A19%3A%22bowli ng+green+fence%22%3Bs%3A8%3A%22keywords%22%3Bs%3A0 %3A%22%22%3Bs%3A14%3A%22year_published%22%3Bs%3A0% 3A%22%22%3Bs%3A7%3A%22boolean%22%3Bs%3A3%3A%22AND% 22%3B}&start=0) or the Magnolia Grandiflora (http://www.neighborhoodpreservationcenter.org/designation_reports/index.php?action=detail&resource_id=1139&request=a%3A5%3A{s%3A6%3A%22action%22%3Bs%3A4%3A%2 2list%22%3Bs%3A5%3A%22title%22%3Bs%3A20%3A%22magno lia+grandiflora%22%3Bs%3A8%3A%22keywords%22%3Bs%3A 0%3A%22%22%3Bs%3A14%3A%22year_published%22%3Bs%3A0 %3A%22%22%3Bs%3A7%3A%22boolean%22%3Bs%3A3%3A%22AND %22%3B}&start=0), a tree on Lafayette Avenue landmarked in 1970 “both for its inherent beauty as well as for its rare hardiness.” (Architectural styles: “Non-applicable.”)

“There’s certainly apps out there that are very tourist-oriented, and talk about landmarks,” Mr. Romalewski said. “But landmarks as a more generic term. Not official, city-designated landmarks.”

Landmarks: New York, which launched mid-November on the Palm — the iPhone version is in testing — might appeal to historic preservationists, urban explorers and students of architecture. Still, for the more adventurous tourist, it’s an alternative to a guidebook.

Mr. Romalewski has already created an app for San Francisco, which has 261 recognized sites. Programs for Portland, Chicago and Boston, along with national landmarks, are in the works.

After exploring the Bronx Community College campus on Sunday, Mr. Romalewski led the way to Fordham Road. A few minutes from the train platform, he found what he was looking for: Loew’s Paradise Theater (http://www.neighborhoodpreservationcenter.org/designation_reports/index.php?action=detail&resource_id=1084&request=a%3A5%3A{s%3A6%3A%22action%22%3Bs%3A4%3A%2 2list%22%3Bs%3A5%3A%22title%22%3Bs%3A6%3A%22loew%2 7s%22%3Bs%3A8%3A%22keywords%22%3Bs%3A0%3A%22%22%3B s%3A14%3A%22year_published%22%3Bs%3A0%3A%22%22%3Bs %3A7%3A%22boolean%22%3Bs%3A3%3A%22AND%22%3B}&start=0), a 1929 “Wonder Theater” on the Grand Concourse.

“The auditorium was designed to represent a 16th century Italian baroque garden,” he read from a Wikipedia article (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paradise_Theater_%28Bronx,_New_York%29) that appeared on the app. He chuckled as he gazed up at the building’s intricate facade. “Wow. I have to say I wasn’t sure exactly what to expect.”


Landmarks: New York

UPDATES WITH VERSION 1.2.2 + Added more photos from Wikipedia The Landmarks: New York app is perfect for tourists, tour guides, architects, historic preservationists, urban planners, realtors, renters & homebuyers, and anyone else curious about NYC’s architectural history. Landmarks: New York lists the official landmarked buildings and sites near you, anywhere in the 5 boros. It tells you when each landmark was designated (some as far back as 45 years! and as recent as December 2010), provides info from the Landmarks Preservation Commission, and provides links to Wikipedia. Thumbnail photos from Wikipedia are displayed for more than 600 landmarks, plus links to hi-res images. You can view the location on a map, and email details about the landmark with just a single tap. With more than 1,300 officially landmarked buildings, structures, or interiors throughout the city, almost every neighborhood in New York contains one -- but you’d be surprised by the locations that are landmarked. Some NYC landmarks are obvious -- such as the Empire State Building. But the list includes other unexpected sites such as the street layout of lower Manhattan, the fence in Bowling Green, local libraries, wood frame houses, cemeteries, churches and synagogues, lampposts, and more. This app can help you explore the amazing architecture of New York! Try out our West Coast version! Landmarks: San Francisco (http://developer.palm.com/appredirect/?packageid=com.spatiality.sflandmarkfinder) Feedback and suggestions are greatly appreciated!

February 1st, 2011, 07:37 AM
Bunshaft Deconstructed?

Tom Stoelker

Manufacturer’s Trust Company, Fifth Avenue, Skidmore, Owings & Merrill, New York, NY, 1954
Gelatin Silver Print © Ezra Stoller, Courtesy Yossi Milo Gallery, New York

The Landmarks Preservation Commission has put the Gordon Bunshaft-designed Manufacturers Hanover Trust Company Building onto its Public Meeting/Public Hearing agenda for tomorrow morning at 9:30AM. Up for discussion will be the building’s first and second floor interiors, including the entrance lobby, escalators, teller counters, and floor and ceiling surfaces.

The iconic vault designed by Henry Dreyfuss, which is visible from Fifth Avenue, and Harry Bertoia’s multifaceted metallic screen both made it on to the agenda. But according to Theodore Grunewald of the Coalition to Save MHT, the Bertoia has already been removed by Chase Bank, the sculpture’s owner.

Manufacturer’s Trust Company, Fifth Avenue, Skidmore, Owings & Merrill, New York, NY, 1954
Gelatin Silver Print © Ezra Stoller, Courtesy Yossi Milo Gallery, New York

“Chase still has the sculpture, but they have not said where it is,” said Grunewald.

AN’s Jennifer K. Gorsche joined a chorus of alarmed bloggers back in October and turned up renderings of a proposal for a teen clothing store, Forever 21.

“It’s more than world class building, it’s a world monument,” said Grunewald. “People come from all over the world to see this building.”

The building also happens to be the subject of several Ezra Stoller photos, two of which shown here, are now on view at the Yossi Millo Gallery through February 12.

The gallery is closed on Mondays, but if you need a Stoller-fix stat, there will be lecture tonight on Stoller at the Center for Architecture called Mid-Century Modernism: as seen through the master’s lens. Architectural historian Kenneth Frampton will be joined 
by John Morris Dixon, Brook Mason, and 
Erica Stoller.


February 1st, 2011, 12:43 PM
The Commission on Tuesday, Jan. 11, 2011, kicked off the New Year with the designation of the Haskins & Sells building.


The Haskins & Sells Building, located at 35 West 39th Street between Fifth and Sixth avenues, was completed in 1912 and designed in the Renaissance Revival style by Frederick C. Zobel, an architect who was known as a building engineering expert and specialized in commercial buildings.

The 12-story structure was completed a few years after the opening of Penn Station, and was constructed at a time when the area was changing from a residential neighborhood to a commercial hub. It was built adjacent to the Engineers’ Club and Engineering Societies’ buildings as a speculative venture to attract businesses related to the engineering field. But the building drew only a hof companies in that profession, and brought in a mix of early tenants that included the Mumm Champagne and Importation Company, the State and National Association Opposed to PoliticaSuffrage for Women and the Man Suffrage Association OpposedPolitical Suffrage for Women.

The building’s namesake, Haskins & Sells, bought the building in 1920 for its headquarters. The company, recognized as the first auditing firm to be founded by American accountants, was started in 1895 by Charles Waldo Haskins, the nephew of Ralph Waldo Emersonand Elijah Watt Sells, whose father was the U.S. Treasury Department Auditor under President Abraham Lincoln.

The building is comprised of an arcaded, terra-cotta base and an angled, blonde-brick tower that rises from the fourth story, which features a balustraded balcony. A yellow marble panel inscribed with the firm’s name is set in a terra-cotta frieze above the first floor, and elaborate ornament such as wreaths and swags featuring marble details adorn much of the building.

“Remarkably, this graceful building has been virtually untouched since its construction nearly a century ago,” said Chairman Tierney. “It’s a lasting visual reminder of a time when this part of the City was in the midst of a major transition.”

Haskins & Sells sold the building in 1925, but kept its headquarters there until 1930. The company was eventually absorbed into Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu, one of the four largest accounting firms in the world. The building has been owned by a number of different corporations over the years, and its current tenants include architecture, law and accounting firms.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~


Haskins & Sells, 37 W. 39th St. (2003)
1895 BUILDING 1920


The company was founded in 1895. They moved to this building in 1920. Haskins & Sells is cited in Thomas A. King's More Than a Numbers Game: A Brief History of Accounting (2006) as "the first auditing firm founded by American accountants." The founders were Charles Waldo Haskins (1852-1903) and Elijah Watt Sells (1858-1924). Haskins was born in Brooklyn. His uncle was the famous Ralph Waldo Emerson, and his father was Waldo Emerson Haskins, a New York banker & broker. Charles W. Haskins set up his own accounting business in 1886. His entry in Who's Who in America, 1901, reads, "Haskins, Charles Waldo, public accountant; b. Brooklyn, N. Y., Jan. 11, 1852; s. Waldo Emerson H.; ed. public schools and Polytechnic Inst., Brooklyn; m. 1884, Henrietta Sherman, d. Albert H. Havemeyer. Expert under joint comm'n, 53d Congress, to revise methods of business exec. depts. of the U. S., 1893-5; dean New York Univ. School of Commerce, Accounts and Finance, since 1900 ... Has written many papers on accountancy, published by learned socs. and others. Residence: 317 W. 14th St. Office: 30 Broad St., New York."

Haskins' obituary in the New York Times (10 Jan. 1903, p. 9) reads in part, "He was graduated from the Brooklyn Polytechnic Institute in 1867 and he completed his studies in Paris. Early in his career he became a professional accountant, and he had the supervision of the accounts of the West Shore Railway when that line was building... In 1893 Mr. Haskins and his partner, Edgar W. Sells, were experts appointed under the Joint Commission of the Fifty-third Congress to revise the accounting system of the United States... He was instrumental largely in 1896 in the passage of an act regulating the profession of public accountant and prescribing a Board of Examiners to be appointed by the Regents of the University of the State of New York, and he became president of the board. Later he founded the School of Commerce of New York University."

Elijah Watt Sells was born in Muscatine, Iowa. He attended Baker University (in Baldwin City, Kansas) but left at age 16 to become a station agent for the Leavenworth, Lawrence & Galveston Railroad. He then worked nearly 20 years as bookkeeper and accountant for numerous railroads. His obituary in the New York Times (20 Mar. 1924, p. 19) reads in part, "Mr. Sells was born in Muscatine, Iowa, on March 1, 1858, the son of Elijah Sells, at various times Secretary of the State of Iowa and Auditor of the Treasury Department under President Lincoln... His early accounting experience was gained in connection with various railroad lines as general bookkeeper and traveling auditor. In 1892 Mr. Sells joined the late Charles Waldo Haskins in effecting, under the auspices of a joint commission of the Fifty-third Congress, a revision of the accounting system of the United States Government... In 1895 Mr. Sells entered into co-partnership with Mr. Haskins, as Haskins & Sells, certified public accountants, now with offices in nearly all the principal cities of the United States and in Havana, London, Paris and Shanghai. Following the death of Mr. Haskins in 1903, Mr. Sells was head of the firm and took an active part in its management until a few months ago... Mr. Sells was one of the pioneers of the accountancy profession."

Waldo Emerson Haskins is listed in the U. S. Census of 1870 living at 44 W. 12th St., Manhattan. He is a broker, 41 years old and is living with his wife, Amalia, 39, and two children: Emma, 21, and Charles, 18, both born New York. Charles's occupation is given as clerk. Charles W. Haskins first appears in New York City directories in 1879, where he, like his father, is employed as a broker at 6 Exchange Court and is living at 44 W. 12th St.

Elijah W. Sells is listed in the U. S. Census of 1880 living at 50 Locust St., Dubuque, Iowa. He is 22 years old, and his occupation is "Clerk in R. R." He is the son of Isabell Sells, 59, born Iowa, and he has a sister Lucy E. Sells, age 25. His entries in New York City directories begin in 1896. In this issue he and Charles W. Haskins appear as public accountants, with their business located at 2 Nassau St. The New York telephone directory of 1896 lists "Haskins & Sells Accountants," located at 30 Broad St. The telephone number was Broad 1352.

Haskins & Sells continued at 30 Broad St. until 1920, when their executive offices moved to 37 W. 39th St. The 30 Broad St. location was retained as the location of practice offices. In 1930 the firm left both locations and opened offices at 15 Broad St. and 75 E. 45th St.

In 1952 agreement was reached "to merge the businesses of Deloitte, Plender, Griffiths & Co. with Haskins & Sells in the U. S., under the name Deloitte Haskins & Sells." This quote is from the current (Jan. 2008) Deloitte website. An involved timeline of mergers, name changes, etc. can be found at Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu (http://www.deloitte.com/dtt/section_node/0,1042,sid%253D76339,00.html). In the Manhattan telephone directory Haskins & Sells continued to be listed until 1978, when the entry became Haskins & Sells See Deloitte Haskins & Sells 1114 Avenue Americas 790-0500.

The architect of 37 W. 39th St. was German-born Frederick Charles Zobel (1873-1943). Notice of his death appeared in the New York Times 21 Nov. 1943, p. 56, stating "Mr. Zobel, who is credited with designing several features of skyscraper construction, worked in New York from 1890 to 1922, erecting commercial structures." Emporis.com (http://www.emporis.com/en/cd/cm/?id=frederickczobel-newyorkcity-ny-usa) lists 17 New York buildings designed by Zobel between 1907 and 1917, but 37 W. 39th St. is not in the list. Two that are in the list, however, (featured here for a number of signs) are 102 Madison Ave. (http://www.14to42.net/29street2-2.html) and 141 W. 28th St. (http://www.14to42.net/28street5.3.html)


February 2nd, 2011, 05:06 AM
Developer & People Who Hate Developers Agree on 510 Fifth

February 1, 2011, by Joey Arak


When was the last time you heard about a group of angry preservationists and a big-time real estate player joining forces to campaign for a building's protection? Such is the case at 510 Fifth Avenue, a glass box and landmark of Modernism designed in the early '50s by Skidmore, Owings & Merrill under partner Gordon Bunshaft. Also known as the Manufacturers Trust Company building, 510 Fifth Avenue recently lost one of its most important interior features, some site-specific artwork by Harry Bertoia, which made people really mad. It turned out that JPMorgan Chase had ownership of the Bertoia works, and when it moved out, so too did the art. Those events kicked off an effort to have the building declared an interior landmark (it's already a "regular" landmark, which protects the outside), and now even the landlord is on board.

Though 510 Fifth Avenue has been carved up over the years, many of its original flashy elements are still going strong. Not long ago the building's future was up in the air, but recently Vornado Realty Trust bought 510 Fifth Avenue for $58 million, with plans to install Canadian clothing company Joe Fresh in the bottom floors. That increased preservationists' sense of urgency, and today the Landmarks Preservation Commission held a public hearing on the topic of the building's interior landmarking.

Everyone who spoke up was in favor of landmarking, including groups like the Historic Districts Council, and Vornado itself. A lawyer representing the firm (an ex-landmarks commissioner!) called the building a "true icon of modern design" and noted that the original innards were meant to be easily convertible to other uses. If 510 Fifth becomes an interior landmark—an LPC vote could happen this month—Vornado plans to modernize the interior and restore the remaining historic elements (the escalators, the ground-floor bank vault, the 43rd Street lobby, etc.) for retail use. The rep added that all the changes would mesh with the original style, design and intent of the architects. See: We can all get along! Here's a recentish shot of the building via Flickr (http://www.flickr.com/photos/emilio_guerra/4154073685/sizes/z/):


HDC Testimony on the Designation of the Manufacturer’s Trust Building Interior (http://hdc.org/blog/2011/02/01/hdc-testimony-onthe-designation-of-the-manufacturers-trust-building-interior/) [HDC]

http://ny.curbed.com/archives/2011/02/01/developer_people_who_hate_developers_agree_on_510_ fifth.php#more

February 2nd, 2011, 05:26 AM
Historic Black Enclave in Queens Gains Landmark Status


Welcome to the landmark district: a house at 178th Place and Linden Boulevard
in Addisleigh Park, Queens.

The predominantly African-American neighborhood of Addisleigh Park, an enclave of brick and stucco houses (http://www.nyc.gov/html/lpc/downloads/ppt/addisleigh_hearing_ppt.pdf) in southeast Queens and the former home of luminaries like Jackie Robinson, W.E.B. Du Bois and Ella Fitzgerald, is now a historic district, New York City’s 102nd.

The vote Tuesday by the Landmarks Preservation Commission protects a triangular swath containing 426 buildings, many of them Tudor and Colonial Revival homes, roughly bounded by Linden Boulevard, Dunkirk Street and 112th Avenue.

The area, part of the St. Albans neighborhood and developed between the 1910s and 1930s, was built as an exclusively white community, and restrictive covenants prohibited the sale of any of its properties to blacks.

In the 1940s, two lawsuits were filed against homeowners by their neighbors, who accused them of having sold their houses to African-Americans. In a 1947 case, a judge ruled in favor of the plaintiffs but noted that several African-Americans already lived in the neighborhood, including the singer and actress Lena Horne and the jazz musician Count Basie.

In 1948, though, the United States Supreme Court held that racially restrictive covenants violated the equal-protection clause of the 14th Amendment, and more and more blacks moved to the neighborhood. In 1952, the magazine Our World called Addisleigh Park home to the “richest and most gifted” African-Americans in New York.

The jazz great Fats Waller, one of the first African-Americans in Addisleigh Park, lived there until his death in 1943. Other notable residents have included the jazz musicians John Coltrane and Milt Hinton, the Dodgers catcher Roy Campanella and the boxer Joe Louis.

Addisleigh Park’s history “illuminates African-Americans’ struggle for and achievement of the basic civil right of home ownership,” read the proposal to protect the site as a historic district.

Today, the neighborhood, now about 90 percent African-American, with an average household income of around $80,000, remains a distinct and relatively upscale pocket of residential Southeast Queens. Its asymmetrical houses with steeply pitched gables and wooden porches are sited back from the street and separated by spacious, well-landscaped lawns.

Map of Addisleigh (http://www.scribd.com/doc/47972886/Map-of-Addisleigh)


February 3rd, 2011, 05:29 AM
Beautiful. And what an amazing roll call of residents.

The Historic Queens Homes of Jackie Robinson, Count Basie & More

February 2, 2011, by Joey Arak

Jackie Robinson's old house at 122-40 177th Street.

Cool spot for a cool cat. Count Basie's house at 174-27 Adelaide Road.

James Brown's house at 175-19 Linden Boulevard.

This double-decker at 112-45 178th Street was once owned by Lena Horne.

The Ella Fitzgerald house at 179-07 Murdock Avenue.

http://cdn.cstatic.net/cache/gallery/5212/5410818380_1ef76f2dd7_o.jpg (http://ny.curbed.com/archives/2011/02/02/the_historic_queens_homes_of_jackie_robinson_count _basie_more.php)

http://ny.curbed.com/archives/2011/02/02/the_historic_queens_homes_of_jackie_robinson_count _basie_more.php

February 7th, 2011, 08:09 PM
Proposed Landmarks Rules Worry Preservationists

Preservationists have expressed concern that the new rules will give communities less say.

By Jill Colvin

MANHATTAN — Every month, community boards and advocacy groups across the city weigh in on changes to landmarked buildings: whether a new door is too modern, a new staircase too wide, or a proposed addition strays too far from the original design. But as the overloaded Landmarks Preservation Commission attempts to streamline its operations with proposed new rules (http://www.nyc.gov/html/lpc/downloads/pdf/calendar/rules_1.pdf) to be debated from next week, some local preservationists are warning the changes will mean more decisions made behind closed doors and less say from residents and advocates about what happens in their neighborhoods.

"We have a fundamental concern," said Kate Wood, the executive director of Landmark West!, a non-profit preservation group based on the Upper West Side. "It takes an important layer of transparency and public input out of the process," she warned.
Members of Midtown's Community Board 5 and the Upper West Side's Community Board 7 have also expressed similar concerns.

Under the new rules, more decisions would be placed in the hands of staffers instead of coming up for public vote before the full commission. The changes apply to a slew of alterations, including new windows, heating and air conditioning equipment, rooftop additions and storefront signs.

Part of the problem, Wood said, was that decisions made by staffers were not subject to the same public review process, which meant that residents have no way of knowing that something was happening before the scaffolding went up.

But according to Elisabeth de Bourbon, a spokeswomen for the Commission, the new rules were intended to streamline the review process and would be limited to "certain types of work which are restorative, have no effect on significant architectural features, or have been consistently approved by the Commissioners."

Simeon Bankoff, executive director of the Historic Districts Council, which has not yet taken a formal stance on the rules, said that while the changes were extensive, most looked "extremely reasonable" and put into writing decisions that were already being made anyway.

He noted that the vast majority — about 90 percent of the 10,000 permits that the Commission issued every year — were already issued by staff, who were well trained in the commission's rules.

However, he did raise concerns that some of the new rules' language was ambiguous, such as rules governing "minimally visible" rooftop additions and signs that must be kept "proportional" to a landmarked storefront.

To try to help residents sort through the legalese, the Landmarks Preservation Commission's chief legal council will be presenting an overview of the new rules at 8:30 a.m. Mon. Feb 14, at the Historic Districts Council’s offices at 232 East 11th Street.

A public hearing on the changes is then scheduled for March 1 at 9:30 a.m. on the 9th floor of 1 Centre Street downtown.


February 16th, 2011, 05:48 AM
510 Fifth Avenue Interior Officially Gets Landmarked

February 15, 2011, by Sara Polsky


After an unusual show of unity between preservationists and landlord Vornado Realty Trust over the protection of 510 Fifth Avenue, we're not surprised that the Landmarks Preservation Commission got behind the landmarking of the building's interior. (The exterior is already protected.) Today, according to a press release from the LPC, the commission voted unanimously to landmark the interiors on the first and second floors. The move was sparked by the loss of the famed Harry Bertoia sculpture designed for the building, which moved out with former occupant JPMorgan Chase.

The bank's exterior was designed by Skidmore, Owings & Merrill under partner Gordon Bunshaft, but an outside consultant, Eleanor H. Le Maire, did the interior. A few of the highlights: a 30-ton circular stainless steel vault visible from the street, a recessed second floor that appears to be floating, and "luminous ceilings." Even if the Bertoia sculpture is languishing in a banker's basement, still sounds like a preservationist victory.

http://ny.curbed.com/archives/2011/02/15/510_fifth_avenue_interior_officially_gets_landmark ed.php#more

March 14th, 2011, 07:55 PM
LPC is holding a public hearing tomorrow (CALENDAR (http://www.nyc.gov/html/lpc/downloads/pdf/calendar/03_15_11.pdf) [pdf]) for proposed changes to both the interior and exterior of 510 Fifth Avenue / Manufacturers Trust Company Building.

CURBED (http://ny.curbed.com/archives/2011/03/14/som_proposes_to_split_the_landmarked_baby_at_510_f ifth.php) is all over it, with lots of images of the proposed alterations:

SOM Proposes to Split the Landmarked Baby at 510 Fifth

And the full range of Vornado / SOM changes (75 pics) can be seen at Curbed / Flickr (http://www.flickr.com/photos/curbed/sets/72157626252908096):

510 Fifth Avenue: Comprehensive Set of Images from
SOM / Vornado Proposal for Alterations as Presented to LPC


From the Calendar:

11-5333 - Block 1258, lot 40–
510 Fifth Avenue - (Former) Manufacturers Trust Company Building-
Individual Landmark-Interior Landmark

An International style building designed by Skidmore, Owings, & Merrill and built in 1953-54.
Application is to alter the facades, install signage and new entrances, and to replace and
reconfigure interior features and finishes.

Community District 5

Approximate time: 11:15 – 12:15
Be here by: 10:30

March 16th, 2011, 07:01 AM
You'd think "Architects & Designers" would have more of an appreciation for this lovely little building and cut down on that overwhelming signage :rolleyes:. Promotion is one thing, but... The ground floor is ruined, anyway, I guess :(.

Will the Next Preservation Battle Be Fought at 140 Bowery?

March 15, 2011, by Sara Polsky


It looks like 35 Cooper Square is not going to be saved. So is there any hope for Federal-style architecture on the Bowery? Er, maybe not. A Bowery Boogie reader reports that 140 Bowery, the street's other Federal-style holdout, appears to be for sale ( as part of a two-building package (without an asking price). Says the Bowery Boogie tipster, "While there are only a hand full of federal buildings left in the city, just a few of them are this early squat 2 1/2 story type. It is essential to distinguish the difference between these and the taller elegant federal homes...These were the homes of New York’s early working class families." Preservationists, start your letter-writing, sign-making, vigil-holding engines!

Listing: 140 Bowery ( [Showcase.com]
Federal-Style 140 Bowery for Sale (http://www.boweryboogie.com/2011/03/federal-style-140-bowery-for-sale/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+BoweryBoogieALowerEastSideChr onicle+%28Bowery+Boogie%29) [Bowery Boogie]

http://ny.curbed.com/archives/2011/03/15/will_the_next_preservation_battle_be_fought_at_140 _bowery.php

March 16th, 2011, 09:00 AM
I should think so, too.

Vornado Sent Back to Drawing Board on Manufacturers Trust Bank Development

The plan calls for a new elevator, escalators, entrances and the demolition of the building's famous vault.

By Jill Colvin

http://s3.amazonaws.com/sfb111/story_xlimage_2011_02_R8669_New_Midtown_Landmark_2 1511.jpg
The building's 30-ton circular stainless steel vault, which is visible from the street.
(Courtesy of the Landmarks Preservation Commission)

MIDTOWN — Major developer Vornado Realty Trust wants to drastically alter the former Manufacturers Trust Bank building, including demolishing the building's historic vault, a month after its interior was granted landmark status.

In order to retrofit the former Chase bank for the country’s first outpost of Canadian clothing retailer "Joe Fresh," Vornado has proposed major changes to both the exterior and the interior of the famous modernist building at West 43rd Street and Fifth Avenue — whose ground and second floors were just deemed landmarks last month.

The Landmarks Preservation Commission had been set to cast its vote Tuesday. But citing concerns with the design, particularly the proposal to move the escalators and build new entrances on Fifth Avenue, the LPC decided to delay its decision, said spokeswoman Elisabeth de Bourbon.

The Joe Fresh plan calls for building a new glass elevator to connect the ground and second floors, relocating two escalators inside the new store so they criss-cross instead of run parallel and constructing a new wall to separate Joe Fresh from a yet-to-be-determined second tenant.

Two new entrances would be built on Fifth Avenue and an entrance on West 43rd Street would be moved down the block. The building’s concrete vault would also be demolished to make way for retail space, although the vault door would remain.

The plan also calls for significant restoration work to the building’s interior, including installing a new art piece to replace a Bertoia screen that was taken by Chase when they moved out.

Preservationists who weighed in on the plan had expressed serious concerns about the changes, while praising the restoration work.

The Society for the Architecture of the City slammed the proposal as "destructive," equating moving the escalators and demolishing the vault to demolishing the building’s Fifth Avenue façade.

"It looks like a cheap imitation of the original screen," complained Community Board 5 member Matthew Schneid of the new art when the board considered the proposal last week. Others bemoaned the loss of the vault.

The LPC asked Vornado to head back to the drawing board and revise their plans.

Despite the delay, de Bourbon said that all of the commissioners supported the change in use as well as plans to restore the building, which had been altered numerous times over the years.

"The best way to preserve a historic structure is to reuse it," LPC Chairman Robert Tierney said.


March 22nd, 2011, 06:51 AM
Plans for Massive West Side Historic District Up for Review

A hearing on the proposed West End Avenue historic district will be held Tuesday.

By Leslie Albrecht

http://s3.amazonaws.com/sfb111/story_xlimage_2010_09_R8966_West_End_Avenue_Histor ic_District_091710.jpg

http://s3.amazonaws.com/sfb111/story_xlimage_2010_09_R3923_West_End_Avenue_Histor ic_District_091710.jpg

http://s3.amazonaws.com/sfb111/story_xlimage_2010_09_R3017_West_End_Avenue_Histor ic_District_091710.jpg

http://s3.amazonaws.com/sfb111/story_xlimage_2010_09_R53_West_End_Avenue_Historic _District_091710.jpg

http://s3.amazonaws.com/sfb111/story_xlimage_2010_09_R3932_West_End_Avenue_Histor ic_District_091710.jpg

UPPER WEST SIDE — Plans to create a massive historic district along graceful West End Avenue will move forward Tuesday with a public hearing at the Landmarks Preservation Commission.

The 12:30 p.m. hearing is the first of three on the proposed zoning, which would include more than 800 buildings.

The historic district would stretch between 109th and 70th streets and include side streets between West End Avenue and Riverside Drive, along with parts of Broadway.
Tuesday's hearing will focus on the southern end of the district, between West 79th and West 87th streets.

Though critics complain that historic districts halt growth and development, preservationists say the historic district will improve property values.

They also say such districts don't freeze the neighborhood in time, but ensure that the area's unique character is preserved while allowing for change.

"We don't want a time capsule, we want to keep the same sense of character and the same sense of place," said Josette Amato, spokeswoman for the West End Preservation Society. "We're looking ... to keep the same quality going, and one way to do that is to have an historic district."

The neighborhood includes many 19th-century buildings with historic flourishes such as grilles and cornices.

The Real Estate Board of New York has criticized the proposed district, in part because they say preservationists haven't made a compelling argument for why the area should be singled out for historic status.

"There are a lot of buildings there and we're trying to understand why they're being designated," said REBNY Senior Vice President Mike Slattery. "Broadway doesn't have anywhere near the same character as Riverside Drive. It's unclear what the basis for the designation is and what's so distinctive about this neighborhood."

REBNY has said the district could stall development and mean less revenue and jobs for the city. But Amato said historic districts create jobs when older buildings are restored, sometimes putting craftsmen such as stone cutters and woodworkers to work.

The West End Preservation Society and Landmark West! are encouraging supporters to attend the hearing and testify in support of the proposed district. In addition to e-mail blasts and postcard mailings, advocates will hand out flyers this weekend to people on the street.

Amato said testimony from the public can help sway the Landmarks Preservation Commission in favor of the historic district.

"They want to know that the community is behind this," Amato said. "If they don't feel there's community support and elected officials aren't supportive, there's a good chance it doesn't go any further."


March 22nd, 2011, 06:59 AM
Harlem's Mink Building Pushed Off Landmark List After 20 Years

Community Board 9 said the building shouldn't be landmarked because they want to attract more tenants and jobs.

By Jeff Mays

HARLEM — For two decades, the Mink Building in West Harlem has been under consideration for approval as a New York City landmark.

But Community Board 9 put an end to the standoff between preservationists and developers last week, by voting overwhelmingly to remove the building from consideration as a historic landmark.

"There are some people who are purists who feel everyhing should be preserved. I feel we need a mixture of preservation and rehabilitation for use," said Walter South, chair of the Community Board 9's landmarks committee.

Taking the building at 1361 Amsterdam Ave. permanently off the list for landmark designation would likely require the support of local elected officials and then approval from the Landmark Preservation Commission and the Department of City Planning.

The Mink Building, which earned its name when it converted from a brewery into a fur storage space, now houses loft office space. Owner Scott Metzner of Janus Property Company hailed the decision to take it off the list of possible landmarks, saying it was an undue "burden" that stood between him and would-be tenants.

"When a tenant comes to us and asks for something built to their specifications, my answer always is: 'We don't know.' We have to wait 40 days to make the most basic of changes such as moving a wall," said Metzner, adding that he would have to wait for permission from the Landmarks Preservation Committee before conducting any construction work.

Metzner said the tentative designation hurt his ability to alter parts of the once window-deprived storage space and subdivide it in a way that would attract more tenants, activity, jobs and economic development to West Harlem. Potential tenants looked elsewhere and current tenants decided to leave, he said.

However, some preservationists mourned the end of a phase they said protected the longstanding building.

"We are allowing our history and cultural heritage to be destroyed," said Michael Henry Adams, a Harlem preservationist and historian who also serves as an aide to State Senator Bill Perkins.

Adams said that the Landmarks Preservation Committee has not protected the landmarks in Harlem as well as they have in other parts of the city because they are afraid of the political consequences. The fact that this building has been under consideration as a landmark for 20 years is a prime example of that, he said.

"Compared to richer neighborhoods downtown we don't have many landmarks," Adams said. "The lie we are told is that if we don't have landmarks we can have economic development. But TriBeCa is an area with some of the most landmarks and it also has the most development. One has nothing to do with the other."

Adams said most of the changes Janus has wanted to make to the property have been approved, so the idea that landmark status will limit economic development is a false one.
In addition, he rejected the idea that the building no longer held as much historical signifigance because of past alterations.

"Why would the AIA Guide to New York City lie? Why would the Landmark Preservation Commission be interested in the building?" he asked.

But several community board members said that continued economic development in the area was important and that the buildings have already been altered enough to limit their historic significance.

At the Mink Building, many of the changes that people think are historic — such as the arch-shaped windows — have actually been added during recent Janus renovations, according to proponents of taking it off the landmark list. In addition, alterations have already substantially changed the nature of the former brewery and fur storage space.

For example, the current entrance at 128th and Amsterdam was previously the back of the factory. Metzner said that even the name of the structure — the Mink Building — was part of the Janus marketing campaign.

With a sweeping rezoning (http://www.dnainfo.com/20101202/harlem/west-harlem-proposes-new-rezoning-plan-wake-of-columbia-land-grab) of West Harlem— the first since 1961— about to get underway, Metzner is pushing for the buildings he owns at 128th Street and Amsterdam to be changed to mixed use properties. The area is currently zoned mostly for one-story manufacturing structures.

Metzner, who owns nine buildings in the complex, purchased the first one in 1997 and the last in 2008. He said the company has spent $20 million rehabbing the structures. It now houses everything from the offices of various non-profits to a movie prop rental business.
"There's no need to protect this from the people who raised it from the dead," said Metzner.

He said if approved, the removal from landmark status along with changes to zoning rules could allow him to expand the space inside the building to more than 500,000 of mixed use office space from the current 300,000.

Maritta Dunn, the former chair of Community Board 9, said she has seen Metzner transform the Mink Building and others in the complex from a vermin-infested trap to what it is today. Back in 1997, there was a lot of concern that Metzner was going to take the building down and construct cheaply built market-rate housing.

"They stood by their word. They made that building what it is today," said Dunn. "When I went there in 1997 there were leftover minks and rats running all over the building."

Current board chair Larry English, who voted in favor of the proposal, agreed.

"if it was another developer this board probably would have issued a resounding no," English said before issuing Metzner a warning.

"This board has taken a step with you. Do not allow us to walk past that building and feel we made a mistake," English said.


March 22nd, 2011, 10:07 AM

March 23rd, 2011, 06:03 AM
Four New Landmarks Approved, Including City's Youngest

March 22, 2011, by Joey Arak

http://ny.curbed.com/uploads/2011_3_22_newlandmarks-thumb.jpg (http://ny.curbed.com/uploads/2011_3_22_newlandmarks.jpg)
[Click to expand! L-R: Japan Society, Engineers' Club Building,
Neighborhood Playhouse, Greyston Gatehouse.]

We weren't kidding when we said it's March Madness up on the ninth floor of 1 Centre Street. After tackling a few high-profile projects earlier this month, today the Landmarks Preservation Commission tackled an enormous agenda on its annual "Spring Designation Day," headlined by the naming of four new landmarks. They are:

1) Japan Society: The Modernist five-story cultural center at 333 East 47th Street in Turtle Bay, designed by Junzo Yoshimura, was completed in 1971, making this the youngest NYC landmark of them all. Mazel tov!

2) Engineers' Club Building: The 12-story building at 32 East 40th Street between Fifth and Sixth Avenues was built in 1907 to house the first social club in the U.S. for nerds. Excuse us, engineers. It's now a co-op residential building.

3) Neighborhood Playhouse: Now called the Harry DeJur Playhouse, this neo-Georgian at 466 Grand Street on the LES was completed in 1915.

4) Greyston Gatehouse: This Riverdale gatehouse was completed in 1868, which, in our book, makes it really effin' old. According to the LPC, "The gatehouse was constructed to house a caretaker for the Greyston Estate, the site of the noted c. 1864 Gothic Revival grey granite villa that was designed by the preeminent architect James Renwick, Jr."

But the commissioners were just getting warmed up, y'all. Civil servant power!

Public hearings were held on many more buildings and neighborhoods that still need to make pit stops on the road to landmarking. The list includes the 940-building Central Ridgewood Historic District in Queens, and the controversial Riverside-West End Historic District Extension I on the Upper West Side. Hearings were held on five proposed individual landmarks, including the Citizens Savings Bank at 58 Bowery near the foot of the Manhattan Bridge.

The LPC also calendared a whopping 16 sites, initiating the landmarking process. Instead of naming all of them, we'll point out or favorite: 70 Pine Street, the Art Deco skyscraper in the Financial District that is being partially converted to luxury condos.

Landmarks Preservation Commission (http://www.nyc.gov/html/lpc/html/home/home.shtml) [NYC.gov]

http://ny.curbed.com/archives/2011/03/22/four_new_landmarks_approved_including_citys_younge st.php

March 23rd, 2011, 06:41 AM
Four New Landmarks Include City’s Youngest


The Neighborhood Playhouse on Grand Street on the Lower East Side.

The New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission approved four new landmarks Tuesday morning: a former social club for engineers, an early experimental theater, a Bronx cottage attributed to the architect James Renwick Jr. and the Modernist headquarters of a Japanese cultural organization.

The Japan Society building, 333 East 47th Street between First and Second Avenues in Turtle Bay, is now the city’s youngest landmark — unseating the Ford Foundation building, which was completed in 1967. The five-story building was completed in 1971; it was designed by the architects Junzo Yoshimura and George G. Shimamoto.

The Japan Society building on 47th Street.

“Yoshimura produced a serene work that spoke to Japan’s aspirations at the time and reflected the nation’s contemporary architectural design trends,” Robert B. Tierney, chairman of the commission, said in a statement.

The three other buildings are:

The Engineers’ Club building.

Engineers’ Club Building, 32 West 40th Street between Fifth Avenue and Avenue of the Americas, in Midtown

This 12-story Renaissance Revival-style building was built in 1907 for the swelling ranks of the Engineers’ Club, which the commission said was founded in 1888 as the country’s first social organization for engineers, attracting 2,000 members by 1909.

Among the club’s more illustrious members: Andrew Carnegie, Herbert C. Hoover, Thomas Edison, Charles Lindbergh, Cornelius Vanderbilt and H. H. Westinghouse. Still, it declared bankruptcy in 1977. The building was sold and subsequently converted into a co-op apartment building, which it remains.

“The club building today looks almost exactly as it did more than a century ago, and stands as an architectural reminder of the emergence of New York state as the engineering center of the nation,” Mr. Tierney said in the statement.

The Neighborhood Playhouse (now the Harry de Jur Playhouse), at 466 Grand Street, at the corner of Pitt Street, on the Lower East Side

This was one of the city’s early experimental theaters, which “staged innovative works and gave rise to the Off Broadway movement,” the commission said. The three-story red brick neo-Georgian-style playhouse was built by Alice and Irene Lewisohn, the daughters of a wealthy German Jewish immigrant and philanthropist, and was “completely controlled by women,” the commission said.

When the Neighborhood Playhouse theater company closed in 1927, the Henry Street Settlement took over the building and renamed it the Henry Street Playhouse. It later housed a modern dance school and was, in 1967, renamed for Harry de Jur, a former Henry Street Settlement director.

Greyston Gatehouse, 4695 Independence Avenue in the Riverdale section of the Bronx

The gatehouse was built in 1868, when Riverdale was a summer retreat for the wealthy, to house a caretaker for the Greyston Estate, a granite villa. The villa itself, also called the William E. and Sarah T. Hoadley Dodge Jr. House, was named a city landmark in 1970.

The commission wrote that the one-and-a-half-story gatehouse was “one of New York City’s finest examples of the picturesque rural cottage style that was popularized in the mid 19th century.” It remained in the Dodge family until 1977, the commission said, and is now owned by the Cleveland H. Dodge Foundation.


March 23rd, 2011, 06:46 AM
Money in the Bank

Defunct Williamsburg Savings to become catering hall and arts venue.

Tom Stoelker


The Williamsburg Savings Bank, purchased this past December by Juan Figueroa for $4.5 million, is set to become a catering hall, concert space, and art gallery. Project manager Carlos Perez San Martin said Figueroa plans to spend $1.5 million to $2 million on restoring the bank located at the corner of Broadway and Driggs Avenue in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. The owner has yet to face the scrutiny of the community board and preservationists, but San Martin, who is also Figueroa’s cousin, noted that the owner has already restored one building in the borough: the warehouse in Bushwick that houses the New York Loft Hostel.



Top to bottom: Architect jorge Bosch, detail of dome interior, exterior detail

The 25, 000 square foot bank building is divided into three sections. The main neo-classical building was built between1870 and 1875 and designed by George B. Post, architect of the New York Stock Exchange and City College. Post added a smaller domed addition in 1905. The original structure has a landmarked interior and exterior. Only the exterior is landmarked on the later building. The third section, an addition built in the 1940s, sits on a separate lot and is not landmarked at all. When the scaffolding went up on that structure a few months back, the blogosphere lit up with speculation. While the owner was not divulging much information, zoning would permit a residential tower and ground floor retail.

New York-based architect Jorge Bosch will oversee the restoration. Bosch was “astonished” on first encountering the majestic building while visiting Peter Luger several years ago. He was equally thrilled when he received the commission to lead the renovation. The architect has already drawn up plans for the basement, which will house the kitchen facilities (in a nod to the Hasidic neighbors, a separate kosher kitchen will be installed). Workers have already cleared and whitewashed the space. When asked if there were any serious structural problems that need immediate attention, Bosch said they’ve adopted a plan- as-you-go approach. “If we find some problems, we’ll address it,” he said. “We are at the very beginning, you know, only three months in, so we’re still searching and thinking about what to do.”






Top to bottom: atrium at rear of 1908 building, door knob with bank logo, detail of safe Mechanism,
corner of Broadway and Driggs, Inside the main dome, oculus of the 1908 dome.

Elsewhere in the vast complex, though it hasn’t been determined exactly where, the owner plans to install a “museum,” though it sounds more like a rotating gallery. “We don’t know what sort of museum,” said San Martin. “We started talking with Juan about Latin American art, but it definitely will be a place for Brooklyn artists. Brooklyn doesn’t have a place to show all Brooklyn artists together.” As far as ambitions for the performance space is concerned, San Martin said he doesn’t necessarily foresee Metallica coming, but he wouldn’t rule it out. “It would be wonderful to have classical or blues or jazz, but we will not be bound to one type of style,” he said.




Top to bottom: Interior Cornice detail from main building,
view of manhattan from cupola, view of cupola from roof

But as running a catering operation remains the main focus, it’s unclear how and when the general public will get access to see the art or hear the music. The new owner plans to offer in-house catering in addition renting to outside operators and has already consulted with several firms to understand their needs, suggesting a comparison with Cipriani on 42nd Street or Skylight One Hanson, an event hall in another renovated Williamburg Savings Bank in Downtown Brooklyn, would appropriate. “Our goal is to have every night of the year rented,” said San Martin.


April 13th, 2011, 11:06 PM
I should think so, too.

Vornado Sent Back to Drawing Board on Manufacturers Trust Bank Development


Strike Two:

Glass Slipper Again Doesn't Fit for Vornado at 510 Fifth Avenue

CURBED (http://ny.curbed.com/archives/2011/04/13/glass_slipper_again_doesnt_fit_for_vornado_at_510_ fifth_avenue.php#more)
April 13, 2011

Vornado's proposal to reconfigure the landmarked (both inside and outside!) former bank at 510 Fifth Avenue again couldn't shatter the glass ceiling yesterday. The developer's revised plan failed to receive enough votes at the Landmarks Preservation Commission to move forward. The design team from SOM architects presented an extensive scheme in response to LPC remarks following the initial presentation last month, when the commission chided the creative crew over too many changes to the 1953 Gordon Bunshaft minimalist masterpiece and sent the team back to the drawing board.

Of particular concern is the news that Vornado and retailer Joe Fresh, which is leasing a portion of the main floor and the entire mezzanine for a new retail flagship, want to demolish nearly the entire mezzanine level in order to restructure that area so it can accommodate the reconfiguration of the original escalators that rise inside the Fifth Avenue facade. ...

April 14th, 2011, 06:42 AM
Pushing the Limits of History

Fight Over Proposed Expansions of West End Historic District Is Hottest in City


On West End Avenue, two projects—one under construction and one proposed—have triggered a debate over the city's historic-landmark preservation process.

Construction plans for 732-734 West End Ave. could be hindered by an expansion of the area's historic district.

The houses at 732-734 West End Ave. are slated to give way to a $10 million, 16-unit apartment complex scheduled to open in June 2012. Another project similar in size is planned for 508-510 West End Ave., but is on hold, as the city Landmarks Preservation Commission considers extending local historic districts to include those properties.

Expansion of the historic districts would essentially halt the planned apartments. "We were concerned that a number of brownstones were going to be torn down and sliver buildings built between some of the prewar brownstones, which would look horrible," said Richard Emery, president and co-founder of the West End Preservation Society, which launched the West End expansion effort.

The developer of the project at 508-510 West End Ave. stands to lose millions of dollars if it is restricting from building as planned, said spokesman Ken Frydman. He said that the developer, Sackman Enterprises, the managing agent for the properties, is willing to work with the community on facade design.

Plans for 508-510 West End Ave. could also be affected by an expansion of the area's historic district.

The Real Estate Board of New York, a trade association that represents some of the largest developers in New York, is strongly opposed to the West End expansion, saying it reduces the value of smaller buildings.

"You're basically freezing that three-story, four-story townhouse in perpetuity," Michael Slattery, REBNY's senior vice president said.

A building in a historic district is required to obtain an extra layer of city permits required for proposed alterations to a building's facade. Minor changes that aren't permanent, like a seasonal window air-conditioning unit, don't need approval. However, major changes, like a demolition or a new addition, require a public hearing and commission vote, said Elisabeth de Bourbon, a spokeswoman for the Landmarks Preservation Commission.

The enlargement of the West End historic-district protection—which actually involves three separate expansion proposals—is the most controversial pending before the landmarks commission, according to the real estate board. In all, there are 12 proposals to designate or extend districts in 10 neighborhoods. If all were approved, they would add more than 3,000 buildings to the historic preservation lists, currently protected. REBNY hasn't weighed in on the other proposals.

The next hearing on the West End expansion is slated for June 28. Most of the proposals will have been voted on, or had a public hearing, by year-end, according to the commission.


Commission Chairman Robert B. Tierney said part of the current push is to give neighborhoods more attention in boroughs other than Manhattan. The Bronx, for example, "has not gotten the attention that's warranted by the history and architecture over the years," he said.

Many neighborhood organizations spearhead the efforts. In Brooklyn, the Park Slope Civic Council, which has clamored to expand the historic district there, is conducting an online "building genealogy" survey, asking for detailed histories from homeowners in the area. The group also seeks volunteers to generate community support.

"You have to have a reasonably coherent streetscape," Mr. Tierney said. "When you're walking down the streets of the West Village or Brooklyn Heights, you know you're not in the Financial District."

But that coherence argument has been criticized by REBNY, which says that previous landmarks commissioners cited a lack of streetscape coherence outside of the boundaries they set for the original West End historic designations.

Mr. Tierney said that the commission doesn't always get it right the first time when crafting historic-district boundaries. While a neighborhood may not have undergone a wholesale change, the opinions of commission members about what makes the neighborhood historic can differ from their predecessors.

"These things can be revisited," he said.

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748704529204576257262393121144.html?m od=rss_newyork_real_estate

May 1st, 2011, 12:34 AM
Landmarks Are Called a Hardship, Setting Off a Fight


The building at 430 East 65th Street is part of a battle between tenants and the landlord,
which hopes to tear it down.

A landmark has an aura of permanence about it. So it is a fair bet most New Yorkers believe that if their building has been declared a landmark, it will remain untouchable, like the Empire State Building or the Statue of Liberty.

But tenants at two six-story walk-ups on the Upper East Side are wondering whether landmark status may be more fragile and fleeting than they had thought. Those buildings along York Avenue in the East 60s, part of a complex of 15 walk-ups built between 1898 and 1915, were designated landmarks in 2006 because they were examples of a Progressive Era effort to improve tenement design for low-wage earners. The tan brick buildings offered snug apartments that overlooked courtyards and let in more air and light than a typical tenement’s railroad flat.

But the landlord, the Stahl real estate organization, has applied to the city’s Landmarks Preservation Commission for permission to tear the two buildings down. The landlord claims the buildings are losing $1 million a year and cannot return an adequate profit — defined by the city’s administrative code as 6 percent — if they remain. Allowing construction of a high-rise building, one that would have panoramic views of the East River, would, Stahl says, eliminate that hardship.

The commission is reviewing the landlord’s application and has not scheduled a hearing. But, already, it has gotten a vigorous rebuttal. The tenants of the buildings, at 429 East 64th Street and 430 East 65th Street, most of them elderly or single people or couples on fixed or low incomes, are frightened. They say they can afford to remain on the Upper East Side only because their apartments are rent-controlled or rent-stabilized. The tenants include nurses, artists, a librarian, an exterminator and a firefighter.

“It’s upsetting when you live in a place and you don’t dare do anything because you don’t know how long you’re going to be here,” said Janet Nonamaker, 67, a retired flight attendant who has lived in her building for 33 years but has been holding off on installing a new kitchen floor and doing other renovations because the building might be demolished.

Revoking landmark status is a rare step for the commission. Since it was created in 1965, the commission, which oversees 27,000 landmarks, has received 16 hardship applications, 15 of them requesting demolitions, and has granted 11 requests. It last approved such an application in 2008, allowing St. Vincent’s Hospital Manhattan to tear down its maritime-themed O’Toole Building to avert bankruptcy. The hospital went bankrupt before it could do so.
The two buildings on York Avenue were declared landmarks over the Stahl organization’s objections. Among tenants leading the campaign to “Stop Stahl” is Monica McLaughlin, 52, an unemployed lawyer. She has collected and analyzed scores of real estate documents and has warned the commission of the wider impact of granting Stahl its request.

“In this city there would not be a landmarked building safe from the wrecking ball, and the L.P.C. may as well close up shop altogether,” she wrote to the commission.
Ms. McLaughlin is a spirited daughter of a doorman; she grew up in rural upstate New York and completed college when she was 38 and law school a few years afterward, eventually working as an asbestos litigator before losing her job. She lives with two West Highland terriers, Missy Paulette and Casey Jane.

Ms. McLaughlin and her tenant allies have accused Stahl, owner of the building since 1977, of “warehousing” apartments, letting 107 of the 190 apartments lie vacant to ease the way for demolition. They have accused the landlord of padding operating expenses by including in its application $368,000 in legal fees for fighting landmark status and deliberately underestimating potential rents it could collect for all apartments to make a profit.

The application pegs the average rent at $600, when by the tenants’ estimate the apartments can fetch several times that amount in their upscale neighborhood opposite Rockefeller University. They say Stahl is exaggerating the buildings’ drawbacks by claiming they have inadequate electrical systems and narrow staircases.

They have also chronicled how the landlord, in an effort to stave off the landmark designation, removed many of the buildings’ Beaux-Arts-style stone carvings and terra cotta trim and then plastered the exterior with a coral pink stucco that contrasts with the tan brick of the complex’s other buildings. The commission eventually based its decision on the layout of the buildings more than on its original adornments.

“He messed the facade up and then said it’s not landmarkable because of the facade,” Ms. McLaughlin said.

Brian Maddox, a consultant to the Stahl organization, acknowledged that Stahl was leaving apartments empty in the hopes of demolishing the buildings or redeveloping the property. Mr. Maddox said the $600 rental estimate was made by real estate professionals and was based largely on the apartments’ small size — an average of 371 square feet. He said if the property was demolished, Stahl would find tenants comparable apartments in the complex’s remaining 13 buildings. If not, the company might have to upgrade or combine vacant apartments in the rest of the complex in order to charge higher rents. He denied that legal fees were included in operating expenses.

The organization was founded by Stanley Stahl, who at the time of his death in 1999 was the sole stockholder of the Apple Bank for Savings and held four million square feet of office space and 3,000 apartments. He owned the Ansonia, a landmark apartment house on the Upper West Side, and other landmarks like TriBeCa’s Western Union Building; the Chanin Building, on East 42d Street; and the Lunt-Fontanne Theater. Mr. Maddox said Stahl had treated such landmarks respectfully.

The buildings between York Avenue and First Avenue — known originally as First Avenue Estate — were put up by City and Suburban Homes Company, whose prominent investors agreed to limit their profit so blue-collar workers could have better housing than was available in tenements of the day; each apartment had a bathroom and each room a window.

The complex was first declared a landmark in 1990, but that year, the city’s Board of Estimate — not too long before going out of business as an elected body — removed the two buildings on York Avenue from the designation. The rationale was that the board had removed the landmark status of two buildings in a similar-model tenement complex on East 79th Street whose owner wanted to build a luxury tower. But in 1992, the whole 79th Street complex was made a landmark, and tenants between 64th and 65th Streets fought to restore their buildings’ landmark status as well, succeeding in 2006.

Tara Kelly, executive director of Friends of the Upper East Side Historic Districts, argues that the entire complex has to be preserved to sustain its integrity.

“The complex is significant as a whole,” Ms. Kelly said, “and these two buildings are part of the whole.”


May 1st, 2011, 12:46 AM
Let's see what Commandant Tierney does on this one. Lately he's shown himself to be something of a know-nothing (http://ny.curbed.com/archives/2011/04/20/third_times_the_charm_for_vornados_revised_510_fif th.php) in regards to what Landmarking status should mean.

May 1st, 2011, 10:40 AM
Lame brains. The magic of this building is the Modernist continuum of unbroken space from outside to the far reaches of the mezzanine. Destroying that is not forgiven by strips of black granite.

Lame brains.

May 1st, 2011, 12:44 PM
LPC bent over backwards at 510 Fifth to appease both Vornado & Joe Fresh. So now we'll have a chopped up masterpiece stuffed with jeans galore.

Basically unsaid through all this is the requirement for massive restructuring to allow for the reconfiguration of the escalators (something like 75% of the existing floating mezzanine floor will be demolished / re-structured / re-built). Of course this will also include lots of foundation re-structuring (to hold the new mezzanine & escalators), but that area is outside the purview of LPC and therefore was not part of the discussion.

No one should be surprised if Vornado returns to LPC within the decade with an application for a tower up top of Bunshaft's glass box, since the site is way underbuilt per FAR. And no doubt the owner will make the claim that LPC has set the precedent that what was here has been altered already, so why not more?

May 3rd, 2011, 07:26 AM
Landmarks Are Called a Hardship, Setting Off a Fight


The building at 430 East 65th Street is part of a battle between tenants and the landlord,
which hopes to tear it down.

These buildings are absolute crap. I lived around the corner from them for years. If the schmucks at LPC let stunning prewar buildings get razed all of the time, then this filthy POS should come down.

May 3rd, 2011, 12:58 PM
Seems they might look like crap now because the owner took a hatchet to them to try and avoid landmarking.

Monica McLaughlin
May 3rd, 2011, 11:10 PM
This most recent attempt by owner the Stahl Organization to demolish a portion of the landmarked First Avenue Estate through misrepresentation and lies not only must stopped, but the City of New York has an obligation to its tax paying residents to prosecute greedy Stahl (including and especially that organization’s president Richard F. Czaja, whose signature is all over the application) for fraud to prevent unscrupulous developers from future endeavors.
Stahl’s real estate experts (Cushman & Wakefield) prepared feasibility reports for 2009 and 2010. While in 2009 they determined market rates for the vacant apartments to be $1233, in 2010 the market rates, according to them, for those very same apartments had plummeted to $600 (see page 42 where the real estate “experts” determined the new rate by comparing the landmarked First Avenue Estate to NYCH project housing.) Why the more than 50% deduction? Stahl jury rigged figures to compensate for the removal of “capital improvement” expenses (façade destruction) listed in 2009 as operating costs. In further creative accounting, in 2010 Stahl included $368,480 of Professional Expenses related to their attempt to prevent land marking, as operating expenses in attachments to their Application to the LPC (See documents TC101, 150 201 and 309 signed by Richard Czaja and their accountant).
I could go on, but as any first year accounting student can tell , Stahl’s document are pure fraudulent nonsense. That Stahl has the gall to present just such nonsense and that the LPC would choose to entertain just such nonsense is downright scary. Whatever are they thinking?

May 3rd, 2011, 11:11 PM
biased much?

Monica McLaughlin
May 3rd, 2011, 11:14 PM
The Stahl Organization made good on their threat to destroy the facade (to render the buildings unworthy of landmark status) should the buildings be placed on the LPC calendar. In addition to covering the tan brick with stucco, they removed the architectural pediments and replaced 20% of the windows with gigantic out-of-character windows. After spending hundreds of thousands on such endeavors, they then claimed they were unable to make money on them.

Monica McLaughlin
May 3rd, 2011, 11:21 PM
Not at all (although I do admit to a personal interest). I am stating facts that speak for themselves. Whether or not the buildings deserve to have been landmarked is a non issue. That has been answered by the LPC and the NYS courts. The Stahl Organization has an application for a certificate of appropriateness in for demolition. The issue now is one of whether or not these buildings are capable of earning a reasonable return as defined by LPC code. To determine an income stream for a commercial property one considers operating expenses. Items such as capital improvements and professional fees to fight landmarking status are not operating expenses. Period. Stahl fraudulently included these items as operating expenses.

May 7th, 2011, 12:14 AM
Historic Designation Sought For East Village

By Jill Urban

(see article (http://www.ny1.com/content/ny1_living/real_estate/138617/historic-designation-sought-for-east-village) for video)

Residents living in Manhattan's East Village are set to weigh-in on a proposal to landmark an historic section of the neighborhood.

It’s a neighborhood that is rich in history and now the city is hoping to preserve it. The Landmarks Preservation Commission is considering giving historic designation to a large part of the East Village.

"These five or six blocks tell a great story about New York City’s immigrant past: waves of immigration in the 19th century and in the 20th century. So you see the tenements, the row houses, the churches, the synagogues, the theaters -- all of which produced a very diverse culture then and even now," said Landmarks Preservation Commission Chair Robert B. Tierney.

The commission recently completed a study of close to 300 buildings in the proposed district that is bounded roughly by East 2nd and East 7th Streets between First Avenue and the Bowery, as well as 10th Street on the north side of Tompkins Square Park.
The neighborhood currently has 27 individually landmarked buildings and only one historic district.

Andrew Berman, the executive director for the Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation, calls the plan a great first step, but says he hopes the designation will include a greater area.

"It's one of the most historic neighborhoods in all of New York City. We think it's great that they are looking at the areas they are looking at which are definitely worthy of landmark designation. We are just also concerned about the areas they are not looking at, which aren’t included which are also worthy of landmark designation," Berman said.

While the historic designation would preserve the integrity and character of the neighborhood, it will create more obstacles for building owners looking to make upgrades. Some say that could be a draw back, while others claim the historic status will only help the neighborhood flourish.

Before it’s approved, the public will have plenty of opportunities to weigh in. The first will be May 12th when the commission officially presents its plan to the community board. It's scheduled to begin at 6:00 p.m. at the BRC Senior Services Center at Sara Delano Roosevelt Park, located at 30 Delancey Street, between Chrystie and Forsyth.

For information about the proposal, visit http://www.nyc.gov/html/lpc/html/propose/pending.shtml


May 7th, 2011, 01:03 AM
Seems they might look like crap now because the owner took a hatchet to them to try and avoid landmarking.

I agree. However, unless they're converted to market-rate rentals, no one will pay to restore the details.

May 12th, 2011, 06:36 AM
Historic Bath House is Midtown's Newest Landmark

The pillared building now serves as a recreation center.

By Jill Colvin

http://s3.amazonaws.com/sfb111/story_xlimage_2011_05_R4279_Bath_House_New_Midtown _Landmark.png.jpg
The bath house first opened in 1911. (Courtesy of the Landmarks Preservation Commission)

MIDTOWN EAST — A former public bath house has been named Manhattan's newest landmark.

The East 54th Street Bath House and Gymnasium, between First and Second avenues, opened in 1911 as one of 13 bath houses built by the city to improve the health of residents living in crowded tenement apartments, the Landmarks Preservation Commission said.

http://s3.amazonaws.com/sfb111/story_lrgimage_2011_05_R7115_Bath_House_New_Midtow n_Landmark.png.jpg

The East 54th Street Bath and Gymnasium.

At the time, the neighborhood was dominated by tenement buildings as well as factories and breweries, which lacked wash facilities.

The pillared, three-story building with large, recessed arches, included more than 100 showers as well as a gym, swimming pool, running track and playground.
It was taken over by the Parks Department in the 1930s, and now serves as a community recreation center.

"The building’s presence on the street is as powerful as the reform movement that led to its construction," Commission Chairman Robert Tierney said in a statement.

"It’s lasting proof of a continuing commitment the City of New York made more than 100 years ago to protect and improve the health of its citizens."


May 12th, 2011, 07:09 AM
Beautiful structure.

June 1st, 2011, 06:43 AM
Possible East Village Historic District Gets A Few Buildings Bigger

Tuesday, May 31, 2011, by Sara Polsky


The Landmarks Preservation Commission set the boundaries late last month for two potential East Village Historic Districts meant to preserve the neighborhood's 19th-century residential buildings. The first version of the bigger of the two historic districts encompassed nearly 300 buildings, but that wasn't quite enough for some preservation-minded East Villagers, who lobbied the LPC to expand its study area.

Victory! Above in pink, the add-ons along Avenue A, East 6th Street, Second Avenue, and East 2nd Street. The specific buildings include 101 Avenue A, a tenement that has been a German social hall and a drag performance art space (er, not at the same time), and the former magistrates court/current film archive at 32 Second Avenue. There's still plenty of room for modifications before the LPC makes an official decision, but things are looking good for Team Preservation.

News: East Village Landmarks Expansion! (http://campaign.r20.constantcontact.com/render?llr=vjnlm6cab&v=001wOJ9jnfVkvjLqhMPedkdv_VPAZQ9Iqmn0VziTK0uNtRJ1 TZ9Q4ujLcF8xYFwhB8fEzZmLAdZ3-MFH8vVAMuqloiTVXPzxLbF3BIrz4O5Gk0%3D#01) [GVSHP]

http://ny.curbed.com/archives/2011/05/31/possible_east_village_historic_district_gets_a_few _buildings_bigger.php

June 11th, 2011, 03:10 AM
Downtown Preservationists Fight to Save 1920s Community Center

The historic building at 105-107 Washington St. served the neighborhood's diverse population.

By Julie Shapiro

http://s3.amazonaws.com/sfb111/story_xlimage_2011_06_R2184_105107_WASHINGTON_PRES ERVATION_FIGHT_06102011.jpg

http://s3.amazonaws.com/sfb111/story_xlimage_2011_06_R4867_105107_WASHINGTON_PRES ERVATION_FIGHT_06102011.jpg
A 1940 photo shows 105-107 Washington St., center.

http://s3.amazonaws.com/sfb111/story_xlimage_2011_06_R1824_105107_WASHINGTON_PRES ERVATION_FIGHT_06102011.jpg

http://s3.amazonaws.com/sfb111/story_xlimage_2011_06_R3519_105107_WASHINGTON_PRES ERVATION_FIGHT_06102011.jpg

FINANCIAL DISTRICT — Preservationists are rallying to save a lower Manhattan building that once served as a community center for a diverse array of early 20th-century immigrants.

Mary Dierickx, a historic preservation consultant, is leading the effort to landmark 105-107 Washington St., the former Downtown Community House, which was built in the 1920s to offer social services to the burgeoning residential population near the Hudson River docks.

"105-107 Washington Street is one of the last vestiges of a vibrant multi-ethnic late 19th and 20th century community," Dierickx said. "The handsome colonial revival-style settlement house is in danger of demolition and deserves protection."

However, the city has no plans to landmark the five-story brick building just south of the World Trade Center site.

The Landmarks Preservation Commission has examined the case twice over the past 10 years and both times found it did not merit designation, said Lisi de Bourbon, spokeswoman for LPC.
"There are other, better examples of the settlement house movement," de Bourbon said Friday. "It lacks certain architectural distinction."

Community Board 1's Landmarks Committee disagreed and voted unanimously Thursday night to ask the city to landmark the building.

"It's a very important [part] of the fabric of downtown Manhattan," said Noel Jefferson, a member of the committee.

The Downtown Community House was designed by architect John F. Jackson, who is best known for designing dozens of YMCA buildings across the country.

Former Gov. Al Smith laid the $300,000 building's cornerstone in 1925, and it opened in 1926 with a health clinic, a library, an auditorium, a nursery and a dressmaking school. It served at least 16 nationalities, including Syrians, Greeks and Armenians, in the diverse neighborhood then known as Bowling Green Village, Dierickx said.

The building later housed government offices, a union and a Buddhist temple. It is now vacant, leading neighbors to fear that a developer will replace it with a more profitable high-rise, as has happened to many of the area's historic buildings in the past 10 years.

"This is a neighborhood that has been decimated…since 9/11," Dierickx said. "I'm so alarmed by all that we're losing here and all around lower Manhattan."

Dierickx and other preservationists had once hoped to create a Little Syria historic district to save a slice of the neighborhood's history, but so many other buildings have been demolished that Dierickx is focusing on saving the few that remain.

Two years ago, the city landmarked 105-107 Washington's neighbor, the former Syrian church at 103 Washington St.


June 11th, 2011, 08:58 AM
"There are other, better examples of the settlement house movement," de Bourbon said Friday. "It lacks certain architectural distinction."This is such a crock.

June 11th, 2011, 04:18 PM
Is there any hope that the wangs at the LPC will protect this gem?

June 11th, 2011, 04:19 PM
If real-estate shows no big interest in it.

June 11th, 2011, 04:41 PM
It already has an Approved Demo Permit (http://a810-bisweb.nyc.gov/bisweb/JobsQueryByNumberServlet?requestid=2&passjobnumber=104866735&passdocnumber=01) issued in 2008.

Here's the Owner Info:

Business Phone: 212-989-5555
Business Address: 17 EAST 12TH ST. N.Y. NY 10003

The Brauser Group (http://www.allbusiness.com/operations/facilities-commercial-real-estate/4507103-1.html) is responsible for the deadly black pile of new condos at 100 W 18th at Sixth:


http://avekta.com/100west18.com/ (turn down the sound)

June 11th, 2011, 04:51 PM
DOF shows recent activity for this property:

ASSIGNMENT OF MORTGAGE (http://a836-acris.nyc.gov/Scripts/DocSearch.dll/ViewImage?Doc_ID=2011033000124002)

June 11th, 2011, 08:38 PM
It already has an Approved Demo Permit (http://a810-bisweb.nyc.gov/bisweb/JobsQueryByNumberServlet?requestid=2&passjobnumber=104866735&passdocnumber=01) issued in 2008.

Here's the Owner Info:

Business Phone: 212-989-5555
Business Address: 17 EAST 12TH ST. N.Y. NY 10003

The Brauser Group (http://www.allbusiness.com/operations/facilities-commercial-real-estate/4507103-1.html) is responsible for the deadly black pile of new condos at 100 W 18th at Sixth:


http://avekta.com/100west18.com/ (turn down the sound)


June 12th, 2011, 12:00 PM
It's actually even worse if you see it in full daylight.

Gotta love this city...right?

June 14th, 2011, 06:09 AM
Death by Nostalgia


THE modern historic preservation movement started in New York City in the early 1960s, when a band of locals pushed the issue into popular awareness with their unsuccessful effort to block the destruction of the old Pennsylvania Station.

Now, nearly a half-century later, New York is home to the most high-profile attack on the movement yet: in a recent exhibition (http://www.newmuseum.org/exhibitions/441) at the New Museum, the architect Rem Koolhaas accused preservationists of aimlessly cherry-picking the past; of destroying people’s complex sense of urban evolution; and, most damningly, of bedding down with private developers to create gentrified urban theme parks.

Some of Mr. Koolhaas’s criticisms are on target — but his analysis is wildly off-base. It’s not preservation that’s at fault, but rather the weakness, and often absence, of other, complementary tools to manage urban development, like urban planning offices and professional, institutionalized design review boards, which advise planners on decisions about preservation and development.
It’s that lack, and the outsize power of private developers, that has turned preservation into the unwieldy behemoth that it is today.

Some historical context is in order. As American cities expanded rapidly between 1890 and 1930, urban dwellers and municipal governments realized that developers, who were building ever-larger and ever-taller buildings, would never reliably serve the public interest.

So cities tried to strike back: Manhattan’s hulking Equitable Building, which blocks street-level sunlight practically all day, helped provoke New York’s 1916 zoning resolution that required significant setbacks for tall buildings.

Then, in 1926, the Supreme Court ruled that municipalities could regulate the use of private property based on the broader public interest. Professional city planning was born, but systems to vet building and urban design quality at the federal, state and local levels — common in countries and cities across Europe — were never institutionalized.

By midcentury, professional urban planners were developing and sometimes designing large-scale, long-term regional and urban plans and helping write land-use and other laws to govern urban development’s shape and future.

But without design-review mechanisms, their output of low-quality public housing and ill-conceived megablocks soon turned the public against them. By the late 1960s, an emergent populist, antigovernment sentiment among voters began to shift power back into private hands.

City governments, suffering the economic downturns of the 1970s and ’80s, gave ever more leeway to real estate developers, and ever more voice and political power to hyperlocal community boards; both groups typically focused on their own narrow and usually short-term interests rather than the broader, long-term public good.

As a result, historic preservation laws, which by the late 1970s were increasingly popular in a country bored by modernism and excited by nostalgia, became, de facto, one of city governments’ most powerful instruments for influencing private development.

Tax-starved cities, inspired by earlier preservation projects like Ghirardelli Square in San Francisco and Faneuil Hall in Boston, began to use preservation to create so-called target destinations; New York’s first foray was the initially successful South Street Seaport.

Savvy developers soon began collaborating with cities and preservationists, co-opting the movement for their own interests while capitalizing on the public’s nostalgia for yesteryear. Developers became experts at including just enough of the old — a facade here, a foyer there — to ease the approval process and even win sizable tax breaks on their projects.

In other words, preservation morphed into a four-headed monster: a planning tool, a design review tool, a development tool and a tool to preserve genuinely valuable old neighborhoods and buildings. Today decisions about managing urban development are frequently framed as decisions about what and what not to preserve, with little sense of how those decisions affect the surrounding neighborhood.

Worse, these decisions are mostly left to the whims of overly empowered preservation boards, staffed by amateurs casting their nets too widely and indiscriminately. And too many buildings are preserved not because of their historic value or aesthetic significance, but because of political or economic deal-making.

Instead of bashing preservation, we should restrict it to its proper domain. Design review boards, staffed by professionals trained in aesthetics and urban issues and able to influence planning and preservation decisions, should become an integral part of the urban development process. At the same time, city planning offices must be returned to their former, powerful role in urban policy.

That’s the way things work in Europe, where vibrant contemporary cities like London, Berlin, Paris and almost any city in the Netherlands blend old and new without effacing their normal evolutionary processes.

As these cities demonstrate, preservation should be one of several instruments necessary for creating livable, attractive and vibrant urban spaces and architecture. Otherwise, in the hands of weak local governments, powerful real-estate interests and untrained panels, it is indeed an impediment to the healthy modernization of our cities: a recipe for aesthetic insipidity and urban incoherence.

Sarah Williams Goldhagen is the architecture critic for The New Republic.


June 22nd, 2011, 06:33 AM

70 Pine now officially landmarked

by Sarabeth Sanders

As expected (http://therealdeal.com/newyork/articles/youngwoo-and-associates-70-pine-street-skyscraper-formerly-owned-by-aig-up-for-landmarking), the Landmarks Preservation Commission made 70 Pine Street a city landmark today, and the long-awaited designation didn’t come without the requisite celebrations. In the words of Commissioner Margery Perlmutter, the Art Deco Financial District tower that most recently served as the headquarters of the American International Group is “our other Chrysler and Empire State building.” Or, as Robert Tierney, chairman of the LPC, put it: “This building defies words.” The 66-story building, now mostly vacant (http://therealdeal.com/newyork/articles/70-pine-street-conversion-plans-up-in-the-air-as-skyscraper-heads-to-landmarks-for-designation), was originally built as the headquarters of the Cities Service Company (now Citgo). It is among Lower Manhanttan’s tallest skyscrapers.

http://therealdeal.com/newyork/articles/70-pine-now-officially-landmarked (http://eastcoastrealty.info/2011/06/22/70-pine-now-officially-landmarked/)

June 22nd, 2011, 10:20 AM
Hallelujah indeed! Hard to believe that this building was landmarked after 1 Chase. (I speak as a fan of 1 Chase)

June 28th, 2011, 01:29 PM
One way that the LPC protects a landmarked NYC building:

Destructoporn: Preserving / Gutting 510 Fifth Avenue

CURBED (http://ny.curbed.com/archives/2011/06/28/destructoporn_preserving_gutting_510_fifth_avenue. php)

June 30th, 2011, 07:25 AM
LPC Seeks Big Landmark Expansions; Wants to Buck Procro

June 28, 2011, by Bilal Khan

The Landmarks Preservation Commission is really on a roll today, they're seeking to landmark or at least progress designations for over 1,700 buildings. That's the most since 1990, when they landmarked 2,020 buildings on the Upper West Side! So what's on their agenda?

The big story of the day is the vote on expanding the Crown Heights North II Historic District. They want to landmark640 buildings in addition to the 472 that are already landmarked. This big chunk of rowhouses, freestanding houses and apartment buildings were built between 1870 and 1920. The area, called Crow Hill, borders Prospect Heights, so a landmark would seriously hinder a lot of new Procro development. The Wall Street Journal did a story on the community's involvement (http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052702303936704576398331208832442.html?m od=rss_newyork_news) in pushing to get the area landmarked after some fugly construction in the area.

There are also going to be 15 public hearings today to landmark buildings in every borough. The other bigger hearings are in regards to the 300-building East Village/LES district, the 26-building East 10th Street District between Avenues A and B and the 150-building West End-Collegiate Historic District. They've already landmarked some notable buildings like 154 West 14th Street, the Fisk-Harkness House at 12 East 53rd Street and the Hardenbrook-Somarindyck house at 135 Bowery.

http://ny.curbed.com/archives/2011/06/28/lpc_seeks_big_landmark_expansions_wants_to_buck_pr ocro.php

June 30th, 2011, 07:36 AM
Landmarks Approved From Bowery to Turtle Bay

Three new Manhattan buildings were landmarked Tuesday; proposed East Village and LES districts to get hearings.

By Amy Zimmer

http://s3.amazonaws.com/sfb111/story_xlimage_2011_06_R1082_Manhattans_Newest_Land marks.jpg
12 E. 53rd Street

http://s3.amazonaws.com/sfb111/story_xlimage_2011_06_R268_Manhattans_Newest_Landm arks.jpg
135 Bowery

http://s3.amazonaws.com/sfb111/story_xlimage_2011_06_R2573_Manhattans_Newest_Land marks.jpg
154 W. 14th Street

MANHATTAN — A neo-Tudor Gothic style townhouse in Turtle Bay, a terra cotta-clad loft building in the West Village and a Federal style house on the Bowery are among Manhattan's newest landmarks.

The Landmarks Preservation Commission approved these three buildings on Tuesday. It also voted to schedule a public hearing for two East Village historic districts (http://www.dnainfo.com/20110421/lower-east-side-east-village/city-consider-east-village-historic-district-containing-nearly-300-buildings): a 300-building swath from East 2nd and East 7th streets between First Avenue and the Bowery and 26 buildings along East 10th Street between Avenues A and B.

The oldest of Manhattan's new landmarks is the Hardenbrook-Somarindyck House at 135 Bowery, a 22-foot-wide, 3.5-story-tall row house that dates back to 1817 and was built by a prominent soap and candle merchant who helped establish the predecessor of the New York Stock Exchange.

The Fisk-Harkness House, at 12 E. 53rd St., between Fifth and Madison avenues, was originally built as a brownstone in 1871, but its façade was given a limestone neo-Gothic facelift in 1906 after Harvey Fisk, a prominent banker, bought the building.

At that time, the area in the 50s off Fifth Avenue was Manhattan's most desirable, LPC officials said.

"Before it became a magnet for luxury retailers and offices, this was an exclusive residential neighborhood that attracted many of New York's wealthiest citizens," LPC Chairman Robert Tierney said in a statement. "The building vividly recalls that moment in the city's history, and has remained in active use since then for many different purposes."

After adding such Gothic ornaments as gargoyles, buttresses, finials and crenellations, Fisk later sold the townhouse to William Harkness, a Standard Oil heir whose widow sold it to an art gallery in 1992. LIM College, for fashion and business, currently resides there.

The 12-story building from 1913 at 154 West 14th St., also landmarked on Tuesday, has a much less genteel history.

It was built to house various manufacturers and distributors and was home to the Corn Exchange, the Works Progress Administration and the U.S. Treasury's map making division.

But it is significant as one of the first city buildings with glazed terra cotta in hues of white, beige, mustard, cobalt blue, celadon, and green, LPC officials said. Before this structure, New York buildings often used terra cotta only to resemble masonry.


July 1st, 2011, 05:11 AM
What a gorgeous row.

Vote Adds to Historic-ness of Crown Heights


New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission Buildings on Lincoln Place,
in Crown Heights, Brooklyn, were designed by the architect, Frederick L. Hine,
and completed in 1899.

The New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission on Tuesday designated a 600-building swath of Crown Heights, Brooklyn, as a historic district. The district, bound by Bergen Street and Eastern Parkway to the north and south, and Nostrand and Brooklyn Avenues to the west and east, adjoins the existing Crown Heights North Historic District, which includes 472 buildings and was designated in 2007.

The Crown Heights North II Historic District, as the newly designated area is being called, includes row houses, freestanding homes and apartment buildings that were designed by prominent Brooklyn architects and built between the 1870s and 1920s. The district’s earliest buildings, at 1109-1117 Bergen Street, date to 1876, the commission said.

“The neighborhood is really an exquisite mosaic of remarkably well-preserved examples of architectural styles and building types,” Robert B. Tierney, chairman of the landmarks commission, said after the vote. In a statement, he added, “The neighborhood is an exquisite mosaic of remarkably well-preserved examples of architectural styles and building types designed by some of Brooklyn’s best-known architects.”


July 9th, 2011, 12:23 AM
(I really hate IE9 :mad:)

East Village Historic District Plan Sparks Holy War

Clergy representing congregations in the East Village have come out against the proposed East Village Historic District

By Patrick Hedlund

http://s3.amazonaws.com/sfb111/image_xlimage_2010_03_R7726_russian_orthodox_cathe dral.jpg

A proposal to create a new historic district has driven a wedge between
preservationists wanting to protect about 300 properties, and religious
leaders who fear adding landmark status would saddle congregants with
financial hardships.

The city's Landmarks Preservation Commission is moving forward with
a plan to protect the area bounded roughly by East Second and East
Seventh streets between First Avenue and the Bowery, as well as the
stretch of East 10th Street beside Tompkins Square Park (http://www.dnainfo.com/20110421/lower-east-side-east-village/city-consider-east-village-historic-district-containing-nearly-300-buildings).

The proposal also counts another 13 buildings on East Second Street and four properties on Avenue A. (http://www.dnainfo.com/20110527/lower-east-side-east-village/east-village-historic-area-could-include-birthplace-of-drag)

Community Board 3's landmarks subcommittee, which ultimately voted to
support the proposal Thursday during a contentious public hearing,
listened as about three-dozen people argued for and against the plan.

The staunchest opposition came from religious leaders representing a
handful of houses of worship located inside the proposed district,
including the Congregation Mezritch Synagogue on East Sixth Street, the
Russian Orthodox Cathedral of the Holy Virgin Protection (http://www.dnainfo.com/things/cathedral-of-holy-virgin-protection) on East Second Street, and St. Stanislaus Bishop and Martyr Roman Catholic Church on East Seventh Street.

Officials from the three congregations argued that having their
properties included in the historic district could push their parishes
into the red by adding layers of beaurocracy to any required renovations
to their building, as required by the designation.

The LPC's stringent process for renovating the exterior of properties included in
an historic district forces owners to navigate "bureaucratic red tape"
that can hinder them from pursuing more affordable reconstruction
plans, said Fr. Michael Suvak, of the Cathedral of the Holy Virgin

"This modest proposal has caused many tears in our parish," said
parishioner Richard Wright at the hearing. "It is dividing and
conquering the emotions of our community right now."

While designated properties can benefit from grant money to help with
these renovations, Suvak said receiving the funds can often take years,
during which time the cost of construction balloons.

"Such landmarking will cause irreparable harm to the houses of
worship in this community," added a representative from St. Stanislaus,
reading a statement from the church's clergy which noted that paying any
additional fees under the designation would be "unconscionable."

Rabbi Pesach Ackerman, of Congregation Mezritch Synagogue, said such longstanding institutions like his should be left alone.

"We do not need outside help," he said. "We've been established since
1892 as a congregation … Let us have our church as our home, and not to
put a damper on it."

Still, scores of local residents spoke in favor of the historic
district, saying that designation is the only way to prevent the East
Village's immigrant and cultural history from being replaced by
glass-and-steel high-rises.

"Many found refuge here after escaping war and persecution, started a
new life, and made the East Village home," said Anna Sawaryn, a
lifelong neighborhood resident and member of the Coalition to Save the
East Village.

"All these different cultures and movements are woven into the fabric
called the East Village. … There are blocks where time has stopped."

Others cited the encroachment of colleges like New York University, which built the neighborhood's single highest building on East 12th Street for a student dormitory (http://gamma.dnainfo.com/20100511/manhattan/nyu-expansion-plans-greeted-warily-east-village), as reasons for the designation.

"Every time you tear down an old building in this neighborhood, it's
replaced by a big glassy building filled with people who have no roots
in this neighborhood," said architect Leo J. Blackman, a 25-year East
Village resident.

Preservation groups, like the Historic Districts Council (http://www.dnainfo.com/things/historic-districts-council) and Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation (http://www.dnainfo.com/things/greenwich-village-society-for-historic-preservation), argued that the proposed district should be expanded even more, while trying to ease concerns among the religious community.

"Opposition is often based on misconceptions and misinformation,"
said GVSHP's Andito Lloyd, noting that religious institutions can apply
for hardship provisions if they can't afford certain renovations.

"While landmarking is not perfect," added GVSHP's Elizabeth
Finkelstein, "we strongly support it because it's the best alternative
at this point."

The proposed historic district will be discussed again by a joint committee of Community Board 3 (http://www.nyc.gov/html/mancb3/html/calendar/calendar.shtml) on Thursday, July 14.

Read more: http://www.dnainfo.com/20110708/lower-east-side-east-village/east-village-historic-district-plan-sparks-holy-war#ixzz1RZvZ5vXK

July 13th, 2011, 06:45 PM
One way that the LPC protects a landmarked NYC building:

Destructoporn: Preserving / Gutting 510 Fifth Avenue

CURBED (http://ny.curbed.com/archives/2011/06/28/destructoporn_preserving_gutting_510_fifth_avenue. php)

Judge Halts Landmark’s Alterations

NY TIMES (http://www.nytimes.com/2011/07/14/arts/design/judge-stops-changes-to-manufacturers-trust-company-landmark.html?_r=1)
By ROBIN POGREBIN (http://topics.nytimes.com/top/reference/timestopics/people/p/robin_pogrebin/index.html?inline=nyt-per)
July 13, 2011

A state Supreme Court judge has ordered renovations halted at a landmark office building at Fifth Avenue and 43rd Street that preservationists call a model of modernism. A former bank that was originally part of the Manufacturers Trust Company, it was designed by Gordon Bunshaft of Skidmore, Owings & Merrill in the era of the gray flannel suit.

Manhattan State Supreme Court Justice Lucy A. Billings issued a temporary restraining order on Tuesday in response to a lawsuit brought by preservationists. The advocacy group Citizens Emergency Committee to Preserve Preservation filed the lawsuit, which charges that the building’s owner, Vornado Realty Trust, abetted by the New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission, has disregarded restrictions designed to protect the interior. That transparent interior, designated a landmark in February, features illuminated ceilings that were intended to minimize glare and shadow; twin escalators; a side entrance to preserve the Fifth Avenue glass curtain wall; and a circular stainless-steel vault door. But two months later the commission allowed Vornado to change some of these elements in reconfiguring the space for a store, Joe Fresh. The changes include moving the escalators and carving two entrances into the Fifth Avenue facade.

The preservationists said the demolition work, which began in June, had exceeded the limits set by the commission. But city officials said the work had complied with the permit and that the interior alterations were approved after thorough consideration.

“We approved a project that will restore several important features of the space, including its signature luminous ceiling and transparency, and allow for modifications to adapt the building to a new use,” said Elisabeth de Bourbon, a commission spokeswoman. She expressed confidence that the court would uphold the commission’s original determination, “which came after an extensive public process.”

Vornado declined to comment.

Theodore Grunewald, founder of a coalition to save the building and a plaintiff in the lawsuit, said in an interview, “Vornado, through the commission, has robbed this bank of its key architectural, historical and symbolic elements, the unique things that set it apart and define it as a masterpiece.”

He added: “It’s a supreme example of midcentury International Style. It’s up there in the top 50 globally and certainly the top 20 nationally, and in New York there are only three that compare to it: the Seagram Building, Lever House and the Pepsi-Cola Building.”

In awarding landmark status to the building’s interior, the commission called the structure “a major example of mid-20th-century modernism.” (The exterior of the 1954 building was designated a landmark in 1997.)

The recent designation report (http://www.nyc.gov/html/lpc/downloads/pdf/reports/2467.pdf) described the building and its minimalist interior as “one of Fifth Avenue’s most memorable structures” and “a work that influenced the course of American bank design.”

The commission highlighted the strong diagonal line of the escalators connecting the first floor and the mezzanine, which is recessed from the street and “appears to float, creating the impression that both levels occupy a single, monumental space.”

The lawsuit challenges the commission’s approval of structural changes “as effectively rescinding the interior designation” and seeks to have the building restored to its previous condition.

Several architecture experts have argued for preserving the building, among them Terence Riley, an architect and the former chief curator of the department of architecture and design at the Museum of Modern Art.

“Its glass-and-steel construction all but eliminated the distinction between inside and outside,” Mr. Riley said of the building in an affidavit.

He went on to applaud a design that featured what he called “the apparent paradox of a transparent building to safeguard people’s money, the presence of a great steel safe visually accessible to the passers-by but of course not actually accessible,” among other elements that make the landmark “much discussed.”
© 2011 (http://www.nytimes.com/ref/membercenter/help/copyright.html) The New York Times Company (http://www.nytco.com/)

July 13th, 2011, 06:53 PM
How come that advocacy group doesn't work as hard in saving another Vornado-owned property, the Pennsylvania Hotel?

July 13th, 2011, 10:24 PM
The CECCP (http://savelpc.org/) is working hard to get the LPC back in line with the stated purpose of the Commission, and that will effect any number of properties in NYC.

July 14th, 2011, 06:35 AM
Very worthy building.


Hotel Once Home to Famous Single Ladies Could Become Landmark

By Amy Zimmer
The Friends of the Upper East Side Historic Districts is hoping the city will landmark the Barbizon Hotel at East 63rd Street.

MANHATTAN — Before they were stars, Grace Kelly, Joan Crawford, Liza Minnelli, Candace Bergen and many others seeking fame in New York lived at the Barbizon Hotel for Women.

The 23-story tower built in 1927 at 140 East 63rd St., at Lexington Avenue, was the most glamorous of Manhattan's residences for single women through the 1960s.

Men were forbidden from the lobby without strict supervision, and the building was seen as a safe haven for women looking for work in the big city, but still needing a place for afternoon tea.

Now, the Friends of the Upper East Side Historic Districts (http://www.friends-ues.org/about-2/) wants the city to declare the Barbizon a landmark, encouraging the building's fans to speak in support of it at a Landmarks Preservation Commission hearing on July 26. The building is already listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

"The architecture is significant of eclectic Renaissance and Gothic revival style apartment building," said Tara Kelly, executive director of the Friends of the Upper East Side.

"But more important than the architecture significance is how many women came through. It was a place to protect their reputation as they were alone and single."

A Vanity Fair (http://www.vanityfair.com/society/features/2010/04/barbizon-hotel-201004) article in 2010 characterized the Barbizon, with its 700 rooms, "as a combined charm school and dormitory, one where fretting parents could be confident their girls would be kept safe — and chaste."

The residence, which also housed Sylvia Plath, Ali MacGraw and Joan Didion — all of which stayed there while working as "guest editors" for Mademoiselle's annual College Issue — was selective.

"It opened in 1927, hoping to attract the single, stylish, and thoroughly modern Millies pouring into New York during the Jazz Age to chase their dreams: stardom, independence, a husband," according to Vanity Fair.

"Prospective tenants were required to bring three good references for admission, and were graded on criteria such as looks, dress and demeanor."

Edith Bouvier Beale, Jacqueline Kennedy's cousin who became a cult figure as “Little Edie” in "Grey Gardens," moved there in 1947 and stayed for five years, the article said. Eileen Ford began renting rooms for her charges after starting her modeling agency with her husband in 1947.

Her intention was to "keep a watchful eye" over guests.

The hotel later passed through several different owners until going condo after a 2005 renovation. The building, now known as Barbizon63 (http://www.barbizon63.com/flash.html), has 69 apartments, reportedly priced up to $17 million, with such residents a Selma Hayek and Ricky Gervais.

Kelly said that some of the women from the hotel were "grandfathered or, rather, 'grandmothered' in" under New York rent laws.

"It's a great-looking building," Kelly added. "When you approach it on Lexington, it ushers you into the Upper East Side."


July 23rd, 2011, 11:23 PM
Big Deal | Landmark Status Weighed for Barbizon


The Barbizon, the 23-story brick building on the corner of 63rd Street and Lexington Avenue, has been reinvented several times over the last century, and the next chapter may be written by the city’s Landmarks Preservation Commission. At a city hearing scheduled for Tuesday, the building is up for consideration as a landmark.

Most famously, it opened in 1927 as the Barbizon Hotel for Women. Its residents included Grace Kelly, Candice Bergen, Joan Didion and Sylvia Plath (http://topics.nytimes.com/top/reference/timestopics/people/p/sylvia_plath/index.html?inline=nyt-per), as well as hundreds of other women who made their way to New York from across the country seeking work and finding a safe haven in the hotel. There, strict rules included a ban on men above the lobby floor.

In 1981, men were permitted to live in the hotel, whose design is an eclectic architectural mix drawing mostly from the Renaissance and Neo-Gothic styles. A year later, it was placed on the National Register of Historic Places. This June, the city, responding to a request from the Friends of the Upper East Side Historic Districts, decided to consider conferring landmark status.

The building has changed hands several times since the 1980s, as it was renovated and reincarnated, briefly as a hotel spa, then as the Melrose Hotel. In 2006, during a wave of condo conversions, as thousands of hotel rooms in places like the Plaza and the Stanhope were turned into apartments, it was reborn as a condominium called Barbizon 63.

The 70 condos that hit the market in 2006 and 2007 ranged from one-bedrooms to penthouses, and ranged in price from about $1 million to $18 million. All the apartments sold except two, both of them penthouses; most went for the full asking price, according to an analysis by Streeteasy.com (http://streeteasy.com/). (A handful of women remain in rent-stabilized apartments in the building, which originally had 700 tiny hotel rooms.)

Resales have also been strong, even after the housing market crash in 2008. Many of the apartments have sold at a profit, in some cases as much as $1 million or $2 million. However, in 2009 and 2010, before the luxury market began to bounce back, some lingered, or sold for up to 10 percent off asking price.

A condo in the building, No. 12D, is on the market for $4.2 million.

“It did well above and beyond the original price projections,” said Danielle Englebardt, a broker with Prudential Douglas Elliman who was one of the original brokers representing sales in the new condo and who still handles sales there. She also owns a Barbizon unit. “It was staggering,” she added. “We were in a strong market, but it was definitely a home run.”

If the building is accorded landmark status, restrictions will be placed on changes to the exterior.

But Tara Kelly, executive director of the Friends of the Upper East Side Historic Districts, said the developers of the condo, BPG Properties, had not made any changes to the exterior during the conversion that changed the character of the building.

She said that although the group had long wanted the building designated, it was outside the historic district and stayed that way even after the boundaries were extended last year.

“It has a social importance,” she said, “not only because of the many famous women who lived in the building, but the hundreds of everyday women coming to the city looking to make something of themselves. It’s a great example of something that has both cultural and architectural significance.”


July 26th, 2011, 06:06 AM
Many Historic Districts Have No Hardware to Show for It


Landmarked but still signless: a street in the Fiske Terrace-Midwood Park
historic district in Brooklyn, which was created in 2008.

When the city officially recognized Douglaston Hill in Queens as a historic district in 2004, the community celebrated. Three years later, residents of Dumbo, Brooklyn, breathed a sigh of relief when their neighborhood, too, finally won its historic designation. With landmarking, the neighborhoods’ buildings would be protected by the city and all changes to the area would need the city’s approval.

But it would be hard for a passer-by to know. Years afterward, the distinctive brown “historic district” street signs that are supposed to be part of the package — the clearest evidence that the city had given thoughtful consideration to the district’s historic significance — have still not been installed.

Douglaston Hill and Dumbo are not alone. Across the city, hundreds if not thousands of the signs — mandated originally by a city-approved program — have never gone up. The privately run Historic Districts Council, a coalition of community groups from landmark districts, estimated that as many as 37 districts lack the signs, out of a total of 104 districts and 16 district extensions.

The city’s Landmarks Preservation Commission, which designates the districts and receives districts’ requests for the signs, had a lower total, 21 districts.

The landmarks commission doesn’t pay for the signs. The signs, where they exist, are paid in part by a nonprofit organization, the Landmarks Preservation Foundation, that works with the commission to underwrite historical markers.

Elisabeth de Bourbon, a spokeswoman for the commission, said the signs do not come automatically as soon as a historic district is designated. “There’s nothing that happens if they don’t get in touch with us,” she said. “We don’t proactively go into neighborhoods to install signs.”

Historic districts are supposed to
have characteristic brown street
signs, like these in Upper Manhattan.

Though some community groups have not yet informed the Landmarks Preservation Commission that they are missing the signs, others, including Douglaston Hill, Dumbo and the extension to the already-designated Greenwich Village, say they haven’t seen any progress even after making the request.

“The only answer we ever get from Landmarks is ‘It’ll happen soon’,” said Julia Schoek, the chairwoman of the Douglaston Little Neck Historical Society.

The foundation routinely tells community groups that make the request that they must raise most of the money for the signs themselves. The foundation grants each historic district $400 for the signs, which cost $55 each to manufacture, according to the commission.

Simeon Bankoff, executive director of the Historic Districts Council, said that this fund-raising requirement can prevent historic districts with low-income or middle-class residents, like Crown Heights North in Brooklyn and Manhattan Avenue between 104th and 106th streets, from getting enough signs.

“What should be civic enterprise is now a largely privately funded amenity,” said Barbaralee Diamonstein-Spielvogel, chair of the Historic Landmarks Preservation Center, which promotes public awareness for historic districts and landmarks.

As chair of the Landmarks Preservation Foundation in the late 1980s and the first half of the 1990s, Ms. Diamonstein-Spielvogel created the program to install the special street signs. She says that she hoped that the program would help people recognize when they were in these districts and ensure that buildings were preserved properly.

Ms. Diamonstein-Spielvogel, who served as a commissioner of the Landmarks Preservation Commission from 1972 through 1987, and the designer Massimo Vignelli (of the legendary subway map (http://www.visualcomplexity.com/vc/project_details.cfm?index=266&id=266&domain)) created a concept for the street signs. They colored them terra cotta because they thought that color would blend well with any background. And, with help from the Department of Transportation, they came up with signs that would comply with the department’s standards. The signs were approved by the city’s arts commission and were slated to go up in all historic districts.

But much of Ms. Diamonstein-Spielvogel’s original concept has been neglected, she said. After raising money to finance the installation of the street signs in the 84 districts that existed at the time, she asked the city to assume responsibility for generating the funds for the rest of the district signs. She said officials told her to continue to raise the money.

The city’s Department of Transportation was supposed to install the signs, said Ross Sandler, who was the commissioner when the first signs went up. “It was understood at that time that the city would maintain the signs,” Mr. Sandler said. “Now, it’s apparent not as much effort has been put into it.”

Despite the bureaucratic and financial snags that districts can encounter, some have been able to get their signs relatively quickly.

Sunnyside Gardens, which was named a historic district in 2007, obtained its signs in May, thanks largely to the support from its City Council member, Jimmy Van Bramer, said Herb Reynolds, president of the Sunnyside Gardens Preservation Alliance. He said he was surprised by how quickly the signs went up given the “ridiculously bizarre process” required to get them.

The city approves the districts, he said, yet does nothing to provide any signs — which also include cultural medallions and historic district markers.
Preservationists like Mr. Reynolds and Ms. Diamonstein-Spielvogel worry that without the signs, no one in a historic district will focus on preservation issues. But some people who live in historic districts say they want the signs for different reasons.

“We need it for tourism,” said Doreen Gallo, the executive director of the Dumbo Neighborhood Alliance.


August 2nd, 2011, 07:44 AM
When Is a Landmark A Landmark?

Roberta Brandes Gratz

When is a designated landmark really a landmark and what are the limits of protection? When is the alteration of a landmark for a new use so extensive as to render the designation pointless?

And if a building is worthy of such an honored status that often brings with it tax credits for its restoration, how far can the cause of adaptability be stretched?

Ever since the battle over the future of 2 Columbus Circle, these questions have taken on greater significance. The refusal of the Landmarks Preservation Commission to consider landmark status for the 1964 12-story museum designed by Edward Durell Stone is considered by preservationists as the "Penn Station of Modernist Preservation." Appreciation for the enduring value of mid-century modern architecture has been growing ever since and the number of advocates for preservation of that not-too-distant era has increased as well.

Now comes the case involving the 1954 Manufacturers Hanover Trust Bank at 43rd Street and Fifth Avenue, designed by one of the 20th century's most notable architects, Gordon Bunshaft of Skidmore, Owings & Merrill.

No more iconic building represents the Modernist era in New York City than this five-story glass box. Some are bigger and taller, others more famous, but none are more transparent or important. This little jewel speaks as well as any of them to the famed era of Mies Van der Rohe when "less is more" was the design rule of the day and Bunshaft was the city's leading practitioner.

Not anymore. Both the interior and exterior have been effectively destroyed, with the approval of the Landmarks Preservation Commission. Just designating a lot of buildings is not a great accomplishment if honoring that designation does not follow.

This Landmarks Commission does not designate interiors lightly and rarely without an owner's consent. But recently the Commission designated the bank's interior with the consent of the new owner, Vornado, who is converting it to a big box retail store. Is yet another ho-hum big box retail store more important than a singular landmark, even if owned by one of the city's most powerful developers?

In its designation report, the commission cited as important the very elements it then permitted to be irrevocably altered, rendering the designation meaningless. The interior sits completely gutted -- totally taken apart, apparently with the commission's approval, raising the obvious question: when is a landmark really a landmark?

A state Supreme Court judge last week halted at least temporarily the renovation of this landmark, raising anew all these questions, especially how much alteration is permissible before a designation is rendered meaningless.

Only the exterior of the five-story, transparent, all-glass 1954 bank -- originally Manufacturers Hanover Trust and then Chase Manhattan -- was designated an exterior landmark in 1997, even though, as Ada Louise Huxtable has noted, "the exterior and interior were conceived as one thing, unified and inseparable, to be seen and understood as a continuous visual, spatial and aesthetic experience."

What could be the justification for destroying the unique interior features singled out in the Commission's own designation report? The celebrated stainless steel vault door designed by Henry Dreyfuss and its black granite exterior are gone with only the vault door and sliver of granite to be reinstalled; the Fifth Avenue façade, an "uninterrupted expanse of clear glass" so notable for its pure expression of modernism, will now be destroyed by two planned entrances inserted to replace the discreet 43rd Street entrance; the "twin escalators" running north/south, paralleling the avenue and giving pedestrians a view of people seemingly floating up and down will be replaced by escalators running east/west to service two separate stores divided by a previously non-existent wall undermining further the open, airy, minimalist interior. The mixed-metal 70-foot by 16-foot screen by famed modernist designer Harry Bertoia is gone as well. The exterior is fundamentally altered by the rearrangement inside. Transparency from the street meant everything.

What will be left? It is hard to tell. Final working drawings apparently have not yet been submitted. But the "luminous ceiling" is due to be restored with all sorts of new insertions. The eight marble-clad piers that held the mezzanine in a floating-like position are being strengthened along with the mezzanine, providing the ability (not yet requested but expected eventually) to build a tower over this diminutive gem.

By the commission's own standard alterations to a landmark should be reversible, but it is a challenge to see how that would be possible. Ironically, this building interior survived undesignated with few incursions until designation opened the floodgate to major alterations. No such dramatic adjustments would even be attempted for such eminent bank interiors as Central Savings Bank at 72nd and Broadway or the Williamsburgh Savings Bank in Brooklyn. And for other modernist interiors, such as Seagrams and Time Life, or for the Art Deco Empire State Building, commissioners hardly let a concierge desk be changed without fierce attention to the integrity of the building.

This celebrated masterpiece could have been so creatively adapted to distinguish any new retail space from yet another ordinary big box container. The historic bank vaults, now restaurants, at Cipriani's Wall Street, Trinity Place or Bobby Van's Broad Street are successful models. Traditionally, New York department stores had notable eateries drawing customers to their space.

Stripping a landmark of the character that makes it special or letting one serve as a pedestal for a new tower contradicts both the spirit and substance of New York's Landmarks Law, once a model for the country. This is tantamount to de-designation.

Roberta Brandes Gratz is a former New York City Landmarks Commissioner and author of the recently published, The Battle For Gotham: New York in the Shadow of Robert Moses and Jane Jacobs (Nation Books).


August 3rd, 2011, 12:46 AM
Brava! Hats off to Ms. Gratz

August 3rd, 2011, 01:39 AM
Architextures - Manufacturers Trust Co Building (http://rwarchitextures.blogspot.com/2011/04/investing-in-past.html)

Designation Report (http://www.neighborhoodpreservationcenter.org/db/bb_files/1997ManufacturersTrustCoBldg.pdf) PDF

August 3rd, 2011, 07:11 AM
Here we go again. This looks like a beautiful place to live.

Landmarks Commission Okays Backyard Pool for Designer Jeans Mogul

By Leslie Albrecht





UPPER WEST SIDE — A Turkish millionaire has agreed to scale back plans for a backyard pool and deck behind his Upper West Side brownstone, but neighbors still want to throw cold water on the redesign.

Homeowner Ragip Ersin Akarlilar, who owns denim company Mavi Jeans, agreed Tuesday to shrink a multi-story glass and steel deck and building for the pool equipment that he wants to build along with a pool behind his West 83rd Street brownstone.

The Landmarks Preservation Commission, which must approve changes to the historic building, approved Akarlilar's plans, but asked him to shrink the deck to two stories instead of three, and shave 10 feet off the mechanical building to allow for more greenery in Akarlilar's backyard. The size of the pool remains the same — eight feet wide and 57 1/2 feet long.

Akarlilar, whose pool plan was first reported in the New York Post (http://www.nypost.com/p/news/local/manhattan/off_the_deep_end_z0GM1rOgzCETjXfPRsMOYO), wasn't available for comment on Tuesday. Neither was his architect.

Next door neighbor Jonathan Stuart, who gathered closed to 500 signatures opposing Akarlilar's backyard addition, says the modifications don't dampen his dislike for the deck and pool.

He said he'll talk to a lawyer about how to keep up the battle going against his neighbor's backyard make-over.

"We're not going to give up," Stuart said. "I'm not intending on allowing them to ruin my life without a big fight."

Neighbors say the pool and deck will destroy the green, leafy quiet of the backyards surrounding Akarlilar's property and wreck the historic character of their landmarked homes.

Stuart — who's lived on the West 83rd Street block for 40 years and was part of early efforts to preserve 19th-century brownstones — called the glass and steel deck Akarlilar wants to build "an insult to the neighborhood."

"If these people are going to do that kind of addition, what's next, a heliport, a bocce court, a public barbecue pit?" Stuart said. "They're going to turn it into a cement pit. I've been seeing greenery for 30 years, all of a sudden I'm going to see brick."

Stuart's not just worried about his view. He's convinced the excavation for the pool will weaken nearby foundations and lead to water damage from an underground stream.

Upper West Side preservation group Landmark West! criticized the LPC's approval of the pool and deck.

Cristiana Pena, Landmark West!'s senior director of preservation, said the LPC approved an "inappropriate, insensitive and contextually disconnected" design that sets a bad precedent for other landmarked buildings on the Upper West Side.

"The community looks to the LPC to defend the best of New York, and it is unfortunate that the commissioners did not realize the deep impact their... approval will have on backyards going forward," Pena said in an email.


August 20th, 2011, 12:17 AM
LPC left this one too late, I think.

Bowery Building Owner, Pol Oppose Landmark Status

By Patrick Hedlund

(http://www.dnainfo.com/20110819/lower-east-side-east-village/bowery-building-owner-pol-oppose-landmark-status#comments) http://assets.dnainfo.com/generated/photo/2011/08/1313766246.jpg/image320x240.jpg
The Federal-style rowhouse at 135 Bowery dates back to 1817.

LOWER EAST SIDE — The fate of a nearly two-century-old Bowery building has pitted preservationists against the historic rowhouse’s owner.

The city’s Landmarks Preservation Committee voted in favor of designating the three-and-a-half story, Federal-style building at 135 Bowery in June, calling the 1817 structure one of the “rare reminders of an important era of the city’s history,” according LPC chairman Robert Tierney.

However, the designation does not take effect until the City Council votes in favor of the landmarking — a move currently being opposed by both the owner and the local City Councilwoman.

The 22-foot-wide property — noted for its Flemish bond brickwork, high-peaked roof with pedimented dormers, and chimney — was originally home to a prominent soap and candle merchant who signed a 1792 agreement that established the board preceding the New York Stock Exchange.

The building was purchased in 2007 by the First American International Bank with the eventual intention of redeveloping it into a seven-story building that would act as the bank’s Manhattan headquarters.

The new owners, who bought the building for $5 million, disputed the LPC’s determination of the property’s historic and architectural significance, noting that numerous alterations through the years made it “a shell of the original structure,” according to a letter to the commission.

The bank also said it spent $400,000 in real estate taxes, architectural services and interior work toward the redevelopment, prior to the landmark designation.
The bank did not respond to repeated requests for comment.

The LPC nonetheless moved forward with the landmarking — but now Councilwoman Margaret Chin has expressed concerns with the designation, despite initially supporting it last year.

Chin's office said the bank has indicated a willingness to develop affordable office space for small businesses at the address, and that landmarking the property would make the plan more difficult, if not impossible.

“Margaret feels there is a good opportunity here for small businesses in Chinatown,” said a Chin spokeswoman. “There is limited affordable commercial space in Chinatown, and we are looking at the bigger picture.”

That position doesn’t sit well with local preservationists who have waged a campaign to save as many buildings on the Bowery as possible, following a failed push to prevent the demolition of an 1825 property at 35 Cooper Square earlier this year.

“Here we are in 2011 in the city of New York in Manhattan, and we have a building that has survived for almost 200 years from a time of the earliest development of the Bowery,” said Mitchell Grubler, a Bowery resident who also chairs the landmarks committee for the Bowery Alliance of Neighbors.

He noted both the property’s physical and historical importance as home to a soap and candle maker.

“The mere fact that we're talking about trades that really don’t even exist anymore adds to the significance of this building to the history of the city.”

BAN recently circulated a petition urging Chin and the rest of the City Council not to overturn the designation, citing the lack of measures in place to limit development on the Bowery’s eastern flank.

“Landmarking is the only way to have the roots of our city preserved, and that block itself is one of the best-preserved blocks,” said BAN vice chair Michele Campo of the stretch where 135 Bowery sits, between Broome and Grand streets.

“It went through the arduous process and was designated, so to strip this [designation] away or to decertify it — it is bad for the total.”

The preservationists also wondered about Chin’s decision to withdraw her support for the landmarking, questioning the building owner’s true intentions.

Grubler said that when BAN questioned Chin’s office about the owner’s future plans for the property, it could not provide specifics about job creation and rent prices.

“There was no detail, which leads me to believe it’s all just a line to influence her,” he said.

Grubler also worried about what the councilwoman’s “flip-flopping” on the issue could mean for future preservation pushes on the Bowery.

“If she opposes this designation, I think it does not bode well for continued cooperation on the part of the Landmarks Preservation Commission to want to designate anymore buildings in Council District 1,” he said. “Why should they?"


August 20th, 2011, 12:45 AM
Marvelous job :). Hopefully, the LPC will come to the party.

Anderson Cooper's Firehouse Stripped Bare on West 3rd Street

by Pete Davies
How the old firehouse looked before AC came along.



A crew of burly men spent the better part of Thursday afternoon slowly unpeeling Anderson Cooper on the streets of Greenwich Village. More precisely, they were stripping off the construction scaffolding that's been hiding the old firehouse at 84 West 3rd Street, bought by AC last year for a cool $4.3 million. A complete renovation of the 1906 Fire Patrol House #2 has been ongoing for the better part of the past year, and now the facelift is nearly complete. What's revealed are the original details set in stone by architect Franklin Baylis over one hundred years ago.

Denuded of multiple layers of dark red paint, the building now presents a handsome face of brick in a running bond, trimmed with limestone and terra cotta. Tattered old windows have been replaced, now double hung and framed in deep gray with arched panes above. Way up top egg and dart detailing has been scraped clean and a set of beribboned terra cotta trumpets frame the birthdate of this old beauty. When AC started work here last year, local preservationist commandos at GVSHP were concerned (http://ny.curbed.com/archives/2010/02/02/preservationists_warily_eyeing_anderson_coopers_fi rehouse.php) that they couldn't get the Landmarks Preservation Commission to protect the old firehouse. Now that the work is nearly done, everyone might want to reconsider the situation—and give young blue eyes a pat on the back for a job well done.

http://ny.curbed.com/archives/2011/08/19/anderson_coopers_firehouse_stripped_bare_on_west_3 rd_street.php#anderson-cooper-exposed-at-west-rd-street-2

August 31st, 2011, 09:29 AM
A Landmark That Should Have Been, at Last, Is









The monumental former Citizens Saving Bank at the Bowery and Canal Street — portal to Manhattan, gateway to Chinatown and impregnable fortress of thrift — is the kind of neighborhood cynosure that just looks like a landmark. But it wasn’t until this month.

“The building was a strong visual anchor for pedestrians, el passengers or anyone coming on and off the Manhattan Bridge,” Robert B. Tierney, the chairman of the Landmarks Preservation Commission, said Aug. 9, as the 87-year-old bank building was designated (http://www.nyc.gov/html/lpc/downloads/pdf/1110_citizens_savings.pdf) an official city landmark. (A copy of the 19-page designation report is available as a PDF (http://www.nyc.gov/html/lpc/downloads/pdf/reports/2466.pdf).)

Beehive, symbolizing thrift.

From a rusticated granite base worthy of a Florentine palazzo, arches rise on all four sides of the building, culminating in a shallow dome. The arch facing the Bowery is topped with a (broken) clock set into a sculpture by Charles Keck; a muscular interpretation of the New York City seal, in which an Indian, sailor and eagle surround a wreath. On either side of this group are big beehives, symbols of thrift. Keck, whose work included the statue of the Rev. Francis P. Duffy in Duffy Square, is better known these days than the bank’s architect, Clarence W. Brazer.

HSBC owns the building, which is now the home of its Chinatown office. Two guardian lions dutifully flank the entrance. The bank took no public stance on the landmark designation, said Neil Brazil, vice president for public affairs at HSBC North America. HSBC is the corporate successor to Citizens Savings, which merged into the Manhattan Savings Institution in 1942, which was acquired by the Republic New York Corporation in 1990, which was purchased by HSBC in 1999. Republic undertook a $5.5 million renovation 20 years ago that included recladding the dome in aluminum sheathing.

A spokeswoman for the commission, Elisabeth de Bourbon, said there was no particular reason the bank building hadn’t been designated earlier, nor any evidence in the files that anyone had asked. It came up this summer because the commission is moving through a list of roughly 250 buildings on the Lower East Side that were surveyed in 2007 and deemed worthy of consideration.
The interior of the bank is not a landmark. Nor is it especially sumptuous. It wasn’t supposed to be. In the Architectural Record magazine of July 1926, two years after the building’s opening, Oliver Whitwell Wilson noted, “An elaborate or ornate building might cause the less thoughtful stockholder to ask, ‘Why are you wasting your money on useless ornament?’ ”

“Thrift,” symbolizing thrift.

But the sight of the luminous honey-gold dome floating over four colossal arches is easily worth a visit. The spaces between the arches, known as pendentives, are each emblazoned with a single word that was presumably to be impressed upon depositors as they gazed heavenward: “Wisdom,” “Safety,” “Thrift,” “Success.”

As the name Citizens suggests, the bank served ordinary people of modest means. The rock-solid quality of its architecture was “meant to convey the bank’s financial stability and assure the public that their deposits were safe,” Mr. Tierney said.

But it turns out that the sturdy design was also meant to assure the bank’s officers that they would be safe from their depositors, at a time when the Bowery — a seething jumble of humanity in the perpetual shadow of the Third Avenue el tracks — was regarded as a less-than-ideal banking location.

“The building is in the midst of an easily excited population and riots are not unknown,” Wilson wrote. “The bank is thus protected against such a mob and could hold out until help arrived.”
At least it held out long enough to be a landmark.

Sculpture over the entrance to the former Citizens Savings Bank.


September 3rd, 2011, 03:12 AM
A definite NO on this one, LPC.

Small Subtractions and Big Addition at Puck Building



“The queen without her crown,” John Lankenau thought as he watched, with growing dismay, the demolition of the brick crenelation atop the landmark Puck Building at Lafayette and Houston Streets.

“Tiara” may be a more apt analogy, but Mr. Lankenau definitely has a point. Without the crenelation — rooftop piers along the east and west facades — Puck looks sadly diminished. The piers were so subtly integral with the overall composition that they were scarcely noticeable until they were stripped away.

Admirers like Mr. Lankenau keep a close eye on the Puck Building. Thanks in part to a statue of the mischievous Puck by Henry Baerer at the corner of Houston and Mulberry Streets, the big Romanesque Revival structure is among the best-loved of the city’s 19th-century landmarks. (The 1983 designation report is available as a PDF (http://www.neighborhoodpreservationcenter.org/db/bb_files/1983PuckBuilding.pdf) from the Neighborhood Preservation Center.)

Mr. Lankenau, 45, is an artist and part-time cook and caterer who lives in the East Village and patronizes a gym in SoHo. Since he’s the guy who once found a stray tombstone on the sidewalk while walking his dog, we’re inclined to listen when he brings something odd to our attention. So we investigated. Sure enough, the crenelation was gone.

Question 1: Did the Landmarks Preservation Commission know?

Yes, they did.

“We approved a permit on May 17, 2011, for a great deal of restorative work to the exterior, including the crenelation, which is why the brick piers and cast-iron pier capstones have disappeared from the Lafayette Street side,” Elisabeth de Bourbon, a spokeswoman for the commission, said in an e-mail. “They’ll also vanish eventually from the Mulberry Street side of the building. The good news is that all of them are going to be replaced with new brick piers, with reinforced polymer capstones.”

Rendering of the proposed Puck penthouse. The design may or may
not change in response to concerns of the landmarks commissioners.

Question 2: Was it related to Jared Kushner’s plan to build a residential penthouse on the Puck Building, as Lois Weiss reported Aug. 8 in The New York Post (http://www.nypost.com/p/news/business/kushner_puck_plans_penthouses_for_vCAMso09TYP1cDQ0 2IUR6J)?

Not directly.

Mr. Kushner, whose family has owned the Puck Building for 25 years, said: “We’ve been working very closely with the Landmarks Preservation Commission. We’ve done a ton of upgrades to the building. It may be one of the most beautiful buildings in New York City, and it’s very important for us to keep investing in the building.”

The current restoration project includes the replacement of the crenelation; repainting of the metal window shutters that are almost as much a part of the building’s charm as Puck himself; and general repointing, patching, window repair and graffiti removal.

But something else has been happening on the roof besides the crenelation work, something in which Tropical Storm Irene played a cameo role.

The proposed penthouse has been designed by Sherida E. Paulsen of PKSB Architects, a former chairwoman of the landmarks commission, and Jose Ramirez of J. L. Ramirez Architect. It cannot be constructed unless it’s approved by the landmarks commissioners, who will consider the plan on Sept. 20. (The hearing agenda is available as a PDF (http://www.nyc.gov/html/lpc/downloads/pdf/calendar/09_20_11.pdf).)

A key ingredient of their deliberation will be the effect of the penthouse on the existing landmark. To convey a sense of the size, shape and visibility of the addition, the Kushner Companies recently constructed a three-dimensional mockup of the proposed structure using pipe scaffolding. The Curbed (http://ny.curbed.com/archives/2011/08/17/what_jared_kushners_puck_building_penthouses_could _look_like.php) blog ran photos of the installation.

When Irene’s high winds started playing havoc with the structure last weekend, firefighters were called to the scene. “We contacted the scaffolding company and had them remove the scaffolding from the roof area,” said James Long, director of public information for the Fire Department.

As Mr. Kushner noted, “Hurricanes and rooftop mockups don’t do well together.”


September 3rd, 2011, 01:20 PM
IMHO rooftop additions to land marked buildings such as this one should be forbidden (unless completely invisible from the street).

September 3rd, 2011, 04:58 PM
I've been wondering what those T shaped things atop the Puck are.

This addition should definitely NOT be approved. LPC regulations state a vertical enlargement should not be visible from the street. While this might not be seen from the opposite side of the street directly around the Puck, it is very visible from anywhere else, blocks around.

Curbed did a walkaround a few weeks ago, when the mock-up was still on top, and posted lots of pics (http://ny.curbed.com/archives/2011/08/17/what_jared_kushners_puck_building_penthouses_could _look_like.php):

What Jared Kushner's Puck Building Penthouses Could Look Like

Not a good fit and a very bad idea. Let's see how much integrity the LPC has when this comes before them.

September 4th, 2011, 04:01 AM
IMHO rooftop additions to land marked buildings such as this one should be forbidden (unless completely invisible from the street).

I agree. This is BS!

September 16th, 2011, 08:41 PM

Council Likely to Reject Landmarking for Bowery Building

By Arun Venugopal

A City Council sub-committee voted against designating a nearly-200 year old Federalist building on the Bowery a landmark. The vote was a rare reversal of the Landmarks Preservation Commission, which had agreed to landmark the building in June (http://home2.nyc.gov/html/lpc/downloads/pdf/reports/2439.pdf).

Local council member Margaret Chin, who had initially supported landmark status, apologized to a crowd of preservationists gathered in a council hearing room, and said she changed her mind after owners of the building made their case.

The decision was decried by preservationists who had argued for the historic and cultural value of the three-and-a-half story structure.

"I just hope that the advocates will see my point of view on this," Chin said. "And that we will have opportunity to continue to work to preserve the historic character of Bowery. But on this building we will have to differ."

The owners of the building, First American International Bank, said they had paid $5 million for the property and want to erect a seven-story office building. They argued the building was in disrepair and would be prohibitively expensive to renovate.

But preservationists said the building, built in 1817, was a rare example of Federal-style architecture and, along with other buildings on the block, pointed to the rich history of the Bowery. Some also said the owners failed to make a "hardship" case to the city, demonstrating the potentially high costs of repairs.

"And in some instances, the Landmarks Commission has granted over a dozen, something like 16 hardships, based on economics," said Simeon Bankoff, executive director of the Historic Districts Council, who argued for landmarking. "They might say, 'Yes, we will allow you to do things we would normally not allow you to do. We might even allow you to demolish the building.' That has happened."

An aide to Chin said a full council vote is scheduled for September 21. Both sides expect a landmark designation to be rejected by the council.


September 16th, 2011, 10:00 PM
I saw that story, Merry. What a crock of sh.it.

September 17th, 2011, 12:20 AM
The First American International Bank (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/First_American_International_Bank), funded by Chinese money, is run by Patrick Yau, an Executive Director of the Chinatown Partnership (http://www.spoke.com/info/c67GRmZ/ChinatownPartnership), the group behind the soon-to-be Chinatown BID (http://www.thelodownny.com/leslog/2011/06/oped-our-children-want-a-better-chinatown.html#more-36834).

Margaret Chin, due to all her twisting & turning, probably will end up a one-term city council member. But possibly she has already arranged for future engagements. Never hurts to have well connected comrades with deep pockets.

September 20th, 2011, 08:46 PM
This building is at the NW corner of E 11th & B'way. My sister & I were remarking about this addition on Sunday. It's just wrong. It looks like they phoned in the design.


September 20th, 2011, 09:45 PM
I think you're referring to 801-807 Broadway (http://www.vpike.com/?place=801+Broadway&submit=Street) at 11th Street. The floor up top is all wrong (it's been a co-op for many years). It originally had a mansard roof (not sure what happened to it, but it looks like what's there now used that old framework and then squared it off).


DOB shows (http://a810-bisweb.nyc.gov/bisweb/JobsQueryByLocationServlet?requestid=1&allbin=1009138&allstrt=BROADWAY&allnumbhous=801&fillerdata=C) that the building is "Calendered" at LPC. Not sure how long it's been on the LPC Calendar, and can't find any documents backing that up. The top floor won't help it win final designation.

Other Landmark designation reports include info on it:

... the former McCreery’s Dry Goods Emporium at 801 Broadway (cast by J.B. & W.W. Cornell Ironworks).

Most of the stretch of Broadway between Grace Church and Union Square isn't protected by Landmarks. Crazy but true.

September 20th, 2011, 09:58 PM
More on the McCreery's building (notice that this says "7-story building" which was made possible by the division of original high-ceilinged floors -- and the resultingterrible window configurations along East 11th Street (http://maps.google.com/maps?q=%2267+east+11th+street%22+%22New+YOrk%22&hl=en&ll=40.731779,-73.990495&spn=0.01291,0.019205&client=safari&gl=us&t=h&z=16&vpsrc=0&layer=c&cbll=40.732768,-73.992036&panoid=kpcLTg_mr73Iz_tT-Ir3dg&cbp=12,29.48,,0,-8.85)):


This handsome former department store building was an important project that helped demonstrate the viability of residential conversions of cast-iron commercial buildings.
The building was originally erected in 1868 as the James McCreery Dry Goods Store, designed by John Kellum.

In 1971, architect Stephen B. Jacobs converted it for cooperative residential use for Rockrose, a leading residential real estate concern headed by the Elghanayan brothers.

The 7-story building with more than 140 apartments is notable for its façade profusion of large Corinthian columns. The conversion preserved the columns, although the street-level treatment was not inspired.

The project was an immediate success and spurred many more conversions in the vicinity. The building is across Broadway from the beautiful Grace Episcopal Church and its location has steadily grown in attractiveness as the neighborhood was witnessed a proliferation of restaurants, antique stores and architecturally has many worthy buildings. In addition, the long-overdue renaissance of nearby Union Square Park and its surroundings has made this area one of the most desirable in the city.

September 21st, 2011, 05:28 AM
Art Deco Landmark Landmarked

by Kelsey Keith

http://ny.curbed.com/uploads/madison%20belmont-thumb.jpg (http://ny.curbed.com/uploads/madison%20belmont.jpg)

Warren & Wetmore Art Deco classic the Madison Belmont Building was landmarked today by the LPC. The 18-story building forms an L at the southeast corner of Madison and 34th Street and was constructed in 1924-5, before the wave of Art Deco skyscrapers and office buildings hit New York in the late 20s and 30s. A French ironsmith who pioneered the style in Paris designed the "ornate iron and bronze frames, grilles, figures, and doors" that gild the building.

http://ny.curbed.com/archives/2011/09/20/art_deco_landmark_landmarked_one48_over_half_sold. php

Workaday Buildings That Aren’t


April 15, 2010

Madison Square to 34th Street (http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2010/04/18/realestate/20100418-scapes.html?ref=realestate)

THE Historic Districts Council, a preservation advocacy group, has surveyed the blocks from Madison Square to 34th Street for potential landmark designations.

Covering a 22-block area, the council has come up with much that is commonplace, but also a series of distinctive structures along Madison Avenue. These are not clubs or churches or old mansions, but straightforward business buildings, rarely making the radar of the passer-by.

The Madison Avenue section of the survey, mostly done by the preservationist Marissa Marvelli, runs from 27th to 34th Street, and a thoughtful quarter-mile stroll shows how different this strip is from the usual lineup of plain pipe-rack loft buildings.

At the northeast corner of 27th Street, at No. 79, is Buchman & Kahn’s admirable Art Deco building, designed in 1925 for the iron contractor Harris Uris. Although not a knockout, this one is a couple of grades above the typical loft/showroom structure, set apart by the simple but inventive zigzag detailing at the third-floor level.

Two blocks north, at No. 95, the massive Emmet Building of 1912 is a 16-story fortress of delicate Loire Valley detailing, enough doodads for a block’s worth of Vanderbilt town houses. Thomas Addis Emmet, a gynecologist, art collector and inventor, had lived on the site for decades, and sold out to a developer on the condition that he get an apartment on the top floor, which he did, with a conservatory, a fountain, a solarium and a library measuring 18 by 36 feet.

At 29th Street, No. 99 Madison Avenue was built in 1916 by the developer George Backer, who was active in loft construction. His architects, Sommerfeld & Steckler, were well known for tenements but here worked with the assurance of the architectural elite. The second and third floors are joined by a two-story-high Ionic colonnade in limestone. The carving on the capitals is brilliantly precise, and the columns have stop-fluting, wherein the grooves are filled part way up.

No. 105, a 20-story loft building, was built in 1913 for Charles Kaye, a developer. Of neo-Gothic terra cotta, it is a gigantic but still skillful work designed by Buchman & Fox. Somehow the scale of the Kaye Building works to its advantage, although that kind of height is better reserved for a wider street.

At the southwest corner of 32nd Street, the Gothic-style No. 148 was designed in 1915 by Wallis & Goodwillie for Charles Remsen, an obstetrician. The architects had the idea of beginning a four-story-high quiltlike swath of patterned terra cotta at the ground floor, the dark flecks within a light-gray matrix of mock granite.

The same architects worked with a particularly nimble hand diagonally across the intersection at No. 159, designing the Manice Building in 1911. It still has a magnificent sweep of low-relief carving at the second floor, with swags, ribbons and fruit. The rounded corner, the intricate paneling on the underside of the cornice and the columns unifying the top two floors mark a work that, like the Remsen Building, hits the absolute high end for what is normally considered a lowly loft structure.

But sitting on the southeast corner of 34th Street is the summit of this architectural pilgrimage, the spectacular Madison-Belmont Building. Built in 1925, it was designed by Warren & Wetmore with the same panache they used on the New York Yacht Club and Grand Central Terminal. The red-painted window sash intensifies the careful calibration of the warm, roughened, orangish brick, along with the lush terra-cotta work, subtle to the point of invisibility.

A silk manufacturer, Cheney Brothers, had the lower floors from the start, and the sumptuous entry doors on Madison are fresh from the new Art Deco movement of Paris. Designed by the French metalworker Edgar Brandt, they were described by the magazine International Studio in 1925 as “carried to the nth power of perfection.”

The Madison-Belmont was the project of Robert M. Catts, a financier, big-game hunter and developer. He was also a connoisseur: step around the corner to marvel at the lobby, an intact sweep of marble, bronze, etched glass and relief plaster that puts other Midtown lobbies to shame. On the walls, you can see how the figured marble panels are book-matched: a single piece of marble sliced so that the flanking pieces match from side to side. But in this case they are double book-matched — the four pieces also mirror one another top to bottom.

Mr. Catt’s exquisite patronage was not rewarded, however. In 1927 he went into bankruptcy, with $5,000 in assets against $1 million in liabilities.

As a group these buildings far outshine those on Fifth Avenue and Park Avenue South, and it is not clear why. The Madison-Belmont housed high-end showrooms and did not allow manufacturing, but buildings for commercial use were rarely so ambitious. Some of them are on the level of a top-end retailer of the 1920s.

The silk industry did play a major role in several structures here, but silk manufacturers were also prominent tenants on Park Avenue South, a less interesting thoroughfare.

Whatever the owners and architects built on this little stretch, and for whatever reasons, it is a particularly rich and rewarding passage.






Pics of the whole building and detailing (http://www.flickriver.com/photos/tags/madisonbelmontbuilding/interesting/)

September 21st, 2011, 04:17 PM
^The lady's houndstooth coat goes perfectly with that building.

801-807 Broadway (http://www.vpike.com/?place=801+Broadway&submit=Street)[/U] at 11th Street. The floor up top is all wrong (it's been a co-op for many years). It originally had a mansard roof (not sure what happened to it, but it looks like what's there now used that old framework and then squared it off).

http://wirednewyork.com/forum/attachment.php?attachmentid=14111&d=1316569433&thumb=1 (http://wirednewyork.com/forum/attachment.php?attachmentid=14111&d=1316569433)

DOB shows (http://a810-bisweb.nyc.gov/bisweb/JobsQueryByLocationServlet?requestid=1&allbin=1009138&allstrt=BROADWAY&allnumbhous=801&fillerdata=C) that the building is "Calendered" at LPC. Not sure how long it's been on the LPC Calendar, and can't find any documents backing that up. The top floor won't help it win final designation.

Other Landmark designation reports include info on it:

... the former McCreery’s Dry Goods Emporium at 801 Broadway (cast by J.B. & W.W. Cornell Ironworks).

Most of the stretch of Broadway between Grace Church and Union Square isn't protected by Landmarks. Crazy but true.]

That's the one. I didn't know the address so I remembered The Strand & worked my way down. The fact that this was a replacement & not just an addition is even more crazy. Why they would have to redo it is incomprehensible, because I can't believe they would have gotten that much more square footage by changing it. If they needed the room that bad they should have moved somewhere else. And there will be no consequences for anyone if it doesn't get landmarked because of it. The street level changes (not just this building) seem to be an epidemic. Anything to fit the current retail tenant.

September 30th, 2011, 08:46 AM
Oh, god :mad:. It looked marvelous in 1954 :rolleyes:.

Modernist Landmark Behind a Court Battle


A rendering shows new doorways cut into the Fifth Avenue facade. There are plans for two stores.


Slide show: Clashing Over a Landmark (http://www.nytimes.com/slideshow/2011/09/29/arts/design/landmark-ss.html?ref=design)

The thorny dilemmas that can be posed by efforts at architectural preservation are rearing their heads again in New York City in the case of a landmark building on Fifth Avenue that is considered to be the very model of Modernism.

Almost 60 years ago, when the glass corner structure at 43rd Street was designed for the Manufacturers Hanover Trust, it broke all molds for bank architecture. No more shuttered fortresses with tight doorways and pillars of formidable stone.

It would be an airy, transparent building. A wisp. A luminous box with an unbroken glass facade that positioned its escalators and its impressive steel vault so that they would be prominent and visible through the windows.

Designed by Gordon Bunshaft of Skidmore, Owings & Merrill and completed in 1954, 510 Fifth Avenue came to be seen as an important, historic building in the same league as modern architectural legends like Lever House and the Seagram Building.

But now preservationists and the city are battling in court over the building’s future. Preservationists say the New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission has abandoned its role as a protector of history and aesthetics to accommodate a powerful real estate interest. The commission says it has made reasonable accommodations for a new owner who wants to renovate the building.

The owner, Vornado Realty Trust, has, among other things, received permission to cut new doorways into the Fifth Avenue facade, to rotate the prized escalators and move them farther away from the windows and to reduce the vault wall. The plan is to create a space that can accommodate two new stores on Fifth Avenue.

“The resulting alteration totally obliterates the quality of this iconic structure,” said Roberta Brandes Gratz, a former landmarks commissioner who said she was asked to leave the panel last year to serve on a mayoral sustainability panel. “The interior is totally one piece with the exterior, both visually from the street and architecturally within. That has been totally compromised.”

Landmarks panels across the country have long wrestled with the delicate balance between preserving architectural history and fostering economic development, particularly during financial downturns when new projects can mean jobs. In New York, preservation groups have continually criticized the Bloomberg administration as favoring developers.

But in the case of this Fifth Avenue landmark, some say the building must be allowed to evolve.

The landmarks commission’s role is not to lock New York’s architectural history in aspic, said Stephen F. Byrns, an architect who left the commission last year after completing his term. Rather, he said, “It’s trying to be reasonable and flexible in allowing a property to adapt.

“This is no longer a bank and there’s no longer a vault there,” he continued. “You can make doors out of glass that are almost seamless.”

Though renovation has begun, preservationists have secured a stop-work order from the Manhattan Supreme Court judge who is hearing the case. They charge in the suit that the developer, abetted by the landmarks commission, has ignored restrictions set by the city to preserve the building’s interior character. Work is continuing, however, on the condition that any change must be reversible should the preservationists prevail in court.

Feeding the dispute are the preservationists’ concerns that the commission’s dealings with Vornado, whose many tenants in buildings across the city include Bloomberg L.P., the mayor’s company, have been too cozy.

Vornado hired a former landmarks commissioner, Meredith Kane, to be its lawyer before the commission. She was allowed to see and suggest changes to the report that the commission used to give the interior of the building landmark status earlier this year. And in a round of e-mails that the preservationists secured as part of their lawsuit, filed in July, they found one in which Ms. Kane asked that a hearing on designating the interior “be deferred until Vornado had its tenants in place” and another in which she asked the commission’s chairman, Robert B. Tierney, to reassure Vornado’s chairman, Steven Roth, that the commission would not block efforts to convert the property into retail space.

“I just had a call from Steve Roth, who is facing a drop-dead deadline of next week in his deal to buy the property,” Ms. Kane said in an e-mail in April 2010. “What I think he’d most like is a little bit of hand-holding directly from you — he won’t believe it when it comes from me! — that even though we have a lot of detail to work through, and you will need staff and the commissioners to be satisfied with the proposals, that we are going to ‘get through’ this project.”

Theodore Grunewald, the founder of the Coalition to Save Manufacturers Hanover Trust and a plaintiff in the lawsuit, said: “The ability for a real-estate industry to reach inside the operations of our city government to suit their own purposes is appalling. It brings up a larger question of why a large corporation like Vornado is given special treatment above the law and behind the scenes.”

But the landmarks commission said building owners are routinely allowed to see draft landmark-designation reports and to confer with staff members on how to submit an application that will meet the commission’s restrictions. These contacts, Mr. Tierney said, are designed to provide insight into the process, not to offer any guarantees. “Since the commissioners, not the staff, make the ultimate decisions, staff cannot give any such assurances,” he said. And he said he never made the requested call to Mr. Roth.

“The proposed changes were consistent with and showed immense respect for the interior and exterior of this building,” Mr. Tierney said. “They not only complement the beauty of the building but are also almost fully reversible for future potential owners.”

The building’s exterior was made a landmark in 1997. The interior, which had come to public attention after a signature metal screen by the sculptor Harry Bertoia was removed, was not given landmark status until February. Two months after the interior landmark designation, the commission granted the new owner, Vornado, permission to make changes to the building.

The preservationists contend these changes are significant reconfigurations that violate the protections that had been put in place. But Vornado hired the original architects, Skidmore, Owings & Merrill (S.O.M.), to make the changes and it has argued that the renovation is in keeping with the original design.

“This is one of the great projects in our portfolio that helped contribute to the reputation of S.O.M.,” said Roger Duffy, a design partner at Skidmore, Owings. “So we wanted to make sure we would do this in the right way and to the highest level of quality.”

When the bank president originally approached Skidmore, Owings in the 1950s, Mr. Duffy said, he had asked that the building be adaptable in case it failed as a bank. “That was always a part of the building,” Mr. Duffy said, “the adaptability of the project.”

Mr. Tierney agreed. “Ultimately, the building was originally designed for a specific use — banking — which was no longer practical,” he said.

Given that the building’s previous owners had made some alterations to the interior, the architects also made the point that they would be restoring a few original elements, like the luminous ceiling.

Perhaps the most noticeable change in the interior is the reconfiguration of the escalators. In public hearings, commissioners had objected to the idea of changing the escalators, which were positioned about 15 feet from the street and ran north-south. In designating the interior as a landmark, the commission spoke of how the escalators had been “positioned to maximize visibility from Fifth Avenue” but noted that in recent years, before Vornado’s purchase, A.T.M.’s had blocked the sightlines from the street.

Under the approved changes, new escalators will be installed that will be set back farther from the street and run east-west. “It was an important diagonal element in the composition,” Mr. Grunewald, an architect and archivist, said. Other architects say such changes represent a slippery slope; allow escalators to be moved and eventually a landmark isn’t a landmark anymore.

“Since the building is one of the most transparent in New York and it’s an iconic structure, it’s almost as if the interior is more significant than the facade,” the architect Richard Gluckman said.

“If things are designated, they should be rigorously protected.”


October 5th, 2011, 06:26 AM
Ah, common sense prevailed :).

Landmarks Commission on Puck Building Penthouses: "Nope"

by Curbed Staff

When Kushner Companies presented their planned addition to the Puck Building—a 6,000 square-foot glass penthouse—to the Landmarks Preservation Commission last month (http://ny.curbed.com/archives/2011/09/19/the_penthouse_plan_what_the_puck.php#puck-penthouse-lpc-2), the LPC sent them back to the drawing board. But this morning, Kushner arose from the ashes like a phoenix and marched before the LPC to present their new plans: two glass penthouses, one of which would need to be raised an additional five feet to accommodate a rooftop swimming pool. The Commission was not amused.

The proposed "improvements" from Kushner Companies (owned by Donald Trump spawn-in-law Jared Kushner) mostly centered on making the two penthouses as invisible as possible from street level by reducing their size and surrounding them with a large metal screen. A representative of the company began by attempting to make the case that the Puck Building “has not been a pristine architectural monument” as it had been made out to be in the past, but then changed her story and said, “Here’s this wonderful building [that] is going to be integrated into the neighborhood. It won’t be pushing people away.”

“Too big, too tall, too visible, and calls too much attention to itself by the nature of its design.”

“The screen… I don’t get it.”

“I really, really wanted to figure out how to like this project.”

“The heights shown here are excessive and contributing to the problem.”

“This needs a new architectural, theoretical approach.”

http://ny.curbed.com/archives/2011/10/04/landmarks_commission_on_puck_building_penthouses_n ope.php

October 12th, 2011, 07:11 AM
"Manny Hanny" - love it :).

Moot Fate?

Where landmark status provided no protection for Manny Hanny interiors, SEQRA might.

by Tom Stoelker

Renovations at the Manufacturers Hanover building will eliminate the original 43rd Street entrance;
two new entrances will pierce the Fifth Avenue facade. Ezra Stoller/Esto

Preservationists persisting in their efforts to stop ongoing renovations at the Manufacturers Hanover building being carried out by Vornado Reality Trust—and abetted by the Landmarks Historic Commission—may have found a loophole. State Supreme Court Justice Lucy Billings is presiding over the case where protection of a natural resource, a forest in upstate New York, may have profound consequences for the corner of Fifth Avenue and 43rd Street.

All agree that the 1954 Skidmore Owings and Merrill (SOM) building designed by Gordon Bunshaft is a masterpiece of Modernism. On October 5 it was added to the World Monuments Fund watch list. With a transparent facade that renders the structure and interior as one, it’s a rare example where both are landmarked (the latter only since February). But the avenue, once lined with storefronts for airlines, has evolved into a youth-centric fashion district, and Vornado is set to lease nearly three quarters of the former bank space to Joe Fresh, a Canadian retailer.

http://www.archpaper.com/uploads/9378000012WEB.jpg (http://www.archpaper.com/uploads/9378000012WEB.jpg)

http://www.archpaper.com/uploads/9378000034WEB(1).jpg (http://www.archpaper.com/uploads/9378000034WEB(1).jpg)

http://www.archpaper.com/uploads/9378000015WEBa.jpg (http://www.archpaper.com/uploads/9378000015WEB.jpg)

New escalators will run parallel to 43rd street and will no longer be profiled on Fifth avenue, as seen in these images from 1954 (Left and center); the Safe door will remain, but the black granite wall will be reduced (Right).
Courtesy Ezra Stoller/Esto

Roger Duffy, a principal at SOM is charged with supervising the renovations of the building right down to redesigning a bronze Bertoia screen that was removed from the building last October. For the renovation, Duffy said in an interview, SOM staff delved into their archives finding correspondence between the client, bank president Horace Flannigan, and SOM revealing that Flannigan always wanted the space to be adaptable, should the radical design not work out as a bank. Duffy allowed that many of the design elements held significant importance, but he argued that it is the adaptability for new programming that makes the space unique.

At issue now are adaptations that preservationists led by the Citizens Emergency Committee to Preserve Preservation (CECPP) say are unacceptable alterations to the landmarked interior, including changing the direction of escalators, replacing site-specific art works, and adding new entrances.

In the original design, Bunshaft placed daily business away from the street on a cantilevered floor floating over a black granite safe whose stainless steel door, designed by Henry Dreyfuss, sat on Fifth Avenue for all to see. Two escalators running parallel to the avenue swept visitors to and from a discreet side entrance on 43rd Street, leaving the avenue façade solely for viewing. On the banking floor a 70-foot-wide multi-paneled bronze screen designed for the space by sculptor Harry Bertoia served as a textured backdrop to the clean lines.

In October of last year, as Vornado bought the property from Tal Prop Equities, preservationists panicked when AN (http://blog.archpaper.com/wordpress/archives/9272) reported (http://blog.archpaper.com/wordpress/archives/9272) that the screen was being plucked from the site by JPMorgan Chase, the building’s former owner and later its tenant. Finally in February, the city responded by landmarking the interior, only to approve major renovations proposed by Vornado two months later.

Much of the interior was gutted to alter the cantilever so it could accommodate a reconfigured escalator, no longer in profile from Fifth Avenue, but running west to east. The Bertoia will be replaced with a clean lined anodized aluminum version that looks more like a digital printout than a hand-crafted sculpture. Two entrances would be added to Fifth Avenue and the ground floor space would be divided to accommodate two tenants, with Joe Fresh taking up one half of the first floor and all of the second.

In Bunshaft’s original design, visually weighted elements defined the space in the manner of a three-dimensional Mondrian. The Bertoia spanned the back wall, the escalator diagonally sliced the foreground, the black granite wall provided deep accents, and planters framed the second floor cantilever. All of these elements are to be eliminated or reconfigured.

http://www.archpaper.com/uploads/Escalator.jpg (http://www.archpaper.com/uploads/Escalator.jpg)


http://www.archpaper.com/uploads/Demising_wall_safe.jpg (http://www.archpaper.com/uploads/Demising_wall_safe.jpg)

details: The reconfigured escalator (left), the nighttime drop box will remain but the old entrance will be inferred (middle), a second entrance and a demising wall will be placed north of the the safe (right).
Courtesy som

On July 7, CECPP filed suit, and by mid-August State Supreme Court Justice Billings issued a stop work order based in part on claims by Pratt Institute professor Eric W. Allision, a founding member of CECPP, that his “professional use and enjoyment of this unique site [is] integral to his teaching and course of study” and his work would be “directly curtailed” by the alterations.

The case was quietly limping along until an article in the New York Times quoted an email exchange between a former Landmarks commissioner Meredith Kane and Landmarks staff. Kane is now legal counsel for Vornado. At a September 30 hearing, Maria T. Vullo, Vornado’s rep, alluded to the press coverage. “They can’t win this case so they’re off into other realms,” she said. For her part, Justice Billings said that there was nothing out of the ordinary in the former commissioner lobbying on behalf of her current client. “Her clients were very smart in retaining her because of her experience with the commission,” said Billings.

http://www.archpaper.com/uploads/Screen Oblique View_WEB(1).jpg (http://www.archpaper.com/uploads/Screen Oblique View_WEB(1).jpg)

http://www.archpaper.com/uploads/9378000025WEB(1).jpg (http://www.archpaper.com/uploads/9378000025WEB(1).jpg)

The new Screen by Som (left), and the bertoia orginal (right).
Courtesy som (left) and ezra stoller/esto (Right)

In allowing that the professor had a legal leg to stand on, Justice Billings cited Save the Pine Bush v. Common Council City of Albany. The judge wrote that though that case addresses the protection of a natural resource under the State Environmental Quality Review Act (SEQRA), landmark preservation is “closely analogous.” She added that Allison’s “desire to use or observe, even for purely aesthetic purposes, is undeniably a cognizable interest” for purposes of legal standing.

Michael Gruen, the attorney representing CECPP said that he wasn’t sure if Pine Bush had ever before been applied to an urban landmark building. “There’s absolutely no reason why it would not apply on a broad basis, especially on land uses issues,” he said. “SEQRA specifically talks of landmarks, and other cultural aspects have to be considered. There you have a legislative action that considers historic preservation to be part and parcel of environmental preservation.” The city and Vornado are contesting this definition of legal standing at the appellate level. “It is our position that none of the petitioners have standing, and that case doesn’t apply to the specifics of this case,” said the city’s counsel, Virginia Waters.

Meanwhile, construction work continues unabated because CECPP was unable to produce a required $370,000 bond to stop it. With the exception of the safe door, all of the original interiors are already gone.


October 13th, 2011, 11:45 PM
MANNY HANNY & SEQR TOGETHER AGAIN (http://blog.archpaper.com/wordpress/archives/25183)

Architect's Newspaper (http://blog.archpaper.com/wordpress/archives/25183)
By TOM STOELKER (http://blog.archpaper.com/wordpress/archives/author/tom-stoelker)

Yesterday, the Appellate Division of the State Supreme Court denied a request by the city and Vornado seeking to dismiss Justice Lucy Billings’ ruling which allied a protected natural resource with an urban landmark (http://archpaper.com/news/articles.asp?id=5687). In ruling that the Citizens Emergency Committee to Protect Preservation (CECPP) and Pratt professor Eric Allison had legal standing for their petition, Billings cited Save the Pine Bush v. Common Council City of Albany, a case addressing the protection of a forest Upstate under the State Environmental Quality Review Act. In deciding against the appeal, the court effectively said that they won’t hear the Manufacturers Hanover case in piecemeal. The case returns to Justice Billings’ courtroom next Wednesday where CECPP is asking for everything from reams of email correspondence (http://blog.archpaper.com/wordpress/archives/24403) between Landmarks and Vornado, to the new tenant’s lease and rental terms.

October 15th, 2011, 02:32 AM

A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the L.P.C.

Most of the quotes in the story below are real but the conflict is imaginary and written just for fun. Hope you’ll enjoy and will consider adding your own voice to the continuing debate over development in our city.

http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-E9oVac5qm04/Tphhc_gb19I/AAAAAAAAAgA/KXVuNtBxSbE/s320/213.JPG (http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-E9oVac5qm04/Tphhc_gb19I/AAAAAAAAAgA/KXVuNtBxSbE/s1600/213.JPG)

(click to enlarge)

Elevators at 1 Centre Street were running slow again so the crowd waiting in the lobby hurried into the first one that opened. A few elevator passengers nodded recognition toward each other but most didn’t bother. After all, they might be confined together for the next few moments but they couldn’t be further apart in the way they envisioned the future of Manhattan’s Upper West Side.

Sighs, foot taps and electronic beeps were the only sounds audible as the elevator progressed slowly toward the 9th floor but the cramped space occupied by moguls, preservationists, real estate developers and community activists was heavy with the clash of opinions held mute. Soon they would press into the Landmarks Preservation Commission ready to dispute or defend a proposed historic district. Until then, there would be silence.

Suddenly, there was a jolt then an extended pause, the kind that New Yorkers on a tight schedule dread.

“You’re kidding, right?” asked a woman as lean as a sliver building.

“Don’t tell me we’re stuck,” said a man as sturdy as a row house.

A crackling voice from a loudspeaker offered an explanation.

“We can’t understand what you’re saying.” The man who spoke defined the word skyscraper with his stature and air of command. He was unmistakably “a shaper of cities and fortunes.”

Complaints in the elevator rose. For an instant, the defenders and stand-ins for all the structures of the Upper West Side - the stout, the soaring, the elegant, the stately and the recently-renovated - stood on common ground. Tensions demolished, opinions burst forth!

“Less is more!”

“Less is a bore!”

“Preservation is hope in a concrete landscape!”

“It’s an over- reaction to development!”

“A dollars and cents boost for business and property owners!”

“An unfair burden!”

“Our civic duty!”

A plaintiff voice cut through all the shouting.

“Look, uncontrolled development is a real threat to our city.” Leaning against the elevator with the demeanor of a neglected brownstone, the woman continued. “Artists, writers, musicians…we all moved here for the culture, the vibrancy. Now it’s all being erased. Towers line Broadway…and giant banks.”

Unwavering as a West End Avenue street wall, an elderly man spoke up. “I say designate the whole neighborhood. Designate the whole island of Manhattan for all I care…but NOT MY BUILDING.”

A beauty with the elegance and prestige of a Riverside townhouse reasoned with the crowd. “I think we can all agree on the importance of preserving not just individual buildings or streets but an entire neighborhood context,” she said. “It’s about a sense of place.”

A man’s voice boomed above the fray. “Sense of place is not a law as far as I can tell.” Towering and triumphant, he stood like the Manhattan skyline, “every inch a proud and soaring thing.”

“If we preserve areas of historic value in this city, generations of future New Yorkers will be incredibly proud.” The woman spoke persuasively from beneath an arresting hat, reminiscent of a classically-styled cornice.

“These people are unrealistic,” muttered a woman known best as High-Rise. She usually preferred to make bland statements or none at all.

“They want Venice on the Hudson,” agreed Towering.

“And gondolas along Riverside,” said Skyscraper.

The shouting started again in earnest.

“Can’t you see we’re being smothered by overdevelopment?”

“Yes, but I’m already in debt. I can’t afford the costs, the regulation!”

“Property values increase in designated areas!”

“That’s fiction! It’s all market driven!”

“We’re protecting New York’s architectural heritage!”

“You’re freezing the city in time!”

“It’s an indignity!”

“It’s progress!”

“You’re taking away economic opportunity from owners.”

“You’re robbing citizens of light, space and fresh air!”

A metallic screech of feedback brought their shouting to a halt.

“It sounds rough in there.”

The words came from the elevator speaker, clearly this time.

“Who is this?” asked a man with an unassuming façade but steel in his voice. “I demand you get us out of here!”

“This is the head of security. It’s been fun for all of us out here listening but you need to calm down before I let you off that elevator and into the LPC meeting room. Can’t you all find anything to agree on?”

“I think our discussion is finished, young man.” said a woman with the dignity of a Beaux-Arts mansion. All present marveled at her restrained exuberance.

“No can do, miss. Let me know when you’re ready.”

Sturdy row house was the first to reach for consensus.

“We can all agree we love this city, correct?” Nods all around encouraged him to reach further. Okay then…what else?”

Skyscraper, exasperated, conceded a point. “Obviously, there are districts across New York City that merit designation – if what is being designated is truly historic architecture.”

The mood in the elevator lifted. Brownstone looked restored to hope as she moved in to add, “I think it’s reasonable to make room for change even in historic districts…but very carefully, thoughtfully.”

With a lurch, the elevator started moving and there was silence again. In moments, the elevator doors slid open on the 9th floor and a group of New Yorkers rushed out. The only sound in the hallway was the echoes of their determined steps.


October 26th, 2011, 06:38 AM
Richard Meier's Westbeth Finally Gets Landmark Designation

by Sara Polsky

The West Village's historic but somewhat rundown Westbeth housing complex—383 live-work units for artists designed by Richard Meier before he became the Richard Meier—has finally achieved landmark status. Preservationists have been advocating that the building, an early residential conversion that, as LPC Bronx rep Michael Goldblum put it, "heralded a second life for many important buidings," be landmarked since at least 2004. It's been on the state and national registers of historic places since 2009, but the city designation took until this very morning. So congratulations are in order!

Of course, all is not instantly well at Westbeth. While the designation may save the property from redevelopment, the existing building isn't exactly in the best of shape. The low rents—studios for $650/month, 1BRs for $800/month, 2BRs for $950/month, 3BRs for $1,100/month—mean there hasn't been extra money for plumbing and roof fixes, for example. But maybe the designation will give the building access to some fresh funds in the form of grants—or so the residents are hoping.

http://ny.curbed.com/archives/2011/10/25/richard_meiers_westbeth_finally_gets_landmark_desi gnation.php

October 26th, 2011, 06:44 AM
Grand Concourse Historic District to get landmark status from city

BY Daniel Beekman

The Bronx's grandest thoroughfare is finally getting the recognition that many borough residents believe it richly deserves.

The New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission expects to approve today the designation of a Grand Concourse Historic District.

Located along and off the Grand Concourse between E. 153rd and E. 167th Sts., the district consists of 78 buildings.

"The Grand Concourse is an important part of New York City history - a European-style boulevard with beautiful Art Deco buildings that has survived remarkably intact," said Michael Goldblum, a Riverdale architect who serves on the commission.

Designed by French immigrant Louis Risse, the Grand Concourse was completed in 1909. Known as the "Champs Élysées of the Bronx," it extends from E. 138th St. to Mosholu Parkway.

Development along the Grand Concourse sped forward during the early 1920s, thanks to the opening of the Jerome Ave. subway line and state legislation that granted tax breaks to builders.

Jewish immigrants from the slums of the lower East Side moved north, lured by more spacious living quarters in the Bronx.

About half of the 61 apartment buildings in the historic district were built between 1922 and 1931 in the Tudor, Renaissance and Colonial revival styles.

These included the still-handsome Concourse Plaza Hotel between E. 161st and E. 162nd Sts.. Built in 1923, the same year Yankee Stadium opened, the hotel hosted legendary ballplayers such as Babe Ruth.

The grand boulevard became a bustling neighborhood and a symbol of social mobility for the city's new middle class.

It boomed again from 1935 to 1945, as top architects erected striking Art Deco and Moderne buildings with sharp lines and steel casement windows. Few neighborhoods nationwide boast so many Art Deco gems.

Among them is 888 Grand Concourse, a six-story brick structure with black granite panels and gold mosaic tiles.

"Some parts of the city are remarkably coherent," Goldblum said. "There are pockets of the city...where the flow of development hiccups and you get a window into the past."

The thoroughfare suffered during the 1960s and 1970s and 888 Grand Concourse has recently fallen on hard times.

The building boasts 241 open housing code violations and tenants there have threatened to sue.

But tenant Carmen Vega-Rivera is "elated" about the district's new landmark status.

"It's long overdue," she said. "We need to make the Grand Concourse grand again."

The commission regulates major renovations and offers grants to property owners for facade restoration in historic districts.

http://www.nydailynews.com/ny_local/bronx/2011/10/25/2011-10-25_grand_gesture_from_the_landmarks_commission.htm l

The Grand Concourse Gets Its Due


The so-called Fish Building on the Grand Concourse in the Bronx, near 166th Street.

The city gave an Art Deco-filled stretch of the Grand Concourse (http://www.nytimes.com/2009/12/13/realestate/13livi.html) in the Bronx — along with an artists’ housing complex in the West Village, a church-turned-synagogue-turned-theater in Brooklyn and a Staten Island cottage — landmark protection on Tuesday.

The Grand Concourse Historic District includes 78 buildings along a one-mile stretch of the storied thoroughfare, often described as the Champs-Élysées of the Bronx. The new individual landmarks include Westbeth Artists’ Housing (http://westbeth.org/), the Union League Club (http://www.unionleagueclub.org/) on East 37th Street and the Paul Robeson Theater (http://www.paulrobesontheater.org/) in Fort Greene, Brooklyn.

“All of the buildings that were designated today reflect nearly a century’s worth of architectural, demographic and economic shifts throughout New York City,” said Robert B. Tierney, chairman of the city’s Landmarks Preservation Commission.

The Bronx district extends from 153rd Street to 167th Street along and off the Grand Concourse, which celebrated its centennial in 2009.

Half of the district’s apartment buildings date from the 1920s and feature a variety of architectural styles, including Colonial and Tudor- revivalist. The other half, constructed in the 1930s and 40s, constitute part of a collection of Art Deco and Art Moderne buildings surrounding the Grand Concourse, whose only national Art Deco rival is Miami Beach.

The Concourse Plaza Hotel falls within the district, as does the so-called Fish building. The 11-story, Colonial Revival-style hotel opened in 1923 — the same year as the original Yankee Stadium — and hosted visitors such as Babe Ruth and John F. Kennedy, before it became a home for the elderly in the 1980s. The Fish Building is an Art Deco classic nicknamed for a tile mosaic on its façade, and features murals in its lobby consisting of “weirdly elongated maidens who strike languorous poses in a landscape populated by frogs and swans,” as Constance Rosenblum wrote in The Times in 2009 (http://www.nytimes.com/2009/08/21/arts/design/21concourse.html).

The Westbeth Artists’ Housing complex in the West Village.

Westbeth, in the far West Village, which fills a full block and includes five protected buildings, is the former home of Bell Telephone Laboratories. It provides affordable housing for artists and is home to the Merce Cunningham Dance Foundation and the New School for Drama.

The other Manhattan site is the Union League Club (http://www.unionleagueclub.org/), a nine-story brick clubhouse built in 1931 that is the fourth residence of the private group, which formed in 1863 to support the Union cause in the Civil War.

29 Cottage Place in Staten Island.

The Paul Robeson Theater (http://www.paulrobesontheater.org/) in Brooklyn began life in 1864 as a Unitarian Universalist church, was bought by a Reform congregation and converted to a synagogue, then became a Roman Catholic Church before it was finally transformed into a theater (http://fort-greene.thelocal.nytimes.com/2010/09/09/a-fresh-start-paul-robeson-theater/) in 1980.

On Staten Island, a two-story cottage in Port Richmond, which housed a blacksmith, a boatman, a mill worker and a shipbuilder in the years since it was erected in 1848, is that borough’s newest protected property.


November 15th, 2011, 07:22 AM
Nope, not too many :).

Preservation man: Landmarks chair Robert Tierney

Commission leader adds many historic districts. Some say too many.

By Amanda Fung

Robert Tierney is on a tear. In his eight years atop the Landmarks Preservation Commission, he has anointed 27 districts “historic”—six more than in any other mayoral administration. Since February alone, the Landmarks chair has added five neighborhoods with a total of over 800 buildings in Brooklyn, Queens and the Bronx.

Advocates hail the record. In preserving New York's finest architecture, he has helped make the city a more attractive place for residents, workers and tourists alike. He has successfully preserved distinctive neighborhoods ranging from Brooklyn's Prospect Heights to Queens' Sunnyside Gardens.

But as Mr. Tierney gears up to add yet more districts in the final two years of the Bloomberg administration, he is encountering growing resistance from opponents crying enough already. In one closely watched case, they are even hoping to undo the designation of a Brooklyn district that tentatively made the list two months ago. Landlords and homeowners argue that they are harmed by Landmarks' zeal, and that it also hamstrings economic development. Some are even accusing the agency of lowering its standards of what constitutes “historic.”

“Soon, it will be easier to provide a map of the city that is not landmarked than one that is,” said Steven Spinola, president of the Real Estate Board of New York, which has objected to a number of districts on behalf of its landlord members. “The city is putting up a 'Frozen' sign on many areas and taking away future economic growth.”

Protections can come at a cost to homeowners and landlords. Buildings with a historic designation are saddled with myriad special requirements. Among them, property owners must apply to Landmarks for permits for proposed improvements and file detailed plans for any work.

Such requirements can add many hours to even the simplest job and delay projects for months, time that comes at a high cost in the city.

“It's a valid concern,” said Andrew Dolkart, director of the historic preservation program at Columbia University. “Owners have to go through another level of bureaucracy.”

Doing the right thing

However, as far as he is concerned, Landmarks is simply doing what must be done to preserve New York's irreplaceable architectural heritage.

The current debate has hit the boiling point at the edge of downtown Brooklyn. There, on Sept. 13, Landmarks gave its blessing to a 21-building Borough Hall Skyscraper Historic District, a decision that critics say is a prime example of Landmarks' slipping standards.

Like all such districts, the one pending in Brooklyn must be approved by the City Council and the mayor within 120 days. Typically, approval is a mere formality, but not in this case. REBNY, at least one big commercial landlord—SL Green Realty Corp.—and the board of a 30-story residential co-op on Livingston Street are all furiously lobbying the council to kill it.

“Folks' concerns are reasonable and understandable,” said City Councilman Stephen Levin, who represents the area and whose vote is crucial, but who has yet to tip his hand.

If the council votes the district down—or if it even votes to modify its borders—it would be the first time either has happened in more than three decades.

Opponents of the Brooklyn district argue that a number of the office buildings are far from architecturally noteworthy and that the designation will only drive up costs for landlords already struggling to find tenants for their aging properties. Vacancy rates for 32, 44 and 50 Court St. are roughly 20%, and for 16 Court St. the rate is 28%, according to brokerage Creative Real Estate Group. The figures exceed the Manhattan average of 9%.

Meanwhile co-op owners at what many call one of the prettiest and most preservation-worthy buildings in the district—75 Livingston St.—want their tower taken out of the district.

“We don't want to shoulder the burden of all the costs that come with the designation,” said Ellen Murphy, president of the co-op board, who notes that owners recently invested $6 million in restoring the building's gothic-revival facade.

To Mr. Tierney, such arguments have a familiar ring.

“Some think we're doing too much and others think we don't do enough,” said the Landmarks chair, who lives in the Greenwich Village Historic District. The Yale University graduate and former counsel to Mayor Ed Koch also said that since taking on his job he has worked to make the designation approval process more transparent and more efficient. He's a big believer in the economic value of preservation.

“Development and historic designations are complementary; they go hand in hand,” he said.

Good for values

In fact, many people point out that for all its added costs, the historic designation actually increases property values.

“All landmarking does is preserve the reasons why you bought and moved into a neighborhood in the first place,” said Paul Kerzner of the Ridgewood Property Owners & Civic Association in Queens, who is lobbying for an expansion of the historic district there.

Districts like those in Ridgewood and the Grand Concourse of the Bronx came partly in response to earlier criticisms of Landmarks as being far too Manhattan-centric. Under Mr. Tierney, 20 of the new historic districts have been in the outer boroughs.

“I was tired of hearing that landmarking was all about Manhattan,” he said.

But with more than 29,000 landmarked buildings and sites across the city, some people, including preservationists, are concerned that Landmarks may have bitten off more than it can chew.

While its staff and budget have grown since 2003 by 62% and 80%, to roughly 70 employees and $5.4 million, respectively, it remains one of the smallest city agencies.

Mr. Tierney is determined not just to press on but to respond to critics as well. This winter, the commission will roll out a website that will continue to open up the landmarking process and make it easier for building owners to navigate. For example, it will allow them to apply for permits online.


November 19th, 2011, 12:37 AM
Bringing discussion back to the Puck Building momentarily, I saw some scaffolding and what seemed like construction work on the building when I went to the Angelika Film Center last week; are they putting the cornice back on, or are they still doing other work on it?

November 19th, 2011, 01:34 AM
Landmarks Panel Rejects Second Penthouse Plan for Puck Building

November 15, 2011

PKSB Rendering of the penthouse plan for the Puck Building that was rejected Tuesday.

The Landmarks Preservation Commission has not shut the door entirely on Jared Kushner‘s plan to construct a residential penthouse atop the Puck Building (http://cityroom.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/09/02/small-subtractions-and-big-addition-at-puck-building/) at Lafayette and Houston Streets, but it told him Tuesday that he had to try a lot harder to reduce its bulk and visibility.

PKSB The first plan, rejected in October.

“It’s too tall, it’s much too visible and what you see is too aggressive,” said the architect Frederick A. Bland, one of the commission members who reviewed Mr. Kushner’s revised penthouse plan and found it wanting. On Oct. 4, the commission rejected an earlier plan, but gave Mr. Kushner the chance to return with revisions. And that’s basically how they have left matters again.

This time, they mean it: major revisions. “It’s a massive addition, perhaps not in terms of volumetric calculations, but when you look at this in terms of elevation, this is a two-story addition,” said the architect Pablo E. Vengoechea, vice chairman of the commission.

The commission’s action pleased Andrew Berman, executive director of the Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation, who said after the hearing that the Puck Building “should not be sacrificed for a wealthy developer’s passing fancy to add an enormous and unnecessarily visible penthouse addition on top.”

Penthouse additions to historical buildings frequently come before the commission. This application is noteworthy, however, because it involves an especially beloved landmark; because the developer, Mr. Kushner, is Donald J. Trump’s son-in-law; and because Mr. Kushner’s principal architect, Sherida E. Paulsen of PKSB, is a former chairwoman of the landmarks commission. The Puck Building also houses the first REI gear and equipment store in New York, which is to open in early December.

For his part, Mr. Kushner sounded undaunted. The Kushner Companies released a statement saying it would continue to work with the landmarks commission to find the right design. “The Puck is a world-class building and deserves the proper consideration before being modified,” the statement said. “We look forward to continuing the conversation.”
Puck himself may have had the last word. (“A Midsummer Night’s Dream” was almost bound to come up at the hearing.) “Gentles, do not reprehend: If you pardon, we will mend.”


LPC Bats Down Puck Building Penthouse Addition, Again

November 15, 2011, by Kelsey Keith

If at first you don't succeed with the prickly preservationists at the Landmarks Preservation Commission, try, try again, especially if you are the tenacious and wealthy Kushner Companies. Today brought the Kushners' revised proposed penthouse addition for the Puck Building to LPC, and today it was yet again rejected. Greenwich Village Society Executive Director Andrew Berman sent the following statement:

“We are gratified that the Landmarks Preservation Commission again did the right thing today by rejecting this proposal which would have irreversibly marred one of New York’s most iconic and beloved landmarks. Landmarks like the Puck Building are what make New Yorkers rightfully love their city; that should not be sacrificed for a wealthy developer’s passing fancy to add an enormous and unnecessarily visible penthouse addition on top.”

LPC, 3. Wealthy developer, 0. Update from the LPC: The commissioners did not outright reject the plan, but asked for further revisions since the two-story addition is still too visible from the street. Commissioner Frederick Bland said "what you see is too aggressive,” not recessive, and Michael Devonshire suggested "Were it to slip behind the parapets, you could expand it in any way it wanted to and would not affect this iconic building in any way."

http://ny.curbed.com/archives/2011/11/15/lpc_bats_down_puck_building_penthouse_addition_aga in.php

November 23rd, 2011, 06:36 AM
Wow :).

How Architectural Salvage Became a DIY Uptown Church

Here now, writer Benjamin Waldman returns to the pre-Landmarks Preservation Commission era to discuss how pieces of two demolished Manhattan buildings came together to make something new.


The Church of Our Lady of Lourdes, located at 467 West 142nd Street, is an architectural dumpster diver’s masterpiece. Its façade was constructed utilizing two tasty, but discarded ingredients—remnants from the demolished A. T. Stewart Mansion and National Academy Building.

The first ingredient came from A. T. Stewart’s 1870, John Kellum-designed Fifth Avenue mansion. In 1823, Alexander Turney Stewart arrived in New York City as an immigrant and by the mid-century mark was one of the wealthiest men in New York. Like any good-minded nineteenth-century mogul, Stewart poured money into a Gold Coast mansion. The Stewart Mansion, located at the corner of Thirty-Fourth Street and Fifth Avenue, lasted until 1901 when it was razed by the Knickerbocker Trust Company.

[The A.T. Stewart mansion, via the New York Public Library.]

Modeled on the Doge's Palace in Venice, the 1865 National Academy of Design Building, which is considered to be one of the greatest architectural losses in New York City, provided the second ingredient to complete this architectural recipe. Peter Bonnett Wight designed the building in a polychromic, High Victorian Gothic style. By the turn of the nineteenth-century, the Academy moved uptown, and in 1901, its building was also demolished.

[The Academy building, via the New York Public Library.]

Also in the year of our Lord 1901, the Reverend Joseph McMahon was tasked by the Roman Catholic Diocese with setting up a church in the newly designed parish of Our Lady of Lourdes.

Determined to create a more opulent structure than his budget allowed, McMahon successfully channeled his inner Martha Stewart. Employing a form of DIY architecture that was unheard of in his day, McMahon carefully mixed his two ingredients until he created an architectural gem.

The lower facade and eastern wall of the church were salvaged from the National Academy Building and the upper facade and pedestals that flank the exterior staircase were recovered from the remnants of the A. T. Stewart Mansion. The church was completed in 1904 with the assistance of the architect Cornelius O'Reilly, and was landmarked by the City in 1975.

http://ny.curbed.com/archives/2011/11/22/how_architectural_salvage_became_a_diy_uptown_chur ch.php#more

December 8th, 2011, 07:07 AM
Puck Penthouse Plan Inches Closer to Landmarks Approval

by Pete Davies


The original PKSB proposal, massive up top.

The second lyrical penthouse plan, previously rejected.

The latest rooftop addtion proposal for the Puck, seen from the north.

The new penthouse proposal, more contextual and less visible.

The PKSB rooftop additions, now planned to be nearly invisible from below,
and surrounded by new crenelations.

Yesterday at the Landmarks Preservation Commission, the team from Kushner Properties and PKSB Architects presented a third plan for their mega-penthouse proposal atop the Puck Building.

They left without an approval, but appear to be just inches from the finish line. Make that 48 inches, since a major sticking point was a snafu with the mock-up that had been hastily erected on top of the Puck, a "regrettable situation of this netting being at the wrong height" and showing an outline four feet higher than the plan on paper. The latest design, presented by PKSB's Sherida Paulsen, has been cut back in response to LPC objections to the original massive screened-in plan and the second glassy plan dubbed the "top hat." Both of those very visible proposals were turned down following previous hearings at LPC.

The new Puck plan has been revised all around, showing 8th and 9th floor additions that retain the same footprint as before, but with revised ceiling heights lowered from 12 feet to 10 feet. The all new penthouse proposal for the 10th and 11th floors, contextually wrapped in brick, has lost some square footage and dropped the ceilings to 8 feet. Also new are crenelations on the lower section of the Puck over East Houston Street, built to match the originals atop the taller south section above Jersey Street. Those added parapets, fashioned in brick and capped in faux stone, will help to hide the new additions. The Commissioners were pleased with the corseted and constrained revisions, noting that the plan is "down to the punch list" and indicating that the remaining kinks can be ironed out with the help of LPC staff.

http://ny.curbed.com/archives/2011/12/07/puck_penthouse_plan_inches_closer_to_landmarks_app roval.php#puck-penthouse-at-lpc-yet-again-again-7

December 8th, 2011, 07:18 AM
The schlongs at the LPC should not allow any additions to the Puck Building. They also ideally should not allow Thor Equities to raze 516 5th and replace it with a crappy glass box.

December 8th, 2011, 11:05 AM
The new crenelations at the parapet seem out of scale. Historic photos show that originally the roof line did have crenelations, apparently removed on the lower section when the Puck was reduced in size and the Lafayette Street facade was rebuilt when Lafayette Street was extended / widened around 1898. After that the crenelations were re-built on the upper section, but those crenelations (recently removed due to deteriorating conditions, now being re-built once again) appeared to have a lower parapet wall than the one that's going up now.

The render shows crenelations & parapet walls that appear stubby and heavy, and somewhat overpower the building. While these new crenelations might be historically accurate, it appears they are based upon a design suited for the original much more massive Puck Building, and no proper attempt has been made to re-think or re-size the crenelations so they fit in with the building as it is today. It seems the main purpose for the lower crenelations is to hide the new roof top additions.

The original Puck Building (http://daytoninmanhattan.blogspot.com/2011/01/puck-building-houston-and-lafayette.html), circa 1888 showing the NE corner at Mulberry & Houston (the two bays at the right were removed when the building was reduced in size). When it opened it was called by The New York Times “a very massive and handsome structure” (larger image (http://2.bp.blogspot.com/_3k2ilY9vkCY/TTLbmy_qSgI/AAAAAAAACMM/wUddUvm1OYM/s1600/puck+building+1888.JPG)) ...

http://2.bp.blogspot.com/_3k2ilY9vkCY/TTLbmy_qSgI/AAAAAAAACMM/wUddUvm1OYM/s640/puck+building+1888.JPG (http://2.bp.blogspot.com/_3k2ilY9vkCY/TTLbmy_qSgI/AAAAAAAACMM/wUddUvm1OYM/s1600/puck+building+1888.JPG)

The Puck Building in 1895 with the playful corner statue -- "King's Photographic View of New York" (author's collection)

The Puck, circa 1995:


The crenelations, now being rebuilt, with a taller parapet wall (to hide the rooftop plan?) ...


December 8th, 2011, 11:11 AM
As I look at the new design again, it really ticks me off.

It seems that those on the LPC are blind to design nuances, not to mention scale and what's proper. :mad:

December 8th, 2011, 12:13 PM
IMO the only thing the LPC isn't blind to are payoff's...the new crenelations are as wrong as the soon to be approved rooftop addition :mad:
If it's been landmarked it should be left alone (except for upkeep), otherwise why bother?!

December 21st, 2011, 04:38 AM
Landmarks Commission Approves Puck Building Penthouse


After three months of back-and-forth negotiating with the landlord Jared Kushner, the Landmarks Preservation Commission gave its unanimous approval on Tuesday morning to Mr. Kushner’s proposal for a residential penthouse atop the Puck Building, at Houston and Lafayette Streets.

The decision was relayed by Elisabeth de Bourbon, spokeswoman for the commission. She said the commissioners based their approval on the reductions made in the height and visibility of the penthouse since it was first presented — to a chilly reception — last September. The panel acknowledged that the Puck Building itself has evolved over time and noted that Mr. Kushner and his architect, Sherida E. Paulsen of PKSB Architects, planned to restore the parapet and crenellations of the existing building as part of the project. (Ms. Paulsen is a former chairwoman of the commission.)

“They’ve reached the target of minimalism in terms of massing,” said Michael Devonshire, an architectural conservator who sits on the commission, after seeing a presentation by the preservation consultants to Mr. Kushner’s project, Higgins Quasebarth & Partners.

Michael Goldblum, an architect on the panel, said the applicants had at last shown a “tremendous willingness to exercise modesty and restraint.”

The Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation opposed earlier incarnations of the penthouse, saying it “would have overwhelmed and fundamentally changed one of our city’s most iconic and beloved landmarks.”

The addition as currently planned is about 20 feet shorter and 1,500 square feet smaller than the first version, and is now primarily masonry rather than glass, said Andrew Berman, executive director of the preservation group. He said he was glad the commission had pushed the applicants, but added that only time would tell if the scaled-down version was “truly worthy.”

The vote determining the penthouse addition to be appropriate was 9 to 0. “All in all,” said the chairman, Robert B. Tierney, “an appropriate endeavor today.”


December 22nd, 2011, 08:04 AM
Former Home of Macy's and Mutual Reserve Building Become City Landmarks

By Jill Colvin

Mutual Reserve Building

An historic view of the Mutual Reserve Building

R.H. Macy & Co. Store on 14th Street today

Hotel Wolcott

R.H. Macy & Co. Store as it was

Macy’s former flagship store, the 117-year-old Mutual Reserve Building and the Midtown hotel where Mayor Fiorello LaGuardia held his inaugural ball have been designated Manhattan’s newest landmarks (http://www.dnainfo.com/things/landmarks-preservation-commission).

Once frequented by the likes of Henry Miller, Edith Wharton and Doris Duke, the Beaux-Arts style Hotel Wolcott, at 4 W. 31st St. has had a long and storied history, including serving host to the former mayor’s second inaugural ball in 1938, the Landmarks Preservation Commission said.

Two decades later in the fall of 1958, Buddy Holly and the Everly Brothers stayed at the Wolcott while recording at the Beltone Studios, which were also housed in the building. According to the hotel's site, 'Stay Close To Me' and 'Don't Cha Know' were both recorded during the session, with Holly on guitar.

In addition to its well-heeled clientele, the 12-story building also features a unique pink brick and limestone façade and was designed by architect John Duncan, the man behind the General Ulysses S. Grant National Memorial and the Soldiers' and Sailors' Memorial Arch in Brooklyn’s Grand Army Plaza in Brooklyn.

“It’s as eye-catching today as it was when it opened 107 years ago,” LPC Chairman Robert Tierney said in a statement following a unanimous vote approving its induction.

Father south, the LPC also voted to landmark part of the former R.H. Macy’s department store near the corner of Sixth Avenue and West 14th St.

The tall, slender Beaux-Arts style building, dating back to 1897, was part of the retail giant's final expansion before it moved to its current home on West 34th Street back in 1902, the LPC said.
The building was also where the retailer, founded by Rowland H. Macy, grew famous for a series of innovative retail strategies, including offering money-back guarantees.

“The annex provides a tangible link to the original site of Macy’s, the department store that is practically synonymous with New York City,” Tierney said of the building, which has since served as the home of the parent company of Christmas light manufacturer Noma Lites, Inc., as well as lingerie, sportswear and jewelry shops.

Finally, TriBeCa's newest landmark is the 117-year-old Mutual Reserve Building at 305 Broadway, at the corner of Duane Street.

The 13-story building, designed by William H. Hume, was one of the first in the city to use a steel cage-frame structure, an early version of the skyscraper.

Originally built as offices for the Mutual Reserve Fund Life Association, an insurance company, the building has had many tenants over the years, including the Landmarks Preservation Commission from 1967 to 1980, the LPC said.

"This robust building retains a formidable corner presence, and recalls the period when several other insurance companies had their headquarters on this part of Broadway," Tierney said.
Each of the three buildings was identified by the commission during a comprehensive survey of nearly 23,000 properties city-wide.


December 22nd, 2011, 10:51 AM
This new landmark is the site of the original Duane Reade pharmacy at the corner of Duane & Reade Streets on Broadway (hopefully they'll soon upgrade the lousy looking storefront here, which is also next door to Pamela Geller's least favorite NYC landmark (http://atlasshrugs2000.typepad.com/atlas_shrugs/2010/07/community-board-passes-resolution-opposed-to-landmarking-ground-zero-mega-mosque-site.html) at 311 Broadway, where the tacky storefront also needs attention) ...

Mutual Reserve Building

An historic view of the Mutual Reserve Building

... Finally, TriBeCa's newest landmark is the 117-year-old Mutual Reserve Building at 305 Broadway, at the corner of Duane Street.

The 13-story building, designed by William H. Hume, was one of the first in the city to use a steel cage-frame structure, an early version of the skyscraper.

Originally built as offices for the Mutual Reserve Fund Life Association, an insurance company, the building has had many tenants over the years, including the Landmarks Preservation Commission from 1967 to 1980, the LPC said.

"This robust building retains a formidable corner presence, and recalls the period when several other insurance companies had their headquarters on this part of Broadway," Tierney said.

December 29th, 2011, 10:04 PM
Just landmark the historic buildings individually :)?

Brooklyn Towers, and a Debate Over Preservation

(photos by David W. Dunlap/New York Times)

85-year-old former Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce Building at 75 Livingston Street

Detail of 75 Livingston Street

175 Remsen Street, designed by Philip Birnbaum

Temple Bar Building at 44 Court Street was designed by George L, Morse in 1899

A course of decorative lions' heads ornaments the base of 44 Court Street.

Former Lawyers Mortgage Company at 186 Montague Street

A new facade was installed in 2006 on the second through fourth floors at 200 Montague Street

125-year-old Franklin Building at 186 Remsen Street

Over the cupola of Borough Hall are 26 Court Street (green roof) and 16 Court Street (tan brick)

An overall view of the district from the south, looking up Court Street to 75 Livingston Street.

From the vantage, say, of Court and Joralemon Streets, Brooklyn feels like the big city it is. This is Downtown, with an upper-case D: tall buildings, crowded sidewalks, public monuments, intersecting lives — seasoned with urgency and purpose.
The Landmarks Preservation Commission thinks there is a historic district here; the Borough Hall Skyscraper Historic District, in fact, which the commission called “the civic, cultural and commercial heart of Brooklyn for more than a century and a half,” when it designated the five-block area on Sept. 13. [The 57-page designation report, as a PDF (http://home2.nyc.gov/html/lpc/downloads/pdf/reports/2449.pdf) file.]

Others, including the co-op board at 75 Livingston Street, which is arguably the most distinctive tower in the district, believe the commission has gone too far. They have appealed for relief to the City Council, which has until mid-February to uphold, modify or overturn the district designation. A hearing two weeks ago before the Subcommittee on Landmarks, Public Siting and Maritime Uses lasted more than three hours.

“We rarely have something this contentious,” said Councilman Brad Lander of Brooklyn, who heads the subcommittee. Though it is unusual for the Council to override the landmarks commission, Mr. Lander said on Tuesday, “I’m not sure where we will land.”

The Court and Remsen Building at 26 Court Street (1926)

As drawn by the commission, the district runs along the west side of Court Street, between Livingston and Montague Streets, with one to four buildings on each side street. It also encompasses Brooklyn Borough Hall and the Brooklyn Municipal Building.

In its report, the commission said these 21 buildings “remain significant for their historic importance as the heart of Brooklyn’s downtown office district, as notable examples of the skyscraper and tall office building typologies and for their continuing existence in a neighborhood that has undergone radical changes.”

A textbook on early office tower development could be compiled from this little district alone, beginning with the robustly Romanesque 6-story Franklin Building (completed in 1887) at 186 Remsen Street; then the 13-story Temple Bar Building (1901) at 44 Court Street, at one time the tallest in Brooklyn, whose Beaux-Arts twin copper cupolas are still a distinctive presence downtown; and culminating in the exuberant 30-story former Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce Building (1928) at 75 Livingston Street, a tapering tower whose surprising Art Deco and neo-Gothic touches give it a visual interest “equal to that of any skyscraper in Greater New York,” the commission said.

Adding interest is the fact that this was the first large-scale commission for the architect Abraham J. Simberg (1892-1981), who had immigrated from Ukraine and had previously designed small apartment houses on Ocean Parkway and elsewhere in Brooklyn.

Given its inherent quality and the evident care that has gone into its maintenance in recent decades, 75 Livingston Street would seem to be the most obvious building in the district for designation.

But the co-op board argues that its careful stewardship of the building ought to exempt it from designation and the imposition of a regulatory regimen that could only increase costs.

Detail at 75 Livingston Street

“We’ve spent a lot of money in trying to voluntarily comply with the spirit of landmarking,” said Ellen Murphy, the president of the board. She told Mr. Lander’s subcommittee that the board had already invested more than $6 million to restore the exterior after prior neglect stretching back 50 years and that the total of special assessments had averaged $62,000 for each apartment.

“We don’t feel we’re getting any real recognition for what we’ve done over 25 years,” Ms. Murphy said in a subsequent telephone interview. “Voluntary compliance doesn’t get you a ‘thank you’ from the city, it gets you a surcharge.”

But the commission is concerned about the future, as well as the past. “We recognize and very much appreciate that the current board is an excellent steward of its remarkable building,” said Elisabeth de Bourbon, a spokeswoman for the commission, “but there’s no guarantee its successors will be as conscientious and preservation-minded.”

Councilman Lander acknowledged the conundrum. “The co-op board of that building is committed to its preservation,” he said. “There’s broad agreement that it’s worth preserving. The question is — what are the right tools to do it?”

The Real Estate Board of New York has urged the Council to overturn the district entirely, citing — among other objections — the inclusion of buildings like 200 Montague Street, which was completed in 1960 and “dramatically altered” in 2006 with a new facade. “There is absolutely no public purpose in landmarking buildings of this nature,” the board said in a statement.

Owners took differing tacks at the hearing. Mr. Lander said his favorite moment was when a representative of 16 Court Street asked the Council to carve it out of the district. When he inquired about the rationale, he was told that the building next door, 26 Court Street, was sufficiently similar in size and style that the Council needed to uphold the designation of only one.


January 7th, 2012, 02:49 AM
My favourite is 20 Exchange Place.


Anyone else?

Choose One Skyscraper Above Them All

by Dave Hogarty

NY Landmarks Conservancy Facebook gallery (https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10150480085182933.374607.134307742932&type=1)

What is New York's greatest skyscraper, or your favorite? That's a question the New York Landmarks Conservancy is asking. Vote in the Conservancy's online poll (http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/J8266QM) or nominate your own submission.

1 Hanson Place (Williamsburgh Savings Bank Tower): Built in 1927 is among the tallest four-sided clock towers in the world.
15 Park Row: The world’s tallest office building from 1899 to 1908.
40 Wall Street (Bank of Manhattan): The tallest mid-block building in the City.
American Radiator Building (Bryant Park Hotel): Modern Gothic/Art Deco tour de force, perhaps the world’s only monumental structure clad in black and gold brick.
Chrysler Building: An Art Deco wonder, the world’s tallest steel supported, brick building.
Empire State Building: Designed in the distinctive Art Deco style, it stood as the world's tallest building for 40 years (1931 - 1972).
Flatiron Building: Upon completion in 1902, it was the only skyscraper north of 14th St.
GE Building (570 Lexington Avenue): This 50-floor skyscraper was originally known as the RCA Victor Building when designed in 1931 by John W. Cross of Cross and Cross.
Lever House: Completed in 1952, it was the first curtain wall skyscraper in New York.
Master Apartments: Corbett’s Art Deco masterwork at 310 Riverside Drive.
MetLife Tower: Modeled after the Campanile in Venice, Italy.
Woolworth Building: In the neo-Gothic style by legendary architect Cass Gilbert.


January 9th, 2012, 11:25 AM
20 Exchange was my write-in as well :)

January 9th, 2012, 12:29 PM
Here's some more 20 Exchange porn for you. I love 1 Wall Street and from the list, Lever House.

http://farm7.staticflickr.com/6070/6022985454_2da7fd1277_b.jpg (http://www.flickr.com/photos/7799907@N05/6022985454/)

http://farm7.staticflickr.com/6128/6025104543_4cb0d3a1c6_b.jpg (http://www.flickr.com/photos/7799907@N05/6025104543/)

January 9th, 2012, 01:37 PM
Why isn't the great American International Building (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/American_International_Building) / Cities Service Company Building on the list?


January 9th, 2012, 02:34 PM
exactly... I wrote it in when I voted;)

January 9th, 2012, 02:59 PM
Another nice tower. I like the Equitable Building too. More buildings need lion heads all over them.

January 10th, 2012, 02:28 AM
Here's some more 20 Exchange porn for you.

Thanks, Roldan :). You could've photoshopped the "Mustard" out, though LOL!

January 10th, 2012, 02:33 AM
Why isn't the great American International Building (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/American_International_Building) / Cities Service Company Building on the list?

I agree. Also, the Rockefeller Center.

As much as I love the Master Apartments, it hardly qualifies as a skyscraper, but it's good to see that there are several Art Deco beauties on the list.

January 11th, 2012, 10:37 PM
Historic Districts Council Releases List of "Six to Celebrate" Nabe's, The Results May Surprise You

by Bilal Khan

Photos via Curbed Flickr pool / H.L.I.T. (http://www.flickr.com/photos/29311691@N05/4820228038/) / New York Big Apple Images (http://www.flickr.com/photos/mateox/5744497765/) / H.L.I.T. (http://www.flickr.com/photos/29311691@N05/5066266132/)

Like most, we're fans of the Historic Districts Council, whose tireless work in preservation checks this development-happy city from razing some of its historic landmarks. Imagine our glee when we received their "Six to Celebrate" list, celebrating areas "chosen from applications submitted by neighborhood groups around the city on the basis of the architectural and historic merit of the area, the level of threat to the neighborhood, strength and willingness of the local advocates, and where HDC's citywide preservation perspective and assistance could be the most meaningful."

The list is pretty outer borough heavy, with two from Brooklyn, two from the Bronx, one from Queens and a single Manhattan area. So, without further ado... Let's start off in the Bronx, where Port Morris in the South Bronx is turning ferry gantries into a waterside recreation area and park. It's joined by leafy Van Cortlandt Village in Kingsbridge Heights, where the presence of Fort Independence is pushing history buffs to try to bring more attention to the area.

From Brooklyn there's architecturally diverse Bay Ridge (http://ny.curbed.com/tags/bay-ridge) and newly hipster-drawing Victorian Flatbush (http://ny.curbed.com/tags/victorian-flatbush), where an increasing amount of people are ditching the Slope for historic Victorian homes. And who could forget Queens? Straight from Hipster Summer Paradise, aka the Rockaways (http://ny.curbed.com/tags/rockaways), are the Far Rockaway Beachside Bungalows, which are about 100 bungalows built between 1918 and 1921 right off the boardwalk. And what is the one and only Manhattan neighborhood on the list?

Morningside Heights (http://ny.curbed.com/tags/morningside-heights-historic-district) gets chosen for its stunning row-houses, pre-war apartment houses and a not-too friendly academic neighbor which makes every neighborhood group in its path shiver in their boots.

http://ny.curbed.com/archives/2012/01/11/historic_districts_council_releases_list_of_six_to _celebrate_nabes_the_results_may_surprise_you.php# more

January 18th, 2012, 05:02 AM
Landmarked!: E. Village Block First Since 1969; Hours Too Late

by Dave Hogarty


East 10th Street between Avenues A and B received landmark status from the Landmarks Preservation Commission today during an emergency public hearing, but it was just hours too late to preserve one 1847 building. The LPC voted unanimously to create the East 10th Street Historic District, which is comprised of 26 buildings constructed during the mid-19th and early 20th centuries.

The emergency meeting of the LPC and the unanimous vote were prompted by the filing of construction permits by property owner Ben Shaoul, who wanted to build on top of 315 East 10th Street—an addition to an 1847 building that preservationists feared would significantly alter the nature of the entire block. While the LPC moved quickly to prevent Shaoul from altering the building, the good mood among preservationists after the LPC's affirmative vote dimmed when it was learned that theDOB issued the developer his construction permits this morning, just hours before the LPC hearing and vote.

"The Department of Buildings is required to adhere to its own regulatory timeframes, and a DOB permit was issued prior to the Landmarks Commission's vote today. Nonetheless, I believe the work will not compromise the integrity of the district," said Commission Chairman Robert B. Tierney.

According to LPC Director of Communications Elisabeth Bourbon, attorneys for Mr. Shaoul contacted the LPC to request a meeting between their client and the commission to discuss suggestions for the design of the one-story addition, and said that he is willing to work with LPC staff as he moves ahead on his grandfathered permit.

After Threat Spotted by GVSHP, East Village Landmarking to Move Ahead (http://www.gvshp.org/_gvshp/preservation/east_village/ev-12-27-11.htm) [GVSHP]

http://ny.curbed.com/archives/2012/01/17/landmarked_e_village_block_first_since_1969_hours_ too_late.php

January 19th, 2012, 11:59 AM
Bring on the gentrification! Or... continue the gentrification!

January 19th, 2012, 03:36 PM

Mr. Shaoul's permit is grandfathered in so he has a free option, but not the obligation, to construct the addition. If someone were to pay him a sufficient sum of money, I'm sure he would forego the marginal increase in rental income. So the question is, how badly do the preservationists want to preserve this?

BTW, here's an article on Shaoul. Impressive guy, only 30 years old and already a huge portfolio of 1000 units::

January 20th, 2012, 05:40 PM
I am extremely pro-preservation, but I doubt a one-story addition to a single building is going to ruin the historic character of that neighborhood. He is not tearing anything down. I am guessing he will just add one of those stupid glass tops which you see popping up on on buildings all over town.

January 20th, 2012, 06:12 PM
^^ +1

January 20th, 2012, 07:54 PM
I am guessing he will just add one of those stupid glass tops which you see popping up on on buildings all over town.

Methinks you guess wrong.

Young Ben Shaoul (aka the Boy Emperor or Master Evictor (http://ny.curbed.com/archives/2008/02/06/lessons_from_the_boy_emperor.php) -- and a Curbed favorite (http://ny.curbed.com/tags/ben-shaoul)) showed his artistic side when he put this addition atop a similar building nearby on East 6th Street (where his work garnered him an Order from the BSA (http://ny.curbed.com/archives/2010/08/04/city_orders_east_village_tumor_building_to_get_sho rter.php) commanding that his illegal PH portion be torn off) ...


February 10th, 2012, 07:31 AM
Vornado Kisses, Makes Up at 510 Fifth: Bertoia Moving Back!

by Pete Davies


(http://cdn.cstatic.net/images/gridfs/4f32ffc785216d161802143c/2012_02_510Fifth_BertoiaScreen2_EzraStoller.jpg) http://cdn.cstatic.net/images/gridfs/4f32ffc985216d1618021449/2012_02_510FifthBertoia_02.jpg (http://cdn.cstatic.net/images/gridfs/4f32ffc885216d1618021446/2012_02_510FifthBertoia_02.jpg) http://cdn.cstatic.net/images/gridfs/4f32ffcc85216d161802145d/2012_02_510FifthBertoia_03.jpg (http://cdn.cstatic.net/images/gridfs/4f32ffcb85216d161802145a/2012_02_510FifthBertoia_03.jpg) http://cdn.cstatic.net/images/gridfs/4f32ffd685216d1618021499/2012_02_510Fifth_BertoiaCloud1_EzraStoller.jpg (http://cdn.cstatic.net/images/gridfs/4f32ffd585216d1618021496/2012_02_510Fifth_BertoiaCloud1_EzraStoller.jpg) http://cdn.cstatic.net/images/gridfs/4f334a8185216d3a9e1b0913/2012_02_510FifthGranite_2.jpg (http://cdn.cstatic.net/images/gridfs/4f334a8085216d3a9e1b0910/2012_02_510FifthGranite_2.jpg) http://cdn.cstatic.net/images/gridfs/4f334a8285216d3a9e1b091d/2012_02_510FifthGranite_1.jpg (http://cdn.cstatic.net/images/gridfs/4f334a8285216d3a9e1b091a/2012_02_510FifthGranite_1.jpg) http://cdn.cstatic.net/images/gridfs/4f32ffd185216d161802147b/2012_02_510FifthBertoia_06.jpg (http://cdn.cstatic.net/images/gridfs/4f32ffd085216d1618021478/2012_02_510FifthBertoia_06.jpg) http://cdn.cstatic.net/images/gridfs/4f32ffce85216d1618021467/2012_02_510FifthBertoia_04.jpg (http://cdn.cstatic.net/images/gridfs/4f32ffcd85216d1618021464/2012_02_510FifthBertoia_04.jpg) http://cdn.cstatic.net/images/gridfs/4f32ffcf85216d1618021471/2012_02_510FifthBertoia_05.jpg (http://cdn.cstatic.net/images/gridfs/4f32ffcf85216d161802146e/2012_02_510FifthBertoia_05.jpg) http://cdn.cstatic.net/images/gridfs/4f32ffd485216d161802148f/2012_02_510FifthBertoia_01.jpg (http://cdn.cstatic.net/images/gridfs/4f32ffd485216d161802148c/2012_02_510FifthBertoia_01.jpg)
(click to enlarge)

The long legal stand-off between Vornado Realty and the preservation crew working to protect the landmarked Manufacturers Hanover Trust building at 510 Fifth Avenue was finally settled this week, just in time for Valentine's Day. We don't know all the dirty details, but the Times calls the occasion a win for preservation, and a press release from the Coalition to Save MHT adds more intel. The agreement makes possible the return of two Harry Bertoia sculptures to their original home. Both the "Golden Arbor," a six-ton screen in copper, nickel and brass that ran 70 feet across the west wall of the mezzanine, and a mobile representing a cloud, originally floating above the escalators, will be re-installed at "approximately their original locations" within the building. Vornado got the cooperation of JP Morgan Chase, former owner of 510 Fifth and holder of the Bertoia sculptures, for the move.

Another winning point for preservation is the return of salvaged black granite, originally part of the bank's massive wall encasing the huge Mosler vault. All that now remains of that wall is the ginormous circular steel and bronze door that faces Fifth Avenue, so where the salvaged granite will be re-installed remains a mystery. Vornado has also agreed that no additions will be constructed atop the 1954 SOM / Gordon Bunshaft building, a provision that applies to all future owners.

But the settlement of the suit—in which preservationists argued that Vornado's alterations put in danger the recently-landmarked interior of the building—won't satisfy everyone. Vornado will continue to reshape the space for retail tenant Joe Fresh, planning to open this summer, and the signature scissor escalators that were ripped out last summer won't be replaced in their original configuration. The ground floor will still be divided as Vornado insisted, compromising a space that offered a "special fascination" to Ada Louise Huxtable, who clearly found love at 510 Fifth Avenue back in 1954 when she wrote, "The whole, viewed from the outside, is no longer architecture in the traditional sense; it is a design, not a substance, of color, light and motion."

Preservationists Win a Battle Over Former Manufacturers Hanover Trust Building (http://artsbeat.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/02/08/preservationists-win-a-battle-over-former-manufacturers-hanover-trust-building/) [NYT]

http://ny.curbed.com/archives/2012/02/09/vornado_kisses_makes_up_at_510_fifth_bertoia_movin g_back.php

February 17th, 2012, 01:23 AM
Way too late :mad:.

For a Harlem Landmark, Last Legs or First Steps?







(photos by David Dunlap)

It’s possible that the old Mount Morris Bank Building at Park Avenue and 125th Street has never looked sorrier. And that’s saying a lot, since the abandoned building — an official city landmark — has been in a downward spiral for four decades, including the demolition of its upper floors (http://cityroom.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/10/05/harlem-landmark-may-lose-two-floors/) in 2009 before they collapsed on their own.

But it’s also possible that its decline has ended. At least, that’s what officials of the Landmarks Preservation Commission and the Economic Development Corporation hope, as plans are prepared under which Artimus, a development and construction concern, is to build a new six-floor structure that would rise from the existing monumental base — as impressive a ruin as New York can conjure — which would be preserved and rehabilitated.

Animation + Images A 2002 rehabilitation
plan by Danois Architects was never realized.

The building would have 31,000 square feet of space, divided between retail (9,000 square feet) and office (22,000 square feet); nearly 1,000 square feet more than in the original structure. The $16 million project is to be undertaken by 125th Street Equities, an affiliate of Artimus, of which Eytan Benyamin, Robert Ezrapour, Ken Haron and Yoav Haron are principals. It is being designed by Danois Architects, which worked on an unrealized rehabilitation plan 10 years ago.

“One of the reasons that we selected Artimus is because of their extensive development experience in New York City in general and Upper Manhattan in particular,” Patrick Muncie, a spokesman for the Economic Development Corporation, said in an e-mail. “Artimus has also successfully completed many city-sponsored projects and has demonstrated experience in working in conjunction with local nonprofits and governmental institutions, city agencies, subcontractors and community groups.”

Among the projects with which Artimus or its principals have been involved are Cathedral Gardens, a combination dormitory and apartment building at 352 West 110th Street; Fifth on the Park, a 28-story apartment tower at Fifth Avenue and 119th Street; Susan’s Court and Manhattan Court, nearly identical 125-apartment and 123-apartment buildings on Manhattan Avenue, between 118th and 120th Streets; and Soha 118, a 91-unit condominium at 301 West 118th Street. (In 2009, Barry Gurvitch, then the chief executive, was charged with falsifying construction-related test data. That case was dismissed four months later. He is now chief architectural officer at Artimus.)

Ethel Bates in 1999, when she planned to convert the ruined building into a culinary school.


February 17th, 2012, 01:42 AM
I passed the Bank building last Sunday; it sad that its been left to rot that way. I hope that this plan come to fruition although I highly doubt it. I've been wrong before though :).

March 30th, 2012, 08:19 AM
Four New (Very Old) Landmarks



David W. Dunlap/The New York Times

David W. Dunlap/The New York Times

David W. Dunlap/The New York Times

On Tuesday, the Landmarks Preservation Commission (http://topics.nytimes.com/top/reference/timestopics/organizations/l/landmarks_preservation_commission/index.html) designated three abutting row houses from the early 1800s on Dominick Street, between Hudson and Varick Streets, and another house from the same era — now the Anchor (http://theanchornyc.com/) nightclub — at 310 Spring Street, between Greenwich and Renwick Streets.

Only one of them, 32 Dominick Street, might ordinarily warrant a second glance. It still looks very much like a Federal-style house: two and a half stories high, with a steeply pitched roof and two stout dormers. A more discerning eye is needed to imagine the other three structures as cozy brick homes for a city that was just beginning to burst forth from the tip of Manhattan.

Though they retain distinctive Flemish-bond brickwork courses — short, long, short, long — they were each increased to three full stories in the decades after they were first constructed. And the two on Dominick Street, No. 34 and No. 36, were given Italianate cornices and other embellishments after the Civil War.

Nonetheless, Robert B. Tierney, the chairman of the landmarks commission, said in a statement: “These four rare, Federal-era buildings are significant reminders of the beginning of New York City’s evolution into a major urban center.” [The news release as a PDF (http://www.nyc.gov/html/lpc/downloads/pdf/1203_four_federal_houses_landmarked.pdf).]

New York’s booming economy was by no means benign in every respect. As the commission noted in its designation report on 310 Spring Street, “Much of the city’s growth during this period was fueled by trade with Southern cities in goods produced by American slaves, especially cotton.” Capt. Dennison Wood, who lived at No. 310, profited from the trade as the owner and skipper of ships that sailed between New York and Savannah, Ga., in the 1830s.

Landmark designation, which is subject to ratification by the City Council, restricts what changes owners may make to the exteriors of their properties, imposing what many owners consider to be expensive and excessive regulation. In the case of 34 Dominick Street, the owner, Robert Neborak, said designation would force him to “bear the entire financial brunt” of caring for a property that did not warrant landmark status in the first place. “Thirty-four Dominick Street is not a notable architectural example of anything other than a well-maintained old building,” he said in testimony prepared for the commission.

The owner of 36 Dominick Street also registered opposition to designation. The owner of 310 Spring Street took no public position, according to the commission. And there was no testimony from the owner of 32 Dominick Street, which served for 95 years as the rectory of Our Lady of Vilnius Roman Catholic Church, a Lithuanian parish. The Roman Catholic Archdiocese of New York closed the church in 2007.

The commission originally considered 38 Dominick Street, a position that was supported by several private preservationist groups and opposed by the owners, but concluded that the facade had been too greatly altered to warrant landmark status.

David W. Dunlap/The New York Times Early 19th-century row houses at
32 through 38 Dominick Street. The first three houses (Nos. 32, 34 and 36)
were designated landmarks on Tuesday. The gray house was not.


March 30th, 2012, 10:06 PM
At 510 Fifth Avenue, a Landmark with a Fresh Look

by Pete Davies


(http://cdn.cstatic.net/images/gridfs/4f74e87d85216d756a1ed24a/120329_510Fifth_11.jpg) http://cdn.cstatic.net/images/gridfs/4f74f07085216d09c0011ca6/120329_510Fifth_92.jpg (http://cdn.cstatic.net/images/gridfs/4f74f07085216d09c0011ca3/120329_510Fifth_92.jpg) http://cdn.cstatic.net/images/gridfs/4f74f07185216d09c0011cb4/120329_510Fifth_91.jpg (http://cdn.cstatic.net/images/gridfs/4f74f07185216d09c0011cb1/120329_510Fifth_91.jpg) http://cdn.cstatic.net/images/gridfs/4f751a0485216d756a2bb63b/120329_510Fifth_98.jpg (http://cdn.cstatic.net/images/gridfs/4f751a0485216d756a2bb638/120329_510Fifth_98.jpg) http://cdn.cstatic.net/images/gridfs/4f74e86b85216d756a1ed1df/120329_510Fifth_35.jpg (http://cdn.cstatic.net/images/gridfs/4f74e86a85216d756a1ed1dc/120329_510Fifth_35.jpg) http://cdn.cstatic.net/images/gridfs/4f74e86c85216d756a1ed1e9/120329_510Fifth_34.jpg (http://cdn.cstatic.net/images/gridfs/4f74e86c85216d756a1ed1e6/120329_510Fifth_34.jpg)

(see article (http://ny.curbed.com/archives/2012/03/30/at_510_fifth_avenue_a_landmark_with_a_fresh_look.p hp#more)for more pics)

Change can be rough, and that's certainly been the case for 510 Fifth Avenue, the landmarked Manufacturers Trust Company Building (http://ny.curbed.com/tags/510-fifth-avenue), now sporting a new look from owner Steve Roth of Vornado Realty and his architectural team at SOM. With permission granted by the Landmarks Preservation Commission, they've reshaped the 1954 modernist masterpiece for Canadian retailer Joe Fresh. As with any remodel, and even more so when it involves minimalism, the devil is in the details. Now that the landmarked interior has been redone and the store is finally open for shopping, folks will be able to take a look at old Manny Hanny and judge for themselves.

When the original Gordon Bunshaft interior was landmarked early last year, the event was seen as a celebration of New York's modernist heritage, but that quickly devolved into a saga of revised plans (http://ny.curbed.com/archives/2011/04/20/third_times_the_charm_for_vornados_revised_510_fif th.php) and lengthy lawsuits (http://ny.curbed.com/archives/2011/07/14/judge_orders_vornado_to_stop_at_landmarked_510_fif th_avenue.php). One positive outcome of that legal wrangle was the promised return of the building's Harry Bertoia sculptural screen, which had been removed when the property changed hands a few months earlier. In a notable rant (http://ny.curbed.com/archives/2010/11/04/rants.php), architectural critic Ada Louise Huxtable labeled that act "a perverse form of preservation."

After the lawsuit was settled (http://ny.curbed.com/archives/2012/02/09/vornado_kisses_makes_up_at_510_fifth_bertoia_movin g_back.php), the preservationists thought their prayers had been answered. The original Bertoia is back home in all its metallic glory, with Vornado's proposed replacement (http://www.flickr.com/photos/curbed/5521446534/in/set-72157626252908096/), a knock off in aluminum, nowhere to be seen. But Bertoia's hidden behind the new beefy steel 'n' glass elevator and, preservationist Michael Gotkin noted after seeing the new set up, "We're very pleased the the sculpture is back, but the many details carefully crafted by Bunshaft and Bertoia are now lost in a morass of merchandise." Mayor Bloomberg seems to think otherwise, declaring at the opening festivities that Joe Fresh is "the greatest Canadian import since Justin Bieber." So the two sides will have to agree to disagree, it seems.

What else is fresh and new at 510 Fifth? The formerly open interior space has been chopped in half, and the signature escalator moved aside and minimized. To make way for adaptive retail re-use, new doorways have been punched into the glass facade along Fifth Avenue. That entry reconfiguration required a whole new set of stairs and a rampway, a re-design that was barely mentioned at the public hearing before the LPC. The iconic Mosler vault door facing onto Fifth Avenue now stands alone, its black granite wall moved south and marked only by a big stripe across the floor, all to make way for a second retail space, empty and available for rent. The new Joe Fresh flagship takes up the other half of the first floor and all of the second level mezzanine.

http://ny.curbed.com/archives/2012/03/30/at_510_fifth_avenue_a_landmark_with_a_fresh_look.p hp#more

April 2nd, 2012, 06:55 AM
Yorkville Looks to Landmark a Piece of its German Immigrant History

By Amy Zimmer





YORKVILLE — Before the stately Italian Renaissance Revival building at the corner of Third Avenue and East 85th Street housed a Gap and an Equinox gym, it served for more than 85 years as Yorkville's banking center.
Now this structure at 1511 Third Ave. — currently under renovation by its owner, the Related Companies — is a candidate for possible historic status granted by the Landmarks Preservation Commission, not only for its architectural integrity but also for its connection to the area's once-thriving German immigrant community.

It was built in 1905 for the Yorkville Bank, whose shareholders were largely German or of German descent and designed by Robert Maynicke, a German-born architect who trained at Cooper Union. The four-story granite, limestone, brick and terracotta building has been left largely preserved over the years, along with its massive sculpted bronze entrance doors.

The Friends of the Upper East Side Historic Districts called the building a "powerful symbol of the German-American community that once densely populated the Yorkville neighborhood and has now lost prominence," in testimony submitted to the LPC at a hearing Tuesday.

There are few New York City landmarks that reflect this immigrant history of the Upper East Side, according to the Friends group, which is undertaking a large-scale survey of important remnants from that ethnic community — which largely disbanded in the second half of the 20th century — from Lexington Avenue to the East River from East 59th to 96th streets.

The group also has a program teaching kids in first through fifth grades about the area's immigrant past, taking them on walking tours to notable sites such as the 75-year-old German butcher Schaller & Weber.

"The Yorkville Bank Building is a prime example of the graceful architecture that was designed, constructed, owned and frequented by German-Americans,” according to the Friends group. “[It] is one of the rare, fully-intact survivors in a neighborhood marked by unsympathetic alterations and characterless new construction."
Lo van der Valk, president of Carnegie Hill Neighbors, said he would always walk by the building and wonder why it wasn’t already landmarked.

“Those doors are incredible,” he said. “They are an asset to the Upper East Side.”

Upper East Side resident Ronda Wist, a former executive director of the LPC, nominated the building for historic status, Landmarks officials said.

A spokeswoman for Related said the developer supported landmarking the building.

A man, who was working on the structure's renovation and declined to give his name, said the building was getting new windows, a ramp to make its East 85th Street entrance handicap accessible and new doors — but only on the interior. The exterior bronze doors would remain, he said, noting their beauty.

“You can’t salvage everything in New York,” he said, “but you can salvage something like this.”


April 17th, 2012, 10:18 PM
April 17, 2012, 6:38 pm

Park Slope Historic District Now City’s Biggest


Ninth Street between Seventh and Eighth Avenues in Park Slope, part of a newly expanded historic district.

Park Slope, already home to the biggest historic district in Brooklyn, now contains the largest contiguous swath of protected buildings in the entire city.

The city’s Landmarks Preservation Commission approved a 600-property extension to the Park Slope Historic District on Tuesday, creating an unbroken stretch of 2,575 buildings — more than the historic districts in Greenwich Village (2,315 buildings) and the Upper West Side (2,020 buildings).

The Park Slope Historic District Extension (see map (http://www.nyc.gov/html/lpc/downloads/pdf/maps/ParkSlope_Extension_HEARD_map.pdf) and boundary description (http://www.nyc.gov/html/lpc/downloads/pdf/sig/parkslope_boundary_hearing.pdf) — pdfs) includes all or part of about 40 blocks in the southeast corner of the neighborhood, most of them along Seventh and Eighth Avenues between Seventh and 15th Streets. Two pieces of the extension border Prospect Park.

The buildings — most of them row houses — in the extension were mostly completed by 1910. The most numerous are in the “neo-Grec” style, though there are many other styles represented.

“The extension retains a remarkable degree of cohesion because of its architectural integrity and diversity of 19th- and early-20th-century architectural styles,” the commission’s chairman, Robert B. Tierney, said in a statement. “These extraordinary characteristics set it apart from every other neighborhood in New York City, giving it a special sense of place.”

The original historic district (see map — pdf) (http://www.nyc.gov/html/lpc/downloads/pdf/maps/parkslope102009.pdf), established in 1973, runs along the park and spreads west to Sixth Avenue at the north end of the neighborhood.

A separate measure to extend the historic district (http://www.brooklynpaper.com/stories/35/7/dtg_northslope_2012_02_17_bk.html) north to Flatbush Avenue, near the Atlantic Yards project, is being pushed by preservationists and some elected officials.

The commission also bestowed landmark status on Tuesday on the Barbizon Hotel for Women, a stepped-back, 23-story building on East 63rd Street in Manhattan that was home over the years to, among others, Eudora Welty, Joan Didion, Gene Tierney and Grace Kelly. It is now a condo complex known as Barbizon/63.

© 2012 The New York Times Company


April 21st, 2012, 04:41 AM
Former Barbizon Hotel for Famous Single Ladies Wins Landmark Status

By Amy Zimmer




more information and pics (http://daytoninmanhattan.blogspot.com.au/2012/02/1927-barbizon-hotel-for-women-140-east.html) at Daytonian in Manhattan blog

MANHATTAN — The former Barbizon Hotel (http://www.dnainfo.com/places/barbizon-hotel) for Women is the Upper East Side's newest landmark.

The 23-story tower at 140 E. 63rd St., built in 1928 as a residence for single women looking to work in the Big Apple, was awarded historic status by the Landmark Preservation Commission on Tuesday.

The Barbizon was a glamorous home for aspiring models and actresses (http://www.dnainfo.com/20110727/upper-east-side/campaigners-argue-for-hotel-barbizon-become-landmark) like Grace Kelly, Liza Minnelli, Ali MacGraw and Candace Bergen before they were stars.

In the 1930s, its residents included actress Gene Tierney, writer Eudora Welty and Margaret Tobin Brown, a survivor of the Titanic whose story inspired the Broadway musical, "The Unsinkable Molly Brown."

Musical comedy legend Elaine Stritch and future first lady Nancy Davis Reagan stayed there in the 1940s, when the Ford Modeling Agency began housing its models in the hotel. Writers Joan Didion and Gael Greene and the designer Betsey Johnson stayed there in the 1960s and 1970s when they were college interns for Mademoiselle magazine.

The hotel was seen as a safe haven for women starting out in New York. It enforced strict dress and conduct rules such as forbidding men from the lobby without strict supervision.

"The hotel over time has been celebrated as much for its artful brickwork, masterful setbacks and eclectic ornament as the artists, writers and actors who lived there," Commission Chairman Robert Tierney said in a statement.

The Barbizon was immortalized in fiction as the Amazon in the "Bell Jar," by Sylvia Plath, another of the hotel's famous guests.

"The architecture is significant of eclectic Renaissance and Gothic revival style apartment building," Tara Kelly, executive director of the Friends of the Upper East Side Historic Districts had told DNAinfo (http://www.dnainfo.com/20110713/upper-east-side/hotel-once-home-famous-single-ladies-could-become-landmark).

"But more important than the architecture significance is how many women came through. It was a place to protect their reputation as they were alone and single."

The Barbizon was one of many residential hotel buildings in the first half of the 20th century that were seen as alternatives to rooming houses or transient hotels. It was considered classier than the YWCA but less exclusive than a private club. It had single rooms, dining rooms and a cleaning service, according to the LPC.

But by the mid-1970s, the hotel began to lose its sheen. Men began staying there in 1981. Then KLM Airlines bought the building in 1983 only to sell it five years later.
The Barbizon was converted into condominiums in 2006.


April 26th, 2012, 04:06 PM
Forget the ART and ARCHITECTURE, what about the FRESH FASHION???

Vornado Kisses, Makes Up at 510 Fifth: Bertoia Moving Back!

http://cdn.cstatic.net/images/gridfs/4f32ffc685216d1618021439/2012_02_510Fifth_BertoiaScreen2_EzraStoller.jpg (http://cdn.cstatic.net/images/gridfs/4f32ffc785216d161802143c/2012_02_510Fifth_BertoiaScreen2_EzraStoller.jpg)

Preservationists Win a Battle Over Former Manufacturers Hanover Trust Building (http://artsbeat.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/02/08/preservationists-win-a-battle-over-former-manufacturers-hanover-trust-building/) [NYT]

http://ny.curbed.com/archives/2012/02/09/vornado_kisses_makes_up_at_510_fifth_bertoia_movin g_back.php

Beaming Colors From Up North

NY TIMES (http://www.nytimes.com/2012/04/26/fashion/critical-shopper-shopping-at-joe-fresh.html?)
April 24, 2012

I SHOULD admit upfront that I knew the thread was frayed. Before I walked out my front door, I’d noticed how flimsily the button was held by the string, how uncertain it looked, almost shrugging in defeat.

The shirt in question isn’t even in my top 20 favorites. Choosing to wear it, especially in slightly damaged form, bespoke a sort of despondence, a resignation. Having waited out the rain, it would be a quick night: a trip to the Joe Fresh flagship, a couple of quick stops after, then home. In and out. Nothing to see here.

Joe Fresh, though! A light-beam-shooting box on a busy Midtown corner. Windows flashing oodles of garments in loud colors. Lighting more intense than in university research labs. This wasn’t just a pick-me-up, this was to be a cleansing by way of alien species.

Canadians, at least. Joe Fresh is a fast-fashion entry from our peaceable neighbors to the north, less ambitious and more youthful than Club Monaco, which the chain’s founder Joe Mimran also had a hand in. On first glance, it has more to do with Uniqlo: heavy emphasis on basics, rendered in colors that could scrape rust off your sink.

Everything was cheap, cheap, cheap, with most prices ending in a 9. The fabrics, largely, were cheap, too. Most had an air of disposability, like hospital scrubs. I was reminded of the teenagers I used to see in Topshop on Friday afternoons in London, or the ones I see here, rummaging the racks at H&M before the weekend. The goal is to have at least one thing — anything — that is new.

If that’s the goal, things like structure and fit seem quaint. Indeed, most of the shirts I tried on seemed fit-averse, cut purposefully wide to facilitate layering and minimize self-loathing. The jeans, especially a pair in a chalky green ($39), fared better.

Almost three-fourths of the store is devoted to women’s wear, in sections that are for the most part color-coordinated. The best options were on the main floor: a white mesh vest ($39) and voluminous orange and yellow skirt ($39) combo; and in the window, what read as wet-weather formal wear: an orange hoodie and matching shower-curtain-length (and texture) skirt ($69). Upstairs, a minidress that was part Mary Quant and part stiff pillowcase cutely riffed on the Swedish flag ($39).

I FELT perverse browsing the store at a leisurely pace, especially when the music blaring over the speakers (club mixes of Lady Antebellum, Rihanna and the “Wicked” soundtrack) seemed meant for sprinting ravers, or sugared-up tweens.

The bold colors at every turn — the store will likely have orange items long after everyone else is sold out — reminded me of Gap in the early ’90s, when you might see someone you loved, or someone you didn’t, wearing the same thing you were. That seemed fine, then; there was something slightly hip about the enterprise. These items, though, might make you feel as if you both belong to the same very brightly attired district in “The Hunger Games.”

It was in the dressing room where things began to fall apart. I had just finished my sojourn, having given several items a try, none successfully, and was buttoning my shirt to leave when it happened: I grabbed the rogue button to slip it through its hole, and off it came, as if it were allergic to thread. Not the top button, where I could play it cool, or the bottom, where I could hide it with a tuck, but dead middle, center of the chest.

It was the ideal Joe Fresh field test: I needed fashion, and fast. I may not have scored to that point, but surely, in a pinch, the store could provide. I headed out onto the floor.

Stubborn as I am, I wouldn’t buy something I wouldn’t ordinarily wear, so I grabbed a few pieces optimistically and returned to my fitting room. A contrast club collar shirt felt flimsy, and a salmon oxford felt slick. Colorwise, I preferred a navy military shirt ($24), though its collar crumpled as if made from Kleenex.

It was a start. I threw on a chunky green sweater ($49) over it, the sort of green you see mainly in stage lighting and food coloring. The contrast was intriguing. Squint hard enough, and maybe there was a hint of Jil Sander, or Raf himself: the color, the structure, the drape.
Fine, I conceded. It wasn’t my look, but it was a look. Maybe even a lewk, as the Canadian dandy prince Brad Goreski might say. I figured I’d go to the register, pay for the two items, then go back to the dressing room and change into them, carrying my sad buttonless shirt in a bag, and maybe tossing that bag into the river.

I pulled off the sweater quickly, impertinently, and found myself in a cloud of candy-green dust worthy of Hanna-Barbera. It lingered. I peered through it at the mirror, and saw the navy shirt slathered in green bits and flecks, a mess not even a lint roller and a good mood could solve. I peeled it off, buttoned up the parts of my shirt that I could, and, as I headed out, zipped my jacket over it.

Joe Fresh

510 Fifth Avenue, (212) 764-1730

CRAZY COLORS Joe Fresh’s fourth Manhattan store is its flagship. Yet another foreign fast-fashion invader, its shocking colors don’t stun long enough to cause one to overlook the rough fabrics and fits.

May 2nd, 2012, 06:39 AM

City Council About to Knee-cap Landmarks Preservation?

by Dave Hogarty

The Historic Districts Council is alerting people to what it feels could be a debilitating attack against the Landmarks Preservation Commission and the preservationist movement in New York City.

The HDC informs that there will be a hearing tomorrow (Wed., 5/2) at 250 Broadway to contemplate 10 separate bills. The alleged sum of the legislation, if enacted, would overwhelm the LPC and serve to severely compromise the commission's role in protecting historic buildings and areas.

These bills are aimed at making the LPC ineffectual and providing faulty intellectual rationales for the Council to reject designations at the behest of developers.

The HDC warns that while the proposals seem utterly benign on an individual basis, the enactment of all ten bills simultaneously would threaten to destroy the current landmarks environment.

This is a deliberate attack on the Landmarks Law , which was intended by its drafters to “stabilize and improve property value; protect and enhance the city’s attractions to tourists and visitors and the support and stimulus to business and industry thereby provided; and strengthen the economy of the city”. This is how Landmark designation worked in 1965, and it’s how Landmark designation works today.

Also alarming is the fact that public attendees at tomorrow's meeting will only be allowed to speak for 18 seconds per bill (for a total of 3 minutes) to discuss the policy impact of their passage. HDC has a breakdown of what the new landmarking timeline (http://hdc.org/blog/what-the-new-landmarks-designation-process-would-look-like) will look like if all of the bills are passed by the City Council.

What The City Council Bills Really Mean (http://hdc.org/blog/city-council-bills) [HDC]
What the new Landmarks Designation Process Would Look Like (http://hdc.org/blog/what-the-new-landmarks-designation-process-would-look-like) [HDC]

http://ny.curbed.com/archives/2012/05/01/city_council_about_to_kneecap_landmarks_preservati on.php#more

May 2nd, 2012, 01:40 PM
I remember not being a fan of the LPC in my younger naive years, but thank god we have it.
If I had my way, I'd throw out a large part of our ridiculous zoning laws and have the commission oversee the entire city.

Just look at these four new buildings on this short landmarked stretch of Reade Street, all simple, tasteful and in varying styles and palates. With property values in Manhattan being what they are, buildings like this shouldn't be the exception.




May 2nd, 2012, 06:42 PM
The only buildings in the above photo that are in the historic district are the white building at the corner of Greenwich, and one at the corner of Hudson that's out of view on the right. Nothing on the south side of Reade St is protected.

This street was the northern boundary of urban NYC at the time of the Revolutionary War until the end of the 18th century. It became heavily commercial and was widened in 1860. The triangular white building is the remnant of a larger lot.

The lots above were not included in the district as non-contributory buildings, maybe reflecting a landmark law that was still unsure of its bite. Good sense and good fortune resulted in what we see now. I think a local architect designed the buildings with the arched windows, and the black building as his own residence. A Cremoland Butter factory was on the site for decades.

A glass factory, later used as a rental-car garage, was on the site of the building at right.

May 3rd, 2012, 05:11 AM
I remember not being a fan of the LPC in my younger naive years, but thank god we have it.
If I had my way, I'd throw out a large part of our ridiculous zoning laws and have the commission oversee the entire city.


May 3rd, 2012, 08:57 AM
Although the destruction of Penn Station in 1963 is associated with the creation of the landmarks law, it was another demolition a year later that moved the legislation from bill to law.

May 7, 1964: After two years crafting the bill, it was given to Mayor Robert Wagner.

Sept, 1964: Bill still sits on mayor's desk. Announcement that the Brokaw mansions (http://daytoninmanhattan.blogspot.com/2011/12/lost-isaac-vail-brokaw-mansion-no-1.html) will be demolished.

Sept 26, 1964: Public protest at 79th and 5th Ave.

Oct 6, 1964: Bill goes from mayor to City Council.

Dec 3, 1964: Public hearings on the legislation.

Feb 6, 1965: Demolition of the Brokaw mansions. Work began on Saturday to preempt any court order to stop the demolition.

April 19, 1965: Mayor signs bill into law.

A provision in the original bill, giving LPC some jurisdiction over property within 400 feet of a landmark, was removed by the City Council.

More info on post #418:

Preservationists upset about series of Landmarks bills to go before City Council

May 01, 2012 04:30PM
By Katherine Clarke

The New York City Council is set to review a package of 10 bills relating to the workings of the Landmarks Preservation Commission tomorrow morning, according to the council’s website, some of which have garnered significant support from the Real Estate Board of New York but elicited concern from preservation groups.

A few of the bills seek to impose a timeline on the LPC’s deliberation of potential landmarks and historic districts, including one that introduces a time limit of 180 days for LPC to respond to requests for evaluation and another that institutes a fixed deadline of 33 months for landmark and historic district designations. Detractors such as Simeon Bankoff of the Historic Districts Council said the restrictions are “almost ensured to create paralysis at the agency.”

It’s not all bad, the Historic Districts Council said. If passed, three of the bills would empower LPC to intercede in cases where unused Department of Buildings permits are still active on landmark buildings and require better monitoring of construction near landmarked buildings — both bills supported by the Historic Districts Council. But other bills, which address the timeline for designation, mandate a publicly accessible online database of requests for evaluation and allow for replacement materials on landmark buildings to be those present at time of designation, have caused some discontent within the preservationist community.

“If these bills are adopted in tandem as written, they would risk overwhelming the LPC’s scant resources and could result in thousands of potential buildings in dozens of historic districts being rejected,” Bankoff said in an email blast to members of the Historic Districts Council yesterday. He argued that the success of the bills “would result in thousands of buildings being permanently prevented from becoming landmarks based on a mandated schedule rather than merit.”

A spokesperson for the Real Estate Board of New York, which supports a selection of the bills, argued that the proposals, including one which mandates the City Planning Commission to analyze the potential economic impact of designation on the development potential of proposed landmarks, are necessary in order to prevent the LPC from becoming a tool for preservationists in regards to planning. Preservationists are inclined to use the bill to prevent new development in prized areas, he said, as opposed to protecting existing beauty or history.

“The landmarks laws are in place to protect cultural heritage, but we’ve been seeing [the landmarking] of properties of questionable merit,” said Michael Slattery, a senior vice president at REBNY, referencing the recent designation of an “unexceptional” gas station at West Houston and Lafayette streets. “[The laws] are being exploited by the preservationist community. It seems clear to us that planning agendas have been directing [the activities of Landmarks.]”

In a statement issued earlier this month to the New York Post, Landmarks spokesperson Elisabeth de Bourbon defended the move to designate the gas station: “As the gateway to Soho, West Houston Street was determined to be so critical to its character that the vacant lots there… ought to be under [LPC's] purview,” she said.

The replacement materials bill proposes revoking an LPC requirement stipulating that building owners making changes to their properties use historically appropriate materials even when those materials were not in place at the time the owner purchased the building. It has been particular contentious, sources said. Preservationists argue it undermines the basic benefit of LPC oversight in helping to gradually return areas to their historic condition, while building owners and some members of REBNY contend that the provision currently in place makes it too costly for owners to renovate or alter their properties.

While De Bourbon declined to comment on the bills pre-hearing, she said the commission would discuss the merits of the legislation at tomorrow’s event. Meanwhile, City Council member Leroy Comrie, who chairs the Council’s land use committee, did not respond to requests for comment by press time.

© 2012 The Real Deal

May 3rd, 2012, 11:55 AM
This proposed legislation speaks to the lobbying clout of REBNY (Real Estate Board of New York), which apparently is the only group in favor and whose prime concern is $$$, aesthetics and civic responsibility be damned.

Makes one wonder :cool: why so many City Council Members have signed on as co-sponsors ...

LPC speaks out against controversial landmarks bills

THE REAL DEAL (http://therealdeal.com/blog/2012/05/02/lpc-speaks-out-against-controversial-landmarks-bills/)
May 02, 2012 03:30PM
By Katherine Clarke

http://therealdeal.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/05/Robert-tierney-LPC-chairman-pic1.jpg (http://therealdeal.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/05/Robert-tierney-LPC-chairman-pic1.jpg)
Robert Tierney, chairman of the LPC

[Updated at 4:30 p.m. with comments from the Historic Districts Council]

At a public hearing this morning, the city’s Landmarks Preservation Commission finally had its say on a package of 11 bills that could substantially impact the workings of the agency, a spokesperson for the LPC told The Real Deal today. The agency took particular issue with 11 bills that seek to impose a timeline on the LPC’s deliberation of potential landmarks and historic districts, including one that introduces a time limit of 180 days for LPC to respond to requests for evaluation and another that institutes a fixed deadline of 33 months for landmark and historic district designations.

“These bills, taken together, would significantly alter the discretionary, flexible and nuanced process that [city] charter and the landmarks law left in the hands of a capable and expert agency,” said Jenny Fernandez, director of intergovernmental relations at LPC, when testifying at this morning’s hearing, according to a transcript from the public meeting. “Establishing rigid timelines and processes with respect to requests for evaluation would make it extremely difficult for the commission to address changing conditions, set and adjust priorities and respond to true emergency situations.”

The commission also noted that a number of the proposed bills, including those which mandate a publicly accessible online database of requests for evaluation, would have an effect on the workload of other city agencies.

“It also should be noted that some of the provisions in these bills will dramatically impact other city agencies, Fernandez said. “Like many regulatory systems, the landmark process interfaces with and depends on other city agencies to be effective. [These bills] would require the Department of Buildings to audit all outstanding permits already issued when a building or district is calendared, to revoke all outstanding permits at the time of a landmark designation, to determine the qualifications of a new type of preservation professional, to stop properly permitted work without an inspection and, perhaps, to stop processing permits during the designation process.”

A spokesperson for DOB was not immediately available for comment on the bills.

The commission also addressed a contentious bill that proposes revoking an LPC requirement stipulating that building owners making changes to their properties use historically appropriate materials even when those materials were not in place at the time the owner purchased the building.

“One of the things that historic designation achieves is the improvement of the condition of the building and district over time by ameliorating many inappropriate conditions at the time they need to be replaced,” Fernandez said. “For example, if a house has aluminum siding at the time of designation, when the siding wears out and needs replacing, the Commission would require that the owner use a material that was used originally or historically on the property, or the owner could seek approval to use a better, more appropriate substitute material. This would no longer be the case and will perpetually grandfather inappropriate or unsightly conditions on historic buildings.”

A total of 53 people signed up to testify at the hearing, which is still ongoing, an LPC spokesperson said.

As previously reported, preservationist organizations such as the Historic Districts Council have been among the bills’ detracts. It argues that the success of the bills “would result in thousands of buildings being permanently prevented from becoming landmarks based on a mandated schedule rather than merit.”

Simeon Bankoff, executive director of the Historic Districts Council, said the majority of testifiers in attendance spoke out against the “damaging” bills.

“At least three dozen people testified,” he said, “and only one testified in favor of the bills. Our feelings were clearly supported by the public.”

The one detractor, Bankoff said, was Michael Slattery, senior vice president of REBNY. Slattery said in his testimony: “The Landmarks Law, particularly historic district designation, has been misused to address neighborhood quality of life and development concerns that should and would be better addressed by zoning laws. This has distorted the original intent of the Landmarks Law to preserve the architectural, cultural and historic fabric of our city. You only have to look at the scope of the proposed Upper West Side extensions, especially as it compares to the original districts, to see that the application of the Landmarks Law has changed.”

No date has been set for the City Council to make a decision on the bills.

May 3rd, 2012, 12:22 PM
The one detractor, Bankoff said, was Michael Slattery, senior vice president of REBNY. Slattery said in his testimony: “The Landmarks Law, particularly historic district designation, has been misused to address neighborhood quality of life and development concerns that should and would be better addressed by zoning laws. This has distorted the original intent of the Landmarks Law to preserve the architectural, cultural and historic fabric of our city.This is total bullshit. Zoning has no mechanism to control architecture or historic fabric.

You only have to look at the scope of the proposed Upper West Side extensions, especially as it compares to the original districts, to see that the application of the Landmarks Law has changed.More bullshit. The original districts were no-brainers, but even after these big originals - Village, Brooklyn Heights, Soho, Park Slope - were designated, the landmarks law was on shaky ground until the matter was settled in the Supreme Court in Penn Central (GCT) v. NYC in 1978.

The real estate industry in NYC lobbied against landmarking from the time it was just an idea, and has never really stopped.

May 4th, 2012, 07:55 AM
Battle Landmarkia

New York City Council seeks to revamp business as usual at the Landmarks Commission.

by Tom Stoelker

New proposals by City Council would curtail Landmark's powers. Ari Burling

A sudden flurry of bills introduced yesterday at a City Council hearing sought to revamp the way business gets done at the Landmarks Preservation Commission. While the eleven bills deal primarily with procedural issues, a sentence in one zeroes in on the essence of the preservation versus development battle. According to Intro Bill Number 846, new guidelines would require City Planning to review Landmark Commission designations in economic terms to “analyze the impact of the designation” and “specifically consider the relationship between the development potential of all properties affected by the designation, both public and private.” The bill would provide City Council a rationale by which to deny landmark designations by pitting long-term planning goals against individual or district landmarking.

Preservationist Theodore Grunewald, who sued Landmarks and Vornado last year to stop renovations at the Manufacturers Hanover building, said that the new measures represent the “gelding” of the Landmarks law. “Taken together, most of the 11 proposed bills will effectively hollow out the Landmarks Law from the inside out,” he testified.

The implication emanating from several Councilmembers at the hearing was that they feel that Landmarks is an agency gone rogue. Councilmember Jessica Lappin wanted to know why some Requests for Evaluations (RFE) filed at Landmarks ended up going “into a black hole,” while Councilmember Robert Jackson fumed about twenty-five year-old RFEs still pending. Two bills directly touch on the RFEs by mandating organizational standards and setting time frames for designation decisions, ranging from 21 to 33 months, whereas now the process is open ended.

Another bill would limit the commission’s oversight of materials used on landmarked buildings. A new survey division at Landmarks was proposed to conduct periodic assessments of historic buildings. The division would also recommend districts and buildings for designation. Community boards and borough boards would be able to mandate certain RFEs to be reviewed, a decision that is currently the sole proprietorship of the Commission’s chair. Another bill extends protections of historic buildings from nearby construction projects, while yet another facilitates the addition of green infrastructure. Landmarks rebutted each of the eleven bills, with Landmarks council Jenny Fernandez pointing out that they "would significantly alter the discretionary, flexible, and nuanced process.”

But it was above-mentioned Intro Bill Number 846 that would, she said, “fundamentally change the way buildings are landmarked,” not least because the new regulation would require a detailed report on a historic structure or district to be drawn up before calendaring a hearing. As it stands now, Fernandez said, an endangered building can be “calendared” to be heard in ten days, allowing the Landmark staff time to prepare the report before the hearing.

But it’s the proposed economic impact analysis by City Planning that’s the real body blow to Landmarks. The measure would provide council with the tools necessary to deny wholesale redistricting, like the recent landmarking of Downtown Brooklyn, which critics claimed cast too wide of a net, saddling lesser buildings with unnecessary regulatory constraints.

In her opening statement, Fernandez fought back, taking direct issue with the bill: “If the council decides to explore expanding and specifying the scope of analysis, we would request that the benefits of landmark designation, including heritage tourism, increased property values and taxes, and use of historical areas for film and the arts be analyzed as well. As currently drafted, the inquiry is too focused on available floor and area development.”

It’s just such reasoning that Mike Slattery senior vice president at the Real Estate Board of New York rejects. “I never saw such a distortion of a bill in my life,” Slattery said in a telephone interview after the hearing. “We keep hearing about the value that a landmark districting creates and yet economic impact is not supposed to be a consideration.” 

Before the hearing, Historic District Council’s Simeon Bankoff said an impact review by City Planning would surely undermine preservation efforts, “This insertion of economic data has nothing to do with landmarks,” he said.

“They don’t take into account the positive effects to property value or tax breaks. They’re looking at the commercial loss as to raw square footage development and using that as intellectual ammunition to shoot down designations.”

After the passage of Brooklyn’s Downtown Historic District several preservationists warned that larger battles loomed and that REBNY would be gearing up for a fight over development near Grand Central. In a prehearing email to the press, Grunewald called the pending legislations “the 'greased rail' to the destruction of Midtown which is now in the works—it's the underlying reason for the sudden and effective dismantling of the Landmarks Law.”

With preservationists eyeing Midtown upzoning and developers gearing up to revamp Park Avenue (SOHO China is working with Vornado; L&L is running an architecture competition for 425 Park), it would seem that the testing ground for the eleven bills might play out at the heart of the city. Not since the battle to save Grand Central has the area seen such heated debate. Indeed, as officials from L&L have pointed out, a new office tower hasn’t be built on Park since the 1980s.

“That preservtionists are against rezoning of Midtown East is clearly an antidevelopment fear,” said Slattery, indicating that REBNY is expecting a showdown. He added that significant buildings deserve protection, but that landmarking has morphed into an antidevelopment tool wielded by NIMBY zealots. “No one is looking to modify Lever House or the Seagram Building, but at one point there was a proposal to designate all of Park Avenue. Could you imagine what that would do to the heart of the office district?”

Columbia University’s professor of real estate Vishaan Chakabarti more than concurred with Slattery, though he was careful to distinguish the residential area from that of the commercial district near Grand Central. “This conversation about Park Avenue is extraordinarily dangerous, to landmark our business district would create a global financial shock,” he said. “In London, they made very judicious decisions to develop the central business district near the City of London. We can do that or we can go the route of Paris and loose hundreds of thousands of jobs.”


May 4th, 2012, 07:58 AM
A Quiet War on Landmarks, or Fixing the Problems with the Preservation Commission?

By Matt Chaban

Stamp of approval, or trouble? Leo Reynolds/Flickr (http://www.flickr.com/photos/lwr/)

Is the city’s Landmarks Law broken?

To the uninitiated, that would have been the likely conclusion from a hearing held at the City Council today. Eleven different pieces of legislation addressing myriad issues at the commission were debated. Nearly half of the council’s 59 member made an appearance, grilling officials from the Landmarks Preservation Commission and the Department of Buildings over problems perceived, parochial and patrician at the city agencies.

The city is under assault from a nanny state stuck in the past seemed to be the clear message.

For the large crowd assembled in protest for what turned out to be a four hour meeting, the case was quite the opposite: It was the city’s daring Landmarks Preservation Commission, keeper of the soul of the city, that was under assault. Of the 54 people who signed up to give testimony before a joint session of two council committees all but one spoke out against the vast majority of the bills.

The panic started on Friday, when a few of the preservationist groups were notified of the hearing. They were alarmed to learn that such a large number of bills, many of which they had never seen, were suddenly being taken up all at once by the council. “This is an unprecedented assault on the Landmarks Preservation Commission,” Simeon Bankoff, executive director of the Historic Districts Council, said. A call to action went out—at least a half-dozen, in fact, over various email lists and blogs.

But was this really a shadow campaign against the Landmarks Preservation Commission, one orchestrated by Big Real Estate, to hit back at preservationists following the creation of the controversial Downtown Brooklyn Skyscraper district (http://www.observer.com/2012/01/big-real-estate-could-not-knock-down-the-downtown-brooklyn-skyscraper-district/)? In that effort, groups like the Real Estate Board of New York saw a commission overreaching, “saving” buildings they viewed as unfit for the recognition. And many of the bills presented yesterday seemed to address some of those concerns. On their face they made sense, in a perfect world, but in the eyes of the commission they amounted to unfunded mandates.

“All of these processes—surveys, reviews, research, report writing and designation—require judgment, time and expertise,” Jenny Fernandez, director of intergovernmental and community relations at the commission, said. “The chair and executive staff must set priorities based on a number of factors, and the fact is that our resources are limited and setting these priorities is crucial.”

The big issue for council members was a bill that would establish a timeline of roughly 33 months for proposed landmarks to be considered. “Everyone had deadlines, there is no reason you should be exempt,” zoning committee chair Leroy Comrie scolded. Landmarks subcommittee chair Brad Lander invoked his preteen son, who has a willful disregard for timeliness. Councilman Robert Jackson of Harlem raved about a building it Harlem that had languished for 25 years on the commission’s calendar. “That is a lifetime,” he said. “You are stifling development.”

Ms. Fernandez countered that while it would be nice to make such determinations within the alotted amount of time, the commission lacked the resources and would be forced to abandon hundreds or even thousands of properties a year, considering the commission would be required under the new bills to either agree to consider the project—within a number of months, as required by yet another bill—or agree never to consider it again. Ms. Fernandez pointed out that the commission’s portfolio had grown considerably over the past decade at the same time that its resources have been cut (by the mayor, not the council, as everyone was quick to point out).

[Update: A reader points out that in fact Landmarks' budgets have increased considerably under the Bloomberg administration, up 60 percent from $3 million in 2003 to $4.8 million this year. Staffing has risen 40 percent, to 60 full-time employees.]

“This is an end-run on landmarks masquerading as concern for the community,” Andrew Berman, executive director of the Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation told The Observer.

“While these are legitimate community concerns, they know the commission cannot afford to do this, and in the end, if the bills are passed, they will only benefit the real estate interests.

The two bills everyone seemed to agree on was one that would halt any construction work on a building as soon as it was calendared for landmarks consideration, preventing landlords from damaging their property as their value is debated. New permits may not be filed, but in some cases existing ones were executed. The other bill would extend protections for historic buildings near construction sites. Currently, properties within 90 feet must be given special attention when nearby work takes place, and the bill would extend that perimeter to 150 feet.

What had preservationists most incensed were two bills that had been newly introduced and that they saw as severely undermining the purpose and spirit of the Landmarks Law. Mr. Bankoff was quick to point out that these two bills were largely ignored by the council members.

The first big problem was a bill that would grandfather in current building materials. A good example would be a wood-framed or brick house that had vinyl siding put up in the intervening years.

Any renovation would require the restoration of the original material. Preservationists and the commission argue this restores a neighborhood closer to its original character and is one of the chief purposes of creating a historic district. Landowners and some council members countered that this creates onerous requirements for owners and even ignores the intervening history.

“Technology for aluminum siding has gotten very good,” Councilman Comrie quipped.

By far the biggest concern was a requirement to craft an economic analysis for any proposed landmarking. “For too long now, landmarking has been misused to address quality of life, neighborhood and development issues where zoning would be more appropriate,” Michael Slattery, executive vice-president at the Real Estate Board, said during his testimony.

Speaker after speaker insisted that economics was far from the first concern where landmarks were concerned. “The bottom line is that such buildings provide more tax revenue and sell at a premium over unprotected buildings,” historian Michael Henry Adams said, reading testimony on behalf of State Senator Bill Perkins, a former council man.

“Aesthetic issues are equally, or even more important, than economic ones where landmarks are concerned,” Andrea Goldwyn, a representative of the Landmarks Conservancy said. “These buildings serve a higher purpose.”

The concern about these bills may have been misplaced. Mr. Bankoff said that he feared any of them could come to a vote now that a hearing has been held, but according to officials at the council, and repeated assurances by committee members during yesterday’s hearings, no votes on the newest bills will be held until future hearings are held to discuss them further. The flood of bills was simply meant as a way to clear the council’s legislative queue, considering all landmarks bills that had been languishing as well as any other relevant issues presented in the new bills, Councilman Lander told The Observer.

“The idea here was to provide an opportunity for people to look at and comment on a diversity of bills and we’ll go from there,” Councilman Lander said. “A lot of the pertinent issues in these bills still have to be addressed.”

Still, preservationists are not entirely comfortable with these assurances. “Few bills under consideration today will advance the cause of historic preservation in any way,” Cristobel Gough, secretary of the Society for the Architecture of the City, said. “Several arc calculated to undercut existing protections, eliminate necessary checks and balances and cripple the Landmarks Preservation Commission.”


May 4th, 2012, 10:31 AM
This says a lot about the Councilmember's take on history & preservation:

“Technology for aluminum siding has gotten very good,” Councilman Comrie quipped.

May 6th, 2012, 07:54 AM
An opportunity to have a say:


May 9th, 2012, 12:12 AM
Commissioner Robert B. Tierney: Tell Landmarks to Reject Proposal for 9 Story Hotel at 27 East 4th St

PETITION (http://www.change.org/petitions/commissioner-robert-b-tierney-tell-landmarks-to-reject-proposal-for-9-story-hotel-at-27-east-4th-st)

Signatures: 363 out of 500

We the undersigned would like to request that the Landmarks Preservation Committee reject the proposed development a 9 story hotel at 27 East 4th Street adjacent to the landmarked Merchant’s House Museum, the only remaining preserved family home from the 19th century in New York City.

The proposed building, at 9 stories tall (twice the height of the Museum) and without any setbacks, would overwhelm and detract from the special architectural and historic character of the Merchant’s House Museum. Its excessive size and bulk is not respectful of the historical context of the Museum and does not relate to its small scale.

We also request that the strictest of construction standards be applied to any proposed building on this site so that the structural integrity of the Merchant’s House is not in any way compromised. Given the antiquity of the Merchant's House and the extreme narrowness of the lot at 27 East 4th Street, this is critical.



New NoHo Hotel Proposed for 27 East 4th Street (http://ny.curbed.com/archives/2012/05/07/new_noho_hotel_proposed_for_27_east_4th_street.php )

May 9th, 2012, 08:17 AM
Historic Preservation Saved New York!

Posted by hdc

On Sunday, April 22, 2012, the New York Daily news published an opinion piece by Edward Glaeser (http://www.nydailynews.com/opinion/n-y-scrape-sky-article-1.1065179), a professor of Economics at Harvard, arguing that historic districts are damaging to the economic, social, and environmental health of the city because they limit new construction.

HDC board member Jeffrey A. Kroessler offers this reply.

In the 1970s, at precisely the moment when the city was in serious decline, plunging toward bankruptcy, when its population was declining for the first time in its history and quality of life was visibly deteriorating in the face of rising crime and declining city services, and when City Hall was embracing a policy of “planned shrinkage,” preservationists committed their lives and fortune to bringing the city back. Historic preservation saved New York City.

Writing in the New York Times Magazine in 1976, Roger Starr, head of the Housing and Development Administration in the Beame administration during the dark days of the fiscal crisis, famously advocated a strategic withdrawal from untenable neighborhoods. “Better a thriving city of five million than a Calcutta of seven,” he wrote. Historians, planners, sociologists, and elected officials all seemed to accept that New York was on an irreversible downward trajectory. But the city was fortunate that preservationists ignored such pronouncements.

Between 1965 and 1981, the Landmarks Preservation Commission designated historic districts that anchored the city’s recovery: Brooklyn Heights (1965), Greenwich Village (1969), Mount Morris (1971), Park Slope (1973), SoHo (1973), Carnegie Hill (1974), Fort Green (1978), Longwood (1980), and the Upper East Side (1981). By protecting the buildings in these areas, the city also encouraged investment.

In 1970, SoHo was a desperate real estate market; the fire commissioner called the area of vacant and dilapidated loft buildings “Hell’s Hundred Acres.” Manufacturing was fleeing and landlords willingly rented to artists (legally or not), even as Margot Gayle educated New Yorkers about the beauty of cast iron architecture. At the time of designation, a cast iron building at the corner of Broome and Wooster could be had for $90,000. Today SoHo boasts some of the most expensive real estate in the world.

Only a Harvard economist could declare that a bad thing. “When I’ve looked at the data,” writes Edward Glaeser, “I’ve found that blocks had significantly less building when they were restricted by historic districts.” I prefer the word “protected” to “restricted.” But isn’t that the point, to protect those areas that our citizens define as historic? Prof. Glaeser sees no value, no value whatsoever, in an urban neighborhood except for its development potential. He also seems to suggest that property owners seeking the protections of landmark designation are guilty of NIMBY-ism (make no mistake: the Landmarks Preservation Commission will not designate a district over the objections of the property owners, even though owner consent is nowhere in the law). Further damning preservation, he claims that designated areas “become more expensive and less socially or economically diverse.”

Glaeser blames historic districts for being successful. Rather than demean preservationists and New Yorkers who merely want to live in designated places with the NIMBY label, why not respect them for investing in our city and striving to protect their investment, in quality of life no less than property value.

After calling Jane Jacobs’ 1961 The Death and Life of Great American Cities “a masterpiece,” he suggests that she was wrong about just about everything, wrong to suggest that cities needed old buildings, and wrong to support the designation of the Greenwich Village Historic District, which he says “saved a charming part of Manhattan – at the cost of turning an area that had been affordable into a neighborhood where only hedge fund multimillionaires can buy townhouses.” Question: where in Manhattan are the prices of townhouses low? Land values have increased across the island, and compared to the declining city of the 1960s, that is a good thing. Designation created value and demand where there had been little. Apparently, in Prof. Glaeser’s worldview supply and demand should apply to every commodity except properties in historic districts. Only there values should remain depressed, replicating the historic anomaly of the 1960’s and 1970’s.

As a historian, I am stunned by Prof. Glaeser’s ahistorical arguments. When Jane Jacobs wrote her critique of the state of urban planning, New York was a different place. There were no historic districts, and the Manhattan was losing population. The empty buildings offered low rents to businesses and residents, an unusual condition of supply and demand to be sure. What that meant is that, unlike other older American cities, New York would recover. Fort Greene, Park Slope, Mount Morris, and Longwood could have gone either way. Historic district designation followed the initial investment by new homeowners. It is not New York City that brought such places into stability and desirability, but New Yorkers. Academics write tomes about the presumed evils of gentrification, but gentrification and the preservation ethos indeed saved New York.

Would New York be a better city, a more livable city, without our historic districts? What would happen if Greenwich Village was undesignated; and while we’re at it, let’s undo the zoning protections also. There is no going back in the sense that it would return to its bohemian past and offer low rents to starving artists. What would happen is that more people would be able to live there because new, and no doubt very large, residential buildings would go up, rather like Williamsburg today. But the Village streetscape would be gone, and there would be no reason to live there as opposed to anyplace else. We would encounter the same chain stores and some would bemoan the loss of the small businesses that once thrived there and gave the Village its character. We will have killed the goose that lays the golden egg.

Why does he blame historic districts for the dearth of affordable housing? After all, less than 4% of the city’s buildings are designated. Why aren’t developers rushing to erect residential towers of affordable units in areas where they could do so as of right? The first time many of us became aware of Prof. Glaeser was when he weighed in on the controversy over the proposed tower above 980 Madison Avenue (the former home of Sotheby’s). By opposing the construction of those new residential units, he argued, preservationists were contributing to the city’s housing shortage. Yes, those 20 or so units, one to a floor, would have eased the scarcity of affordable units.

Glaeser’s final criticism of historic districts is cloaked in the language of environmentalism. He argues that urban living is more “green” that life in the sprawling suburbs. No disagreement there. But he goes off the cliff when he suggests that historic districts are impediments to our green future because they artificially limit the number of people can live the green urban life. But why is clear-cutting our urban patrimony less of a crime than clear-cutting a stand of virgin redwoods? Why would we squander the embodied energy and still functional materials in our old buildings for the greenest new glass high rise built with dry wall from the other side of the planet?

Our historic city ought not be demolished in the name of sustainability. After all, the greenest building is the one that is already built. Nor should we behave as wastrels with our cultural capital. As we should protect the environment for our children’s children, so should we treasure our historic city.


May 9th, 2012, 10:15 AM
Nobody ever seems to answer this question from the above article:

"Why aren’t developers rushing to erect residential towers of affordable units in areas where they could do so as of right?"

May 9th, 2012, 03:59 PM
^ Like where?

May 10th, 2012, 12:44 AM
Like just about anywhere in NYC. Landlords seem to like the very low vacancy rates.

May 12th, 2012, 12:42 AM
Harlem Plays Catch-Up with 9 Proposed Historic Districts

by Dave Hogarty

[From Manhattan CB10 Comprehensive Historic Preservation Plan (http://www.nyc.gov/html/mancb10/downloads/pdf/final_preservation_report.pdf) (pdf), April 2012]

Harlem is significantly lacking in historic districts and landmarking in comparison to other neighborhoods in the city, so Community Board 10 released a report outlining a plan for historic preservation (http://www.nyc.gov/html/mancb10/downloads/pdf/final_preservation_report.pdf) [pdf] and the establishment of 9 new or expanded historic districts within its borders. It's interesting reading, but if you want a quick breakdown, consult the map above and the descriptions of the proposed districts below.

1. West 147th-159th St.
Where: between Frederick Douglass Blvd. and Adam C. Powell Blvd.
Buildings: 60
Circa: 1905
What's so special?: "The tenement buildings in this area form a strongly cohesive group, with white limestone first stories and beige brick upper floors."


2. Edgecombe Avenue from 136th St. to 141st St.
Where: Edgecombe Ave. to Adam C. Powell Blvd., next to St. Nicholas Park
Buildings: 163
Circa: 1890s
What's so special?: "The study area includes an impressively diverse set of Queen Anne style row houses. Along Frederick Douglass Blvd. and St. Nicholas Blvd. are tenements and apartments built before the turn of the 20th Century. Most, like 2611 Frederick Douglass Blvd., built in 1896, still retain their original cornices and period detailing."


3. Striver’s Row Extension (North and South)
Where: between Adam C Powell and Malcolm X Boulevards
Buildings: Four rows of houses
Circa: 1891
What's so special?: "Although not built by the same [David King, the developer who built what is within the St. Nicholas Historic District], the block directly north and the two blocks south of the district were developed at the same time and are similarly well maintained. The south side of 137th St. is a particularly fine example featuring matching Queen Anne style houses with Renaissance Revival detailing."


4. 130th to 133rd St.
Where: between Malcolm X and
Adam Clayton Powell Boulevards
Buildings: 190 row houses
Circa: turn of the 20th century
What's so special?: "One of the earliest row house neighborhoods in Upper Manhattan. This area was originally built for upper class white families, but was one of the first neighborhoods to become predominantly African-American."


5. Astor Row
Where: 129th-130th Streets between Malcolm X Blvd. and Fifth Avenue
Buildings: N/A
Circa: mid- to late-19th Century, early 20th century tenements
What's so special?: "The creation of an Astor Row Historic District would protect the feel of the block as a whole, and maintain the distinct context of the (already landmarked) Astor Row homes."


6. Manhattan Ave / 120th to 123rd Streets
Where: between Morningside Avenue and Broadway
Buildings: 109
Circa: 1886-1896.
What's so special?: "The study area consists of unbroken blocks of residences, each three-stories above a raised basement, that were built between 1886 and 1896. The homes represent a progression of styles that typify this period of residential development."


7. Mount Morris Park Historic District Expansion
Where: 116th-124th Streets between Adam C Powell Blvd. and Fifth Avenue
Buildings: N/A
Circa: late 19th and early 20th centuries
What's so special?: "There are more buildings that were constructed between 1910 and 1940 in this expansion area than in the original district. When the district was originally designated, many of these buildings were only 30 years old, hardly worth noting as “historic.” Today, however, these buildings are 70 to 100 years old and represent an important stage in the history of Harlem and the Mount Morris Park neighborhood."


8. Morningside Ave /110 St. to 119th St.
Where: Morningside Avenue to Frederick Douglass Boulevard
Buildings: 192
Circa: late 19th Century
What's So Special?: "The buildings in this area represent a wide variety of architectural styles typifying the speculative wave of development that hit Harlem just before the turn of the 20th Century."


9. St. Nicholas Avenue
Where: between Frederick Douglass and Malcolm X Boulevards
Buildings: N/A
Circa: late 19th Century
What's So Special?: "Unlike many of Harlem’s avenues, this section of the two avenues features exclusively historic apartment buildings, the character of which should be preserved."


Comprehensive Historic Preservation Plan (pdf) (http://www.nyc.gov/html/mancb10/downloads/pdf/final_preservation_report.pdf) [CBM10]
Historic Push Begins for Harlem Landmarking (http://ny.curbed.com/archives/2012/05/04/historic_push_begins_for_harlem_landmarking.php) [Curbed]

http://ny.curbed.com/archives/2012/05/11/harlem_plays_catchup_with_9_proposed_historic_dist ricts.php#reader_comments

June 8th, 2012, 07:23 AM
The War on Landmarks Moves to Defcon 2: Big Real Estate Forming Big Coalition to Challenge Preservation

By Matt Chaban

http://ny.curbed.com/uploads/untitled-2303-Edit-thumb.jpg (http://ny.curbed.com/uploads/untitled-2303-Edit.php)
Click to enlarge [Ads from Responsible Landmarks Coalition]

An assault on the city’s Landmarks Law has quietly been taking place (http://observer.com/2012/05/a-quiet-war-on-landmarks-or-fixing-the-problems-with-the-preservation-commission/) in the corridors of power, through press releases and legislation, for going on a year now. But groups allied against landmarking are planning to fire their first public volley tomorrow, The Observer has learned, with the announcement of a coalition of development and labor groups known as the Responsible Landmarks Coalition.

Formed by the Real Estate Board of New York, it is made up of a number of influential real estate and labor organizations, “and it is only going to get bigger,” one person involved in the effort said. “We are going to have some very major institutions looking at these landmarks.”

The main issues of concern for the coalition are the increasing prevalence of historic districts, a lack of transparency in the landmarking process, and insufficient public input. The coalition will argue that the growing number of landmark buildings and historic districts are hampering the city’s economy and stymieing development.

“We’re concerned that if you apply the concept of landmarks preservation too much, you restrict housing and impinge on other aspects of city life,” said Richard Anderson, president of the New York City Building Congress, a trade group for architects, engineers and contractors.

In addition to the Building Congress and the Real Estate Board, the coalition also include the Manhattan Chamber of Commerce; three residential landlord groups: the Rent Stabilization Association, the Council of New York Cooperatives and Condominiums, the Community Housing Improvement Program; the building workers union 32BJ; and two groups representing construction unions, the Building Trades Employers Association and the Building and Construction Trades Council.

In addition to drafting a three page signatory letter that is part policy document, part manifesto, the group has launched a new site (http://www.responsible-landmarks-coalition.org/), responsible-landmarks-coalition.org, as well as Facebook and Twitter accounts to drive their message. The Facebook page already has three “likes.”

Clearly illustrating the group’s point is a slideshow on the site of eight projects, in four pairs, with the words “The Landmarks Law is BROKEN when these are both landmarks.” On the right are rows of townhouses, the Chrysler Building, the Dakota, on the left an auto body shop and a faceless industrial building.

The group insists it supports the idea of landmarking buildings.

“New York City is known for its great landmarks, which help define our city and drive our economy,” REBNY president Steven Spinola said in a statement, but he charges that “overzealous landmarking” of gas stations and the like makes development in the city prohibitively costly.

This underscores a particular concern with historic districts, one of two designations the Landmarks Preservation Commission can award. By naming an individual landmark, the commission says this specific building has merit. But in creating a far-reaching historic district, like those in Soho or Brooklyn Heights, elevates unspectacular buildings beyond their worth.

This is a somewhat disingenuous argument, since that gas station can indeed be developed, but whatever is planned there must be approved by the commission. This adds to the cost and the time spent developing the project, but it also ensures continuity with the surrounding neighborhood—Soho will still look like Soho, the Upper East Side, the Upper West Side, and not the two mixed up together.

Elisabeth de Bourbon, a spokeswoman for the Landmarks Preservation Commission, declined to comment on a pending announcement.

It was two recent districts, on West End Avenue on the Upper West Side and the Downtown Brooklyn Skyscraper District that have particularly inflamed the groups, who argue that the opportunities to build new and maintain old buildings in these neighborhoods, as well as other districts, have been greatly hampered. There is also the question finding out from the commission where in the landmarking process a building is. The group wants guidelines for buildings enumerated when a building is landmarked, giving the owners more certainty about what can be built in the future.

Supporters of the commission argue that the complaints about preservation are overblown. Peg Breen is president of the Landmarks Conservancy, a group that provides funding for renovation work on landmarks, and she said that her group did an informal survey of many of the group’s loan recipients, many of whom said they did not feel owning a landmark had increased their costs. “If you have to fix a roof, you have to fix a roof,” she said.

Furthermore, Ms. Breen pointed to numerous studies that find preservation increases or maintains property values (partly because of supply and demand issues) as an argument for its value. “Preservation is jobs, too,” she said. And with only 4 percent of the city protected by the Landmarks law, “that leaves plenty of room for everybody else.”

Never mind the fact that landmarking does not prohibit development, but simply regulates it. “That is the problem, though,” Mr. Anderson said. “New York is the most expensive city in the country to build in, and regulation is a big part of that, of which landmarks is a big part.” With more than 12 percent of Manhattan under preservation protection, as well as large swathes of Brownstone Brooklyn, it can be harder to build whatever you want.

New Yorkers have to decide whether or not that is a bad thing.


June 8th, 2012, 06:24 PM
The small mayor is very big with this.

June 8th, 2012, 11:32 PM
The REBNY attack is the shot across the bow for what's to come in the Grand Central / Fifth Avenue area.

June 9th, 2012, 02:15 AM
It seems hard to believe this absurd attack will succeed. Most New Yorkers want more, not less, landmarks, and this campaign against landmarks (claiming that half of them are empty surface lots or hideous Modernist crap ... exactly the stuff these developers want to build on top of our landmarks!) oozes with so much disingenuous slime that I can't see a single person outside of the Moinian family being won over by it.

I'm also guessing that the next mayor may (hopefully) be less likely to support this rape of the city than Bloomberg is. For a guy who likes his townhouses to be historic buildings in the historic centers of New York and London, there seems to be some cognitive disconnect with the way he simultaneously wants developers to be able to trash all such districts.

It will also be interesting to see if this aspect -- friendliness with big developers and willingness to rezone in their favor / potentially eviscerate historic districts (if Bloomberg really does support this abominable campaign) -- comes up in the next election. I would think a potentially successful populist message would be one of backlash against big developments in neighborhoods htat traditionally have not had them. ... In short, the Landmarks law probably needs to survive 1.5 years till Bloomberg's out of office, and then to the extent it becomes an election issue at all, any further politicking would probably play in its favor.

June 9th, 2012, 08:59 AM
Greedy developers in NY will always tear down great old buildings unless everything is landmarked. I'd like to see all pre-war structures landmarked, and the owners could be compensated by letting them transfer all air rights associated with their land anywhere in Manhattan.

June 9th, 2012, 03:27 PM
Greedy developers in NY will always tear down great old buildings unless everything is landmarked. I'd like to see all pre-war structures landmarked, ..........

I live in one of those lovely old pre-war buildings: the wood floor joists are rotting, the rusting cast iron plumbing risers can be crushed with my bare hands, the old 'cloth covered' electrical wiring shorts out frequently and is a fire hazard, the brick/mortar facade is turning to dust: I can go on - but why bother.

At some point in time many such building become 'functionally obsolete' and no amount of money or maintenance will stop the deterioration.

Oh, but wait, you have a solution: landmark the building. Once landmarked time will stand still, matter will no longer degrade, and these "great old buildings" will live on for ever.

You are a fool mate, but let's keep the banter going, there is nothing I enjoy better than arguing with a lawyer. HeHe

And, don't get me started on other design issues such as: small and awkward floor plans, dark interiors due to small/deep set windows - I could go on, but why bother.


June 9th, 2012, 03:34 PM
It's not the fact that they tear down the buildings; that's bad, but it's progress. It's more along the lines of what they put on the plot of land that verifies if it was a good or bad demolition. If I lived in one of these buildings only to have it torn down for another glass box, I think I would want a say on what goes up on the plot.

If they were to demolish the building, but put a more advanced yet equally classic structure there, then the argument ceases to exist. It's not that hard to recreate these buildings with some sort of efficiency in mind, and the materials are out there to do it.

June 9th, 2012, 04:36 PM
I live in one of those lovely old pre-war buildings: the wood floor joists are rotting, the rusting cast iron plumbing risers can be crushed with my bare hands, the old 'cloth covered' electrical wiring shorts out frequently and is a fire hazard, the brick/mortar facade is turning to dust: I can go on - but why bother.

At some point in time many such building become 'functionally obsolete' and no amount of money or maintenance will stop the deterioration.

Oh, but wait, you have a solution: landmark the building. Once landmarked time will stand still, matter will no longer degrade, and these "great old buildings" will live on for ever.

You are a fool mate, but let's keep the banter going, there is nothing I enjoy better than arguing with a lawyer. HeHe

And, don't get me started on other design issues such as: small and awkward floor plans, dark interiors due to small/deep set windows - I could go on, but why bother.


You're the fool and a cantakerous putz. You probably lived in a rent-regulated building which is why it's not maintained.

June 10th, 2012, 01:39 PM
A new twist in this NoHo proposal ...

Commissioner Robert B. Tierney: Tell Landmarks to Reject Proposal for 9 Story Hotel at 27 East 4th St

PETITION (http://www.change.org/petitions/commissioner-robert-b-tierney-tell-landmarks-to-reject-proposal-for-9-story-hotel-at-27-east-4th-st)



New NoHo Hotel Proposed for 27 East 4th Street (http://ny.curbed.com/archives/2012/05/07/new_noho_hotel_proposed_for_27_east_4th_street.php )

Reps of hotel project by Merchant’s House have criminal past

The VILLAGER (http://www.thevillager.com/?p=5140)
June 7, 2012

Merchant’s House Museum advocates are redoubling their opposition to a proposed nine-story hotel next door to the E. Fourth St. landmark after learning that two representatives of the hotel project pleaded guilty and served time in separate federal criminal cases several years ago.

The two men, who represented the hotel development team at Community Board 2 Landmarks Committee hearings in May, are Edward Carroll and Constantine Fotos.

Carroll pleaded guilty to obstructing justice and misleading a grand jury in 2002 during a federal corruption case against a business associate involved in elevator contracts for the M.T.A. headquarters building at 2 Broadway.

Carroll served five months in prison, plus two years of supervised release and five months home confinement. As a result of the conviction, Carroll surrendered his architect’s license in 2010.

Fotos pleaded guilty in 2005 to illegally removing asbestos while managing a construction project for Phillips International at 13-25 Astor Place. He also pleaded guilty to misleading a federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration investigation into the incident and served one year in prison and two years supervised release.

Friends of the 1832 Merchant’s House say the four-story building at 29 E. Fourth St. is too fragile to stand a nine-story building being built adjacent to it and sharing a party wall.

“We’re making every effort to convince the Landmarks Preservation Commission to consider everything and disapprove the hotel,” said Pi Gardener, executive director of the museum. Gardener said she thought nothing should be built at the proposed hotel site at 27 E. Fourth St. that is taller than the landmark. A two-story garage is currently on the site.

Alexandr Neratoff, an architect who spoke for residents of the nine-story condo at 25 E. Fourth St., said last week, “Given their prior convictions, Fotos and Carroll do not inspire confidence in their ability to develop 27 E. Fourth St. in a safe and judicious way without harming the Merchant’s House Museum. A proposal managed by this duo should never be approved by Landmarks.”

This reporter contacted Gary Spindler, owner of the proposed hotel site and a development partner, who responded in a letter, “Mr. Carroll and Mr. Fotos are valued members of our team who have made some mistakes in the past.”

Spindler said the design team is headed by SRA Architects, in which Carroll is an associate principal, and in which Adrian R. Figueroa, a registered architect, is a principal and the applicant of record for the L.P.C. hotel filing. Fotos assembled the design team and “brings many years of experience to his work,” Spindler added.

“We have engaged additional members of our team, including Steven Lin, geotechnical engineer; Phillip Murray, historical structural engineer; and Gabe Richardson, of Safety Dynamics, a Department of Buildings-approved safety consultant,” Spindler said.

“We have engaged licensed professionals of the highest caliber to respect the integrity of the Merchant’s House Museum,” he continued. “Unfortunately, our neighbor to the west [25 E. Fourth St.], who will lose some lot-line windows, seems unwilling to accept the changing nature of New York streetscapes and has seen fit to taint our project through guilt by association. We welcome this opportunity to allay his fears and wonder whether it is newsworthy.”

A Landmarks hearing on the project, which had been scheduled for June 5, was laid over until Tues., June 19. The L.P.C. does not enquire into the criminal record of applicants. In addition to L.P.C. approval, the hotel project would also require a zoning variance from the Board of Standards and Appeals, a process that could take a year or longer.

The Community Board 2 Landmarks Committee held a hearing on the project on April 30 at which Fotos and Carroll made a presentation and nobody appeared in opposition. The committee voted approval, but a day or two later, preservation advocates, along with Gardener and Nick Nicholson, chairperson of The Merchant’s House Museum board of trustees, protested they hadn’t known about the meeting.

The committee held another meeting on May 14 at which Nicholson and representatives of the Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation, the Historic Districts Council and the 25 E. Fourth St. co-op opposed the hotel.

Fotos told the committee that he had several conversations with Gardener about the hotel project. But Gardener, who was at the May 14 meeting, said she had only heard of the project about 10 days earlier, shortly after the April 30 committee meeting.

“It’s possible that he might have called me a few years ago but I don’t have any recollection of it,” Gardener said on June 6.

After the May 14 hearing, the Landmarks Committee reversed its previous vote and recommended that any new building at 27 E. Fourth St. be no taller than the Merchant’s House.

Sean Sweeney, co-chairperson of the committee, said on June 6 that he also had learned about the federal convictions of Fotos and Carroll.

“If they lied to a grand jury or to federal investigators, do you think they’d tell the truth to a Community Board 2 committee?” he asked.

The Merchant’s House, where three generations of the Seabury-Tredwell family lived, was originally among row houses on the north side of E. Fourth St. west of Bowery. But houses on both sides of 29 E. Fourth St. were demolished leaving the building extremely vulnerable.

The Historic House Trust, organized in 1989 to help the city Parks Department maintain historic buildings, most of which are within parks, owns the Merchant’s House, which has been designated an exterior and interior landmark.

June 13th, 2012, 07:01 AM
3 Firehouses Among 6 Buildings Now Designated City Landmarks


N.Y.C. Landmarks Preservation Commission
Engine Company/Squad 41 in the Bronx

[The Hotel Mansfield (R) and Yorkville Bank (L)
http://ny.curbed.com/archives/2012/06/12/six_new_nyc_landmarks_more_perks_for_pampered_pooc hes.php

Each has a distinct architectural style. One (https://maps.google.com/maps?q=330+E.+150th+Street&ll=40.817455,-73.920168&spn=0.00583,0.009645&sll=40.817244,-73.920125&layer=c&cbp=13,210.51,,0,-16.73&cbll=40.817429,-73.920052&gl=us&hnear=330+E+150th+St,+Bronx,+New+York+10451&t=m&z=17&panoid=VO2DhnTQH8k), a narrow three-story building with a bold red door, features a recessed stone eagle overlooking an ashlar limestone entrance. The second (https://maps.google.com/maps?q=618+East+138th+st&ll=40.806022,-73.915576&spn=0.005831,0.009645&sll=40.805797,-73.915798&layer=c&cbp=13,206.18,,0,-5.66&cbll=40.806064,-73.915684&gl=us&hnear=618+E+138th+St,+Bronx,+New+York+10454&t=m&z=17&iwloc=A&panoid=Vqo-N), completed in neo-Classical style, is one of the first of its kind in the city to feature two truck-size doors instead of just one. The third (https://maps.google.com/maps?q=111-02+Queens+Boulevard,+Forest+Hills,+New+York,+NY&hl=en&ll=40.71843,-73.837671&spn=0.001411,0.002411&sll=40.725885,-73.851735&layer=c&cbp=13,177.9,,0,-1.2&cbll=40.718479,-73.837787&gl=us&hnear=98-2+Queens+Blvd,+Queens,+New+), a churchlike Neo-Medieval brick fortress, has steep gables and a hose-drying tower.

All three are gracefully aging firehouses, and none are going anywhere; they were designated historical landmarks on Tuesday by the city Landmarks Preservation Commission. They are Engine Company/Squad 41 on East 150th Street in South Melrose in the Bronx; Engine Company 85/Hook and Ladder Company 29 on East 138th Street in Mott Haven in the Bronx; and Engine Company 304 / Hook and Ladder Company 151 on Queens Boulevard in Forest Hills.

The commission also granted landmark status two hotels and a bank in Manhattan on Tuesday. The six new landmarks were all erected within a few decades after New York City’s five boroughs consolidated in 1898.

“All of these buildings illustrate how far New York City had come by the start of the 20th century and signaled the promising direction in which it was headed,” the commission’s chairman, Robert B. Tierney, said in a statement, adding that the city’s historic firehouses are among its “finest expressions of civic character.”

The hotels are the 12-story King & Grove Hotel (https://maps.google.com/maps?q=30+East+30th+Street,+New+York,+NY&hl=en&ll=40.744995,-73.984203&spn=0.001459,0.002411&sll=40.718479,-73.837786&sspn=0.001468,0.002411&oq=30+east+30th+stre&gl=us&hnear=30+E+30th+St,+New+York,+10016&t=m&z=19&layer=c&cbll=40.745) at 30 East 30th Street, completed in 1903 in Renaissance Revival style and originally known as the Women’s Hotel, and the Mansfield Hotel (https://maps.google.com/maps?q=12+West+44th+Street,+Manhattan,+New+York,+N Y&hl=en&ll=40.755239,-73.981009&spn=0.006103,0.009645&sll=40.754344,-73.978908&sspn=0.006136,0.009645&hnear=12+W+44th+St,+New+York,+10036&t=m&z=17&layer=c&cbll=40.755239,-73.981009&p), originally the Hotel Mansfield, a Beaux-Arts building at 12 West 44th Street.

The newly recognized bank building is Yorkville Bank (https://maps.google.com/maps?q=1511+Third+Avenue+at+85th+Street&ll=40.778088,-73.954371&spn=0.006101,0.009645&sll=40.778141,-73.954489&layer=c&cbp=13,105.43,,0,-13.12&cbll=40.778251,-73.95441&hnear=3rd+Ave+%26+E+85th+St,+New+York,+10028&t=m&z=17&panoid=3I4) on 1511 Third Avenue at 85th Street, an Italian Renaissance-Revival corner building in granite, limestone and brick.


June 27th, 2012, 08:57 AM
Part of the Riverside-West End Historic District Wins Approval

by Jessica Dailey


Chalk one up for the preservationists: a chunk of the long-sought Riverside-West End Historic District (http://ny.curbed.com/archives/2010/09/16/huge_new_uws_historic_district_surprises_even_pres ervationists.php) won approval this morning. The mega-district is split into three sections, spanning 70th to 109th Street, and the section approved (http://www.nyc.gov/html/lpc/downloads/ppt/RSDWEAI_PPT.pdf) today covers between 79th and 87th Streets from Riverside Drive to Broadway. The West End Preservation Society has been fighting for the full district (http://ny.curbed.com/archives/2010/09/16/huge_new_uws_historic_district_surprises_even_pres ervationists.php), which stitches together five smaller districts, for several years, but the proposal has faced a lot of criticism, with opponents saying it would turn the area into a "mausoleum." Public hearings have been held for the other two sections, but the LPC has yet to determine when they will be voted on.

http://ny.curbed.com/uploads/west-end-riverside-district-map-thumb.jpg (http://ny.curbed.com/uploads/west-end-riverside-district-map.jpg)
[The newly approved extension of the Riverside-West End Historic District]

The LPC also approved a new historic district on Park Place (http://hdc.org/brooklyn-2/statement-proposed-park-place-historic-district) in Crown Heights, preserving 13 Romanesque-style rowhouses built in 1894. This district is also part of a larger proposal, the Crow Hill Historic District. This afternoon, the Commission is holding a hearing (http://hdc.org/manhattan-2/statement-proposed-east-villagelower-east-side-historic-district) for the proposed East Village-Lower East Side Historic District, which runs along Second Avenue from East 2nd Street to East 7th Street and includes adjacent side streets, for a total 330 buildings.

West End Avenue-Riverside Historic District Wins Approval (http://www.westsiderag.com/2012/06/26/west-end-avenue-riverside-historic-district-wins-approval) [West Side Rag]

http://ny.curbed.com/archives/2012/06/26/part_of_the_riversidewest_end_historic_district_wi ns_approval.php

June 27th, 2012, 11:22 AM
Take a tour up the visually coherent West End Ave stretching north from W70th St. But first, turn around and see what's behind.

West end Ave & w70th St (https://maps.google.com/maps?q=west+end+ave,+west+70th+st,new+york,ny&ll=40.778445,-73.981397&spn=0.010074,0.026157&hq=west+end+ave,&hnear=W+70th+St,+New+York&t=h&z=16&layer=c&cbll=40.778733,-73.985298&panoid=GUldf_bx4DRPQ-IfhFRHng&cbp=12,29.29,,0,-2.47)

The cross-streets are a delight. Check out the Red House, brick and terra-cotta apartment house built in 1904, W85th St toward Riverside.

June 27th, 2012, 08:11 PM
That's a lovely stretch -- classic New York. Except for that hideous giant TV set-looking school. Does this mean that can never be torn down? Too bad.

July 14th, 2012, 07:41 PM
There are signage regulations in New York City, but it seems the DOB hardly ever enforces them.

The only two agencies that control signage are the Design Commission (formerly Arts Commission), which has jurisdiction over city owned property, and the Landmarks Preservation Commission.

Recently, Duane Reade opened a store in about half of the ground floor of the 1997 landmarked American Surety Building (http://www.nyc.gov/html/lpc/downloads/pdf/reports/amersurety.pdf) at 100 Broadway. A Borders bookstore previously occupied the entire ground floor.

A few months ago, Duane Reade made a presentation to the LPC, requesting approval of signage. They were told to scale it back - one change was that the original proposal had a sign in every bay between the columns.

I think the new Duane Reade b&w logo fits very well with the massive stone building. Yeah, it's a drug store replacing a bookstore, but I never liked the boarders awnings, which disrupted the colonnade. It's still there in Google street view.

The buildings carvings retain their crisp appearance because the cladding is all granite.

http://img17.imageshack.us/img17/4929/100broadway01.th.jpg (http://imageshack.us/photo/my-images/17/100broadway01.jpg/) http://img41.imageshack.us/img41/6457/100broadway02.th.jpg (http://imageshack.us/photo/my-images/41/100broadway02.jpg/) http://img9.imageshack.us/img9/6839/100broadway03.th.jpg (http://imageshack.us/photo/my-images/9/100broadway03.jpg/)

http://img72.imageshack.us/img72/8922/100broadway04.th.jpg (http://imageshack.us/photo/my-images/72/100broadway04.jpg/) http://img853.imageshack.us/img853/48/100broadway05.th.jpg (http://imageshack.us/photo/my-images/853/100broadway05.jpg/) http://img52.imageshack.us/img52/8904/100broadway06.th.jpg (http://imageshack.us/photo/my-images/52/100broadway06.jpg/)

August 2nd, 2012, 10:44 PM
Good news about 500 Fifth :).

Coney Island’s Shore Theater Is Named a Landmark


The Shore Hotel on Surf Avenue in Coney Island.

The Shore Theater in Coney Island, a neo-Renaissance Revival contemporary of the Cyclone and the Wonder Wheel, is now a landmark. The Landmarks Preservation Commission approved the designation for the Shore and three other buildings on Tuesday afternoon. The Shore, originally known as the Coney Island Theater, was built between 1924 and 1925. Beginning in the mid-1960s, the theater began housing musical revues and burlesque. A few years later, following a brief experimentation with adult film, it catered to a (presumably) different demographic: bingo players. Today, at seven stories high, the vacant building is one of the tallest in the area.

Other buildings that were given landmark status include an Art Deco skyscraper at 500 Fifth Avenue designed by the architects of the Empire State Building and completed in 1931; the Rogers Peet building at 258 Broadway, an eight-story neo-Renaissance building built in 1900 near City Hall; and Alderbrook House, a country home built in 1859 in the Riverdale section of the Bronx, then a holiday spot for wealthy families.


Photos: Inside Coney Island's Decrepit Movie Palace

Looking down from the balcony.

The foyer is still stunning.

The seats in the orchestra were removed to make way for a bingo hall at the end of the theater's active life.

Looking up the balcony.

Part of the original plans.

Two years ago the Shore Theater in Coney Island (formally the Loew's Coney Island) was declared an historic landmark. Well, its exterior was. The inside of the former vaudeville and movie palace was left to fend to itself, as it has been doing since the 1970s. Despite the theater's dominating presence in Coney Island's amusement area, the interior has been pretty much lost to the public. Until now.

Photographer Matt Lambros of After The Final Curtain recently got into the theater and has just posted his pictures online (http://afterthefinalcurtain.net/2012/08/01/shore-theatre-loews-coney-island-theatre/): the Renaissance revival space is, like so many old theaters, truly stunning even in its decrepitude. The architects at Reilly & Hall knew what they were doing when they designed the space in the 1920s (the theater opened June 17, 1925 and after many iterations closed for good in March of 1973).

Over the years a number of efforts have been made to save the theater, but beyond the exterior's landmark status little has been done. And considering the state of the inside that kind of makes sense. There is a lot of work that needs to be done. Still, wouldn't it be lovely if the 2,387-seat space could be brought back into the fold? As far as we can tell the building is still owned by Kansas Fried Chicken founder Horace Bullard, though we've had trouble getting in touch with him to find out what plans, if any, he has for the space.

© 2003-2012 Gothamist LLC

August 25th, 2012, 03:46 PM
Vornado Kisses, Makes Up at 510 Fifth: Bertoia Moving Back!

by Pete Davies


(http://cdn.cstatic.net/images/gridfs/4f32ffc785216d161802143c/2012_02_510Fifth_BertoiaScreen2_EzraStoller.jpg) http://cdn.cstatic.net/images/gridfs/4f32ffc985216d1618021449/2012_02_510FifthBertoia_02.jpg (http://cdn.cstatic.net/images/gridfs/4f32ffc885216d1618021446/2012_02_510FifthBertoia_02.jpg) http://cdn.cstatic.net/images/gridfs/4f32ffcc85216d161802145d/2012_02_510FifthBertoia_03.jpg (http://cdn.cstatic.net/images/gridfs/4f32ffcb85216d161802145a/2012_02_510FifthBertoia_03.jpg) http://cdn.cstatic.net/images/gridfs/4f32ffd685216d1618021499/2012_02_510Fifth_BertoiaCloud1_EzraStoller.jpg (http://cdn.cstatic.net/images/gridfs/4f32ffd585216d1618021496/2012_02_510Fifth_BertoiaCloud1_EzraStoller.jpg) http://cdn.cstatic.net/images/gridfs/4f334a8185216d3a9e1b0913/2012_02_510FifthGranite_2.jpg (http://cdn.cstatic.net/images/gridfs/4f334a8085216d3a9e1b0910/2012_02_510FifthGranite_2.jpg) http://cdn.cstatic.net/images/gridfs/4f334a8285216d3a9e1b091d/2012_02_510FifthGranite_1.jpg (http://cdn.cstatic.net/images/gridfs/4f334a8285216d3a9e1b091a/2012_02_510FifthGranite_1.jpg) http://cdn.cstatic.net/images/gridfs/4f32ffd185216d161802147b/2012_02_510FifthBertoia_06.jpg (http://cdn.cstatic.net/images/gridfs/4f32ffd085216d1618021478/2012_02_510FifthBertoia_06.jpg) http://cdn.cstatic.net/images/gridfs/4f32ffce85216d1618021467/2012_02_510FifthBertoia_04.jpg (http://cdn.cstatic.net/images/gridfs/4f32ffcd85216d1618021464/2012_02_510FifthBertoia_04.jpg) http://cdn.cstatic.net/images/gridfs/4f32ffcf85216d1618021471/2012_02_510FifthBertoia_05.jpg (http://cdn.cstatic.net/images/gridfs/4f32ffcf85216d161802146e/2012_02_510FifthBertoia_05.jpg) http://cdn.cstatic.net/images/gridfs/4f32ffd485216d161802148f/2012_02_510FifthBertoia_01.jpg (http://cdn.cstatic.net/images/gridfs/4f32ffd485216d161802148c/2012_02_510FifthBertoia_01.jpg)
(click to enlarge)

The long legal stand-off between Vornado Realty and the preservation crew working to protect the landmarked Manufacturers Hanover Trust building at 510 Fifth Avenue was finally settled this week, just in time for Valentine's Day. We don't know all the dirty details, but the Times calls the occasion a win for preservation, and a press release from the Coalition to Save MHT adds more intel. The agreement makes possible the return of two Harry Bertoia sculptures to their original home. Both the "Golden Arbor," a six-ton screen in copper, nickel and brass that ran 70 feet across the west wall of the mezzanine, and a mobile representing a cloud, originally floating above the escalators, will be re-installed at "approximately their original locations" within the building. Vornado got the cooperation of JP Morgan Chase, former owner of 510 Fifth and holder of the Bertoia sculptures, for the move.

Another winning point for preservation is the return of salvaged black granite, originally part of the bank's massive wall encasing the huge Mosler vault. All that now remains of that wall is the ginormous circular steel and bronze door that faces Fifth Avenue, so where the salvaged granite will be re-installed remains a mystery. Vornado has also agreed that no additions will be constructed atop the 1954 SOM / Gordon Bunshaft building, a provision that applies to all future owners.

But the settlement of the suit—in which preservationists argued that Vornado's alterations put in danger the recently-landmarked interior of the building—won't satisfy everyone. Vornado will continue to reshape the space for retail tenant Joe Fresh, planning to open this summer, and the signature scissor escalators that were ripped out last summer won't be replaced in their original configuration. The ground floor will still be divided as Vornado insisted, compromising a space that offered a "special fascination" to Ada Louise Huxtable, who clearly found love at 510 Fifth Avenue back in 1954 when she wrote, "The whole, viewed from the outside, is no longer architecture in the traditional sense; it is a design, not a substance, of color, light and motion."

Preservationists Win a Battle Over Former Manufacturers Hanover Trust Building (http://artsbeat.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/02/08/preservationists-win-a-battle-over-former-manufacturers-hanover-trust-building/) [NYT]

http://ny.curbed.com/archives/2012/02/09/vornado_kisses_makes_up_at_510_fifth_bertoia_movin g_back.php

Chimay Bleue (http://www.flickr.com/photos/88017382@N00/7819803804/sizes/k/in/pool-35034350743@N01/)

Chimay Bleue (http://www.flickr.com/photos/88017382@N00/7849055014/sizes/h/in/set-72157631067918304/)

Chimay Bleue (http://www.flickr.com/photos/88017382@N00/7849055014/sizes/h/in/set-72157631067918304/)

August 27th, 2012, 05:32 AM
Chimay Bleue (http://www.flickr.com/photos/88017382@N00/7849055014/sizes/h/in/set-72157631067918304/)

^ Awesome :).

\/ Disgraceful :mad:.

Neglected and abandoned Sunset Park police precinct center of feud between city and nonprofit

The former 68th Police Precinct Station House and Stable was last used in 1970. The Brooklyn Chinese-American Association owns the Brooklyn site and wants to restore it — but can’t raise the money or get breaks on the fines that the city keeps piling on.

By Todd Maisel and Reuven Blau

Todd Maisel/New York Daily News
The former 68th Precinct stationhouse at 4302 and 4310 Fourth Avenue, more than 100 years old,
continues to sit vacant and deteroriating for more than 30 years despite being a landmark.

A long-abandoned Sunset Park police precinct is at the center of a feud between city landmark officials demanding emergency repairs and the nonprofit owners begging for grants and breaks on mounting fines to help restore the crumbling building.

The former 68th Police Precinct Station House and Stable, built in 1886 at the southwest corner of Fourth Ave. and 43rd St., has sat abandoned since it was last used to house officers in 1970.

Since then the Romanesque Revival castle-like structure has been a refuge for stray cats, neighborhood teens, and vagrants looking to hideout.

In 1999, the Brooklyn Chinese-American Association (BCAA) purchased the building for a little more than $200,000 from another community group, the Sunset Park Music Group.

Todd Maisel/New York Daily News
Front entrance interior shows a wooden archway collapsed and plaster covering the floors.

"We hoped we'd be able to raise enough money to restore it," recalled Paul Mack, who founded the BCAA, an expanding network of 18 senior centers and childcare programs.

Todd Maisel/New York Daily News
Floors and ceilings are collapsing, making it very dangerous to walk through.

While it has been 13 years, Mack still has dreams of converting the stable section into a center for youth classes.

Todd Maisel/New York Daily News
The city has the non-profit in a bind: It won’t help with money to fix the structure and keeps giving them fines for not fixing it.

But the former owners, the music organization, had similar aspirations, records show.

The group was awarded a special $67,000 state environment bond issued in 1986, which was largely used to repair the collapsed roof.

Todd Maisel/New York Daily News
Terracotta adorns the building on all sides, and is falling apart due to neglect.

Still, that was not enough to get the building in useable condition and the group soon racked up more than $100,000 in fines for a litany of violations.

The BCAA's efforts have met a similar fate, with the Landmarks Commission demanding immediate action in response to complaints from neighbors and more than $70,000 in fines since 2001, ranging from dangerous scaffolding to expiring construction permits.

Todd Maisel/New York Daily News
Sign on front dates to 1986 Enviornmental Quality Bond Act money that failed to help the building.

Mak and the chair of Community Board 7, Fred Xuereb, met with Landmark staff on Aug. 6, where the city officials threatened to file legal action known as a "demolition by neglect" suit, which could result in up to $5,000 daily fines.

"We are prepared to pursue legal action unless the owner takes the necessary steps to repair this historic building," landmarks spokeswoman Elisabeth de Bourbon said in a statement.

Mak countered that the commission has rejected BCAA's application for a $25,000 grant to finance some of the fixes.

"They want us to fix it but are not giving any financial support," Mak said in his makeshift office, an empty classroom at his center's flagship site on 8th Ave and 50th St.

The cash-strapped nonprofit plans to first fix the outside bricks, then place beams inside to ensure that the walls do not crash down, and eventually finish patching up the attached former stable.

"I'm not a greedy landlord. I'm just a social-service provider," Mak said.

Over the past decade, BCAA has twice come close to securing enough grant money for a basic restoration.

The first instance involved a $1 million federal grant approximately seven years ago that would have to for a Head Start Program for low-income children, but the money was suddenly pulled back due to budget cuts.

More recently, the City Council had earmarked nearly $1 million with BCAA vowing to kick in a matching amount with the help of donors. That deal was rejected by city bean counters who demanded the nonprofit first raise its share of the required funds.


September 11th, 2012, 05:59 AM

Castellano Seeking Approval for Changes to Landmark Jarmulowsky Hotel

by Elie


The lodge in the works for the Jarmulowsky Bank Building (http://www.boweryboogie.com/tag/jarmulowsky-bank-building/) is probably the most highly-anticipated Lower East Side real estate development in recent years. There it sat, dormant for the better part of a decade, while rumors of its revitalization swirled. Then earlier this year, prior owner Baruch Singer (yup, him) sold the Beaux Arts masterpiece to DLJ Real Estate Partners for a cool $36 million. It is this crew that enlisted local design house Studio Castellano (Forward building conversion) for the new hotel project at 54 Canal Street (http://www.boweryboogie.com/tag/54-canal-street/).


Since Mr. Jarmulowsky is in fact a landmark (since 2009), permissions are required for any construction work on premises. The CB3 Landmarks subcommittee meeting will convene this evening to discuss their proposals. In one fell swoop, Castellano and company hope to receive blessings for the following structural changes:

Raise the parapet, install new mechanical equipment, convert existing mechanical room to occupiable space on roof. The new event space is capped with corrugated metal shed;
Install new storefront infill, new masonry balustrade in existing bay ground floor;
Install new balconies at rear.

Materials submitted ahead of the gathering illustrate the (gritty) before and (streamlined) after for this iconic neighborhood skyscraper. Say goodbye to the water towers.


Meanwhile, contrary to earlier reports (http://www.boweryboogie.com/2012/06/ace-hotel-converting-jarmulowsky-bank-building-on-canal/), Ace hotel chain still denies any involvement in the project.


September 12th, 2012, 05:39 AM
Jarumulowsky Bank Finally Making a Comeback on Canal

by Dave Hogarty


(http://cdn.cstatic.net/images/gridfs/504f3c1785216d0ae8005fdc/jarmulowsky%20%2813%20of%2013%29.jpg) http://cdn.cstatic.net/images/gridfs/504f3c1985216d0ae8005fea/jarmulowsky%20%281%20of%2013%29.jpg (http://cdn.cstatic.net/images/gridfs/504f3c1885216d0ae8005fe7/jarmulowsky%20%281%20of%2013%29.jpg) http://cdn.cstatic.net/images/gridfs/504f3c1a85216d0ae8005ff4/jarmulowsky%20%282%20of%2013%29.jpg (http://cdn.cstatic.net/images/gridfs/504f3c1a85216d0ae8005ff1/jarmulowsky%20%282%20of%2013%29.jpg) http://cdn.cstatic.net/images/gridfs/504f3c1c85216d0ae8005ffe/jarmulowsky%20%283%20of%2013%29.jpg (http://cdn.cstatic.net/images/gridfs/504f3c1b85216d0ae8005ffb/jarmulowsky%20%283%20of%2013%29.jpg) http://cdn.cstatic.net/images/gridfs/504f3c1e85216d0ae8006008/jarmulowsky%20%284%20of%2013%29.jpg (http://cdn.cstatic.net/images/gridfs/504f3c1d85216d0ae8006005/jarmulowsky%20%284%20of%2013%29.jpg) http://cdn.cstatic.net/images/gridfs/504f3c2085216d0ae8006012/jarmulowsky%20%285%20of%2013%29.jpg (http://cdn.cstatic.net/images/gridfs/504f3c1f85216d0ae800600f/jarmulowsky%20%285%20of%2013%29.jpg) http://cdn.cstatic.net/images/gridfs/504f3c2185216d0ae800601c/jarmulowsky%20%286%20of%2013%29.jpg (http://cdn.cstatic.net/images/gridfs/504f3c2185216d0ae8006019/jarmulowsky%20%286%20of%2013%29.jpg) http://cdn.cstatic.net/images/gridfs/504f3c2385216d0ae8006026/jarmulowsky%20%287%20of%2013%29.jpg (http://cdn.cstatic.net/images/gridfs/504f3c2285216d0ae8006023/jarmulowsky%20%287%20of%2013%29.jpg) http://cdn.cstatic.net/images/gridfs/504f3c2585216d0ae8006030/jarmulowsky%20%288%20of%2013%29.jpg (http://cdn.cstatic.net/images/gridfs/504f3c2485216d0ae800602d/jarmulowsky%20%288%20of%2013%29.jpg) http://cdn.cstatic.net/images/gridfs/504f3c2685216d0ae800603a/jarmulowsky%20%289%20of%2013%29.jpg (http://cdn.cstatic.net/images/gridfs/504f3c2685216d0ae8006037/jarmulowsky%20%289%20of%2013%29.jpg) http://cdn.cstatic.net/images/gridfs/504f3c2885216d0ae8006044/jarmulowsky%20%2810%20of%2013%29.jpg (http://cdn.cstatic.net/images/gridfs/504f3c2785216d0ae8006041/jarmulowsky%20%2810%20of%2013%29.jpg) http://cdn.cstatic.net/images/gridfs/504f3c2985216d0ae800604e/jarmulowsky%20%2811%20of%2013%29.jpg (http://cdn.cstatic.net/images/gridfs/504f3c2985216d0ae800604b/jarmulowsky%20%2811%20of%2013%29.jpg)http://cdn.cstatic.net/images/gridfs/504f3c2b85216d0ae8006058/jarmulowsky%20%2812%20of%2013%29.jpg (http://cdn.cstatic.net/images/gridfs/504f3c2a85216d0ae8006055/jarmulowsky%20%2812%20of%2013%29.jpg)

The landmarks committee for Manhattan Community Board 3 gave its stamp of approval for plans to restore the long-vacant and landmarked (http://ny.curbed.com/archives/2009/10/14/lpc_approves_chelsea_historic_district_less_jarmul owsky.php) Jarmulowsky Bank Building at 54 Canal Street.

The building is a century old, but looking a little older recently as it has stood vacant for years, not helping its condition any. A few years ago, the original clock over the building's main entrance was stolen by a determined thief, who ripped it right out of the facade. Last night preservation consultants explained how they planned to restore the main floor's double-height status by removing a floor slab, repair terra cotta ornamentation and replace the cornice, and replace or restore doors and windows to original condition in its likely transformation into a hotel at Canal and Orchard.

The renovation will also include the addition of some habitable rooftop space and the consolidation of mechanical equipment that will lower the overall height of the building. CB3's landmarks committee voted unanimously in approval, but noted that they'd like to see the now-absent cupola at the roofline reconstructed—not something the current owners have planned. One thing they will be restoring: that stolen clock.

http://ny.curbed.com/archives/2012/09/11/jarumulowsky_bank_finally_making_a_comeback_on_can al.php#more

September 22nd, 2012, 12:29 AM
Finally, East Village/Lower East Side Historic District Scheduled for Vote

by Andito
http://gvshp.org/blog/wp-content/uploads/2012/09/East-Village_CALENDARED_201106281-1024x791.jpg (http://gvshp.org/blog/wp-content/uploads/2012/09/East-Village_CALENDARED_201106281.jpg)
We recently learned that the proposed East Village/Lower East Side Historic District has been scheduled for a vote by the Landmarks Preservation Commission on October 9. Since the district was announced nearly a year and a half ago, GVSHP and other preservation advocacy and community groups have pressed for the LPC to designate the proposed historic district quickly to prevent inappropriate alterations, demolitions, and additions to buildings in the proposed district (http://www.gvshp.org/_gvshp/preservation/east_village/doc/80-e-2nd-street-07-16-12.pdf).

http://gvshp.org/blog/wp-content/uploads/2012/09/2nd-Ave-btw-6th-and-7th-St-800x600.jpg (http://gvshp.org/blog/wp-content/uploads/2012/09/2nd-Ave-btw-6th-and-7th-St-800x600.jpg)
In the proposed historic district: 2nd Ave between East 6th & East 7th Streets

At the urging of GVSHP and other groups the LPC expanded the boundaries (http://www.gvshp.org/_gvshp/preservation/east_village/doc/ltr-05-10-11.pdf)of the East/Village Lower East Side Historic District which includes hundreds of buildings that represent the history of the area including early rowhouses, tenement buildings, commercial, institutional buildings.

Slideshow of buildings included in the East Village/Lower East Side Historic District (http://www.flickr.com//photos/gvshp/sets/72157626591458006/show/)

History of some of the buildings in the East Village/Lower East Side Historic District (http://eastvillage.thelocal.nytimes.com/2012/06/25/a-tour-of-the-neighborhoods-historic-buildings/)

At the end of June the Landmarks Preservation Commission held a public hearing for the proposed district (http://www.gvshp.org/_gvshp/preservation/east_village/ev-06-22-12.htm)where a majority of the speakers were in favor of the designation. Elected officials including recent Village Awardee Councilmember Rosie Mendez, State Senators Duane and Squadron, Assemblymembers Glick and Kavanagh, and Manhattan Borough President Stringer sent representatives to speak in favor of the district. In addition to GVSHP (read our testimony here (http://www.gvshp.org/_gvshp/preservation/east_village/doc/testimony-06-26-12.pdf)), other community and preservation groups including the Historic Districts Council, the New York Landmarks Conservancy, the East Village Community Coalition, the Lower East Side Preservation Initiative, Bowery Alliance of Neighbors, Place Matters/City Lore, the Cooper Square Committee, Cooper Square Mutual Housing Association (the owner of 19 properties in the district), and the Metropolitan Chapter of the Victorian Society of New York also spoke emphatically in favor of the designation, calling out the neighborhood’s rich history, significant architecture, and cultural depth as well as its vulnerability to inappropriate and out of scale development. Not to mention many residents of the East Village who spoke from the heart about the neighborhood and why it should be protected.

http://gvshp.org/blog/wp-content/uploads/2012/09/7th-St-btw-2nd-and-3rd-800x600.jpg (http://gvshp.org/blog/wp-content/uploads/2012/09/7th-St-btw-2nd-and-3rd-800x600.jpg)
In the proposed historic district: East 7th St between 2nd Ave and Cooper Square


September 22nd, 2012, 07:01 AM
Good news.

I hope that this happens in the Garment District too before putz "developers" raze those stunning old towers.

September 22nd, 2012, 05:31 PM
Good news.

I hope that this happens in the Garment District too before putz "developers" raze those stunning old towers.

Amen. +10.

October 2nd, 2012, 06:03 AM
Not All Make the Cut in a City Filled With Landmarks


Yana Paskova for The New York Times
A wall in Brooklyn often thought to date to a Brooklyn Dodgers stadium has been repeatedly
suggested for landmark status. But an investigation determined it was tied to a less notable team, the Tip Tops.

Yana Paskova for The New York Times
The city's Landmarks Preservation Commission rejected a request to safeguard the childhood home of Larry King.
Michael Marra, shown on balcony, has lived with his family in the house, in Bensonhurst, Brooklyn, since the 1970s.

The New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission safeguards thousands of sites around the city, from the instantly recognizable, like the Empire State Building, to small buildings that one might not find without a detailed map. Every year the list grows longer, and the organization is constantly asked to review some former factory, old store or historical home, almost any manner of Ye Olde Beautiful Building, in the hopes that it, too, might be found worthy of protection.

But every so often the commission receives an unusual request. Some have sought, for example, an evaluation of a cheerless little spot underneath a bridge, or a seemingly unremarkable house in Bensonhurst, Brooklyn, which happened to be the childhood home of the talk-show host Larry King. The commission has also been asked to review manhole covers, an aging brick wall, and a wooded grove in Kissena Park in Queens. None of these proposals were accepted.

“Trees die, unfortunately,” said Mary Beth Betts, the director of research for the commission.

In a city that shifts as rapidly as this one, people can be tempted to enshrine their favorite portions indelibly in the streetscape. But not every beloved corner quite makes the cut.
“You have to respect the passion people have for places in New York,” Ms. Betts said. “But we are not always the solution.”

Andrew Berman, the executive director of the Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation, recalled that about 15 years ago, there was talk in some circles of trying to have the now-bygone Chelsea Gym designated a landmark, because it had been a cultural touchstone among gay New Yorkers.

“Certainly it did have a cultural significance,” Mr. Berman said. “But does the physical space have anything to do with what it is you’re actually trying to preserve? Sometimes it does. And sometimes it really doesn’t.”

The landmarks commission often takes its own initiative, finding and selecting significant structures to protect, but it also takes in about 200 requests each year, from preservation groups, concerned citizens and, as was the case of Mr. King’s former Brooklyn home, politicians. That request was made in 2003, by the office of Borough President Marty Markowitz.

Michael Marra, who has lived in the house with his family since the 1970s, found the idea dubious.

“Usually when you think of landmarks, you think really big buildings or monuments,” Mr. Marra said. His home has a very nice garden tended by his grandfather, he said, but it is nonetheless a perfectly normal house.

Mark Zustovich, a spokesman for Mr. Markowitz, wrote in an e-mail, “Our recollection is that, at the time, we were checking on the landmark eligibility of the house on behalf of representatives for Larry King.”

Mr. King, reached by phone in California, recalled no such thing.

“I don’t know that my staff recommended it; they wouldn’t do that,” he said. “If they did, it wasn’t known to me.”

Mr. King said that he moved into an attic apartment in the house with his mother and younger brother when he was 9 and that the $34-per-month rent was paid by the government, in what was then known not as welfare but as “relief.” He lived there until he was 22, and the Marras have allowed him back a few times since to look around.

“My formative years,” he said. “It’s where I pretended to be on the radio.”

When he is in New York City now, Mr. King stays at the Regency.

Mr. Marra’s home is not the only landmark suggestion that provokes head-scratching. In 2009, for example, the commission was asked to review a collection of benches and railings and a sloping patch of brick-covered ground on a thin slice of downtown Manhattan usually used as a skate park. The area, frequented by bike riders, in-line skaters and skateboarders, is beneath the Brooklyn Bridge.

According to Steve Rodriguez, who requested the review by the landmarks commission, it was also occasionally used in the 1980s as a discreet location to chop up stolen cars.
“Sketchy,” he said.

The area, known as the Brooklyn Banks, (http://www.vice.com/read/bye-bye-brooklyn-banks)is renowned to generations of skaters, Mr. Rodriguez explained. While the landmarks commission does not dispute its significance, the site is still too young to qualify (a portion of the structure must be at least 30 years old), and the commission, according to Ms. Betts, does not designate a site because it serves a particular function.

“We regulate the Parachute Jump (http://gothamist.com/2012/03/20/coney_island_parachute_jump_needs_b.php),” Ms. Betts said, referring to the tapered steel tower in Coney Island that opens at the top like the face of a sunflower. “But we cannot make it be used as a parachute jump.”

“I don’t know if I’d even want to watch people doing that,” she added.

In recent years, the Brooklyn Banks have been overtaken by construction for the Brooklyn Bridge renovation project, but a security guard standing behind a chain-link fence last week, speaking over the rumble of heavy machinery and passing traffic, said people still came by every day eager to skate.

Another site that was suggested to the commission, more for its story than for its aesthetic qualities, can be found in Gowanus, Brooklyn. Now, close your eyes for a moment and picture it — and you will see a brick wall.

The wall, painted white, which runs down Third Avenue along the edge of a Consolidated Edison parking lot, has actually been suggested to the landmarks commission several times because it is commonly thought to have been a part of an old stadium of the Brooklyn Dodgers, Ms. Betts said. And while the Dodgers did have a stadium on the site until 1912, after much research Ms. Betts and her team determined that what remained was actually part of a perimeter wall built in 1914 for a team lacking in enduring lore, the Brooklyn Tip Tops of the short-lived Federal League.

Once it is learned that the Dodgers were not involved, she said, the issue is usually dropped.

City landmarks are not all cut from the same cloth; they must possess architectural, historical or cultural significance. Reasons for the rejection of a candidate can be varied. Manhole covers, for example, which were suggested to the city 10 years ago, were deemed ineligible because they could be picked up and carted away. Their mobility would make them difficult to protect, Ms. Betts explained.

For some rebuffed seekers of landmark designation, however, rejection, and its accompanying dynamism, may actually turn out to be a blessing.

Mr. Rodriguez said that once the skate park was freed of its construction equipment and construction detritus, he would try to raise money to remodel it.

“I’m totally glad,” Mr. Rodriguez said of the denial, ticking off his plans for more skating obstacles, and seats for spectators.

“Then maybe after I renovate it,” he continued, “then I’ll get it landmarked.”


October 10th, 2012, 06:58 AM
East Village/Lower East Side Historic District Approved

by Jeremiah Budin

The Landmarks Preservation Commission concluded its six-year consideration of the proposed East Village/Lower East Side Historic District today, voting nearly unanimously in favor of its approval. Members of the commission called the district "the culturally richest area in New York City," and "synonymous with the American immigrant experience," and lauded the fact that a vast majority of the buildings had remained unchanged since the Great Depression halted development in the 1930s. The lone commission member who voted in opposition, herself a former resident of the neighborhood, voiced concern that many of the buildings in the district are tenement houses, which are "a poor housing type." She also questioned the characterization of the historical significance of the neighborhood, saying "What brought it to prominence is that Jack Kerouac lived there as opposed to the immigrants." Regardless, approval was at this point pretty much a foregone conclusion, and the other members of the commission seemed thrilled to grant protected status to over 300 century-old buildings.

The main champion of the East Village/Lower East Side Historic District (which could probably use a snappier name) has been the Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation, who are, of course, thrilled. "Landmark designation will go a long way towards ensuring that historic buildings are preserved, while allowing necessary changes and reasonable in-character additions and new development," wrote GVSHP Executive Director Andrew Berman in a press release. Opponents of the historic district in attendance included a few area churches, such as the Cathedral of the Holy Virgin Protection on East 2nd Street and Saint Stanislaus on East 7th, who believe that the new landmarks restrictions violate their freedom of expression by restricting seasonal changes to their facades.

City Agrees to Expand East Village Landmarks Proposal! (http://www.gvshp.org/_gvshp/preservation/east_village/ev-05-31-11.htm) [GVSHP]

http://ny.curbed.com/archives/2012/10/09/east_villagelower_east_side_historic_district_appr oved.php

November 16th, 2012, 04:28 AM
For want of a better place to put this:

Sandy Turns Westbeth into Wetsbeth

Famed live/work artists' space flooded, destroying important works of art and design.

The courtyard inside the Richard Meier-designed Westbeth, 1967-1970. Courtesy Richard Meier & Partners

Yesterday was the last day that artists in Westbeth Artists Housing—many of whom have lived and worked there for several decades—could retrieve their work from their flood-soaked art studios and storage spaces. Whatever artworks, materials, and archives, which had included works by Isamu Noguchi and Richard Meier, remained in the wet and mold-ridden basement by the end of Wednesday were hauled out and considered trash. As a crew of volunteers in protective gear cleared out the rooms, a couple of artists sorted through the clutter to find years of work damaged by the surge of water that filled the basement during Hurricane Sandy.

“I lost at least 30 pieces,” said sculptor Dave Seccombe. “I don’t know what to say. It is just a mess.”

http://www.archpaper.com/uploads/westbeth_flood_03.jpg (http://www.archpaper.com/uploads/westbeth_flood_03.jpg)

http://www.archpaper.com/uploads/westbeth_flood_06.jpg (http://www.archpaper.com/uploads/westbeth_flood_06.jpg)

Many important works of art and architecture were damaged in flooding at Westbeth.
Nicole Anderson / AN

In the courtyard of the building, renovated by Richard Meier in the late 1960s, artists dried out their canvases and textile work in the sun. Conservation groups came by to advise artists on how to salvage and preserve their remaining artwork. Safety issues, however, have forced building management to expedite the clean-up process, and as a result, a fair amount of unclaimed work was discarded.

“They are weighing people’s art with safety and health,” said George Cominskie, President of Westbeth Artists Council.

Carl Stein of Elemental Architecture is the architect for the building (and worked with Meier in the ‘60s when he was a student) and said that among the work that was lost was of Richard Meier prints, known as as-builts, from the original project. But luckily, Executive Director Steve Neil scanned many of the prints a few years ago and Richard Meier & Partner Architects archived the originals.

http://www.archpaper.com/uploads/westbeth_flood_04.jpg (http://www.archpaper.com/uploads/westbeth_flood_04.jpg)
Textiles by Susan Berger dry after the flood. Nicole Anderson / AN

“We did have many of them, and, at Carl Stein's strong and repeated urging had them digitized a couple of years ago,” said Neil. “Since then, a few rolls have turned up that we didn't know about and which may have been lost in the flood, but I would estimate we have three-quarters of the drawings at least. They have been a lifesaver, as you might imagine.”

The archivist at Richard Meier & Partner Architects estimates the value of the 73 prints donated to Westbeth, which includes 22 prints of architectural and structural drawings and 51 sepias of electrical drawings, at $15,000.

Stein points out that while the financial loss of the prints is nominal, the “importance as informational tools was very significant.”

http://www.archpaper.com/uploads/westbeth_flood_02.jpg (http://www.archpaper.com/uploads/westbeth_flood_02.jpg)

http://www.archpaper.com/uploads/westbeth_flood_07.jpg (http://www.archpaper.com/uploads/westbeth_flood_07.jpg)

Two of the noguchi-designed sets that were damaged in the flooding at Westbeth.
Courtesy Something in the way and Noguchi Museum

The Martha Graham Dance Company just moved to Westbeth this summer and was not as fortunate. All of the costumes, sets, and production materials, dating back to 1926, were submerged in 10 feet of water--including iconic, original sets designed by Isamu Noguchi, which were considered groundbreaking modernist theatrical designs, as well as costumes by Halston, Oscar de la Renta, and Calvin Klein. The company estimates a loss of around $4 million, but the flood insurance will only cover $30,000.

“For those of us who have been in those costumes and danced on those sets, it is like losing a loved one,” said artistic director Janet Eilber. “The upside is Noguchi made those sets to be used. He would say ‘art should be useful.’”

The company has moved all the boxes of sets and costumes to a storage space in Yonkers, and with the help of conservators from the Natural History Museum and the Smithsonian, is figuring out what can be saved.

“The dance world deals with how ephemeral dance is. It isn’t like a painting you can store,” Eilber said. “We’re sort of lucky in this case that dance is not tangible and the dances are safe and ready to be performed.”


November 23rd, 2012, 09:03 AM
The LPC voted on Nov 20th to calendar the Marine Midland Bank Building (now HSBC) at 140 Broadway for the designation process. Designed in 1967 by Gordon Bunshaft (Lever House).

Marine Midland Bank Proposed to Become Newest Modern Landmark in NYC


The office tower at 140 Broadway, designed by Gordon Bunshaft of SOM, is being placed on the NYC Landmark Preservation Commission’s calendar. Completed in 1967 for the New York office of Marine Midland Bank, the building is noted for its minimalist curtain wall of matte-finished black anodized aluminum, which rises 51 stories without setbacks. Its location facing Zuccotti Park across Broadway and its generous setbacks from the street heighten the drama of its trapezoidal geometry.

The plaza afforded by this setback, originally paved with travertine, is home to the building’s most widely recognized feature—the giant red pierced cube by Isamu Noguchi. Flowing completely around the slender shaft, this paved area provides a key link in a chain of open spaces linking Chase Plaza to the World Trade Center district. As part of this sequence, its dark, flush curtain wall presents a dramatic counterpoint to the more structurally expressive, silver aluminum-clad Chase tower.

Originally developed and owned by Harry Helmsley, with partners, the building was acquired by Silverstein Properties with the Morgan Stanley Real Estate Fund in 1998, and has been known in recent years as the headquarters of HSBC Bank USA. While some unfortunate modifications have been made to the plaza paving and the revolving door entrances, they are minor in the context of the tower as a whole and perhaps could be rectified in the future.

The 140 Broadway tower was much praised when it was completed. In The New York Times, Ada Louise Huxtable wrote, approvingly, that the building was clearly “a commercial building, not a monument,” and she lauded its walls “reduced to gossamer minimums of shining, thin material, hung on a frame of extraordinary strength through superb contemporary technology.” A cover feature in Architectural Forum led off by saying the building “had the well-groomed look of a New York banker—and the same financial logic” and concluded: “SOM has produced a work that ranks with the firm’s earlier corporate showplaces—Lever House, Union Carbide, Chase Manhattan, and Pepsi-Cola—as one of the handsomest office buildings in the U.S.A.”

– John Morris Dixon

http://docomomo-nytri.org/wp-content/gallery/news-july-dec-2012/marinemidlandbank-byjanmartin-330px.jpg http://docomomo-nytri.org/wp-content/gallery/news-july-dec-2012/marinemidlandbank-byomarmaya-330px.jpg

© 2012 DOCOMOMO US/New York Tri-State

November 23rd, 2012, 09:34 AM
They should concentrate on landmarking prewar buildings before they move on to International style.

November 23rd, 2012, 07:20 PM
They should concentrate on landmarking prewar buildings before they move on to International style.

I agree. It's not like anyone is going to raze a 50 story building. By contrast, pre-war structures like the Roosevelt and the Hotel Pennsylvania are in jeopardy.

Our city has been (and continues to be) "Abner Louima'ed" by "developers." The putzes at LPC should stop living in a dream world.

Music Man
November 24th, 2012, 12:24 AM
........ might as well be landmarking 1 Liberty Plaza.:rolleyes:

November 24th, 2012, 11:19 AM
................By contrast, pre-war structures like the Roosevelt and the Hotel Pennsylvania are in jeopardy.

Our city has been (and continues to be) "Abner Louima'ed" by "developers." The putzes at LPC should stop living in a dream world.

I can not disagree that many of the various 'fine looking traditional buildings' you continually lament the loss of would ultimately serve to beautify our streets if they were preserved; but, the ravages of time have taken their toll - irreparably so in most cases.

Many of those structures are crumbling, structurally unsound, and functionally obsolete buildings; no amount of 'landmarking' or 'emotional attachment' or 'nostalgia' is going to change that fact.

I suggest you put your pen down, come out from behind your desk, and spend a week with me 'swinging a hammer' inside some of these buildings; then maybe you will gain a somewhat better understanding as to why every old 'architectural gem' can not be landmarked.

Your the one who seems to be "living in a dream world" : at least when it comes to the process & policy of 'landmarking' old buildings.

November 24th, 2012, 11:26 AM
........ might as well be landmarking 1 Liberty Plaza.:rolleyes:The two are the same?

November 24th, 2012, 12:11 PM
I can not disagree that many of the various 'fine looking traditional buildings' you continually lament the loss of would ultimately serve to beautify our streets if they were preserved; but, the ravages of time have taken their toll - irreparably so in most cases.

Many of those structures are crumbling, structurally unsound, and functionally obsolete buildings; no amount of 'landmarking' or 'emotional attachment' or 'nostalgia' is going to change that fact.

I suggest you put your pen down, come out from behind your desk, and spend a week with me 'swinging a hammer' inside some of these buildings; then maybe you will gain a somewhat better understanding as to why every old 'architectural gem' can not be landmarked.

Your the one who seems to be "living in a dream world" : at least when it comes to the process & policy of 'landmarking' old buildings.

They preserve much older buildings in Europe. Maybe they have better hammer swingers.

November 24th, 2012, 12:54 PM
They should concentrate on landmarking prewar buildings before they move on to International style.

I bet It'll save the LPC a lot of trouble to landmark them now rather than to wait a decade or two when plans are drawn up to reclad and modernize them.

November 25th, 2012, 03:16 AM
The two are the same?

No, thank god, but the comparison is understandable, even though they're quite different. 1 Liberty Plaza is MUCH worse.

Many of those structures are crumbling, structurally unsound, and functionally obsolete buildings

Only because they were allowed to get that way.

then maybe you will gain a somewhat better understanding as to why every old 'architectural gem' can not be landmarked.

I don't think anyone is saying that "every old..." should be landmarked.

November 25th, 2012, 03:58 AM
I agree. It's not like anyone is going to raze a 50 story building. By contrast, pre-war structures like the Roosevelt and the Hotel Pennsylvania are in jeopardy.

Our city has been (and continues to be) "Abner Louima'ed" by "developers." The putzes at LPC should stop living in a dream world.

Fully agree. It's a confusion of priorities and an abuse of the spirit of the LPC to spend the city's resources landmarking 40-year-old massive buildings in no danger of being razed in the next 20 years (sadly) and which are identical to the crap we continue to build today.

The LPC should prioritize based on its mission, not based on what the developer lobby is pushing, and concentrate on structures like the Roosevelt, Pennsylvania, and the pre-war grand dames on Madison (incl. the Roosevelt) that will be demolished if Bloomberg's Midtown rezoning goes through.

November 25th, 2012, 08:19 PM
Fully agree. It's a confusion of priorities and an abuse of the spirit of the LPC to spend the city's resources landmarking 40-year-old massive buildings in no danger of being razed in the next 20 years (sadly) and which are identical to the crap we continue to build today.

The LPC should prioritize based on its mission, not based on what the developer lobby is pushing, and concentrate on structures like the Roosevelt, Pennsylvania, and the pre-war grand dames on Madison (incl. the Roosevelt) that will be demolished if Bloomberg's Midtown rezoning goes through.

It's ridiculous. The owners of 140 B'Way aren't going to reclad it or do anything else to it any time soon. By contrast, lots of beautiful old buildings in Midtown are in jeopardy. They should be landmarked, and the city should let 100% of their air rights be transferred to other sites so that the owners don't lose money. We do so much fu..cked up, half-a.s.s.ed sh.t in this city. These jackasses should start being realistic and proactive.

Music Man
November 26th, 2012, 11:12 PM
The two are the same?

Only that they're both black boxy buildings, have three columns of windows down the front facades, both by S.O.M. Although 140 has a slight trapezoidal floor plan because of the lot shape. But.... meh.


Found this little bit of info on wikipedia about a bombing there.

"A bombing (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bomb) occurred on the 8th floor on August 20, 1969, injuring 20 people. The bomb, which police estimated to be the equivalent of 25 sticks of dynamite, was placed in a hallway just off the elevators some time during the evening and it exploded at around 10:30PM. The injured were on the night shift in the bank's stock bookkeeping department and were working on the other side of the corridor wall. Fortunately, the inside of this wall was lined with floor-to-ceiling automated file units that weighed 3 tons each and which absorbed most of the blast. Without them, the 20 injuries would all have been fatalities. The blast moved the file units about a foot, blew out all the windows on that side of the building and opened a 5-foot (1.5 m) hole in the reinforced concrete floor."

November 26th, 2012, 11:59 PM
Fully agree. It's a confusion of priorities and an abuse of the spirit of the LPC to spend the city's resources landmarking 40-year-old massive buildings in no danger of being razed in the next 20 years (sadly) and which are identical to the crap we continue to build today.Do you really believe that putting 140 Broadway on the landmark calendar is the reason that other buildings aren't getting landmarked, that it's a matter of resources?

The LPC should prioritize based on its mission, not based on what the developer lobby is pushing, and concentrate on structures like the Roosevelt, Pennsylvania, and the pre-war grand dames on MadisonYou make it sound as if they haven't gotten around to these buildings yet.

Nothing in this city gets landmarked unless the mayor and city council are in favor of it, or at the least, ambivalent. The Hotel Pennsylvania wasn't designated because a major developer wanted the site, and the mayor and city council went along with it. Nobody wants to demolish 140 Broadway, so the LPC is free to do whatever it wants.

November 28th, 2012, 04:35 AM
Heatmap: 10 Sites Facing Preservation Battles Right Now

by Sara Polsky


http://img.cstatic.net/150x150%5E/http://cdn.cstatic.net/images/gridfs/50b4f77bf92ea16b12006b52/hoppergibbonssmall_11_12.jpg (http://cdn.cstatic.net/images/gridfs/50b4f77bf92ea16b12006b52/hoppergibbonssmall_11_12.jpg)
Hopper-Gibbons House
339 W 29th St, New York, NY 10001

The preservation fight over the Hopper-Gibbons House, Manhattan's only documented Underground Railroad site, has picked up again (http://ny.curbed.com/archives/2012/11/16/battle_resumes_over_manhattan_underground_railroad _stop.php), with the Board of Standards and Appeals considering owner Tony Mamouas' application to keep a rooftop addition. The legality of that addition has been controversial for several years—the city already (http://ny.curbed.com/archives/2010/11/24/today_in_illegal_penthouse_teardowns.php) ordered Mamounas to take it down in late 2010, but he ignored the order. The rooftop is important to preservationists because it was the route by which people fled the house during the Draft Riots of 1863.

http://img.cstatic.net/150x150%5E/http://cdn.cstatic.net/images/gridfs/50b4fb13f92ea16b2b008a45/roosevelthotel_11_12.jpg (http://cdn.cstatic.net/images/gridfs/50b4fb13f92ea16b2b008a45/roosevelthotel_11_12.jpg)
Roosevelt Hotel
45 E 45th St., New York, NY 10017

This is one of the 15 buildings preservationists deem endangered (http://ny.curbed.com/archives/2012/11/20/10_buildings_possibly_endangered_by_a_midtown_east _rezoning.php) by the proposed upzoning around Grand Central Terminal. The 1925 building was designed by George B. Post and retained its original facade even after an extensive renovation in the 1990s. That's unusual among the hotels in the Terminal City area.

http://img.cstatic.net/150x150%5E/http://cdn.cstatic.net/images/gridfs/50b4f1adf92ea16b21005530/grandarmyplazaarch.jpg (http://cdn.cstatic.net/images/gridfs/50b4f1adf92ea16b21005530/grandarmyplazaarch.jpg)
Grand Army Plaza Arch
Grand Army Plaza, Brooklyn, NY 11217

The Empire State Building is nicely framed by the Grand Army Plaza Arch, and one local preservationist is worried (http://ny.curbed.com/archives/2012/11/27/preservation_battles.php) it won't stay that way once a new Atlantic Yards tower rises 219 feet and blocks the view. He's circulating a petition in the hope of preventing this from happening.

http://img.cstatic.net/150x150%5E/http://cdn.cstatic.net/images/gridfs/50b4fb86f92ea16b040098bc/60east42nd_11_12.jpg (http://cdn.cstatic.net/images/gridfs/50b4fb86f92ea16b040098bc/60east42nd_11_12.jpg)
Lincoln Building
60 E 42nd St, New York, NY 10017

The Lincoln Building is another Grand Central-area site potentially threatened (http://ny.curbed.com/archives/2012/11/20/10_buildings_possibly_endangered_by_a_midtown_east _rezoning.php) by a Midtown East rezoning. The 1930 structure, now the 49th tallest building in New York City, was designed by James Edwin Ruthven Carpenter Jr.

http://img.cstatic.net/150x150%5E/http://cdn.cstatic.net/images/gridfs/50b4fc3ef92ea16b3200a2b9/hudsonsquarerezoning.jpg (http://cdn.cstatic.net/images/gridfs/50b4fc3ef92ea16b3200a2b9/hudsonsquarerezoning.jpg)
Hudson Square Rezoning
375 Hudson St, New York, NY 10014

The proposed rezoning of Hudson Square (http://ny.curbed.com/archives/2012/09/07/hudson_square_rezoning_begins_with_promises_of_cho colate.php) has brought preservationists out to fight once again for the landmarking of the South Village. They argue that Hudson Square's rezoning would put economic pressure on the South Village, leading to changes in the neighborhood. The City Planning Commission will hold its public hearing on the rezoning proposal tomorrow.

http://img.cstatic.net/150x150%5E/http://cdn.cstatic.net/images/gridfs/50b4fe05f92ea16aea00a00b/27east4thQL_9_12.jpg (http://cdn.cstatic.net/images/gridfs/50b4fe05f92ea16aea00a00b/27east4thQL_9_12.jpg)
27 East 4th Street

The proposal for a nine-story hotel next to the Merchant's House has gotten no love (http://ny.curbed.com/archives/2012/09/12/proposed_merchants_house_neighbor_gets_no_love_at_ lpc.php) from the Landmarks Preservation Commission or from the neighbors (http://ny.curbed.com/archives/2012/05/15/preservationists_fear_merchants_house_safety_with_ hotel_plan.php).

http://img.cstatic.net/150x150%5E/http://cdn.cstatic.net/images/gridfs/50b500cbf92ea16afd00a65b/bialystoker_map.jpg (http://cdn.cstatic.net/images/gridfs/50b500cbf92ea16afd00a65b/bialystoker_map.jpg)
Bialystoker Nursing Home
228 E Broadway, New York, NY 10002

Where this particular preservation battle is right now: the Landmarks Preservation Commission is discussing (http://ny.curbed.com/archives/2012/10/21/preservation_watch.php) whether to have a hearing to discuss the building's possible landmarking. Since the building has already been marketed (http://ny.curbed.com/archives/2011/08/04/les_nursing_home_tale_gets_listed_more_twisted.php ) as a "highly desirable" residential spot, this really does sound like the building's last chance.

http://img.cstatic.net/150x150%5E/http://cdn.cstatic.net/images/gridfs/50b501f3f92ea16b0e00c1f3/b_redeemer.jpg (http://cdn.cstatic.net/images/gridfs/50b501f3f92ea16b0e00c1f3/b_redeemer.jpg)
Church of the Redeemer
24 4th Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11217

The Episcopal Church of the Redeemer, a 150-year-old Brooklyn house of worship, needs $8 million to fix itself up—the building had to close in June because it is unusable. Neighbors are working on raising the funds, but the church is also considering development options.

http://img.cstatic.net/150x150%5E/http://cdn.cstatic.net/images/gridfs/50b5041bf92ea16b2800c61a/all_sandy_boardwalk_2012_11_09_bk01_z.jpg (http://cdn.cstatic.net/images/gridfs/50b5041bf92ea16b2800c61a/all_sandy_boardwalk_2012_11_09_bk01_z.jpg)
Coney Island Beach & Boardwalk
Surf Ave., Brooklyn, NY 11224

Preservationists have been fighting (http://ny.curbed.com/archives/2012/09/10/boardwalk_battles.php) the city's decision to replace the wood of the Coney Island boardwalk with concrete, and they say Hurricane Sandy bolsters their argument. The old wooden boardwalk filtered the seawater (http://ny.curbed.com/archives/2012/11/08/boardwalk_battles.php) so that sand built up on top and underneath the boardwalk. The new concrete section of the boardwalk did not (according to opponents) block the sand so successfully.

http://img.cstatic.net/150x150%5E/http://cdn.cstatic.net/images/gridfs/50b50493f92ea16b4700c8b8/richmondhillQL_9_12.jpg (http://cdn.cstatic.net/images/gridfs/50b50493f92ea16b4700c8b8/richmondhillQL_9_12.jpg)
Richmond Hill
Atlantic Ave & 119th St, Queens, NY 11419

Twice denied by Landmarks, once in 2005 and previously this year, the proposed Richmond Hill Historic District may give it another try. The Richmond Hill Historical Society seeks to preserve the Victorian-style architecture of the neighborhood. The president of the historical society says “It’s more of an endeavor to preserve this kind of architecture…It’s for people to marvel at.” He also notes that the future attempt at LPC will propose a smaller area in order to better appeal to the LPC.

http://ny.curbed.com/archives/2012/11/27/heatmap_10_sites_facing_preservation_battles_right _now.php

November 28th, 2012, 04:44 AM
Oh well, can't blame the LPC on this one, but it's still a damn shame.

Cornerspotted: The Old Jamaica Town Hall in Queens

by Jessica Dailey




It was constructed in 1870 on the corner of Jamaica Avenue and Parsons Boulevard, and it served as the county seat of Queens until the borough became a part of New York City in 1898. It then became a municipal courthouse. The photo (http://collections.mcny.org/C.aspx?VP3=SearchResult_VPage&VBID=24UP1G78A7HD&SMLS=1&RW=1271&RH=639&PN=2) shown was taken by Bernice Abbott in 1937, four years before the building was demolished in 1941. Today, a McDonald's occupies the same corner.

http://ny.curbed.com/archives/2012/11/27/cornerspotted_the_old_jamaica_town_hall_in_queens. php

December 1st, 2012, 08:36 PM
Heatmap: 10 Sites Facing Preservation Battles Right Now

by Sara Polsky


http://img.cstatic.net/150x150%5E/http://cdn.cstatic.net/images/gridfs/50b4f77bf92ea16b12006b52/hoppergibbonssmall_11_12.jpg (http://cdn.cstatic.net/images/gridfs/50b4f77bf92ea16b12006b52/hoppergibbonssmall_11_12.jpg)
Hopper-Gibbons House
339 W 29th St, New York, NY 10001

The preservation fight over the Hopper-Gibbons House, Manhattan's only documented Underground Railroad site, has picked up again (http://ny.curbed.com/archives/2012/11/16/battle_resumes_over_manhattan_underground_railroad _stop.php), with the Board of Standards and Appeals considering owner Tony Mamouas' application to keep a rooftop addition. The legality of that addition has been controversial for several years—the city already (http://ny.curbed.com/archives/2010/11/24/today_in_illegal_penthouse_teardowns.php) ordered Mamounas to take it down in late 2010, but he ignored the order. The rooftop is important to preservationists because it was the route by which people fled the house during the Draft Riots of 1863.

http://img.cstatic.net/150x150%5E/http://cdn.cstatic.net/images/gridfs/50b4fb13f92ea16b2b008a45/roosevelthotel_11_12.jpg (http://cdn.cstatic.net/images/gridfs/50b4fb13f92ea16b2b008a45/roosevelthotel_11_12.jpg)
Roosevelt Hotel
45 E 45th St., New York, NY 10017

This is one of the 15 buildings preservationists deem endangered (http://ny.curbed.com/archives/2012/11/20/10_buildings_possibly_endangered_by_a_midtown_east _rezoning.php) by the proposed upzoning around Grand Central Terminal. The 1925 building was designed by George B. Post and retained its original facade even after an extensive renovation in the 1990s. That's unusual among the hotels in the Terminal City area.

http://img.cstatic.net/150x150%5E/http://cdn.cstatic.net/images/gridfs/50b4f1adf92ea16b21005530/grandarmyplazaarch.jpg (http://cdn.cstatic.net/images/gridfs/50b4f1adf92ea16b21005530/grandarmyplazaarch.jpg)
Grand Army Plaza Arch
Grand Army Plaza, Brooklyn, NY 11217

The Empire State Building is nicely framed by the Grand Army Plaza Arch, and one local preservationist is worried (http://ny.curbed.com/archives/2012/11/27/preservation_battles.php) it won't stay that way once a new Atlantic Yards tower rises 219 feet and blocks the view. He's circulating a petition in the hope of preventing this from happening.

http://img.cstatic.net/150x150%5E/http://cdn.cstatic.net/images/gridfs/50b4fb86f92ea16b040098bc/60east42nd_11_12.jpg (http://cdn.cstatic.net/images/gridfs/50b4fb86f92ea16b040098bc/60east42nd_11_12.jpg)
Lincoln Building
60 E 42nd St, New York, NY 10017

The Lincoln Building is another Grand Central-area site potentially threatened (http://ny.curbed.com/archives/2012/11/20/10_buildings_possibly_endangered_by_a_midtown_east _rezoning.php) by a Midtown East rezoning. The 1930 structure, now the 49th tallest building in New York City, was designed by James Edwin Ruthven Carpenter Jr.

http://img.cstatic.net/150x150%5E/http://cdn.cstatic.net/images/gridfs/50b4fc3ef92ea16b3200a2b9/hudsonsquarerezoning.jpg (http://cdn.cstatic.net/images/gridfs/50b4fc3ef92ea16b3200a2b9/hudsonsquarerezoning.jpg)
Hudson Square Rezoning
375 Hudson St, New York, NY 10014

The proposed rezoning of Hudson Square (http://ny.curbed.com/archives/2012/09/07/hudson_square_rezoning_begins_with_promises_of_cho colate.php) has brought preservationists out to fight once again for the landmarking of the South Village. They argue that Hudson Square's rezoning would put economic pressure on the South Village, leading to changes in the neighborhood. The City Planning Commission will hold its public hearing on the rezoning proposal tomorrow.

http://img.cstatic.net/150x150%5E/http://cdn.cstatic.net/images/gridfs/50b4fe05f92ea16aea00a00b/27east4thQL_9_12.jpg (http://cdn.cstatic.net/images/gridfs/50b4fe05f92ea16aea00a00b/27east4thQL_9_12.jpg)
27 East 4th Street

The proposal for a nine-story hotel next to the Merchant's House has gotten no love (http://ny.curbed.com/archives/2012/09/12/proposed_merchants_house_neighbor_gets_no_love_at_ lpc.php) from the Landmarks Preservation Commission or from the neighbors (http://ny.curbed.com/archives/2012/05/15/preservationists_fear_merchants_house_safety_with_ hotel_plan.php).

http://img.cstatic.net/150x150%5E/http://cdn.cstatic.net/images/gridfs/50b500cbf92ea16afd00a65b/bialystoker_map.jpg (http://cdn.cstatic.net/images/gridfs/50b500cbf92ea16afd00a65b/bialystoker_map.jpg)
Bialystoker Nursing Home
228 E Broadway, New York, NY 10002

Where this particular preservation battle is right now: the Landmarks Preservation Commission is discussing (http://ny.curbed.com/archives/2012/10/21/preservation_watch.php) whether to have a hearing to discuss the building's possible landmarking. Since the building has already been marketed (http://ny.curbed.com/archives/2011/08/04/les_nursing_home_tale_gets_listed_more_twisted.php ) as a "highly desirable" residential spot, this really does sound like the building's last chance.

http://img.cstatic.net/150x150%5E/http://cdn.cstatic.net/images/gridfs/50b501f3f92ea16b0e00c1f3/b_redeemer.jpg (http://cdn.cstatic.net/images/gridfs/50b501f3f92ea16b0e00c1f3/b_redeemer.jpg)
Church of the Redeemer
24 4th Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11217

The Episcopal Church of the Redeemer, a 150-year-old Brooklyn house of worship, needs $8 million to fix itself up—the building had to close in June because it is unusable. Neighbors are working on raising the funds, but the church is also considering development options.

http://img.cstatic.net/150x150%5E/http://cdn.cstatic.net/images/gridfs/50b5041bf92ea16b2800c61a/all_sandy_boardwalk_2012_11_09_bk01_z.jpg (http://cdn.cstatic.net/images/gridfs/50b5041bf92ea16b2800c61a/all_sandy_boardwalk_2012_11_09_bk01_z.jpg)
Coney Island Beach & Boardwalk
Surf Ave., Brooklyn, NY 11224

Preservationists have been fighting (http://ny.curbed.com/archives/2012/09/10/boardwalk_battles.php) the city's decision to replace the wood of the Coney Island boardwalk with concrete, and they say Hurricane Sandy bolsters their argument. The old wooden boardwalk filtered the seawater (http://ny.curbed.com/archives/2012/11/08/boardwalk_battles.php) so that sand built up on top and underneath the boardwalk. The new concrete section of the boardwalk did not (according to opponents) block the sand so successfully.

http://img.cstatic.net/150x150%5E/http://cdn.cstatic.net/images/gridfs/50b50493f92ea16b4700c8b8/richmondhillQL_9_12.jpg (http://cdn.cstatic.net/images/gridfs/50b50493f92ea16b4700c8b8/richmondhillQL_9_12.jpg)
Richmond Hill
Atlantic Ave & 119th St, Queens, NY 11419

Twice denied by Landmarks, once in 2005 and previously this year, the proposed Richmond Hill Historic District may give it another try. The Richmond Hill Historical Society seeks to preserve the Victorian-style architecture of the neighborhood. The president of the historical society says “It’s more of an endeavor to preserve this kind of architecture…It’s for people to marvel at.” He also notes that the future attempt at LPC will propose a smaller area in order to better appeal to the LPC.

http://ny.curbed.com/archives/2012/11/27/heatmap_10_sites_facing_preservation_battles_right _now.php
I love the Roosevelt. I hope that it gets landmarked.

December 2nd, 2012, 05:41 AM
I love the Roosevelt. I hope that it gets landmarked.

+1. I would like to see pretty much everything on Madison and Fifth in this stretch get landmarked. The crapola over on Park, Lexington, 3rd, 2nd, etc., is what needs to be replaced - not to mention 6th, which is another circle of Hell entirely.

Unfortunately, as ever, Murphy's Law is the governing principle of NYC real estate development: We'll see all of the old grand dames on Madison and Fifth get leveled, while the streets that actually are crappy remain as they are ... and Madison and Fifth come to resemble 6th Avenue.

December 2nd, 2012, 07:41 AM
I sadly concur.

December 11th, 2012, 06:22 AM
LPC Will Hear Cases for Bialystoker, Seward Park Library Landmarking

by Elie


The Landmarks Preservation Commission is holding its second public hearing (http://www.nyc.gov/html/lpc/downloads/pdf/calendar/12_11_12.pdf) [PDF] of December tomorrow morning for a new crop of landmark considerations. Looking at the agenda, there are three significant Lower East Side properties worthy of preservation status. All are deserving, and have been in the news of late.

In August 2011 (http://www.boweryboogie.com/2011/08/bialystoker-nursing-home-closing-rally-planned-today/), the Depression-era Bialystoker Nursing Home (http://www.boweryboogie.com/tag/bialystoker-nursing-home/) on East Broadway became a microcosm of all that’s wrong with the neighborhood. A facility that served the needs of the community shuttered in the interest of possible condo conversion. Stoking the flames at the time was news that Ira Meister, President of the Board of Directors, had his real estate company purchase the adjoining building from cash-strapped Bialystoker. Old-timers were relocated later that fall, and neighbors have since rallied to garner public support for landmark status.


Just a few blocks to the west, the Seward Park branch (http://www.boweryboogie.com/tag/seward-park-library/) of the New York Public Library at 192-194 East Broadway is also up for the honor. The origins of the institution date back to 1886 when the Aguilar Free Library Society opened a branch here. Two decades later, in 1909, the four-story red brick Renaissance Revival building was opened to the public. The facility boasted a circulation of 425,571, which was the highest (http://cityroom.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/11/18/a-librarys-century-of-hungering-imagination/) of any other NYPL at the time. Given its position in the city ecosystem, this one seems like a shoe-in for the designation.

And then there’s the Jarmulowsky Bank Building (http://www.boweryboogie.com/tag/jarmulowsky-bank-building/) at 54 Canal Street (http://www.boweryboogie.com/tag/54-canal-street/). Sender Jarmulowsky’s former bank is already a landmark, so architects of the new boutique hotel are seeking LPC approval for its facade modifications (“certificate of appropriateness”). As previously reported, the conversion calls for the removal of aged rooftop apparatus (elevator housing, water towers), replacement of rear fire escapes with balconies, and ground-floor infill. Community Board 3 approved the proposal in September (http://www.boweryboogie.com/2012/09/cb3-approves-castellano-upgrades-to-landmark-jarmulowsky-hotel/).



December 12th, 2012, 04:53 AM
Landmarks Commission Approves Jarmulowsky Building Restoration Plan

By Ed Litvak

http://www.thelodownny.com/leslog/wp-content/uploads/2012/12/jarmulowsky-december-2012.jpg (http://www.thelodownny.com/leslog/2012/12/landmarks-commission-approves-jarmulowsky-building-restoration-plan.html/jarmulowsky-december-2012)
Jarmulowsky Bank building, 54 Canal Street; December 2012.

The restoration of the Jarmulowsky Bank (http://www.thelodownny.com/leslog/2012/06/ron-castellano-taavo-somer-partner-in-jarmulowsky-hotel-project.html) building is one step closer to reality this afternoon. Earlier today the Landmarks Preservation Commission approved the plans, which include rooftop modifications but are mostly aimed at returning the structure to its original 1912 glory. The Jarmulowsky, destined to become a boutique hotel, is owned by DLJ Real Estate Partners.
Ron Castellano, a Lower East Side preservation architect, helped lead the successful effort to protect the building in 2009. Now he and restaurant operator Taavo Somer are handling the restoration project for the owners. In a presentation before the commission, Castellano explained what will be involved in the huge overhaul of a building that has been neglected for many years.

http://www.thelodownny.com/leslog/wp-content/uploads/2012/12/jarmulowsky-proposed-elevation.jpg (http://www.thelodownny.com/leslog/2012/12/landmarks-commission-approves-jarmulowsky-building-restoration-plan.html/jarmulowsky-proposed-elevation)
Architectural drawing depicting new rooftop.

http://www.thelodownny.com/leslog/wp-content/uploads/2012/12/jarmulowsky-facade1-500x374.jpg (http://www.thelodownny.com/leslog/2012/12/landmarks-commission-approves-jarmulowsky-building-restoration-plan.html/jarmulowsky-facade-2)

On the roof, water tanks and other equipment will be moved, a new elevator shaft will be installed and an “occupiable” space will be created for eventual use by hotel guests. The roof addition will be the equivalent of about two stories, but won’t actually be much taller than the equipment already sitting on the roof.

There’s also a plan to remove the building’s fire escapes, replacing them with small balconies and to restore much of the facade, which has been badly degraded over the years. There will be new windows, glass and wooden doors at street level, a new balustrade and restored storefronts. Finally, the clock that was stolen from above the entry a few years ago will be recreated and replaced.

For the most part, commissioners were very enthusiastic about the planned improvements. They used words like “thoughtful” and “respectful” in describing what Castellano and company proposed. But they, as well as three public speakers, spoke passionately about one original feature of the building that the owners are not planning to restore. Until 1991, one of the Jarmulowsky’s most distinctive features was a large, circular tempietto that was around 50 feet tall and included a dome ringed in eagles. It was removed by previous owner Sing May Realty.

Preservationists Joyce Mendelsohn, Carolyn Ratcliffe and Linda Jones all urged the owners to reconsider their decision, which was made because recreating the tempietto would be very expensive.

Some commissioners said they understood that the owners were already making a substantial investment to restore the Jarmulowsky. They suggested that grant money might be available to help defray the costs. The architects working on the project said none of the roof modifications would preclude adding the tempietto at some later time.

There were some concerns expressed by commissioners about the height of the rooftop addition. In the end, two members of the LPC voted against the “certificate of appropriateness” for the Jarmulowsky. While the project will be painstaking, today’s approval means work at the intersection of Orchard and Canal streets will be picking up in the weeks ahead. it’s a transformation that has been decades in the making.


December 12th, 2012, 10:17 AM
Sing May Realty should have been blacklisted for removing the tempietto in 1991. Idiots.

December 12th, 2012, 02:14 PM

December 13th, 2012, 04:53 AM
...the building's iconic cupola will not be making a comeback.

Grrrrrr :mad:

Jarmulowsky Building Restoration Approved by Landmarks

by Jeremiah Budin

Yesterday was a big historical preservation day for the Lower East Side. The Landmarks Preservation Commission first agreed to calendar the Bialystoker Nursing Home (http://ny.curbed.com/archives/2012/12/12/preservation_watch.php), then enthusiastically approved the restoration plans for the already landmarked Jarmulowsky Bank Building, which is slated to become a very large hotel. The plans, courtesy of architect Ron Castellano, call for the facade to be restored, the existing doors to be replaced with historically appropriate wood doors, a fire escape to be removed and replaced with balconies, two stories to be added to the roof, and the stolen clock (http://ny.curbed.com/archives/2012/09/11/jarumulowsky_bank_finally_making_a_comeback_on_can al.php) to be replaced. Much to everyone's chagrin, however, the building's iconic cupola will not be making a comeback. Castellano began his presentation by saying that although they had looked into it, replacing the cupola would be a "hugely expensive proposition," and, although this saddened the commission (as well as all three preservationists who spoke) they ultimately could not find anything significant to disapprove of.

http://ny.curbed.com/archives/2012/12/12/jarmulowsky_building_restoration_approved_by_landm arks.php

January 5th, 2013, 04:03 AM
Fire watchtower in Marcus Garvey Park is corroding, in grave danger of collapse, city says

In absence of $4.5 million needed to restore the landmark, city calls for $325,000 stabilization of tower's most vulnerable level

By Douglas Feiden

Courtesy NYC Dept. of Parks

The deterioration is so severe that a city’s Parks Dept. study in 2008 found the condition of most of the tower’s components was “poor” or “failed” — and no work has been performed in the five years since, officials confirm. The tower, in the middle of Marus Garvey Park, is the sole survivor of the eight watchtowers once scattered across Manhattan, connected via telegraph.

The landmark Fire Watchtower in Marcus Garvey Park requires
a $325,000 stabilization of the most vulnerable level.

The fire watchtower in the middle of Marcus Garvey Park — one of the city’s most spectacular and least-known landmarks — is deteriorating in danger of collapsing, the Daily News has learned.

Bits and pieces of the 47-foot, corroded cast-iron structure have already fallen to the ground — and a strip of sheet metal from the top of its observation deck flew off in 2012 and got stuck in the branches of a tree, residents say.

“We are seeing small pieces of it collapse and fall to the ground — right in front of our eyes,” says Angel Ayon, a local architect and preservationist who notes that urgent action to disassemble and restore the tower cannot be delayed.

The deterioration is more severe than it was in 2008, when a city Parks Department study found the condition of most of the tower’s components was “poor” or “failed.” No work has been performed in the five years since, officials confirm.

“Eventually, over time, it could collapse,” said Manhattan Borough Parks Commissioner William Castro.

Perched on a hilltop called the Acropolis and closed to the public, the four-story, octagonal tower, graced with a large alarm bell, was built in 1856 when the city’s mostly wooden buildings were hugely vulnerable to fire.

It is the sole survivor of the eight watchtowers that were once scattered across Manhattan, connected via telegraph, which were decommissioned in 1878 when the first fire-alarm boxes were installed on the island. “The Fire Watchtower has a quality of pristine beauty in its slender elegance that is unmatched elsewhere,” wrote the Landmarks Preservation Commission in 1967 when it voted unanimously to designate the tower a city landmark.

Not anymore: “Cast iron was never designed to last this long, and bits of it are corroding and wearing off and falling down, and cracks and holes have been developing over time,” Castro told The News.

“One piece falls and other pieces fall off and it cannot continue this way,” he added. “It can reach a critical mass, and then you’re in danger of losing the whole structure or parts of it.”
Parks officials say the long-term solution is to dismantle, salvage, restore and reassemble the tower, a $4.5 million project for which no funds are budgeted.

Until cash for the major reconstruction is available, the city plans a $325,000 stabilization of the highest, most vulnerable level of the tower, an emergency stop-gap approach that will be put out to bid later this year.

“The funds will allow the tower to be shored up — so it doesn’t just collapse overnight!” said City Councilwoman Inez Dickens, who is contributing $250,000 in discretionary funds that she usually provides to other parks in her district.

Laurent Delly, a civil engineer who is vice president of the Mount Morris Park Community Improvement Association, says the reinforcements cannot come quickly enough.

“We need to take action right now to refurbish it,” Delly said. “Not yesterday, not tomorrow, but today — because the structure is so fragile that anything can happen to it.”


January 10th, 2013, 01:45 PM
It is true that it is deteriorating... and that it is old... but calling it "elegant"?

“The Fire Watchtower has a quality of pristine beauty in its slender elegance that is unmatched elsewhere,”

Are they looking at the same tower I am?

January 17th, 2013, 02:09 AM
In Effort to Preserve Bedford-Stuyvesant, Some Ask: For Whom?

David W. Dunlap/The New York Times
The proposed Bedford Historic District in Brooklyn includes 163 Hancock Street.

David W. Dunlap/The New York Times
Former Boys' High School, now the Bedford-Stuyvesant Preparatory High School
and Literacy Center, 832 Marcy Avenue, is already an individual landmark, but would be included in the district.

David W. Dunlap/The New York Times
Former Boys' High School

David W. Dunlap/The New York Times
Former Girls' High School, 475 Nostrand Avenue, now the Brooklyn Adult Learning Center,
is another landmark that would be included in the district.

David W. Dunlap/The New York Times
Hancock Street, between Bedford and Nostrand Avenues, would be in the district.

David W. Dunlap/The New York Times
The south side of Monroe Street, between Nostrand and Marcy Avenues, would be included.

David W. Dunlap/The New York Times
The district would include 299-303 Putnam Avenue.

David W. Dunlap/The New York Times
It would also include the Most Worshipful Enoch Grand Lodge, Nostrand and Jefferson Avenues.

David W. Dunlap/The New York Times
Detail of the Renaissance Apartments, 488 Nostrand Avenue, a individual
landmark that would be included in the district.

David W. Dunlap/The New York Times.
The Clinton, an apartment building at 425 Nostrand Avenue, would be in the district.

David W. Dunlap/The New York Times
130 Hancock Street.

Whether it ought to become an official historic district, however, was the subject of sharp — though polite — disagreement at a hearing Tuesday before the Landmarks Preservation Commission.

The proposed Bedford Historic District in Brooklyn would include all or parts of 16 blocks, about 800 buildings in all. (Map, as a PDF (http://www.nyc.gov/html/lpc/downloads/pdf/maps/Bedford_PROPOSED_20120511.pdf).) “With its unparalleled opportunities for homeownership, Bedford-Stuyvesant became the community of choice for many of New York’s African-American residents,” the commission said in its description of the district (PDF (http://www.nyc.gov/html/lpc/downloads/pdf/sig/BedStuyWest_blurb.pdf)). The beauty of these blocks is still something of a secret in New York at large, a secret that may have helped protect its population.

Neighbors who oppose or challenge the historic district said that it would have the effect of raising property values and rents and that it would impose so many regulatory burdens that the very people who had held the blocks together through awfully lean years — poorer, older African-American and Caribbean-American owners and occupants — would be the first to go.

“What needs to be preserved are the people of Bedford-Stuyvesant,” said Sehu Jeppe, who lives on Hancock Street, between Bedford and Nostrand Avenues. “I’d hate to see us become a Harlem, where the jewel has been extracted.”

Neighbors who favor the creation of the district said it would reward and honor residents who had clung to their homes through decades of financial redlining, municipal neglect and economic decline. In a historic district, advocates said, it would be much more difficult for speculative developers to construct buildings out of character with their surroundings.

Anna Bloodworth, who lives on Jefferson Avenue, between Nostrand and Marcy Avenues, said she feared that displacement would occur if the area were not regulated, which is why she favors the district designation. “It will prevent anyone from sticking up a home or a house that they have no intention of living in,” she told the commissioners. “Developers don’t care about people who live in neighborhoods. They care about money.”

David W. Dunlap/The New York Times
207 Jefferson Avenue.

The commission has not set a timetable for its vote on the Bedford Historic District.

Councilman Albert Vann, who has represented Bedford-Stuyvesant as an elected official since 1974, appeared in person to testify in favor of the district.

“It is difficult for a community to protect itself when powerful economic forces threaten changes that strike at the core of its identity,” Mr. Vann said. He added that the proposal for a district was the “result of a community’s decision to come together, to use the tools available to it to protect investments its members have made over generations.”

How broadly the measure is favored or opposed in the neighborhood is hard to gauge. Evelyn Collier, the chairwoman of the landmarks committee of Community Board 3, read a letter from the board chairman, Henry L. Butler, saying that the residents of the district supported designation.

Opponents, including the Rev. Johnny Ray Youngblood of the Mount Pisgah Baptist Church (just outside the district on Tompkins Avenue) and Kirsten John Foy, president of the Brooklyn chapter of the National Action Network, said that more than 200 residents had signed a form stating, “I cannot say whether I am for or against landmarking our homes because I have not been provided with enough information to make a decision.” Mr. Foy said the scheduling of the hearing (a work day) and its location (the Municipal Building in Lower Manhattan) “benefit the architectural elite who happen to follow the workings of the Landmarks Preservation Commission and who share its objective and economic interest that are very different from the majority of the residents and homeowners in the community.”

To which Charlene Phillips, the district manager of Community Board 3, replied that the commission had held three “very large public meetings” in the neighborhood and that volunteers had approached homeowners and block associations with information. Simeon Bankoff, the executive director of the Historic Districts Council (http://hdc.org/hdclpc/hdclpc-january-15-2013) (presumably one of Mr. Foy’s “elite”), said he had attended at least 15 meetings about the district.

“It’s not true that the agency and advocates have not done their darnedest to reach out to the community,” he said.


January 17th, 2013, 03:53 PM
There are some serious beauties out there that need to be landmarked. But you can't help understand where these residents are coming from. Maybe some sort of community development grant could go along with landmarking status?

January 17th, 2013, 06:48 PM
I agree.

January 28th, 2013, 02:06 PM
Posted in Dec 2010:

Well, why has the LPC taken so long to do something about it? :rolleyes:

Dilapidated TriBeCa Landmark Is on the Road to Repair

The 191-year-old building at 502 Canal St. is severely deteriorated, the city said.

By Julie Shapiro

http://s3.amazonaws.com/sfb111/story_xlimage_2010_12_R9560_TRIBECA_LANDMARK_502_C ANAL12142010.jpg
The landmarked building on the corner of Canal and Greenwich streets has fallen into disrepair.

(DNAinfo/Julie Shapiro)

Moving ahead a couple of years.

In November, after Hurricane Sandy, I took these shots:



A few weeks later, the site was fenced off.



Derelict Canal building and two others to be renovated

January 23, 2013

Downtown Express photo by Lincoln Anderson


A day after a metal roll-down gate partially fell off a long-vacant building near the western end of Canal St., contractors were at the site constructing a plywood fence around the building in preparation for its renovation.

John Mele, property manager for the Pontes, the owners of 502 Canal St. and the two buildings immediately to its west, 504 and 506 Canal St., was at the scene and said that the plan is to fix up all three of the buildings, all three-story structures dating from the 1800s.

“Landmarks wants these all renovated,” he said, referring to the city’s Landmarks Preservation Commission.

Dennis Healy, who was also at the scene, noted sadly that the renovation would mean he’d have to close up his discount bike shop, which is in the ground floor of 504 Canal St.

“That’s the end of the bike store for me,” he said.

Healy said it was his understanding that all three buildings would be demolished and that he and his family members would have to vacate.

However, Mele said, the buildings are landmarks and thus cannot be razed, and instead will be renovated and restored in a historically sensitive manner.

Mele said it was true, the bike shop probably would not be allowed to return. Asked about the fate of the residential tenants in 504 and 506 Canal St., he said he didn’t have an immediate answer.

Mele said that Healy’s father, mother, aunt and two cousins live in 506 Canal St.

Healy’s father, Frank Healy, 87, a former Teamster, grew up on Renwick St., and remembers when the first building on the block got steam heat.

A contractor wearing a yellow hard hat at the site on Thursday, who said he would be “overseeing” the renovation job for the three buildings, said a report by some news outlets that an interior wall of 502 Canal St. had collapsed on Wednesday was not true.

“No, I don’t know where [they] got that,” he said. “Trust me, if a wall fell down inside, the building would be on the ground.”

Indeed, the building at the southwest corner of Canal and Greenwich Sts. has been uninhabited and in deteriorating condition for years. One local resident from around the corner on West St. who was passing by and stopped to speak briefly to the contractor, said the building had been ringed by a protective sidewalk shed for, she figured, at least eight years.

The contractor said another local woman told him the corner building used to house a liquor store long ago.

The contractor, who declined to give his name, said the renovation work was being done for the “new owner who has leased the property,” and said that referred to all three of the buildings.

As for the buildings’ future use, he said, “It’ll be residential, it’ll have to be residential.”

He said the renovation job on the corner building would take about a year, while the next-door buildings won’t need as much work.

“It’s the one building,” he said. “It’s a minor renovation next door — they’re in good shape.”

David Reck, president of Friends of Hudson Square, lives up the block on Greenwich St. from the cluster of small Ponte buildings. He said the three buildings were individually landmarked sometime around 2000.

He said the contractor’s stating that the buildings had been “leased” to a “new owner” actually made sense, given how the Pontes — major landlords in Tribeca and Hudson Square — do business.

“The Pontes tend not to sell,” Reck explained. “They retain ownership of the land. Which presents issues: The buildings can be co-oped but not condoed.”

Reck said that after Hurricane Sandy, pieces of 502 Canal St.’s exterior were strewn about, and that the Department of Buildings had noted that it was one of the buildings that was seriously damaged by the superstorm.

Reck expressed relief to hear that the trio of low-rise houses — especially the one on the corner — will be fixed up.

“Oh, absolutely,” he said. “Why do you want an eyesore in the neighborhood?”

The sidewalk shed around 502 Canal St. seems like “it’s been around for an eternity,” he said, adding, “The buildings have been slowly rotting into the ground.”

In general, right now, there’s a renewed surge of activity in Tribeca and Hudson Square, he noted. Three stalled projects on Renwick St. recently got back underway, he said. According to a construction worker at one of the sites, one of the projects reportedly may have had Madoff financing problems.

A hotel project is under construction just north of Reck, and a block east on Hudson St. a rooftop extension has been added onto a huge old manufacturing building in preparation for Pearson publishing to move in.

“All of this area is going to blossom in the next five to ten years,” he said.

Andrew Berman, executive director of the Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation, said his group had been working for the past several months to try to get 502 Canal St. saved and restored.

Apparently, it may have taken last week’s bad P.R. of the roll-down gate partially falling off the building — possibly combined with some inaccurate reports in other media that an interior wall had collapsed — to finally get the ball rolling.

Copyright 2013. NYC Community Media LLC

The fence did not go up and work begin a day after the wall blew out. The red DOB sign was posted on 11-02, soon after the hurricane passed. I took the two photos on 11/25 - no fence, no activity. The third was taken in January.

What seems to have driven this renovation is correspondence in December between the DOB and the owner that was posted at the site. Maybe LPC also, don't remember. The owner was informed that he had to initiate repairs immediately, or the LPC would do it themselves, and bill the owner.

So it took a storm of the century to get this moving.

January 28th, 2013, 03:17 PM
I can imagine the answer but does Landmarks have the resources/ability to secure any type of grant funding for "forced" renovations on buildings they have listed?

What if the owners of the above building pleaded poverty for instance? Can a sale be forced? Just wondering how that works.

January 28th, 2013, 04:28 PM
It's the DOB that initiates the action. The LPC is the interested party that wants the building repaired, or else there would be the option to take it down.

In either case, at some point (the owner doesn't comply?) the DOB takes the matter to court, and an order is issued authorizing the city to perform the work and bill the owner.

January 29th, 2013, 08:55 AM
I am more worried about the chimney and that billboard framework on the roof.

If most of the inspections have all been non-intrusive (IOW, no access granted) and this has been isolated for ~8 years (as was mentioned in the article) that could be a bad thing for any other heavy parts.....

As for LPC... I agree that the area really needs some preservation, but at what cost? This building was in no way a gem.... at the same time I do not want a glass Kaughman box going up to "replace" it.....

January 29th, 2013, 09:23 AM
Languishing in a state of disrepair and non-use is the worst thing that can happen to these buildings. The Windermere up on 57th/9th is another old relic that has been allowed to eat itself to pieces year after year.

January 29th, 2013, 10:11 AM
As for LPC... I agree that the area really needs some preservation, but at what cost? This building was in no way a gem....Almost 200 years old. Gem enough.

The group was designated 15 years ago; it's the owner's responsibility to maintain it. The other two have been occupied, and probably just need a cosmetic renovation for reuse.

The 4th building, 508 Canal, has a different owner and functions as the Canal Park Playhouse and the four room Canal Park Inn (http://thecanalparkinn.com/home.asp) upstairs.



February 5th, 2013, 04:22 AM
LOWER EAST SIDE—The former Bialystoker Nursing Home, which preservationists would like to see landmarked, will go before the Landmarks Preservation Commission on Tuesday, Feb. 12. No decision will be made, but the public will be able to testify as to why they believe the building should be landmarked. The board that controls the building would like it to be developed. CurbedWire Inbox; previously (http://ny.curbed.com/places/bialystoker-nursing-home)

http://ny.curbed.com/archives/2013/02/04/1101_broadway_demo_bialystoker_home_landmarks_hear ing.php

^ It's Art Deco. What other reasons do they need? :)

February 22nd, 2013, 09:28 AM
Wow! Bravo!

LPC Honors Charlie Parker and Others During Black History Month

by Amanda

http://gvshp.org/blog/wp-content/uploads/2013/02/cpresidence.jpg (http://www.nyc.gov/html/lpc/downloads/pdf/african_american_history_month_2013_website_slides .pdf)
Page from LPC’s List of 25 African-American Sites. Courtesy of LPC website.

In honor of Black History Month, the Landmarks Preservation Commission (LPC) has released a list of 25 designated landmarks related to African-American culture and history. One of the 25 is the Charlie Parker Residence at 151 Avenue B in the East Village (http://www.gvshp.org/_gvshp/preservation/east_village/east_village-main.htm).

The building became an official New York City Landmark in 1999 for its association with Charlie Parker, a world-renowned jazz saxophonist and composer. For roughly four years, from late 1950 to October 1954, Parker and his family lived in the ground floor apartment. The LPC designation report also mentions that:

“Parker first arrived in New York City in 1938 or 1939, and soon established himself as one of jazz’s most gifted and influential performers. He moved into the apartment at the height of his career, having achieved considerable success and renown as the co-founder of bebop, the modern jazz style that he and trumpeter Dizzy Gillispie created in New York City during the mid-1940s. While living on Avenue B, Parker enjoyed international fame, recording with small and large ensembles, as well as with Latin big bands and string sections.”

For some great quotes from Parker and those who knew him, be sure to read through the designation report available on our Resources (http://www.gvshp.org/_gvshp/resources/his_dist_ev_ind_sites.htm#CP) page. The house is also listed on the State and National Register, and our Resources page includes a link to that report and photos of the interior (http://www.gvshp.org/_gvshp/resources/doc/SNR_CPR_photo.pdf).

The house itself was built circa 1849 and is a rare example of a row house designed in the Gothic Revival style. The pointed arch door surrounded is featured in the acclaimed book, Bricks and Brownstone, by Charles Lockwood (http://gvshp.org/blog/2012/04/02/charles-lockwood-1948-2012/). Located directly across the street from Tompkins Square Park, the building is also marked by a plaque noting Charlie Parker’s time there.

Follow this link (http://www.nyc.gov/html/lpc/downloads/pdf/african_american_history_month_2013_website_slides .pdf) to see the other sites on the LPC’s list in honor of Black History Month. And if you’re up for a great evening out, be sure to join us at Zinc Bar on March 4th for “The Village and All That Jazz” for music and conversation about the Village jazz scene of the 1960s. More information is available on our Events page (http://www.gvshp.org/_gvshp/events/upcoming.htm#jazz). We hope to see you there!


March 13th, 2013, 08:39 AM
New 74 Grand Owner Unveils Plans for Soho Frankenbuilding

by Jeremiah Budin

http://cdn.cstatic.net/images/gridfs/513e8905f92ea123f50319de/frankenbuilding.JPG (http://cdn.cstatic.net/images/gridfs/513e8906f92ea123f50319e1/frankenbuilding.JPG)

http://cdn.cstatic.net/images/gridfs/513e890bf92ea123f50319ee/frankenbuilding2.JPG (http://cdn.cstatic.net/images/gridfs/513e890af92ea123f50319eb/frankenbuilding2.JPG) http://cdn.cstatic.net/images/gridfs/513e890df92ea123f50319f8/IMG_0885.JPG (http://cdn.cstatic.net/images/gridfs/513e890cf92ea123f50319f5/IMG_0885.JPG) http://cdn.cstatic.net/images/gridfs/513e8911f92ea123f5031a02/IMG_0886.JPG (http://cdn.cstatic.net/images/gridfs/513e8910f92ea123f50319ff/IMG_0886.JPG) http://cdn.cstatic.net/images/gridfs/513e8915f92ea123f5031a0c/IMG_0887.JPG (http://cdn.cstatic.net/images/gridfs/513e8913f92ea123f5031a09/IMG_0887.JPG) http://cdn.cstatic.net/images/gridfs/513e8917f92ea123f5031a16/IMG_0888.JPG (http://cdn.cstatic.net/images/gridfs/513e8916f92ea123f5031a13/IMG_0888.JPG)http://cdn.cstatic.net/images/gridfs/513e8919f92ea123f5031a20/IMG_0880.JPG (http://cdn.cstatic.net/images/gridfs/513e8918f92ea123f5031a1d/IMG_0880.JPG)

The Cast Iron Historic District has been awaiting a replacement for the late 74 Grand, also known as the Leaning Tower of Soho (http://ny.curbed.com/tags/74-grand-street), for about three years. And, well, here that replacement is.

But in order to fully understand what, exactly, it is, a quick recap is probably in order: In 2004, the owner of a Soho lot did some hasty and ill-considered excavations that resulted in the 118-year-old co-op building next door (74 Grand) beginning to slowly tip over (http://ny.curbed.com/archives/2004/09/13/the_leaning_tower_of_soho.php). In most cases, this would have prompted a quick demolition, but since 74 Grand sat within the borders of a historic district, the Landmarks Preservation Commission had to sign off first.

Complicating matters even further, 74 Grand featured one of the very cast-iron facades that gave the district its name, so the LPC added a caveat (http://ny.curbed.com/archives/2010/03/25/soho_landmarks_facade_heads_for_safekeeping.php) that when it was demolished, the facade had to be disassembled and stored, and that anything built on that site in the future would have to incorporate the old facade. Fast forward to the present day and the site has been purchased in an all-cash transaction for $4.95 million (http://www.masseyknakal.com/pressrelease%5C634982438179818836.pdf) by a gentleman named Joshua Holmes, who has plans to construct condos where the co-ops once stood.

Mr. Holmes would like, if possible, to build a whole bunch of condos. However, the original building—and, by extension, its facade—was only five stories high, with floors of varying heights, and also not all that wide. So he brings on Bone/Levine Architects to abide by the letter of the law, if not the spirit, and design a new, eight-story (plus duplex penthouse) structure that includes the original facade while having absolutely nothing to do with it whatsoever. The result, which was revealed at a Community Board 2 Landmarks Committee hearing yesterday evening, is, uh, that thing in the pictures, and it's kind of difficult to describe. A marriage of the old and the new? Possibly, but one that was arranged by a spiteful parent and not entered into willingly by either party. Here are a few of the phrases that architect Joe Levine tossed out during his presentation:

"Caught between two eras."
"Independent from the dimensions of the historic facade."
"The new building is modest and honestly contemporary."
"It was designed with glass and metal so as not to compete with the historic facade."
"We had to liberate ourselves from the historic facade."

So just take your pick of those. There was also something about how, had the old facade actually been incorporated, the building wouldn't have met newer fire codes. It was somewhat difficult
to follow and didn't sound all that convincing.

The Landmarks Committee was not impressed.

http://ny.curbed.com/archives/2013/03/12/new_74_grand_owner_unveils_plans_for_soho_frankenb uilding.php#more

March 13th, 2013, 12:26 PM
Crap, now we're getting perilously close to my dream building I hope to someday construct.

March 21st, 2013, 08:53 AM
Landmarks Commission on Soho Frankenbuilding: Try Again

by Jeremiah Budin

Last we saw of 74 Grand Street, the proposed replacement for the now-demolished Leaning Tower of Soho (http://ny.curbed.com/archives/2009/09/14/building_collapse_betting_pool_leaning_towers_last _gasps.php), it was facing the wrath of Community Board 2's Landmarks Committee when architect Joe Levine unveiled plans to incorporate the departed building's cast iron facade by holding it at arm's length as one would a rotten piece of meat (http://ny.curbed.com/archives/2013/03/12/new_74_grand_owner_unveils_plans_for_soho_frankenb uilding.php). Yesterday, Levine, undaunted, took the design to face the Landmarks Preservation Commission, who mandated the inclusion of the facade (http://ny.curbed.com/archives/2010/03/25/soho_landmarks_facade_heads_for_safekeeping.php) in the first place. Their far more polite wrath mostly consisted of each commissioner finding a slightly different way of saying that the old facade "lacks engagement" with the new building, leaving the real wrathfulness to representatives from the Historic District Council, the Society for the Architecture of the City, and CB2, all of whom strongly recommended denial. "HDC is quite happy the cast iron is returning to its home," said the HDC's Nadezhda Williams. "Unfortunately, this is not quite the homecoming we had in mind."

Levine's presentation was, for the most part, the same one that he delivered to CB2 last week. He vacillated between painting the new design as an actual architectural statement—bridging the gap between classic and contemporary and all that—and as a clever way to comply with new fire codes. The Commission was unconvinced by the fire code part, but largely sympathetic to the challenge that the project presented, if not to the particular solution that Levine had in mind. As is customary, they declined to vote and instead instructed the architects to work with Landmarks staff and return at a later date. Multiple commissioners indicated that they had no issue with the approach itself—one cited 172 Duane Street (http://daytoninmanhattan.blogspot.com/2012/01/1872-remnants-of-no-172-duane-street.html) as a more successful example (http://ny.curbed.com/tags/172-duane-street) of it—just with the execution, so it seems likely that the LPC will be amenable to allowing a different version of the same basic idea to be constructed at some point in the near future.

Unlike the hideous, eight-foot-tall monster that destroyed Dr. Frankenstein after he created it from a disparate mixture of dead body parts, Levine's eight-story (plus penthouse) Frankenbuilding, created from a disparate mixture of dead building parts, will probably not be his ultimate undoing. Whether or not the same can be said for the character of the Cast Iron Historic District remains to be seen.

http://ny.curbed.com/archives/2013/03/20/landmarks_commission_on_soho_frankenbuilding_try_a gain.php#513e88a9f92ea11dfa02a0a9

March 30th, 2013, 08:26 AM
A new twist in this NoHo proposal ...

Reps of hotel project by Merchant’s House have criminal past

The VILLAGER (http://www.thevillager.com/?p=5140)

June 7, 2012

Commissioners Reject Design for Proposed Building Adjacent to Merchant’s House



Large image (http://www.citylandnyc.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/10/27-East-4th-Street-SRA-Architecture-+-Engineering.jpg)

Applicants responded to public testimony, which focused on potential damage to the adjoining landmarks, by detailing the excavation, construction and monitoring plans for the new building. On March 12, 2013, the Landmarks Preservation Commission continued a hearing on a proposed new building at 27 East 4th Street, in the NoHo Historic District Extension. The proposed building is adjacent to the Merchant’s House, an individual exterior and interior landmark and museum at 29 East 4th Street.

At the first hearing on September 11, 2012, elected officials, representatives of the museum, the NYC Department of Parks & Recreation, which owns the property, Manhattan Community Board 2, and members of the public, all expressed strong concern about the potential negative impact of the project on the Merchant’s House. (See CityLand’s past coverage here) (http://www.citylandnyc.org/landmarks-considers-nine-story-project-adjacent-to-manhattans-landmarked-merchants-house-museum/). The hearing was cut short due to the quantity of public testimony and without an opportunity for the applicants to respond to the criticism or for Commissioners to comment on the application.

At the continuation of the public hearing on March 12, 2013, Troutman Sanders attorney Jeremiah Candreva, representing the developers, said the “primary goal” of the project was to improve the site without damaging the Merchant’s House. Architect Edward Carroll, of SRA Architecture and Engineering, said the proposed new building was “consistent with the character of the neighborhood,” and represented an “opportunity to create an impression on the City’s landscape.” He said the new nine-story building massing was consistent with later development in the historic district, and noted that the building that previously stood at the site had been taller than the current proposal. According to the applicants, the new building will be utilized for office or hotel use. The building would be faced in gray-tinted glass, with darker spandrel panels, divided by structural steel beams, and framed in cast stone. The sidewalls would be clad in masonry.

Structural engineer Karl Rubenacker of Gilsanz Murray Steficek stated that tests were conducted to determine the geometry of nearby foundations. The plan for the new building would place no additional burden on the Merchant House’s side wall, all load bearing would be borne by an interior structure, and the new building would serve to brace and stabilize the historic house, while also protecting it from the elements. Vibration during construction would be monitored by seismographs and reviewed daily. Any existing cracks would be identified and monitored to ensure that they do not grow. Construction will start from the rear of the lot, and the Merchant House will be braced as they move forward. No removal of the existing garage building would be conducted until the new building infrastructure is in place.

Landmarks counsel John Weiss noted that Department of Buildings’ Executive Director of Forensic Engineering Tim Lynch had signed off on the proposal, and that the Parks Department was also “agreeable” to the proposal.

Commissioner Fred Bland said he was glad that the hole in the block would be filled. Bland was persuaded that the project would not negatively affect the Merchant’s House. However, he criticized the design of the proposal and said that the top two floors should be reexamined, the spandrel panels should be metal instead glass, and that there should not be tinted glass on the facade. Commissioner Margery Perlmutter thought human oversight of the monitoring program should be increased. She found that the proposal’s architecture “[didn’t] rise to the quality of the site” and compared it to a 1960s office building. Commissioner Michael Goldblum suggested that Landmarks withhold approval until the museum issued a communication that it believed the mitigation measures were adequate. Goldblum noted that if the interior plaster of the Merchant’s House began to crack, “you can monitor all you want: it’s gone.” Commissioner Michael Devonshire concurred that the proposed facade was “banal.” He also suggested reducing the height of the new structure by two stories, so that the Merchant’s House wouldn’t be “dwarfed.”

Chair Robert B. Tierney agreed that the new building should be lowered, and that the most critical aspect of the proposal was that it “do no harm” to the Merchant’s House. He asked the applicants to take the Commissioners’ comments under advisement, and return to Landmarks with a revised plan at a later date.

© 1997-2010 New York Law School

April 12th, 2013, 10:51 PM
To Celebrate a Landmarks Law, Planting Flags in a Tiny New York


Ozier Muhammad/The New York Times
The Queens Museum is marking all of New York’s historic districts with yellow
flags on the famous diorama of the city built for the 1964 World’s Fair.

David Grainger is walking on the water again. One foot is upstream from the Manhattan Bridge and the other foot is downstream from the Williamsburg Bridge, and he is reaching over the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway to plant a yellow flag at the intersection of Pierrepont Street and Hicks Street in Brooklyn Heights.

His feet are covered in protective blue bootees. The bootees protect the water, which is not water at all but dark-blue paint on wood.

He is standing on the surface of the Queens Museum of Art’s Panorama (http://www.queensmuseum.org/exhibitions/visitpanorama), the 9,335-square-foot diorama of the city built for the 1964 World’s Fair. The yellow flag is one of 109 that he is putting in place as part of a project to highlight the city’s historic districts and the 50th anniversary of the municipal law that made them possible.

“The flags give some sense of place to viewers, residents and visitors,” said Barbaralee Diamonstein-Spielvogel, an author and preservationist who has organized the NYC Landmarks50 Advisory Committee to mark the anniversary of the law in 2015. “The Panorama is all about all of New York. It describes graphically and quickly the reach of the landmarks movement. People might say there are 109 that encompass 30,000 properties. Does that sound like a lot? It represents less than 3 percent of all of the properties in New York City.”

The World’s Fair straddled two important moments in the history of historic preservation: The demolition of the old Pennsylvania Station in 1963 and the approval of the landmarks law in 1965.

The Landmarks50 Advisory Committee has a long list of members that includes Simeon Bankoff, the executive director of the Historic Districts Council; Kent L. Barwick, a former chair of the landmarks commission and president emeritus of the Municipal Art Society; Peg Breen, president of the private New York Landmarks Conservancy; Vin Cipolla, president of the Municipal Art Society; Andrew S. Dolkart, director of the Historic Preservation Program at Columbia University; the architecture critic Paul Goldberger; and the designer Massimo Vignelli, who created the group’s logo.

Ms. Diamonstein-Spielvogel said one of the committee’s goals was to highlight the significance of historic preservation in shaping the city since the 1960s.

“I think it reflects the growth and importance of the landmarks movement, which I consider to be one of the most important national movements after things like human rights, civil rights, gay rights,” she said. “Down that same line is the historic preservation movement. It cuts across all economic lines. There isn’t a neighborhood, certainly not in New York, that doesn’t have a range of organizations public and private devoted to this.”

On the Panorama, there is a one-district, one-flag policy. So there was one flag for the 75 blocks of the Upper West Side/Central Park West district, one flag for the one-block West 71st Street Historic District and one for each of the other districts, which are spread across all five boroughs.

“As the flags go up,” said Mr. Bankoff of the Historic Districts Council, who watched as Mr. Grainger planted the flags, “you see how many historic districts there are compared to how large the city is. On the one hand, there are people who say there’s too much preservation, and on the other, you look around and see how few areas are protected and how much more there is to be done.”

Mr. Bankoff said the district in Brooklyn Heights — the one Mr. Grainger had stretched to reach — was the city’s first, designated in November 1965. Four more districts, all in Manhattan, came into being the next year.

By this time Mr. Grainger, an art installer, hunting for the place to plant the flag for the Fillmore Place Historic District in Williamsburg, was on his knees in the East River.

It is territory Mr. Grainger knows well — he repainted the water several years ago, and lately has been vacuuming off dust that has accumulated since then — and territory that Mr. Bankoff approached with apprehension.

“I’m terrified I’ll trip over the Verrazano,” he said.