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Thread: The Landmarks Preservation Commission

  1. #181
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    On Staten Island, the Fight to Save a Proud Past

    By JOSEPH BERGER


    The Staten Island Armory is up for landmark status. It was home to the city’s only tank battalion


    Staten Island likes to thinks of itself as the forgotten borough.

    Perhaps that conceit is a way of stoking the embers of a grudge so powerful that residents voted to secede in a 1993 referendum. Still, Staten Islanders say that over the years there has been plenty of evidence of neglect: the city’s reluctance to designate landmarks and historic districts there, for example.

    Preservation advocates point out that Staten Island has hundreds of 19th- and even 18th-century homes from its days as a landscape of farm and fishing villages — largely because Staten Island escaped sweeping development until the opening of the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge in 1964.

    These homes, with their hoary detailing intact, need to be saved, the advocates contend, because construction of new houses and shopping centers has accelerated, making the borough among the state’s swiftest-growing counties. Its population is expected to reach a half million by next year.

    “We as a borough are underrepresented with landmark buildings,” said Angela D’Aiuto, a board member of the Preservation League of Staten Island, adding that the city’s Landmarks Preservation Commission seemed to favor brick and stone structures over the wood-frame buildings more common in Staten Island.

    Staten Island has been catching up in recent years, with 117 buildings designated as landmarks and 217 others protected in two historic residential districts: St. George/New Brighton and the New York City Farm Colony/Seaview Hospital. The Bronx, by comparison, has 900 protected buildings, and Queens, 2,560.

    This month, the borough had a batch of nine landmark candidates before the commission, and four — a group of late-19th-century red-brick row houses built for middle-class renters and known as Horton’s Row — were approved on Tuesday. The five other candidates will be up for votes later.

    They include two churches that are more than 100 years old, two wood-frame homes in Victorian shingle and Greek Revival styles, and, most prominently, the Staten Island Armory in Castleton Corners, set on 16 acres.

    Elisabeth de Bourbon, a spokeswoman for the commission, signaled optimism about the fate of all nine candidates, and she said the commission in recent years had doubled the number of Staten Island buildings designated as historic, which prevents them from being torn down or significantly altered.

    Robert B. Tierney, the commission’s chairman, also seemed enthusiastic, speaking with pride after the approval of the Horton’s Row houses by comparing their arrangement on the brow of a hill to homes found on the sloping streets of San Francisco.

    “They are a striking reminder of the borough’s rich past that this agency has made great progress in protecting in recent years,” he said.

    The armory was built in 1926 to look like a Norman castle, complete a broad front lawn, towers out of Rumpelstiltskin and crenelated recesses that in medieval days might have been used for archers.

    Yet the two Vietnam-era M60 tanks flanking the lawn are a reminder that it has always been a working base for the New York State Army National Guard and is one of four city armories still in use, said Lt. Col. Patrick R. Macklin, its commander. It was the site of the city’s only tank battalion, the First Battalion, 101st Cavalry Division. The battalion folded its colors in 2006, with the tanks moved to Fort Drum upstate. The armory now houses a tactical command post of the 42nd Infantry “Rainbow” Division.

    “It’s such an imposing building that everyone figures it was something worthy of preserving,” said Michael Morrell, leader of a neighborhood group in Westerleigh, who can at times display Staten Island discontent. “My father used to say, ‘We never expected anything from the city, and we never got it.’ ”

    Mr. Morrell, a retired teacher, was born a half-mile from the armory and has been captivated since childhood by the soldiers streaming in and out and the weekend drills. He has one tragic memory: In 1961, a tank rolling down the driveway toward a parade struck a brick pillar, and a 12-year-old acquaintance was killed in the shower of bricks.

    Today the armory is used for National Guard training sessions, held one weekend a month and focused less on war than on disasters like floods. (The 42nd Infantry was responsible for a security perimeter in downtown Manhattan after 9/11.) Colonel Macklin, 43, a cheerful city police sergeant, says some of the 130 reserve soldiers, himself included, have served in Iraq or Afghanistan and generally show up to hone their skills.

    “It’s the camaraderie; it’s the brotherhood,” he said. “It’s about guys looking forward to that one weekend a month.”

    The soldiers and retired veterans have maintained an armory museum to let people know, for example, that 75 men in the 101st Calvary were killed during World War II. The Army has also spent over $200,000 refurbishing the armory’s exterior.

    “This piece of real estate is important to the Army,” Colonel Macklin said.

    But it is also important to preservationists like Linda Eskenas, an actress who starred in a 1965 revival of Arthur Miller’s “A View from the Bridge” and is now the preservation league’s vice president. She is happy that the commission has protected such gems as Sailors’ Snug Harbor, a cluster of mid-19th-century Greek Revival buildings that once housed retired seamen; a home that once belonged to Frederick Law Olmsted, Central Park’s designer, and the Cass House, the city’s only residence designed by Frank Lloyd Wright.

    Ms. Eskenas’s mansarded and colonnaded three-story house on Richmond Terrace, known as the John de Groot House, was awarded landmark status in 2005. It is mainly of 1870 vintage, but has a wing that was built just before the War of 1812.

    Its presence recalls a time when Richmond Terrace, overlooking the waters of Kill Van Kull, was lined with similarly grand houses in the Second Empire style. Only three remain. Glancing at houses that have replaced graceful 19th-century homes, Ms. Eskenas worries about the dilution of the island’s character.

    “We must save these historic buildings before there are none left,” she said.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2009/09/19/ny...l?ref=nyregion

  2. #182
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    LPC Makes It Official at Alice & Agate Courts

    September 18, 2009





    Yesterday LPC head Robert Tierney, Council Member Al Vann and about two dozen people celebrated the designation of the Alice and Agate Courts Historic Districts with a ceremony to unveil two new street signs and an announcement that five residents had won LPC grants totaling $84,000 to help restore their historic, 19th century homes. The grants, which come from the Commission’s Historic Preservation Grant Program and range from $12,000 to $20,000 apiece, are going to be used to repaint, repoint and repair the facades of five homes on both of those streets. Alice and Agate Courts are the 21st historic district designated under Tierney, 12 of which have been outside of Manhattan. Guess how many have been in Brooklyn? Seven. Top notch!

    LPC Moves Ahead With Two New Historic Districts [Brownstoner]
    Alice & Agate Courts Proposed for LPC Designation [Brownstoner]
    LPC to Consider Ocean Avenue Historic District [Brownstoner]
    New Bed-Stuy Historic District in the Offing [Brownstoner]


    http://www.brownstoner.com/brownston...akes_it_of.php

  3. #183
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    Preservation Watch: Blow-By-Blow From Landmarks' Big Day

    September 22, 2009, by Joey




    (click on thumbnails for larger version)

    We hinted earlier this morning that today's Landmarks Preservation Commission public hearing was a biggie, with several Curbed hot topics making appearances, as well as some miscellaneous minor applications that still manage to tickle our fancy. Curbed Correspondent Matt Duckor reports on today's action down at 1 Centre Street:

    1) 24 Bond Sreet: The recent extension of the Noho Historic District means that 24 Bond Street's tiny golden dancers are suddenly improperly affixed to a protected landmark. The owner of the building showed up with the sculptor/resident and a bunch of other artists in the community in order to explain why the statues should be left alone. One plus (?): Tourists show up and take pictures of the building! Community Board 2 testified that it's a bit "grouchy" about the whole thing and deemed the sculptures "inappropriate." Some concerns stemmed from the question of who would maintain the little guys if the artist was no longer able to. The verdict: The LPC decided they like art this time. Sculptures saved!

    2) 415-423 Washington Street, aka 51-55 Vestry Street
    : For those not into North Tribeca Historic District controversies, new luxury development The Fairchild switched architects midway through construction. Plans got jumbled, wires were crossed, and what got built has some discrepancies from the plans approved by the LPC. So it was no surprise that this was the most heated confrontation. A highlight: "This is one where you have to hold your nose." Zing! The verdict: The LPC ruled that the windows and color of the building go along with the nabe and the efforts to diminish the presence of the rooftop penthouse were satisfactory.

    3) 74 Grand Street: It turns out when a building shifts over 30 inches over the years, everyone has an idea about what to do with it. The owners of Soho's cast-iron 74 Grand Street want to tear it down. CB2 agrees, but worries about the storage of the façade and a possible buy-up that could combine the three lots at 74, 76 and 78 Grand Sreet. The owners of the buildings around it worry about their own buildings. The verdict: The LPC deemed that the building must be demolished, but are investigating if there are grounds to set up a penalty should something "happen" to the façade while it's in storage.

    4) 41 Park Row: Architects working on the landmark former New York Times Building near City Hall, now a Pace University building, came before the committee with some pretty high hopes—adding four “rather small” flagpoles to the front of the building. There were claims that the building is often misidentified, despite the existing awning signage, but most of the LPC agreed that four flags was an “excessive amount.” The verdict: Only two flags allowed here.

    5) 87 Lafayette Street: Long ago a plan was floated for 87 Lafayette that blew our brains out. It never materialized. Now, reps of this impressive former firehouse proposed plans to add a new double glass door entrance to one side of the building. While some committee members thought the design was too minimalist in its approach, others felt that the architect had gone too far. The verdict: The architects must meet with LPC members to discuss some refinements.

    http://curbed.com/archives/2009/09/2...g_day.php#more

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    Landmarking in the Hopper for Underground RR house

    By Patrick Hedlund

    September 24, 2009


    Photo from Gothamist article

    Just weeks before a collection of Chelsea rowhouses almost assuredly receives landmark designation by the city, the most historic property of the bunch had its application for additional construction work revoked to the delight of local preservationists.

    The Hopper Gibbons House, which is part of the proposed Lamartine Place Historic District encompassing a dozen neighboring properties on W. 29th St., has a verifiable history as a stop on the Underground Railroad. After unearthing details of the property’s past as a home to Quaker abolitionists, a group of local preservationists began pushing for its designation as a city landmark while attempting to stop the owner from performing construction work on the building between Eighth and Ninth Aves.

    In an earlier audit, the Department of Buildings had deemed the work to add fifth floor to the property illegal, but construction was still allowed to proceed on the additional floor and a penthouse unit above that. But the grassroots efforts of neighbors Fern Luskin and Julie Finch to halt construction resulted in further scrutiny from the DOB, which led the department to pull the permits for the penthouse addition.

    Now, with the full revocation of the owners’ application for the work, there remains a question over whether the developers will be forced to remove the offending additions altogether.

    “We all hope this will mean that these illegal additions and the scaffolding will be torn down,” said Luskin, who along with Finch just received the 2009 Underground Railroad Free Press Prize for Preservation, the highest honor in the international Underground Railroad community.

    Andrew Berman, executive director of the Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation and an advocate for the Hopper Gibbons house, explained that the DOB’s newest ruling further restricts what the owners can do. “This is a stronger action that DOB took, and it doesn’t leave the owner in the position to fiddle with the application and re-submit it in a slightly altered way,” he said.

    According to Berman, it’s a “realistic possibility” that the city could force the owners to take down the penthouse addition, which was never fully built, and possibly even the fifth floor. “It’s hard to achieve that,” he added, “but I think there’s a clear paper trial at this point that the addition should have never been approved and was never legal in the first place.”

    John Hulme, the project architect, refused to comment on the matter but has previously stated that work would continue “as soon as possible.”

    Currently, with the Landmarks Preservation Commission scheduled to vote on the designation on Oct. 13—which, if successful, would add another layer of protection to the property—the chances that any construction will resume in the near future are virtually nil.

    “In my opinion, there’s no basis for [work] legally moving forward,” Berman added. “That being said, don’t count your chickens before they hatch.”

    http://www.chelseanow.com/articles/2...1966433270.txt

  5. #185
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    Landmarks Commission Approves Chabad Proposal

    by Avi - October 1, 2009




    The Landmarks Preservation Commission has approved a controversial proposal by Chabad of the Upper West Side to build a day school, synagogue and community center in two landmark rowhouses on West 86th Street.

    The proposal, which was voted down by Community Board 7, would allow Chabad to build a roof and rear yard addition to the building as well as perform other renovations. It also means that the renters who live in the buildings now would have to move out. Those renters and neighbors complained that the new construction would change the neighborhood too drastically. But Chabad of the Upper West Side Associate Director Rabbi Meir Ossey told Lubavitch.com that “the renovations will preserve the buildings’ historic appearance and will also restore original architectural details that have been lost over the decades.”

    The commission originally asked the organization to change the proposal, in part because it involved elevating the floor heights, which they found unacceptable. The commission’s vote was unanimous, said spokeswoman Lisi de Bourbon.

    Chabad’s updated proposal “called for keeping the floor heights/plates the same, reducing the height of the rear addition so that the cornice is the same height as neighboring buildings — you can’t see the play terrace or the fence — and bringing the addition back from the lot line by three feet,” de Bourbon wrote in an email.

    The project won’t likely be completed until 2013.

    http://westsideindependent.com/2009/...abad-proposal/

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    Default 17 West 56th Street

    Landmark Status for 19th Century House in Midtown

    By Sewell Chan


    The Edith Andrews Logan Residence on
    West 56th Street in Midtown.


    The Edith Andrews Logan Residence, a 19th century neo-Federal-style town house that is now home to a showroom for beauty salon equipment, has been designated a New York City landmark.

    Robert B. Tierney, chairman of the Landmarks Preservation Commission, which voted on Tuesday to protect the house, called it “a striking example of New York City’s continuous evolution, and how historic buildings can be adapted to new uses.”

    Built in 1870, the red brick house, at 17 West 56th Street between Fifth and Sixth Avenues, is four and a half stories tall, with three bays. The area was known as Vanderbilt Row, after the three mansions built by the Vanderbilt family before the turn of the century.

    Ms. Logan, the widow of John Alexander Logan Jr., a horse breeder and military commander, acquired the building in 1903. She commissioned Augustus N. Allen, the architect of a number of single-family residences on the Upper East Side and of a freight terminal building in what is now TriBeCa, to enlarge and redesign the residence with the current façade and a new interior layout known as the “American Basement” plan. In the layout, according to the landmarks commission, “the main entrance was centered at street level, had no stoop, and led to a generous foyer and grand stairway inside.”

    The commission added in a statement:
    The exterior of the building is trimmed with limestone ornament, including fluted columns at the ground floor and splayed keystone lintels, and is decorated with cast-iron balconnettes. It’s topped by a peaked roof with a row of three pedimented dormers that sit above a denticulated cornice.
    The building was sold to a charity in 1914 and used as a school and club until 1931, when it was converted into an upscale restaurant. It became a fashionable beauty salon in the 1940s, and has served since 1976 as a showroom for Takara Belmont, a Japanese company that makes beauty salon, spa and barbershop equipment.

    http://cityroom.blogs.nytimes.com/20...se-in-midtown/

    http://curbed.com/archives/2009/10/0...w_landmark.php

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    That one ^ is just a few doors down form the Centurion.

    More on the LPC ...

    PLOT TWIST

    NY Observer
    By Eliot Brown
    October 6, 2009

    There’s a rule of thumb that applies to the city’s Landmarks Preservation Commission: The agency shouldn’t try to designate a building a landmark against its owner’s will unless the commission’s ready for a loud public skirmish. And, generally in the Bloomberg administration, the commission has steered clear of such battles, making for relatively few such messy designation attempts.

    So in July, it came as something of a surprise when the LPC took the confrontational action of starting the designation process—an act known as “calendaring”—on a pair of connected buildings at Broadway and West 57th Street owned by Extell Development, one of the city’s most active developers.

    Indeed, the move has provoked a major fight, as Extell scrambles to ward off the LPC’s designation drive. In recent weeks, the firm has been successfully urging unions, trade groups and, most notably, key members of the City Council to demonstrate push-back against the commission. Already, an LPC vote that had been expected this week has been delayed, with no new vote yet scheduled.

    At the same time, preservationists, who have often been critical of the LPC for too frequently deferring to the desires of developers, support the designation—though the buildings had not been among their top priorities.

    Both of the Howard Van Doren Shaw–designed buildings, 225 West 57th Street and 1780 Broadway, were built by the B. F. Goodrich Company in 1909 and were part of “Automobile Row,” a concentration of car dealerships, many of which are already landmarked. Extell’s argument is that it was blindsided by the designation effort, and landmarking both properties would ruin its prime development site, precluding the company from building a $1 billion–plus commercial tower. (According to property records, it already has a $256 million mortgage out on the site.)

    Accordingly, the firm, which is led by Gary Barnett, has mobilized. Using its own preservation consultant, Extell submitted a compromise plan—landmark only 1780 Broadway, the old B. F. Goodrich headquarters—arguing that the history of the 12-story, brick 225 West 57th Street does not merit landmark status and that its demolition should be permitted.

    Extell has leaned on key unions, including the New York Hotel and Motel Trades Council and the Building and Construction Trades Council, both of which have pull with the Bloomberg administration and on the Council, urging them to lobby against the landmarking and for the tower. The unions have each submitted testimony to the LPC in support of the compromise plan, as did the local chapter of the American Institute of Architects. The powerful Real Estate Board of New York opposes landmark designation for either building.

    THE MOST NOTABLE SUBMISSION to the LPC, however, came from four council members: Dan Garodnick, the local representative; Jessica Lappin, chairwoman of the landmarks committee; Melinda Katz, chairwoman of the land-use committee; and Council Speaker Christine Quinn. Their submission, a letter dated Aug. 28, explicitly urged landmark designation of 1780 Broadway while suggesting that the signatories oppose—or in the very least, are leaning against—so designating 225 West 57th Street. The letter picked up on many of Extell’s themes, including the fact that the buildings have previously been considered, and subsequently passed over, for designation.

    “[A] balance must be found between preserving the city’s architectural heritage and allowing for new development on sites where buildings stand today,” the letter said. It goes on to note that 225 West 57th Street was “never occupied” by B. F. Goodrich, that “it is not clear how prominent the automobile industry was at this location, giving this building lesser historical significance” and that “there are other earlier-built and better-preserved examples” of similar schools of architecture in New York.

    The letter has enraged preservation groups—though few were willing to publicly denounce the elected officials, citing their typically strong relationships with Ms. Lappin and Mr. Garodnick—as they said the action was unprecedented.

    Landmarking supporters contend that the site’s economic development potential is irrelevant, as the question before the LPC is over the landmark quality of the buildings. Further, the main preservation groups that have weighed in say the buildings are effectively one structure, calling for both to be designated. “If we let developers tear down landmark-quality buildings because they want to put up something new and more income-producing, we would not have any landmarks left,” said Assemblyman Dick Gottfried, who supports landmarking both buildings.

    Asked about the discord between his position and that of the four council members, Mr. Gottfried noted that neighboring Manhattan officials are typically unified on landmarks issues. “It’s unusual that we would be divided, or that we would have differing opinions,” he said.

    ALL OF THIS HAS put considerable pressure on the LPC and its chairman, Robert Tierney, a onetime counsel to Mayor Ed Koch. Mr. Tierney and his agency have been under pressure to be more responsive to preservation concerns from advocacy groups and, perhaps more significantly, from The New York Times. Late last year, the paper ran a series of articles, sandwiched by two scornful editorials, that highlighted the arbitrary nature of many LPC actions and the commission’s tendency to side with developers on many issues. (The Times also ran a story, in November 2008, apart from the series that focused on the two B. F. Goodrich buildings, noting that they were slated for demolition. At the start of 2009, the LPC informed Extell it was planning on landmarking the buildings; it had also notified the previous owner around 2002 that it was considering designation.)

    Indeed, Mr. Tierney and the broader 11-member LPC have found themselves in an awkward spot, given that the agency has effectively endorsed landmarking both buildings (during Mr. Tierney’s tenure, the LPC has almost exclusively calendared buildings that it wants to see designated as landmarks, and it is very rare to de-calendar a building). If the full LPC is to accede to Extell’s wishes, it would open itself to the charge that it backed down in the face of pressure from a powerful developer, and if it designates the building, it risks alienating Extell and its allies.

    Further, if LPC were to go ahead with the designation of both properties, it would punt to the council the final decision making—and any accompanying political fallout—as that body has the power to veto a landmark designation (though that, too, is very rare).

    A spokesman for Extell declined to comment.

    Mr. Garodnick and Ms. Lappin did not respond to multiple requests for comment, and Ms. Quinn and Ms. Katz declined to comment beyond their letter.

  8. #188

    Default Glass/Brick

    Glass/Brick

    Why the historic city needs the new.

    By Justin Davidson

    Published Oct 11, 2009


    (Photo: Courtesy of One Jackson Square)

    How could they let that happen?” The indignant thought asserts itself whenever a flashy architectural stranger swaggers into a polite, low-lying part of town. The exhibit “Context/Contrast: New Architecture in Historic Districts” at the Center for Architecture, helps explain. The show, which begins with the passing of New York’s Landmarks Law in 1965, chronicles the ensuing effort to avoid either embalming or obliterating our urban heritage. It makes the point that often, the middle course runs through bold intervention. Nothing throws history into relief like the judicious application of newness.

    We have the Landmarks Law to thank for the principle of “appropriateness,” which governs what can be built in historic districts. That’s a maddeningly mushy term, vulnerable to the whims of commissioners, but its vagueness is its strength. Property owners see the commission as obsessively obstructionist, fussing over the minutiae of roofing materials, while preservationists see it as weak-kneed, unwilling to let a big-money real-estate deal die. Proponents of new architecture detect a creeping blight of nostalgia at work as Landmarks continues to expand and carve out new historic districts.

    But Landmarks doesn’t just enforce the status quo. Preservation and innovation aren’t mutually exclusive, and never were. No sooner was Brooklyn Heights designated historic in 1965 than the fledgling commission green-lighted Ulrich Franzen’s elegant, sere, and implacably modern design for the Jehovah’s Witnesses. The commission realized early on—though at times it has forgotten—that copying ye olde dormers or pasting shards of antique façades onto new buildings threatens to turn the city into a reliquary, killing old architecture with unthinking conservatism. A flexible definition of appropriateness recognizes what makes a district historic. Soho, for instance, retains its industrial bones and allows for the new, like Jean Nouvel’s 40 Mercer and Aldo Rossi’s Scholastic Building. Both play with homage to their cast-iron ancestors.

    Far better—in certain areas, at least—to sharpen the borders of history with a keen glass edge. That’s what’s happening at the Central Park Precinct, where the courtyard in the stables from the 1870s is getting a modern canopy. The new condo at One Jackson Square twists around the edge of Greenwich Village with grid-defying bravado and plenty of unquaint glass. The design defines the border of a historic district, turning a more or less arbitrary line on a map into an urban fact.

    The designation of a historic district can be an invigorating force for modernity, because it insists that architects think beyond the borders of their single building and engage the city at large. This can happen only if the commission matches its regulations with a muscular advocacy of good new design. Often, it sends mixed signals, urging courage but rewarding caution and accepting mediocrity. The current development ice age gives New York a chance to consider what kind of city it wants to be when the money starts oozing and the earthmovers slouch again. We should use the pause to take a hard look at the city’s protected neighborhoods, not to savor their timelessness, but to imagine how we want them to change.

    http://nymag.com/news/intelligencer/59932/

    Copyright © 2009, New York Magazine Holdings LLC.

  9. #189
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    Crowning 23 Beekman

    Matt Chaban


    Paul Rudolph's 23 Beekman Place took the first step toward becoming a landmark today. (Peter Aaron/ESTO)


    While the big news out of the LPC today was the approval of 980 Madison, there were quite a few noteworthy developments as well, namely the designation of three new landmarks and the calendering of 23 Beekman Place, better known as the Paul Rudolph house, which is the first step in the designation process. Poking fun at her fellow colleagues who had been skeptical of the Norman Foster designed addition at 980 Madison, which had been approved earlier in the day, commissioner Margery Perlmutter quipped, “Sometimes a rooftop addition does become a landmark.” Rudolph’s quixotic construction was completed in 1977, though he would revise it, like much of his work, until his death two decades later.

    It sits atop an otherwise typical Upper East Side brownstone built in 1900, and it also happened to be occupied by Catherine Cornell, who bought the rowhouse in the 1920s, just as she was becoming a major star on Broadway. Winking back at Perlmutter, commissioner Pablo Vengoechea remarked that were Rudolph applying for the addition today, there is no way the commission would support it. It was also pointed out that the interiors, once a testing ground for Rudolph’s design ideas, would not be landmark in light of a rather drastic renovation earlier this decade.


    The Jarmulowsky Bank building, one of three new landmarks designated today. (Courtesy MAS)


    As for the new landmarks, they are the former Jarmulowsky Bank building at the corner of Canal Street and Orchard Street, the Ralph and Ann Van Wyck Mead House on Second Avenue near 7th Street, and the Lamartine Place Historic District, a contiguous row of houses on West 29th Street between 8th and 9th avenues. The first is, as the name suggests, the former 12-story headquarters of a Lower East Side bank built in 1911-1912 in the Beaux Arts style out of limestone and brick. It was praised by the commissioners for being a monumental structure in an otherwise low-rise neighborhood, which is perhaps why it is currently on the market for many, many millions of dollars. Perhaps the building was built because someone tried to cash an equally large check at the bank’s former location in 1905.


    The Mead House. (Courtesy MAS)


    The Mead House happens to be the world’s oldest halfway house for women, having been bought by the Womens Prisoners Association in 1874, a decade after the townhouses construction. Despite the ominous sounding name, it is this uninterrupted ownership that helped keep the house intact for so long. As commission chair Robert Tierney put it, “The strands of history that flow through this house are amazing.”

    Finally, the Lamartine Place Historic District [PDF] protects a row of houses in Chelsea originally developed by William Torrey and Cyrus Mason in the 1840s. In the proceeding years, two of the houses would become important stops on the Underground Railroad, one of which was attacked during the notorious draft riots 1863. Many of the Greek Revival buildings still stand, some even relatively intact, but two were considered so altered, they were removed from the district. “This is an important row and a very important reminder of the draft riots,” Vengoechea said, adding that he hoped this bit of history could somehow be incorporated into the site.


    Lamartine Place (Courtesy MAS)


    http://blog.archpaper.com/wordpress/...4853#more-4853

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    Landmark victory for Underground Railroad block

    By Patrick Hedlund

    October 13, 2009

    The city Landmarks Preservation Commission enthusiastically approved the historic designation of a dozen neighboring buildings on W. 29th St. that played a pivotal role in New York’s abolitionist history.

    The Lamartine Place Historic District—which includes a row house that acted as a stop on the Underground Railroad among 12 contiguous properties between Eighth and Ninth Aves.—received unanimous support from the commission, which credited the work of local advocates in pushing for the designation.

    “There’s no question that, in my mind, since the first time that this was brought to our attention, there’s an incredibly committed neighborhood group—residents and committed neighbors—who have helped really lead this fight,” said LPC Commissioner Robert Tierney in his remarks, citing the “enormously important history” of the properties. “We live in New York City, and we sometimes don’t see our history as well and as clearly as we should,” he added. “I think this helps clarify that.”

    The designation marks the culmination of a years-long effort by two neighbors on the block, formerly known as Lamartine Place, who began researching the history of the buildings dating back to the Civil War. In addition to their advocacy for landmarking status, the pair has also fought against a developer’s attempts to add illegal floors above the Underground Railroad property, also known as the Hopper Gibbons house.

    “It became challenging because of some of the other activities going on there,” Tierney added in his comments, referencing the illegal construction, “but we have moved ahead aggressively, I think is the right word, and we’re here today to cap it off.”

    Remarks from other commissioners also lauded the community’s involvement, with one LPC member noting, “I don’t think I’ve ever seen a more passionate designation.” Another mentioned how he was struck by the advocates’ persistence throughout the process.

    “We were talking earlier today… about how much we appreciate seeing the community come forward and actually advocate for a landmark,” said the member. “That it isn’t somewhat just, we’re deciding or someone else looking at it from on high, but people who live there and really defend and take care of their local landmarks.”

    Julie Finch, who led the grassroots charge along with neighbor Fern Luskin, cheered when the commission gave its final approval.

    “When I spoke, when I gave public testimony, I said there were 11 to 18 African Americans lynched in this city, one of them two blocks away from me on 27th St.,” she said after the vote. “And landmarking this would serve as memorial to all those lynchings."

    The Lamartine Place Historic District—which includes a row house that acted as a stop on the Underground Railroad among 12 contiguous properties between Eighth and Ninth Aves.—received unanimous support from the commission, which credited the work of local advocates in pushing for the designation.

    “There’s no question that, in my mind, since the first time that this was brought to our attention, there’s an incredibly committed neighborhood group—residents and committed neighbors—who have helped really lead this fight,” said LPC Commissioner Robert Tierney in his remarks, citing the “enormously important history” of the properties. “We live in New York City, and we sometimes don’t see our history as well and as clearly as we should,” he added. “I think this helps clarify that.”

    The designation marks the culmination of a years-long effort by two neighbors on the block, formerly known as Lamartine Place, who began researching the history of the buildings dating back to the Civil War. In addition to their advocacy for landmarking status, the pair has also fought against a developer’s attempts to add illegal floors above the Underground Railroad property, also known as the Hopper Gibbons house.

    “It became challenging because of some of the other activities going on there,” Tierney added in his comments, referencing the illegal construction, “but we have moved ahead aggressively, I think is the right word, and we’re here today to cap it off.”

    Remarks from other commissioners also lauded the community’s involvement, with one LPC member noting, “I don’t think I’ve ever seen a more passionate designation.” Another mentioned how he was struck by the advocates’ persistence throughout the process.

    “We were talking earlier today… about how much we appreciate seeing the community come forward and actually advocate for a landmark,” said the member. “That it isn’t somewhat just, we’re deciding or someone else looking at it from on high, but people who live there and really defend and take care of their local landmarks.”

    Julie Finch, who led the grassroots charge along with neighbor Fern Luskin, cheered when the commission gave its final approval.

    “When I spoke, when I gave public testimony, I said there were 11 to 18 African Americans lynched in this city, one of them two blocks away from me on 27th St.,” she said after the vote. “And landmarking this would serve as memorial to all those lynchings.”

    http://www.chelseanow.com/articles/2...7970260980.txt

  11. #191
    NYC Aficionado from Oz Merry's Avatar
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    COLLEGE POINT, MURRAY HILL, WEST VILLAGE—The very active of late Landmarks Preservation Commission has designated the Herman A. and Malvina Schleicher House—a mid-19th century red-brick house in College Point, Queens—a landmark. And in big news for Manhattan preservationists and the women who tolerate them, Murray Hill's Union League Club and the Westbeth Artists Communty (which still has an old piece of the High Line running through it) were calendered for public hearings.



    http://curbed.com/archives/2009/10/2...marks.php#more


    City Moves to Landmark Artist Commune Westbeth and Union League Club

    October 20, 2009


    The Westbeth complex.

    The city's Landmarks Preservation Commission on Tuesday took the first step toward landmarking Westbeth, the first subsidized artists' housing in the United States and where television and radar were invented, and the Union League Club, whose members included J.P. Morgan, John Jay and Teddy Roosevelt.

    Westbeth, at 463 West Street, is a five-building complex that was the historic telecommunications laboratory of Bell Telephone Company, part of AT&T. The complex was built in various stages, beginning with a wood mill in 1861. Factories for Western Electric Company, the manufacturing branch of AT&T, were built at the turn of the 20th century and the laboratories were designed in the 1920s, according to the LPC.

    From 1899 to 1966, AT&T occupied the complex, and researchers invented the transistor; a device that brought sound to movies; radar; and television.

    From 1978 to 1970, the entire complex was converted to artists' residences, with architect Richard Meier designing 383 studio units. Roger Stevens, the first chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts, conceived the complex as the largest government-subsidized artists' colony in the world, the first low-cost housing of this kind in the United States.

    Last month, the federeal government sold the mortgage on Westbeth to the city's Housing Development Corporation, but the 384 current residents were not affected.

    Preservationists have been calling for the landmarking of Westbeth for years.

    The Union League Club, at 38 East 37th Street, was completed in 1931 and designed by architect Benhamin Wistar Morris, who also designed the Bank of New York. It is the fourth home of the organization, which was founded in 1863 to support President Lincoln's efforts to preserve the union. Its members helped to establish the Metropolitan Museum of Art in 1870 and the American Red Cross, according to its Web site.

    The building includes a dining and gathering space, fitness center, lodging and library. The site was purchased from J.P. Morgan, whose landmark library is nearby.

    Both properties were expected to officially begin the landmarking process with a vote by the LPC's board Tuesday, an action known as calendaring. Almost every building that is calendared ultimately receives landmark designation, which restricts development of the buildings.

    http://www.observer.com/2009/real-es...on-league-club

  12. #192
    NYC Aficionado from Oz Merry's Avatar
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    College Point Mansion Is Now a Landmark

    By Jennifer 8. Lee


    The Herman A. and Malvina Schleicher House, a 19th-century mansion in College Point, Queens, was given landmark status on Tuesday.

    Over the objections of the property’s owner, the Landmarks Preservation Commission voted unanimously Tuesday morning to protect a 19th-century Queens mansion in College Point that now serves as a seven-unit apartment building.

    The owner, Robert Cunniffe, had asked the commission to postpone the vote so that he could hire a lawyer to represent him. He said he did not even know the vote was scheduled for Tuesday until 9:30 p.m. the night before. “I got there halfway through the hearing,” said Mr. Cunniffe, who bought the building on Sept. 23, after a public hearing on whether to declare the property a landmark had already been held.

    The commission decided, however, to proceed with its vote.

    Mr. Cunniffe said he was disappointed, though he said he knew the building was under landmark consideration when he bought it.

    “I have no intentions of tearing it down — I love the building,” said Mr. Cunniffe, a contractor who is also a landlord. He has worked on landmark buildings before, and he estimated that improvements on those buildings are often triple what it would cost without landmark status, because of the paperwork and the preservation demands.

    “You can do nothing without going through them,” he said of the commission. “I know they are picky, the restrictions.”

    The building, known as Herman A. and Malvina Schleicher House, is the only surviving example of a number of similar mansions built by rich German immigrants in College Point during the mid-1800s.

    Conrad Poppenhusen, a wealthy local industrialist, selected College Point in 1854 as the site for a factory making hard rubber products, and he quickly converted the area’s farm fields into a thriving community that included the Schleicher family.

    The two-and-a-half-story brick residence, which was built in 1857, was designed by Morris A. Gescheidt, a German-born painter and architect. The mansion features a mansard roof, which maximizes space in the attic.
    The house and grounds were converted into the Grand View Hotel and Park in 1892. In 1923, it was converted into apartments.

    Though the building was originally was part of a 14-acre estate belonging to the Schleicher family, it now stands on its own circular site at 11-41 123rd Street, among low-slung apartment buildings.

    In a statement, Robert B. Tierney, the commission chairman, said, “The Schleicher House is one of the last substantial mid-19th century houses remaining in College Point, and recalls the period when the neighborhood changed from a farming community to a small village of homes and factories.”

    http://cityroom.blogs.nytimes.com/20...ow-a-landmark/

  13. #193

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    The New York Times
    Streetscapes | Provident Loan Society
    The Best-Looking Pawnshops Ever

    http://www.nytimes.com/2009/10/18/re...pes.ready.html





    Maybe one day the city could create an agency that could beautify our streetscape...like by restoring beautiful old buildings, fix cornices, and enforce littering laws. I bet people would oppose this claiming this ushers in gentrification.

  14. #194

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    Quote Originally Posted by Derek2k3 View Post
    ...Maybe one day the city could create an agency that could beautify our streetscape...like by restoring beautiful old buildings, fix cornices, and enforce littering laws. I bet people would oppose this claiming this ushers in gentrification.
    NY could be a beautiful city if that ever occurred, but I agree that it will not. New Yorkers like filth.

  15. #195
    Disgruntled Optimist lofter1's Avatar
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    Yeah ...... it's a dirty old town. Always has been, probably always will be.

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