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Thread: Endangered NYC - Lost & Threatened Treasures

  1. #331
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    The Park Row building in that photo has its flagpoles, and it looked much better with them. They should put them back and fly the flags, why not?


  2. #332
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    I was using this GIS map to see which buildings are landmarked (http://gis.nyc.gov/doitt/nycitymap/) and was appalled to find the following tall, classic treasures have no protection:



    Many, many more non-landmarked buildings to follow.

    70 Pine (AIG)?!! 500 Fifth? These should have been among the first buildings designated!
    Last edited by RandySavage; September 14th, 2009 at 11:40 AM.

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    I agree, that is appalling.

    Due to major logistical considerations at the least, I can't imagine any of those buildings actually getting demolished (surely?), especially 70 Pine and 500 Fifth, but they all still need protection from the terrible fate of 1775 Broadway, the former Times Building, etc. or similar acts of vandalism.

  4. #334
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    ^ Or the stripping of the ornamentation around the ground floor windows (as happened at Lefcourt Colonial).

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    More towers not (yet) landmarked:


  6. #336
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    Default Corn Exchange Bank Building - 81 East 125th Street

    Another post about this building back in 2006.


    October 5, 2009

    Harlem Landmark May Lose Two Floors

    By Mike Reicher


    A community organizer promised to rehabilitate the Corn Exchange Bank Building, seen here in 2007, with help from a developer, but the plans fell through.

    From the Metro-North station at 125th Street, it is one of the most visible features of the Harlem streetscape: a massive red stone building, covered with black netting, blue scaffolding and plywood boards. Through a gap, bay window frames and ornamental terra cotta rosettes peek out.

    But soon, the throngs of commuters who pass by the landmark, the Corn Exchange Bank Building, an 1883-84 Queen Anne and Romanesque Revival structure, will be able to see even less of it. The top two floors will be gone.

    On Wednesday, the city’s Department of Buildings issued a permit to demolish the two floors, finding that the building — as it has stood for 125 years — was unsafe.

    A community activist purchased the building, at 81 East 125th Street, from the city in 2003 with the promise to rehabilitate it. Instead, the structure sat with a gaping roof and crumbling masonry for six years. The city moved to take control of the property, and this January, a judge ruled that the city could repossess the building.

    But by then, it was too late.

    “It’s just really sad,” said John Weiss, deputy general counsel for the Landmarks Preservation Commission, which declared the structure a city landmark in 1993. “When someone comes in and they have a presentation saying, ‘This is our plan to completely renovate the building,’ it gives us some hope and confidence. But maybe that can be a false comfort.”


    The facade of the Queen Anne and Romanesque Revival building.

    The Corn Exchange’s signature masonry is at risk of falling, especially since the Metro-North Railroad rumbles only a few feet away, Mr. Weiss said. After the Buildings Department decided it was too dangerous to stand as is, he said, the commission was powerless to stop the process. “We defer to the Department of Buildings on issues of public safety,” he said.

    During the past six years, his hopes and those of neighbors had been pinned on the efforts by the activist, Ethel Bates, who promised the city’s Economic Development Corporation that she would fully rehabilitate the building and open a nonprofit culinary school. She did not come through.

    For starters, Ms. Bates couldn’t finance the rehabilitation. She bought the building for a nominal sum in 2003, with the backing of a developer who was to help her secure $9 million needed for repairs. But when the developer backed out, Ms. Bates said, she was left adrift, unable to attract another partner who would be satisfied with a modest return from a nonprofit tenant.

    “I knew nothing about development or construction,” she acknowledged in a phone interview. “We just wanted to give the students a fighting chance.”

    For the next few years, Ms. Bates made a few improvements, using $300,000 of her own funds. She reinforced some of the windows with steel and removed some of the debris that had amassed inside. Still, water and other elements continued to penetrate.

    The biggest problem was the deteriorating roof, said Leo Blackman, an architect who is president of the Historic Districts Council, a nonprofit advocacy group. “Certainly there was no reason that it couldn’t have been tarped when there was still a roof.”

    Even though the building has been neglected for decades, advocates say it need not be dismantled. Other options — like shoring up the walls with steel — would preserve the architecture, they say.

    “We’ve been very frustrated, just feeling that it’s such a spectacular building and it’s such a gateway to Harlem,” Mr. Blackman said. “It’s really important for us that this remain.”

    In 2007, the city moved to take control of the building, and a series of legal battles ensued. (The landmarks commission also sued Ms. Bates, asserting that she had effectively allowed the building to be demolished through neglect.) Ultimately, a State Supreme Court justice in Manhattan, Judith J. Gische, ruled that the city could retake the property, although issues over the building’s deed remained in dispute.

    Meanwhile, the building has continued to languish. In April, the Buildings Department issued an emergency violation.

    Fearing that demolition might soon be in order, a group of architects from the Historic Districts Council wrote to the mayor’s office in August, arguing that the building’s two-foot-thick walls were structurally sound and requesting that the city re-examine the building.

    After another examination, this time by a high-ranking Buildings Department engineer, the Corn Exchange was slated for partial demolition. Workers began setting up for demolition in early September and by last week they had started to remove bricks. Since the job was classified as an emergency, they were able to begin before the demolition permit was issued Wednesday.



    The building was designed in 1883 by the architects Lamb & Rich.

    Demolition of the two floors would be only the latest blow for the long-deteriorating building.

    The architects Lamb & Rich designed it in 1883, during one of Harlem’s heydays, with luxury apartments upstairs and the Mount Morris Bank downstairs. Later, it became the home of the Corn Exchange Bank.

    “It really has some history,” said Thomas Matta, 28, a neighbor who lives around the corner on East 126th Street and has tried to draw attention to the building’s plight. “If you can see past the bad shape it’s in, it’s really a gorgeous building.”

    Miniature gables and many chimney stacks and parapets once jutted from the original seven-story facade. The top two stories didn’t make it through the 1970s, though, and by the time Ms. Bates bought it, the building was down to about four and a half floors. Now, only two may be left.
    “I love antiquated things; I’m a buff for landmark buildings,” said Ms. Bates, adding that she had tried her best. “I thought it shouldn’t be razed to the ground.”

    http://cityroom.blogs.nytimes.com/20...se-two-floors/

  7. #337

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    That's awful. I used to pass by that every morning on Metro North and was uplifted to see it renovated. Harlem probably has the most beautiful buildings in the city. Perhaps one day they'll be able to rebuild the top two floors.

  8. #338
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    Pearl St. block to get history boards

    Preliminary design of one of the history boards,
    that is expected to be on display on Pearl St.

    By Julie Shapiro

    The seven-year saga of preservation and demolition on Pearl St. could finally be drawing to a close.

    Most of the historic fabric is gone from the block between Maiden Ln. and John St., though preservationists did manage to save a few artifacts. Now, the preservationists hope to draw attention to what was lost by installing history boards at the corner of Pearl St. and Maiden Ln.

    “It was the cradle of the city’s development,” local historian Alan Solomon said of the warehouses that lined Pearl St., connecting Wall St.’s financial center to the ships at South Street Seaport.

    Solomon has been battling for years with Rockrose Development Corp. and The Lam Group to preserve the warehouses, but 213 and 215 Pearl St. are gone, and all that remains of 211 Pearl St. is its facade, which is now the entrance to a parking garage.

    Rockrose agreed several years ago to pay for the history boards, and now that Solomon has designed them, he hopes to collect money from Rockrose soon. Roger Byrom, chairperson of Community Board 1’s Landmarks Committee, said it is important to get the $8,000 to $10,000 as soon as possible given the poor economy and Rockrose’s recent splintering into two separate companies.

    Jon McMillan, who used to work for Rockrose but now works for the offshoot TF Cornerstone, told Downtown Express last week that the company would spend up to $10,000 on the history boards. They will likely be installed on the columns of Cornerstone’s 2 Gold St. building at Maiden Ln. and Pearl St.

    “Saving the facade of 211 Pearl St. was a tremendous effort, and we’re glad to be calling some attention to it,” McMillan said of the boards.

    The history boards, measuring about 2 feet by 2 feet, will each describe a different aspect of the block’s past. One will focus on Pearl St. as a trade district starting in the early 19th century and particularly after the Erie Canal opened in 1825. The building at 211 Pearl St. was built for William Colgate, founder of the Colgate-Palmolive toothpaste empire.

    Another board will remind passersby that Pearl St. was once the shoreline of Manhattan, and it was named for the many oysters that were found in the harbor, whose shells were later used to pave the street.

    A third board will commemorate the neighborhood’s role in the American Revolution. In January 1770, two months before the Boston Massacre, the Battle of Golden Hill near John and Gold Sts. marked the first bloodshed between colonists and British soldiers. The street brawl (which ended in a golden wheat field) escalated over several days, after British soldiers chopped down a wooden “liberty pole” that the Sons of Liberty used to express their displeasure with British rule. Several people on both sides were wounded, but there were no fatalities.

    Solomon also wants to commemorate Hercules Mulligan, a Son of Liberty who lived at 218 Pearl St. Mulligan ran a tailor shop frequented by British soldiers, who often unwittingly passed on pieces of gossip that Mulligan in turn told the American army. Mulligan is said to have saved George Washington from a British ambush.

    While Solomon is working on the history boards, he is also wrestling with what to do with a 10-foot-tall brick symbol he rescued from 211 Pearl St. before most of the building was demolished. Solomon got Rockrose to put $12,000 into removing the symbol in one piece, because he thought it dated to the building’s 1830s construction. The bricks themselves are of a type made mostly before 1840, and they are arranged in a triangular pattern that could represent Masonic, Christian or other ideals.

    However, after Rockrose removed the symbol, Solomon had its mortar tested and was told the mortar was only 10 years old. After digging into the building’s past, he now thinks the symbol was taken apart within the past 10 years for utility work, but he maintains that the configuration of the bricks and the bricks themselves are much older. The symbol is now sitting in a Bronx warehouse, where Solomon hopes to do further testing. He eventually wants to return the bricks to one of the new Pearl St. buildings, but that appears unlikely.

    “We thought it was all pretty silly,” McMillan said of the effort to preserve the symbol. “We agreed to pay for getting rid of it. We’re not interested in having it back.”

    The symbol could possibly find a home in the South Street Seaport Museum instead, but for now it will likely stay in the Bronx.

    http://www.downtownexpress.com/de_344/pearlstreet.html

  9. #339

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    for prewar lovers, you may be interested in my new book "Prewar Shopping: A Guide to the Finest Manhattan Prewar Apartment Houses".

  10. #340
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    Quote Originally Posted by Biondo View Post
    for prewar lovers, you may be interested in my new book "Prewar Shopping: A Guide to the Finest Manhattan Prewar Apartment Houses".
    Looks excellent, Biondo. It's in my shopping cart .

  11. #341

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    I believe many of these shots have been posted but anyway.

    Scans from the book, Rise of the New York Skyscraper. Almost all of these were destroyed before the 1940's. While it's easy to depress oneself mourning these losses, browsing through the text I realized a good amount of our buildings from these early periods remain and most of the ones that were lost were replaced with something of at least equal greatness.

    Most of the shots are of buildings that stood in the Financial District, where location was a premium. If the city enforced preservation laws or height limits, the city probably would have never grown into the world city it is today. Chicago enforced height limits and codes which many believe stunted it's growth for decades in the early 20th century.

    Also noted in the text was that these buildings weren't considered good architecture, most New Yorkers hated how over-sized they were, and the city was already considered architectural backwater in the late 1800's.


    Of course if I had Bloomberg's wealth I'd build them all back in place of Stuyvesant Town.





















































    Last edited by Derek2k3; January 24th, 2010 at 11:43 AM.

  12. #342

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    Quote Originally Posted by Derek2k3 View Post
    Of course if I had Bloomberg's wealth I'd build them all back in place of Stuyvesant Town.
    That's a great idea. Imagine Stuy Town full of buildings like the ones lost as well as great contemporary architecture (insofar as it does exist). It'd be a monument to individuality, innovation, aspiration and architecture ... instead of leveling sameness. [Sigh.] ... So who on this forum needs a good place to park $30 billion?

  13. #343
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    Looking at the twelfth photo, I didn't realize the franklin statue has been around that long. It really is lost on the current plaza.

  14. #344

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    I wish the developers in NYC could build more of that "architectural backwater" .

  15. #345

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    Maybe New York can follow the UK's lead. In an effort to reduce carbon emmission they plan is to demolish all buildings from the 60's and 70's.

    “The buildings that pose the most difficulties are semi-industrialised, highly inefficient, badly insulated and so ugly that they are not worth refurbishing.”

    http://business.timesonline.co.uk/to...cle7000842.ece

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