In an effort to supposedly streamline New York City’s landmarking process, the Landmarks Preservation Commission (LPC) will drop 96 buildings and sites from consideration for historic preservation. These sites span all five boroughs and include Union Square, Greenwood Cemetery in Brooklyn, and the Pepsi-Cola sign in Long Island City (above). Of the nearly 96 sites (94 structures and two historic districts), 80 have been calendared for more than 20 years.“The buildings considered for this action were placed on the Commission's calendar, public hearings were held, and they currently remain inactive,” explained the LPC in a statement. While being calendared is kind of like landmarks limbo, it comes with significant protections. “Calendaring means that no demolition, construction, or alteration permits can be granted for a site without first notifying the LPC and allowing them up to forty days to designate the structure or negotiate a change or withdrawal of the permit applications,” explained Andrew Berman, the executive director of the Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation (GVSHP), in a statement. The Society has called upon the LPC to drop its so-called "mass de-calendaring." Landmarks West!, a committee to promote historic preservation on Manhattan’s Upper West Side, has also slammed the LPC’s planned action, saying the commission is “essentially sentencing [the buildings and sites]to death by bulldozer.” The LPC contends that removing the sites will make the landmarks process smoother. "Cleaning up that backlog will ensure the LPC can much more effectively fulfill its mission of responding to the landmarking issues of today in real time," de Blasio spokesperson Wiley Norvell told DNAinfo. The Commission adds that this action would not stop it from reconsidering landmark status for any of these sites or buildings. After some pressure from DNAinfo and the Manhattan Borough President's office, the LPC has made the list of sites available to the public. The Commission will vote on its "administrative action," this upcoming Monday.
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Staten Island’s abandoned, graffiti-covered, New York Farm Colony is poised to become “Landmark Colony”—a mixed-use development with retail and 350 units of senior housing. Curbed reported that plans for the 45-acre project were unanimously approved by the Landmarks Preservation Commission (LPC) after updated designs were unveiled by Vengoechea + Boyland Architecture late last month. The sprawling site has been abandoned for decades, but has a fascinating history that dates back hundreds of years. "Back in the day, the New York City Farm Colony was really a poor farm. That meant an able-bodied indigent could live there in exchange for their labor," explained Curbed. "The sprawling site also housed rehabilitation facilities for the needy. The site's use as a farm dates back to the 1600s, but the County of Richmond look over operations in 1830. It was managed by the consolidated city government until 1975, when the last residents were moved to Seaview Hospital." Based on a site plan presented to the LPC, the development team would stabilize and reuse five historic structures, dismantle four and reuse their parts, remove one, and stabilize another. Included in the plan is a network of open spaces and parks designed by Nancy Owens Studio. While the overall plan was approved by the Commission, some members weren't thrilled with the new Flats Buildings (pictured below) which was described as "generic." That part of the project will get updated and could be brought back before the Commission. The project is being developed by NFC Associates and the New York City Economic Development Corporation.
And another glass and metal addition is set to rise atop a low-rise building in the Meatpacking District. The Landmarks Preservation Commission (LPC) has voted to approve the BKSK-designed topper to the two-story building at 9–19 9th Avenue, which is best known for housing Keith McNally's famous French bistro, Pastis. An alternate proposal by the firm was shot down by the LPC in May, in what Curbed described as a heated, and very, very crowded, hearing. According to the blog, local residents called the addition “garish,” “a disoriented layer cake,” and “an obliteration of a historic district.” BKSK has a positive track record of working with Landmarks, however, and the firm came back with a revised plan, which has just won the LPC’s blessing. Harry Kendall, a principal at the firm, told AN that the while the structure has largely stayed the same, the “architectural language of the design” has changed. Essentially, BKSK is using less glass. “The metal frame has taken a more central role as an element of the facade and glass panels are clipped between the frames as a secondary element,” Kendall said. He explained that at the hearing in May, the commission suggested BKSK work harder to do less. “We did that,” Kendall said. “We applied ourselves diligently to doing less.” But, according to Andrew Berman, the executive director of the Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation, less is not enough. “We are extremely disappointed with this vote, the last to take place under outgoing LPC Chair Tierney,” Berman said in a statement. “Once more the Commission approved a design in direct contradiction to their own prior recommendations, in which they told the applicant to substantially change the design, and that it was too large (the size of the addition is relatively unchanged).” [beforeafter] [/beforeafter] To understand the changes that lead up to the approval, AN overlaid the original (below) design with the approved plan in this before and after. Due to the varying angles of each rendering, the before may appear slightly skewed.
New York City will soon lose another one of its bookstores—at least temporarily. The Landmarks Preservation Commission has denied landmark status for 31 West 57th Street, the century old building that houses the truly iconic Rizolli Bookstore. This clears the way for the building’s owners to demolish the current structure and put up what is expected to be a commercial or residential tower— this is 57th Street, after all. The owners of the building are reportedly trying to find a new home for Rizolli.
Manhattan's 57th Street continues its ascent as New York City's new gold coast with a skinny skyscraper unveiled by SHoP Architects and JDS Development today. SHoP most recently celebrated the groundbreaking of another skyscraper for JDS along the East River, but has now been tapped to build a lean, luxury high-rise on West 57th Street that could climb to a whopping 1,350 feet tall. If built, the condo tower would stand 100 feet taller than the Empire State Building. The Wall Street Journal reported that while developers JDS Development and Property Markets Group will not comment on whether financing has been secured, they have already presented plans to the Landmarks Preservation Commission. Stepping back from the street as it rises, the quarter-mile-high skyscraper will emulate steps and be clad in bronze-and-white terra-cotta stripes. SHoP partner, Vishaan Chakrabarti, told the WSJ the materials would create an effect that "sparkles during the day and has a soft glow at night." The developers were able to add height to the building by purchasing air rights from other properties in the vicinity. Elsewhere on 57th Street, BIG is building a pyramidal "court-scraper," Raphael Viñoly has designed the 1,380-foot-tall 432 Park Tower, Christian de Portzamparc's One57 tower is nearing completion, Cetra Ruddy has designed an ultra-skinny 51 story tower, and SOM's Roger Duffy is planning a prismatic, 57-story tower. Chicago's skyscraper experts, Adrian Smith + Gordon Gill, have also been tapped to design a skyscraper near 57th and Broadway, but no design has been released. The developers said they hope to break ground by 2014.
Development is soon on the horizon for Hudson Square, the 18-block area sandwiched between Soho and Tribeca. Yesterday New York City Council approved the Hudson Square rezoning, which entails raising the allowable building height to pave the way for more residential and mixed-use development. The city was able to finagle more affordable housing and open space throughout the approval process. From the get-go, preservationists have feared that development will seep into the South Village and have pressed the city to landmark the entire district. City Council has worked out a deal with Landmarks Preservation Commission to vote on the northern section of South Village by the end of the year.
After implementing a few small changes to the original design, Alloy Development has won the approval of the Landmarks Preservation Commission to build the first set of townhouses in DUMBO. The developer modified the height of the five-story residential complex by eliminating a screen on the roof level that was designed to keep out noise and maintain a certain acoustic level in the penthouse units. Now the 3,000-square-foot project needs the approval of Department of Buildings, but AJ Pires of Alloy anticipates that they will be able to break ground by this summer. (Rendering: Courtesy Alloy Development)
Five firehouses, built over a century ago, were granted landmark status yesterday. The Landmarks Preservation Commission (LPC) unanimously approved each of these five buildings for what Commission Chairman Robert B. Tierney characterized as “a clear expression of civic spirit and pride of purpose that existed at the time they were built and continue to this day in our City’s municipal architecture.”
These historic firehouses are located in Sunset Park and Windsor Terrace sections of Brooklyn; Bathgate and Longwood in the Bronx; and the Rockaway Park area of Queens. The buildings represent a range of architectural styles from Romanesque Revival and Neo Classical to Arts and Crafts and Colonial Revival—and were designed by several noteworthy architects of the late 19th and early 20th centuries, including, Frank J. Helmle, Peter J. Lauritzen, and the firm Napoleon LeBrun & Sons. With these recent additions, a total of 37 firehouses have been designated as landmarks throughout the city, of which 32 are still in operation, according to LPC.
Brooklyn's DUMBO neighborhood is home to many a loft, but few, if any, townhouses make up the neighborhood streetscape. Curbed reported that boutique development firm and architect Alloy Development plans on building five adjacent, 6-story houses at Pearl Street in place of a graffiti-covered garage. But these won’t emulate your typical 19th-century Brooklyn-style brownstone, they will include a single facade built of ductal concrete fins with wood on the ground level. “While these are the first townhouses in DUMBO, we’re hoping to bring the same level of thoughtfulness and care as we have to the other projects,” wrote AJ Pires, executive vice president at Alloy, in an email. Alloy has been behind other residential projects in DUMBO including two warehouse conversions at 192 Water and 185 Plymouth Streets. According to the Brooklyn Paper, some preservationists, are not pleased with the proposal. They not only want to keep the colorful graffiti-covered garage, but have also expressed concern that the chosen materials—concrete and wood—will not mesh aesthetically with DUMBO’s predominantly brick facade buildings. These same questions came up last week when Alloy presented its plans to the Landmarks Preservation Commission. Overall, the feedback was positive, but Alloy will return in a few months with revised plans.
Preservationists who have waged a battle against Foster + Partners' planned renovations of the New York Public Library received bad news Tuesday: The Landmarks Preservation Commission approved the library’s application for changes to its Beaux-Arts exterior, mostly on the side facing Bryant Park, in a six-to-two vote. The $300 million renovation calls for removing seven floors of stacks beneath the famous Rose Main Reading Room to accommodate a large workspace and the collections from the Mid-Manhattan and the Innovative Science, Industry, and Business Libraries. This might be a major step forward for the library, but the approval process is not yet over. The Wall Street Journal reported that the Landmarks Commission can only vote on changes proposed to the landmarked exterior—the decision about the stacks is out of their hands.
Lenore Norman, a pioneer of historic preservation, died at 83 years old in her home on the Upper West Side on December 21st. She spent over 4 decades working tirelessly to preserve some of New York's most iconic buildings and historic districts. Ms. Norman first stepped into her role as the executive director of the Landmarks Preservation Commission in the mid-1970s—a time when the idea of landmark preservation was fairly new and unpopular among some New Yorkers. "The whole idea of preservation was not something that people really understood, and of course, all of the larger institutions and buildings, for the most part, fought it," said Ms. Norman in an interview for The New York Preservation Archive Project. The New York Times described Ms. Norman as someone who was influential, but "did her work behind the scenes" and "was content to let the commissioners, developers, advocates and lobbyists occupy center stage." During her tenure as executive director, she played a critical role in designating a number of significant landmarks including Grand Central, St. Bartholomew's, the neo-gothic-style Woolworth Building by Cass Gilbert, and the Villard Houses by McKim, Mead & White. Her approach with the real estate industry was collaborative, even when discussions grew contentious: "We always try to compromise, to find a way where we could co-exist," said Ms. Norman. Ms. Norman left the Landmarks Preservation Commission in the early 1980s and took a position as the director of intergovernmental affairs at the city's Department of Buildings. In her later life, she served as the co-chairwoman of the preservation committee of Community Board 7 on the Upper West Side—the very neighborhood she lived in and helped designate as an historic district when she worked at the Landmarks Preservation Commission. While a preservationist by profession, she didn't see development as a black and white issue. She understood the need to balance the city's growth with its architectural history. "I want to live in a city that has diversity but I also want it to be reminiscent of what it was like years ago," Ms. Norman said in the interview. "The city has to change, it won't grow if it doesn't, and don't misunderstand, but I don't believe that we are rooted in tradition to the point where nothing new can be built or there can be no modifications to accommodate life as it is today, I think in general, there are verboten areas that we shouldn't be going into."
In response to the New York City Department of City Planning’s proposal to rezone Midtown East, the Municipal Art Society (MAS) has asked the Landmarks Preservation Commission to give landmark status to 17 buildings in the 78-block area concentrated around Grand Central Terminal. It is a last ditch effort to preserve several prominent structures—with styles ranging Beaux Arts and Renaissance Revival to Neo-Gothic and Mid-Century Modern—before Midtown gets the green light to raze old structures and erect new (and taller) buildings that provide modern features for tenants who “want open space plans” wrote the DCP in its proposal. The New York Times described the re-zoning as part of the Bloomberg administration’s vision to re-vamp midtown and turn it into a more competitive business district. Some notable buildings that have made MAS’ list include the New York Health & Racquet Club in Gothic Revival Style, the Graybar Building with Art Deco accents, the Neo-Gothic Swedish Seamen’s Church, and the Yale Club noted for its neo-classical façade.
- 445 PARK AVENUE, Kahn & Jacobs, 1946-1947
- 450 PARK AVENUE, Emery Roth & Sons, 1968-1972
- 4 EAST 43rd STREET, Andrew J. Thomas, 1916
- 661 LEXINGTON AVENUE, York & Sawyer, 1925-1926
- 111 EAST 48th STREET, Cross & Cross, 1925-1926
- 18-20 EAST 50th STREET, Rouse & Goldstone; Joseph L. Steinman, 1915
- 420 LEXINGTON AVENUE, Sloan & Robertson, 1925-1927
- 509 LEXINGTON AVENUE, Schultze & Weaver, 1928-1929
- 56 EAST 42nd STREET, J.E.R. Carpenter; Dwight P. Robinson, 1928-1929
- 17 EAST 47thSTREET, Henry Otis Chapman, 1932
- 5 EAST 48th STREET, Wilfred Edward Anthony, 1921
- 125 PARK AVENUE, John Sloan (York & Sawyer), 1921-1923
- 250 PARK AVENUE, Cross & Cross, 1923-1924
- 525 LEXINGTON AVENUE, Arthur Loomis Harmon, 1922-1923
- 270 PARK AVENUE, Skidmore, Owings & Merrill, 1956-1960
- 52 VANDERBILT AVENUE, Warren & Wetmore, 1914-1916
- 50 VANDERBILT AVENUE, James Gamble Rogers, 1913-1915