Landmarks Preservation Commission

City Approves Demo of “Landmark Eligible” East Village Buildings

112-120 East 11th Street

The City has approved demolition of five late 19th century Beaux-Arts style buildings at 112-120 East 11th Street (3rd/4th Avenues) which in 2008 it had determined “landmark-eligible.” Worse, GVSHP and allied preservation groups, aware that plans were afoot to develop the site, reached out to the Landmarks Preservation Commission (LPC) two months ago to make them aware of the plans. We urged the Commission to consider historic district designation for these and surrounding historic buildings, providing them with detailed research and arguments for their significance, and reminded them that in 2008 they themselves determined these buildings eligible for landmark designation as part of the environmental analysis for the 2008 East Village rezoning.

Frustratingly, the LPC refused to act, not even responding to the request. On Friday, the City approved the application for demolition permits for the buildings, which are set to be replaced by a 300-room hotel. The failure of the LPC – an agency of the Mayor — to even consider these buildings for designation is confounding and profoundly disappointing. Read more at DNAinfo, EVGrieve, Patch and Curbed.

As disturbing as this failure and the planned hotel is, it’s worth remembering that this could have been worse. In 2010 we successfully fought for a rezoning of the Third and Fourth Avenue corridors which eliminated the prior incentive for dorm construction in the area, and capped the height of new buildings, which previously rose as high as 260 feet. New height limits, while not nearly as restrictive as we would have liked, allow construction here to rise to no more than 85 feet on the streetwall and 120 feet after setbacks.

GVSHP will be closely monitoring development plans as they move ahead on this site to ensure that all work conforms to required rules. We are also working closely with fellow East Village and preservation groups to advance proposals for expanded landmark protections in the East Village, to preserve this neighborhood’s rich history and sense of place.

Mayor Supports Developer’s East Houston Street Rezoning, Continues to Block Community-Supported University Place/Broadway Rezoning

Planned development at 255 East Houston Street

GVSHP testified today at the City Council in opposition to a developer-requested rezoning on East Houston Street, which is strongly opposed by the local community, community board, local Councilmember Rosie Mendez, and Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer. The rezoning plan was recently approved by the City Planning Commission, which is controlled by the Mayor. The rezoning would facilitate a developer’s plans to replace the former home of a much-needed city-subsidized child care facility with a high-rise condo with commercial space in the ground floor. The rezoning still needs the approval of the City Council.

There are many reasons why approvals should not be granted for this rezoning, which is supported only by the developer and the lobbying firm of Capalino + Co., which they hired to secure the approvals. There are serious tenant-harassment allegations against the developer.

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From Daytonian in Manhattan, “The Travesty of St. Ann’s Church 120 East 12th Street”, 2011,

“In 1870 St. Ann’s Catholic Church was the religious equivalent of a hermit crab – having successively taken over structures built by previous congregations.

The parish was formed in 1852 by Bishop Hughes in the fashionable Lower East Side – the Bond Street neighborhood – with Rev. John Murray Forbes as pastor. Forbes secured a church on East 8th Street, opposite Lafayette Place, built by an Episcopalian group and later used by Presbyterians.

“Its purchase by the Catholics gave rise to much comment,” noted The Times.

By the time the Civil War had ended, St. Ann had outgrown the building and also needed to build a school. Rev. Thomas S. Preston, finding no suitable property in the immediate area, purchased the 1847 church at 120 East 12th Street. The 1914 edition of “The Catholic Church in the United States” maintains the church was built by Episcopalians while The New York Times maintained it was erected by Baptists. In either case, it was subsequently renovated into a synagogue, the Temple Emanu-El, before Preston acquired it.

The land stretched through the block to East 11th Street, allowing for the construction of a school building.”

“It was later the “National Shrine of St. Ann” (apparently one of several), the Armenian Catholic Cathedral and, in the 1980′s, home to the first “official” regularly celebrated Traditional mass in New York.”

Today, only the 1847 facade of the church remains in front of a modernist high-rise building which is a dormitory for NYU. More on how that happened, from Untapped Cities: 3/14/2016, “10 Controversial NYC Historical Buildings that were Demolished Or Redeveloped”:

NYU Founders Hall Residence

When St. Anne’s Church opened in 1852, it was among the wealthiest congregations in the city. Over the past two centuries the evolving demographics of the neighborhood caused the church to experience a drop in membership. In 2003 the Archdiocese of New York announced that the church would be permanently closed. A developer bought the building in 2005, and plans were announced for a new dormitory for New York University to be built on the site. This announcement was met with public outcry, particularly from the Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation.

However, without landmark status from the Landmarks Preservation Commission, St. Anne’s was demolished except for its front facade which remains attached to NYU’s Founders Hall Residence. The AIA Guide to New York City described the result of the project as a “futile exercise where no connection is made, or even attempted, between the old church and the 26-story hulk … the effect is of a majestic elk, shot and stuffed.”

Daytonian in Manhattan, “The Travesty of St. Ann’s Church 120 East 12th Street”, 2011, has the answers to such questions as What Was It Like Inside? What were some notable events in its time as a house of worship? And the Comments Section displays queries concerning the whereabouts of parish records, and of a relic of St.…

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from Bowery Boogie:
Debbie Harry and Martin Scorsese Support Landmarking 239 Elizabeth Street in Little Italy and so Should You [OP-ED]

Posted on: July 12th, 2016 at 5:19 am by


What follows is a selection from a “Request for Evaluation” sent to the Landmarks Preservation Commission last week to calendar 239 Elizabeth Street for landmarking. Author of the pitch, building resident Beth Joy Knutsen-Papaleo, even received letters of endorsement from Debbie Harry and Martin Scorsese.

“I am dead sick of tasteless developers who never wanted to live in NYC deciding what’s right for a neighborhood. The neighborhoods are like small towns and have their own histories and identities which are vitally important to maintain and remember. Let’s keep the many flavors and colors that make New York City such a special place, not just another bland expression of greedy commercialism and bad architecture.” –Debbie Harry

“For over 25 years, I have advocated for the preservation of our cultural heritage through film preservation because it is so important to understand and appreciate our past. Elizabeth Street between East Houston and Prince is a crucial piece of Little Italy’s history and an important landmark of New York’s unique immigrant heritage.” –Martin Scorsese

We, the 239 Elizabeth Street’s Tenant’s Association, believe the time is now to landmark our building’s incredible history, alongside its pivotal location, for generations to come. Our rent-stabilized tenants span decades, living here in our building and neighborhood by sharing great stories of times past.

A reflection of community for me for the past 18 years, and for my daughter’s future residing here, has been woven into the fabric of unique, outstanding memories of years past and yet to come with excitement. A sense of fortitude and family values flourishes when I open the door to our distinctly historic and soulful building.

It is not only our building, but the block of Elizabeth Street between Prince and East Houston that must be preserved for the sake of what made our little street so incredibly important.

Scorsese and De Niro filming Taxi Driver

Landmarking our outstanding building is the first step. Generations of Italians spanning 9 decades still call this home and are asking you, The Landmarks Preservation Commission, to listen to our request with an open heart and mind.

Conceptualizing our building in 1904 collaborated in the form of the greatest architectural trio at the turn of the century. The 3 brilliant designers: William Kurtzer, Charles Rentz & Stanford White. It was commissioned by Peter P. Acritelli.

  • William Kurtzer: was famous for his specialized cast iron ornamentation and foundation work on building’s interiors and exteriors. It was his dedication to the German Renaissance & Neo-Grec style. He also designed/built properties for The Astor & Vanderbilt families around New York City.
  • Charles Rentz: a prolific architect was known best for designing and building the now land-marked Webster Hall with terra cotta facade and his specialty of Renaissance Revival.
  • Stanford White: an inspiring and instrumental builder of our great city. In being the pioneering expert of Beaux-Arts American Renaissance Architecture, he chose our building to be his first and only tenement work.

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From The New York Times:

Tammany Hall’s Auditorium, Where Politics Once Took Center Stage, Will Be Demolished

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Four Staten Island properties designated as landmarks

By Rachel Shapiro on June 28, 2016 at 4:17 PM, updated June 28, 2016 at 7:25 PM

The Landmarks Preservation Commission voted unanimously to designate as New York City landmarks the George William and Anna Curtis House at 234 Bard Avenue; the St. John’s Protestant Episcopal Church Rectory at 1331 Bay Street in Clifton; the 92 Harrison Street House; and the Prince’s Bay Lighthouse.

They were among seven Staten Island properties that were on a short list of backlogged buildings that were “prioritized for designation” by the Landmarks Preservation Commission.

George William and Anna Curtis House

The house was built in 1859 in the style of a pattern-book-inspired Italianate style country residence. It was the home of George William Curtis, a distinguished author, editor, essayist and lecturer. He addressed major political issues of the time, such as slavery, women’s suffrage and civil service reform. His wife, Anna Curtis, was active in local organizations and came from a like-minded family of reformists.

St. John’s Rectory

St. John’s Protestant Episcopal Church Rectory is located at 1331 Bay Street in Clifton, and is an early free-standing Queen Anne style residence. The church was formally organized on September 23, 1843, at the home of William B. Townsend, to serve the needs of the Protestant Episcopal worshipers in Clifton. A new rectory, located to the south of the church, was built in 1881-1882 by the builder John W. Winmill. The church was built from 1869 to 71.

92 Harrison Street

The house at 92 Harrison Street is a 2 ½ story, wood-framed building in the Greek Revival style. It was built around 1853-54 for Richard G. Smith, most likely as an investment property. It’s located on a large lot at the corner of Harrison and Quinn Streets, making it a focal point of the neighborhood. It is one of 10 houses built on Harrison Street prior to 1860, and represents the first period of development as the Stapleton area was transitioning into a denser community.

Prince’s Bay Lighthouse

The Prince’s Bay Lighthouse is one of New York City’s oldest surviving lighthouse complexes, built in 1864. Historically known as the Red Bank Lighthouse, it is located on the shore of Prince’s Bay and stands on one of the highest bluffs on the southern shoreline, overlooking Raritan Bay. The designation also consists of the two-story brownstone Keeper’s House, built in 1868 next to the lighthouse and connected by a 15-foot long passageway; and the one-story fieldstone Carriage House, built in 1869, west of the Keeper’s House.…

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Here is the text of the editorial from the NY Post concerning proposed modifications to the present Landmark laws…your comments and observations appreciated:

A chance to end NYC’s landmarks lunacy

Die-hard preservationists are frantically trying to thwart a City Council bill to bring some order and common sense to the city’s landmarking process.

For once, the bill is well thought out. It would streamline the way the city designates historic landmarks, allow for timely resolution of all designations and provide financial and other
protections for fiscally ailing owners of properties that get designated.

All in all, it provides the realistic balance between historic preservation and new development opportunities that are both necessary to preserve New York’s character.

The bill was prompted by reports that 95 proposed landmarks had been awaiting city action for more than five years — several decades, in some cases.

That puts owners in bureaucratic limbo, unable to renovate or sell their buildings, since it’s hard to get a mortgage on a property at risk of being landmarked.

The measure would put a one-year time limit on proposals to landmark an individual building, and two years for declaring an entire historic district. In fact, more than 80 percent of
landmarking decisions get made within those limits.

New to the bill since it was first proposed last year is this important change: Gone is the five-year moratorium on reconsidering properties that fail to win landmark status.

That means such properties can immediately be reconsidered — and prevents opponents from “running out the clock.”

The revised bill also removes a loophole that lets owners opposed to landmarking apply for demolition permits before their property is placed on the Landmarks Preservation Commission calendar.
Now such permits would be embargoed as soon as landmarking is proposed.

The measure also expands options to landmark for cultural — as opposed to purely architectural — historic significance.

Other provisions provide more transparency — one of many reasons sensible preservationists are supporting the revised bill.

And why the council should swiftly approve it.



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From Untapped Cities:

Since the 1990s, the increased amount of construction work in New York City has allowed previously unseen markers of the city’s colonial past to be unearthed. We’ve brought you highlights from the NYC Archaeological Repository and 5 notable archaeological sites unearthed in Manhattan. But beginning in 2005, the Museum of the City of New York‘s archaeological team started excavating for the South Ferry Terminal Project. Those excavations have yielded thousands of artifacts along with structural remains of the colonial New York’s Battery Wall and Whitehall Slip


In 2005, the City of New York was renovating the South Ferry subway station, and since it’s known that early occupations of the city were at the southern tip of Manhattan, it was no surprise when archaeologists were called to the scene. Today, in 2016, the excavation has long since been done, but the Museum of the City of New York’s archaeological team, in collaboration with the Landmarks Preservation Commission are now digitizing the 2005 finds from the South Ferry Terminal.

This digitization project will be launched on a online public database upon completion where the images of these finds will be available to view in full, vivid color. Along with the South Ferry finds, City Museum and Landmarks are digitizing other finds as well with the hopes of increasing public access to the New York City Archaeological Repository, where finds from all over city from various excavations are stored.…

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from Curbed:

Living on a Prayer

As developers buy up churches for condo conversion, what’s next for our houses of worship?

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from SiLive.com:

Vanderbilt Mausoleum officially designated city landmark

 Annalise Knudson | aknudson@siadvance.com By Annalise Knudson | aknudson@siadvance.com
on April 12, 2016 at 5:19 PM
 STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. — Staten Island is home to a rich history, most of which can be found by touring the many landmarks and the borough’s historic districts. On Tuesday, the Vanderbilt Mausoleum, was officially designated a landmark by the Landmarks Preservation Commission (LPC).The mausoleum was built by the country’s wealthiest family of their time, combining the talents of two of America’s greatest designers — Richard Morris Hunt and Frederick Law Olmsted. It sits in New Dorp, adjacent to Moravian Cemetery.William H. Vanderbilt planned the mausoleum, and it was completed in 1886, after his death, by his son George W. Vanderbilt.

William’s father, Cornelius Vanderbilt, amassed America’s largest fortune through his steamboat and railroad lines, a major role in the development of New York City and State. When he died, William became the richest man in American history.

“The impression you get when you walk from the gate, to the path, to the mausoleum is one of a rising imposing structure,” said Commissioner John Gustafsson. “It’s a remarkably peaceful place, and a dramatic statement of both 19th century life and 19th century death.”

The mausoleum was reserved for those with the Vanderbilt name, including sons, their wives and unmarried daughters. It houses the remains of all four of William and Maria’s sons and three of their wives.

Of the city’s LPC’s backlog  of the 95 properties listed citywide, 26 properties were on Staten Island. Six Island properties are under the “prioritized for designation” list, and may become landmarks by the end of the year.

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The New York City Marble Cemetery’s Fall Open Weekend

Saturday and Sunday
October 17th and 18th
11:00 am to 5:00 pm
Fall Open Weekend — Open to the public, free admission 
Historical displays will be available for visitors to learn more of the history of the Cemetery and those interred here.
Part of openhousenewyork

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