Thursday, December 27, 2007

UES historic district heavily altered

It was around 1900 that 78th Street from Fifth Avenue to Madison began to make the transition from rows of brownstones to individualized town houses.

Where Historic Town Houses Still Hold Court

...at 4 East 78th Street...a pierced ironwork hanging lamp...has somehow survived both the weather and the drastic removal of the stoop.

The north-side buildings are mostly cut up into apartments and have seen hard wear.

Both rows are fragmented by later alterations...

...No. 14 was altered to its present neo-Classical exterior in 1917...

The house at No. 16 had a conventional 1920s alteration...

No. 18 was modernized in 1955...

At Mr. Styles’s No. 22, the owners, Robert and Roxana Tetenbaum, have EdsonUSA rebuilding the lower section — the stoop and lower floors — in brown stucco to something like the 1871 appearance.

For some reason this type of repair is considered acceptable in preservation circles. But passers-by may judge for themselves whether applying a coating of stucco is really restoration, as it is often called, by comparing No. 22 with its mate at No. 26.


It seems that many of the buildings along East 78th Street between 5th and Madison Avenues have undergone heavy alteration over the years. Yet they were all designated by the Landmarks Commission. Hmmm...this seems rather arbitrary and capricious, since the excuse that LPC always gives for not designating landmarks in Queens is that our buildings have been altered too much.

11 comments:

Anonymous said...

The Landmarks Commision is a fief that provides certain folks with certain powers with wide latitude that they hold over individuals to make their live miserable. They are also a group of folks whom see themselfs as tastemakers whom can nix what is proposed for Landmarking and Queens is not on their radar - never will be.

Anonymous said...

Most of the alterations mentioned in the article were done between 1917 and 1955, and were consistent with the original architecture. The one stucco alteration sounds bad, but I can understand why the others don't raise any landmarking issues. I'm not sure which Queens buildings you are talking about, but if the building was altered to be substantially different from its historical architecture, I can see how that changes the analysis.

Queens Crapper said...

Not according to the article. The uniformly-looking townhouses were all changed to make them highly individualized and different. And the year that the alteration took place means little to the LPC when they want to use it as an excuse.

Read the landmarks law, bub. There is nothing in it that disqualifies an altered building from being designated. That's just LPC being Manhattan-centric and racist.

Maybe you should ask why Sylvan Terrace was designated an historic district when asphalt sheeting and vinyl siding was put on nearly every building.

Anonymous said...

Yet another reason to overturn the law. Look at all those organizations that support it, not a peep from them about this scandalous two tier policy.

How about all those Queens reps in preservation that attend all those whine and cheese parties.

I guess they were elevated to that august status by the Manhattan types for their pliability.

Anonymous said...

This should be enough on its own to overturn the law.

I demand that HDC, MAS, etc look into this.

Norbert said...

Now, now. We all know that those who work in preservation, who make their money off of the landmarks law are not going to fight to overturn it. Too much money to be made off of restoration, researching banal facts about buildings, etc.

Anonymous said...

Fine. Then they lose their self styled status as a clearing house on preservation.

We need a new group to replace them manned by the grassroots activists.

The first order is to overturn the law and make certain its replacement will have teeth in it for everyone, no matter your background, economic status, or (gasp) neighborhood.

Don said...

"The first order is to overturn the law and make certain its replacement will have teeth in it for everyone, no matter your background, economic status, or (gasp) neighborhood"

I agree with this this. I don't like all the talk of simply overturning the landmarks law without any discussion of what will replace it. We need a stronger law, not no law. Can you imagine?

James said...

Off topic, at least the dumpsters in this pic aren't that eye-sore yellow color with an Israeli flag sticker tastelesly slaped on it and filled with debris from a differnt site.

Anonymous said...

The Landmarks Commission can designate landmarks, and it can remove designation from landmarks it has designated. The law does not provide for any action that would constitute a legal determination that a property could never be landmarked. When people get told that something is not eligible, this means that the current administration won't do it now, no more no less. There are landmarks on the roster today that started out having their first Request for Evaluation rejected.

Anonymous said...

I agree with this this. I don't like all the talk of simply overturning the landmarks law without any discussion of what will replace it. We need a stronger law, not no law.

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WELCOME TO QUEENS. AND AS THE MAIN LINE PRESERVATIONISTS KNEW ALL ALONG THAT WE WERE GETTING A HOSING, I REALLY DON'T CARE WHAT HAPPENS TO THEIR COMMUNITIES ONCE THE LAW GETS OVERTURNED.

WHEN THEY ARE READY TO SIT DOWN WITH ME AS AN EQUAL, THEY WILL GET MY ATTENTION TO THEIR 'PLIGHT.'

NOT A MOMENT BEFORE.