Friday, March 9, 2007

Disproportional representation

From Guy in FH:

"I don't mean to knock the idea of the confirmed Greenwich Village Historic District, but take note of the extent of alterations on a single block:

Block 636B

A few of those buildings are eyesores, non-descript, and not historical. They appease Manhattan (as usual) but give us the thumbs down when it comes to unofficial landmarks i.e. the Trylon Theater, St. Saviour's, & the Hackett Bldg. In the last photo, the former Holland Hotel reminds me in some ways of the Hackett Bldg, but in this case, the entire first story has been stripped.

Take particular note of the percentage of non-contributing sites and those that have significant alterations in a designated historic district under the Tierney-Betts Administration. I do have a passion for Greenwich Village overall, but the bottom line is that certain blocks clearly indicate how the Landmarks Law is insufficiently applied between Manhattan and the "other" boroughs. An additional note to all preservationists is to go with your instincts, and never fall for the LPC's cliche "Too altered to meet the commission's criteria for landmarking," which hasn't been established formerly, and contradicts the provisions of the Landmarks Law.

Weehawken St Historic District (Designated May 2006)

1. Page 39: Removed cornice and modified entryways

2. Page 47: A distinct brick box??

Greenwich Village Historic District Extension (Designated May 2006)

1. Page 43: 129 Charles St showcases a largely alt 1st story & stuccoed bricks in place of the cornice.

2. Page 49: 139-141 Charles St is a white brick box that's an insult to landmarking & the boroughs.

3. Page 55: 134-36 Charles St - New stucco facade & windows marking an extensive alteration

4. Page 64: 157 Christopher St - A 1st story hodge-podge with generic aluminum siding. In this case, some original elements may survive beneath.

5. Page 69: 686-690 Greenwich St - Racking up the "alterations"

6. Page 74: 702 Greenwich St - Is this more noteworthy than the Upper West Side's Dakota Stables, now undergoing demolition?

7. Page 78: 708-12 Greenwich St - A blank canvas defining monotony to a tee

8. Page 88-90: 132-138 Perry St (1914-1915) States "A 2-story 'historic' building is constructed of brick & concrete and now has new multi-pane metal windows. In 2000-2002 (prior to designation), 1st story glass and brick rooftop additions & an 11-story brick tower set back from the front portion, were constructed above the historic building." Product - Page 90 photo

9. Page 93: 140-44 Perry St - Stuccoed-over facade with completely modified 1st story

10. Page 107: Royalty in an alley? Hmm...

11. Page 115: 269 W 10th St - I recall greater examples in Old Astoria Village, Ridgewood, Woodhaven, etc.

12. Page 119-120: 275 W 10th St - A 1-story garage damaged in a fire in 1971 & then converted to apts with an entirely new blase, unproportional facade (120)

13. Page 123: Great structure, but let's hope the cornice is in midst of restoration!

14. Page 127: Why should this modern bldg qualify & deserve historic district VIP treatment?"


Anonymous said...

I agree that Queens is underrepresented. But don't blame the LPC alone. Blame the fact that the GVSHP is a superbly organized and politically savvy advocacy group. There is no equivalent in Queens (or anywhere else for that matter). Also look at how little Queens' local politicians do for preservation (except for Avella). How many times have landmarks or potential landmarks been overturned because of Queens politicians? Too many. And look at how much noise the anti-landmarking folks are making in Sunnyside Gardens. If that's indicative of how Queens residents react to landmarking (and I'm not saying it is, I don't know), maybe the LPC doesn't want to deal with that every time they look at Queens.

I'm not trying to completely absolve the LPC, but they are not the only ones at fault.

Also, as you note in your post, those buildings are non-contributing. Are there too many n-c buildings in that district? Perhaps. But they can't be used as examples of poor landmarking because they're not designated as landmark buildings, even if they're subject to review (with much more lenient rules).

Still, keep fighting the good fight.

Anonymous said...

The deep rooted institutional anti-preservation lobby in Queens is supported (in part) because the Manhattan preservation crowd (which writes the grants) keeps the money in Manhattan, selects weak people as their Queens spokesmen, and when all else fails, comes out to Queens to undermine the local preservationists (think Astoria Presbyterian Church).

The preservation community in NYC is a clique, like the political/media community in Queens.

The question is will the grass roots catch fire and burn them all.

Stay tuned.

Anonymous said...

Maybe the author of this post should take a refresher course in what constitutes a historic district. Not every building within a historic district is expected to hold up to individual landmark standards. Rather, the intent of a historic district is to preserve and protect an area's unique sense of place.

Next time, I suggest you take a walk around the historic district you're talking trash about instead of just sitting in your home with a downloaded version of the designation report. You might then better understand why these neighborhoods make worthy historic districts.

Anonymous said...

this is all in one block? holy crap. i think it is time to abolish the landmarks law. it's applied arbitrarily and has become an abomination.

Anonymous said...

I'd love for LPC to explain what about the proposed Richmond Hill historic district makes it unworthy of designation when there aren't as many non-conforming buildings in the entire section as there are in that one block of GV that you described. Ah, the benefits of location, location, location!

Anonymous said...

Because Robert Tierney lives in Greenwich Village and wants his neighbors to look up to him. He doesn't cocktail with people from Richmond Hill.

Anonymous said...

I love that hot pink building...It reminds me of myself!

Anonymous said...

"selects weak people as their Queens spokesmen"

I went to the website and looked up Queens organizations.

I see a lot of quotes in the preservation community about a Queensborough Preservation League. Their website not updated since 1998.

Went to see something about St Saviours. Found nothing.


Anonymous said...

Is that Pepto Bismol structure "Pinky" Gallagher's townhouse?

Anonymous said...

"Ah, the benefits of location, location, location!"

Take heart dear poster. The people of Queens now have a voice.

The tired old bromides we are fed no longer ring true. The tired old leadership we are told to follow no longer is paid much attention.

A new day is dawning. And for the happy campers in the Manhattan preservation community it will be a cold grey dawn.

They have ignored the rumblings in the outer steppes far too long.

One day they will wake up to find the 'great unwashed' before their walls.

And when we are done with them, their communities will look like our communities.

Ah, the sweet savory smell of justice!