A group of preservationists reacting to the announcement of a groundbreaking at 860 Washington Street is warning New Yorkers to take in the sprawling views at the popular High Line Park while they can.
Romanoff Equities Construction announced last week that its partnership with real estate asset management company Property Group Partners will begin construction immediately on the 10-story, 120,000-square-foot mixed-use office property adjacent to the popular park in the Meatpacking District.
“It will completely cut off views,” said Andrew Berman, executive director at the Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation. “Instead we’ll get this 175-foot glass wall that will detract from the experience of the High Line.”
And then there were condos
Their floors may creak, their plaster may crumble and their halls may be filled with daunting drafts, but New York’s old houses have proved their mettle through many a storm. Hurricane Sandy was no exception. The city’s historic mansions appear to have come through the hurricane basically unscathed, preservationists told The Observer, although at least one Lower Manhattan Landmark remains unaccounted for.
“We’ve been very lucky, none of our 23 houses sustained damage,” said Frank Vagnone, the executive director of the Historic House Trust. “And many of them were right in the path of the storm. The Alice Austen House, in particular. It’s right on the Verrazano Narrows.”
For a brief moment in the late summer, it seemed possible, if not probable, that the red brick row house at 186 Spring Street might become the first gay rights landmark in the city to be officially recognized by the Landmarks Preservation Commission.
During the 1970s and early 1980s, the Soho rowhouse sheltered a number of prominent gay rights activists, among them Bruce Voeller (who was a leader in the fight against AIDS), Arnie Kantrowitz and Jim Owles, who was the president of the Gay Activists Alliance at the time he lived there, an influential organization that emerged in the aftermath of the Stonewall Riots. Until the spring, it belonged to another notable New Yorker, Beastie Boy Adam Horovitz.
But on a rainy morning last week, the building was surrounded by neither city officials nor map-clutching tourists, but by a demolition crew tasked with tearing it down to make way for a seven-story luxury condo.
It Takes a Village
Much of the debate around the expansion of the Chelsea Market has centered around not the former Nasbisco factory turned popular shopping center (and subsequent tourist attraction), but the old railroad trestle next to it.
Part of the justification for expanding the market by 25 percent was that, in addition to providing construction jobs and new office space for the city’s booming tech sector, the developer of the project, Jamestown Properties, would pay about $19 million to the High Line, to help fund ongoing maintenance. But there was also great community outcry over the fact that much of the new addition would be built on the 10th Avenue side of Chelsea Market, directly overhanging the High Line.
Earlier today, the City Planning Commission unanimously approved the project’s expansion, and addressed a few of these concerns.
Now the NYU plan is perfect, at least in the eyes of planning potentate Amanda Burden and the rest of the rest of the City Planning Commission. About an hour ago, the commission conditionally and near unanimously approved NYU’s contentious expansion plans for its two superblocks just south of Washington Square Park.
The commission is requiring the university to modify its 2 million square foot expansion in a number of meaningful ways, though the outlines of the new mini campus remain largely intact. There was one dissenting vote for the modified plan, from Commissioner Michelle de La Uz, who is the appointee of Public Advocate Bill de Blasio.
Purple People Eaters
The City Planning Commission is set to vote on the Rudin’s plan for condos on the St. Vincent’s site on Monday, and even though a single vote has not been cast, Greenwich Village superman Andrew Berman has already divined a favorable outcome for the developer. His response, as always, is damning.
N.Y.U. VS. THE VILLAGE
We’ve had fights for midtown’s skyline and downtown. Now, let the battle for the Village’s commence.
Earlier today, New York University filed plans with the Landmarks Preservation Commission for the Grimshaw-designed fourth tower at I.M. Pei’s Silver Towers site, the centerpiece of the campus’ 2030 expansion plan. After sweet talking locals for Read More
It looks as if N.Y.U. can do nothing right, as far as residents of Greenwich Village are concerned.
Earlier this week there were rumors that the school was considering taking space in the World Trade Center in the Financial District. But a few hours later, N.Y.U. revealed that it couldn’t afford Read More
For the past three years, New York University has been massaging Greenwich Village.
The school, with a beefed up community affairs operation, has thrown bones to preservation groups (consenting to the landmarking of a large NYU block); adjusted plans to demolish a building with a theater when faced with opposition; and held a recurring set Read More
The first public hearing on the Rudin Management Company’s plans for the site of St. Vincent Hospital in Greenwich Village will be this evening at 6:30 at P.S. 41 at 116 West 11th Street. Andrew Berman, executive director of the Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation, emailed us the announcement on Monday night.
He Read More