New Yorkers are eagerly awaiting the outcome of the mayoral election that will write the city’s next (hopefully bright) chapter of political history, but today, the Landmarks Preservation Commission revisited one of its most infamous—bestowing a landmark designation on the former home of Tammany Hall.
Despite strong community opposition, including that of the local community board, this afternoon the Landmarks Preservation Commission approved Extell’s request to cantilever its 1,424-foot skyscraper over the Art Students League.
The vote was six to one in favor of the application, which will allow Extell to cantilever its Smith + Gordon Gill-designed tower at 217 West 57th Street over the comparatively diminutive French Renaissance building next door. In their discussion before the vote, the LPC cited the minimal impact of the cantilever—which is some 290 feet high and not visible from all vantage points—on the experience of the landmark, as well as the building’s contextually-sensitive cladding.
Two weeks ago, the Landmarks Preservation Commission reviewed five buildings in Midtown East for landmark consideration in what was another chapter in the debate between the real estate industry and preservationists over the area’s historic real estate assets.
Seen as a roadblock in the Midtown East rezoning plan by many real estate professionals and a vital step in historic preservation by preservationists, the debate has raged on for months—even some of the buildings’ owners oppose preservation status.
Spearheaded by the Municipal Art Society, the preservation process began with the submission of a list of 17 candidate buildings. Four of the five buildings reviewed by LPC were on that preliminary list, and all five have been pinpointed below by The Commercial Observer.
The proposal to bring the historic Aluminaire House to an empty lot in Sunnyside Gardens is headed to the Landmarks Preservation Commission, as Queens Brownstoner reported earlier today—a move that seems likely to cause more than a little consternation an confusion among preservationists.
Moving the house, the first all-metal prefabricated dwelling, which was designed by Lawrence Kocher and Albert Frey and debuted at a 1931 architectural exhibit, from its current site—the closed-down Central Islip campus of the New York Institute of Technology—would preserve a notable piece of architecture. But it would also mean disturbing another historic artifact—the landmarked Sunnyside Gardens.
Earlier this year Steinway Musical Instruments announced that its grand pianos would soon play their final notes at the legendary Steinway Hall after years of actively seeking a buyer pulled in a $46 million bid.
JDS Development Group and its partners in the transaction have now paid $131.5 million for the land underneath it, city Read More
Bring up the Bodies
East Village preservation groups made little headway in their battle to save a local church after the Landmarks Preservation Commission said it could not order an archeological survey to determine if a graveyard exists on the site.
Developer Doug Steiner bought the property at 181 Avenue A last year for $41 million and has plans for a 140-unit rental apartment building on the grounds of Mary Help of Christians. Preservationists hoping to spare the former church, which opened in 1917, thought the revelation that a cemetery was once located at the site could stop the wrecking ball.
This afternoon, the Landmarks Preservation Commission will hold its first and only hearing on the second phase of the proposed South Village Historic District—the formerly working-class section of Greenwich Village that local activists and preservationists say is now under intense development pressure in the aftermath of the Hudson Square rezoning.
While many in the local community have long agitated for landmarking, and the first phase of the process was approved in 2010, the hearing for the second phase hearing remained unscheduled until the Landmarks Commission agreed to hold a vote before the end of this year as a condition of the Hudson Square rezoning, though only on the section north of Houston Street.
Update 10/31:The City Planning Commission announced last night that today’s meeting has been cancelled.
The mayor may be sending city employees to work today, as he did yesterday. “We are here to serve the public,” the mayor said. Those workers will be helping with recovery efforts in any way they can—planners planning escape routes, perhaps, or preservationists thinking of ways to protect buildings—but there will be no business as usual.
As a result, there is no plan to hold the near-weekly Landmarks Preservation Commission meeting today, as though anyone could get to the Municipal Building in flooded Lower Manhattan with all the bridges closed and subways flooded. Still, if you are a die-hard NIMBY and were thinking about going, don’t bother. The City Planning Commission canceled its Monday meeting but hopes to combine it with its regularly scheduled Wednesday meeting tomorrow.
Landmarking might preserve a piece of history, but unfortunately it cannot stop time. And at Gage & Tollner, one of the few places in the city that is landmarked both inside and out, The Wall Street Journal has discovered a good example of a place that has kept its shell but lost its soul.
The esteemed old Southern restaurant, after having died, been revived and then remade into an Italian restaurant, a TGI Fridays and an Arby’s is now a costume jewelry shop with bare bulbs and sparkling cheap things hung on pink panels that cover the spot’s famed cherrywood and mirrors.
Despite concerns the city’s Landmarks Preservation Commission might not grant the Rainbow Room landmarks status, having denied a request to do so only a few years ago, the commission did exactly that this morning, voting unanimously to add the historic eatery to the city’s list of interior landmarks, making it the 115th. Now Tishman Speyer and the as-yet unnamed restaurateur it has selected to reopen the restaurant atop Rockefeller Center can get on with the task—though any changes to the space would not have to pass muster with the commission.