The Bloomberg administration is going crazy for historic districts, as the city’s Landmarks Preservation Commission is moving toward designating five new or extended ones.
At a hearing Tuesday afternoon, the LPC is slated to begin the designation process on extensions to historic districts in the Upper East Side, Greenwich Village, and Soho, and designate new historic districts in Crown Heights and Perry Avenue in the Bronx. Once the process begins, when districts are “calendared,” they typically are ultimately designated by the commission.
At the same time, the LPC is expected to vote to designate the giant Prospect Heights Historic District in Brooklyn, among a list of other new landmarks.
In all, the new districts will layer new development restrictions on well over 1,000 new buildings in the city, a concept that elicits cheers from preservationists and infuriates landlord groups. The LPC is constantly torn between two extremes: preservation groups complain of a slow system that is reactive and not proactive, and is arbitrary in choosing which areas receive landmark status and which do not. The real estate industry, on the other hand, opposes what it considers the over-landmarking of the city, as every new historic district effectively fossilizes another swath of the city for eternity, blocking new development and adding restrictions on alterations.
Based on the proposed extensions, the Upper East Side Historic District would add 75 new buildings along Lexington Avenue, and the Greenwich Village Historic District would add 235 new buildings west of Sixth Avenue between West 4th Street and West Houston Street.
(The Municipal Art Society has a nifty slideshow of the new proposed districts).