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232 East 11th Street, NY NY 10003
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DATE

Hon. Robert Tierney
Chair, NYC Landmarks Preservation Commission
One Centre Street, 9th floor
New York, NY  10007
e-mail: comments@lpc.nyc.gov
fax: 212/669-7960 or 669-7955

Dear Chair Tierney:

I write to express my very strong concerns about the demolitions and new developments proposed as part of the St. Vincent’s/Rudin plan.  The proposed demolition of nine buildings in a New York City historic district is unprecedented, and many aspects of the proposed new developments are very troubling and inappropriate for the Greenwich Village Historic District.

On its face it is simply incomprehensible that nine largely contiguous buildings would have been included in the Greenwich Village Historic District if none were considered to “contribute” to the special character of the Greenwich Village Historic District; it would set a terrible precedent if all were allowed to be demolished.  While clearly some of the hospital’s 1980’s buildings like the Coleman and Link buildings do not “contribute” to the character of the Greenwich Village Historic District, it is equally clear that many of their buildings do.  For instance, the Smith-Raskob, Nurse’s Residence, Reiss, and Spellman buildings are all fine older buildings designed in a similar palette of limestone and brick which unmistakably relates to the character of the district, and are favorably described in the designation report for the Greenwich Village Historic District.  The applicant’s claim that the Greenwich Village Historic District is only supposed to protect rowhouses on side streets rings hollow and is not borne out by the facts; there are many important pieces of Greenwich Village’s fabric on sidestreets which are not rowhouses, and a terribly dangerous precedent would be set if the LPC decided that any building which was not a rowhouse on a sidestreet was appropriate for demolition. In fact, these St. Vincent’s buildings on West 11th and 12th Streets were very much designed to be a part of Greenwich Village, and they should continue to be. 

By contrast, much of the proposed new development does not fit into or relate to the character of the Greenwich Village Historic District.  The height of the two largest proposed buildings on either side of 7th Avenue is completely out of scale for the neighborhood, and the two buildings do not even relate to one another.  These would be two of the largest buildings ever constructed in the Greenwich Village Historic District, and the two largest ever approved in any New York City historic district.  In addition to its size, the hospital building has a looming, cavernous entrance on 7th Avenue which would repeat the mistakes of St. Vincent’s 1980’s buildings, but at a larger scale. 

In addition to the entirely problematic scale of the proposed 7th Avenue building, the proposed residential development has a completely generic quality which does not in any way relate to the character of Greenwich Village.  These buildings could just as easily be in Battery Park City or in Donald Trump’s Riverside South, and bear no real connection to their context or the character of the surrounding Greenwich Village Historic District. 
I urge you to protect the integrity of the Greenwich Village Historic District and the landmarks law and not approve the proposed wholesale demolition and inappropriate new construction.  Thank you. 

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Sincerely,

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