Rallying to Save 35 Cooper Square
On Friday, GVSHP joined dozens of other community groups, neighbors, elected officials, and preservationists for a rally organized by the Bowery Alliance of Neighbors (BAN) and the Historic Districts Council (HDC) to save 35 Cooper Square, a threatened ca. 1825 house just south of East 6th Street. See pictures from the rally HERE and press coverage HERE.
35 Cooper Square is one of the oldest surviving structures on the Bowery or in the East Village, and one of a shrinking number of surviving federal-era houses in Lower Manhattan with an exceptional cultural history stretching from the estate of Peter Stuyvesant to the Beat Poets. More than three years ago, GVSHP asked the Landmarks Preservation Commission (LPC) to consider landmark status for the building when it was first threatened. At the time, the LPC declined to act. In late 2010, when the building was again threatened, GVSHP, BAN, HDC, and the Lower East Side Preservation Initiative again wrote to the LPC urging them to act to protect the building; Councilmember Mendez and Assemblymember Glick have also written to the LPC. The LPC has again declined, saying the building is too highly altered. However, the LPC has landmarked other federal houses, and even younger buildings, with similar or greater levels of alteration.
Unfortunately, the potential destruction of 35 Cooper Square comes in a broader context of an overwhelming scale of new development sweeping over the Bowery, which has included numerous 20-story hotels, condos, and dorms, and a broad lack of landmark protections for the East Village. Many community groups and GVSHP have called upon the City to better protect the Bowery from overdevelopment. According to statistics compiled by GVSHP only 2% of the East Village is protected by landmark designations — a grave oversight GVSHP is working to try to change.
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