South Village landmarking meeting May 12th
This coming Tuesday, May 12 at 6 P.M. there will be a very important public meeting at Our Lady of Pompeii Church (Bleecker and Carmine Streets) affecting the effort to preserve the South Village.
As you know, GVSHP has proposed landmark protections for the South Village, a historic and gravely endangered neighborhood. After several years, the city has agreed to begin consideration of the first third of the area GVSHP has proposed for landmark designation, the area west of 6th Avenue. We are very glad that a first part of South Village is being considered for landmark designation, and we are pushing to have the other two-thirds of the neighborhood also considered for designation as soon as possible.
But we have other serious concerns, and want to ensure that more of the neighborhood is not destroyed while the city is considering landmark protections, and that the city’s actions do justice to the South Village’s unique history.
Firstly, we are very concerned that the city has notified all property owners in the area — including developers and potential opponents of landmark designation — that they are thinking about landmarking their properties, but are taking no action to protect these historic properties from demolition or alteration while they do. In other cases we have seen this lead to landmarking opponents securing demolition and alteration permits now, which then pre-empt or prevent landmark designation. We have urged the city NOT to do this, but they have moved ahead anyway with the notification and with an owner’s/community meeting which will be held jointly on Tuesday, May 12th with local elected officials and the Community Board. That is why we are pushing the city to ‘calendar’ this proposed first part of the South Village for landmarking right away — this will put some protections in place to prevent demolitions and alterations while the area is being considered for landmark status.
Secondly, we are very concerned about the remaining two-thirds of the South Village, which the city is not yet proposing landmark designation for at this time. This area, east of Sixth Avenue, is gravely endangered, and has seen many of its most important historic buildings destroyed in recent months and years. The city has said that they do not have the resources to landmark the entire South Village all at once now, and therefore must consider it in stages. That is why we are pushing the city to also make a commitment now to consider the remaining two-thirds of the proposed South Village Historic District for landmark designation as soon as possible, and to provide a time-frame for doing so.
Finally, we are also concerned that the city has recently shifted from considering this first part of the South Village as the first part of a new South Village Historic District to merely an extension of the existing Greenwich Village Historic District. Why? Because this reduces the commitment to consider landmark designation of the entire neighborhood, divides it into pieces, and ignores the special immigrant heritage, working-class architecture, and social history that distinguishes the South Village. That is why we are pushing the city to stick to their original commitment to consider this area as a “South Village Historic District Part I.”
I hope you will join us in this effort — letting the City know that you support landmark designation of the South Village, but with swift action to truly protect it, a commitment to consider the entire neighborhood, and designation which truly honors and does justice to the neighborhood’s rich and distinctive history.
HOW TO HELP
- Send a letter to the Landmarks Preservation Commission (LPC) — CLICK HERE
- Come to the public meeting on landmarking the first part of the South Village sponsored by the LPC, local elected officials, and the Community Board, and tell them that that you support landmark designation of the South Village, but you want the district calendared right away, you want a commitment to consider designation of the entire South Village, and you think the first part should be considered as a “South Village Historic District Part I” — use the sample letter HERE as your testimony at the meeting. The meeting will be held on Tuesday, May 12 at 6 pm in the basement hall of Our Lady of Pompeii Church, Bleecker and Carmine Streets (enter on Bleecker Street).