from the Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation

April 19, 2006



Lacking Landmark Protections or Sympathetic Owner, Tunnel Garage is Demolished:  Ironically, at the same time that the LPC was contemplating approval for 122 Greenwich Avenue (CLICK HERE for more information), they refused to consider landmark designation for the Tunnel Garage at 520 Broome Street (at Thompson Street) in the South Village/Soho.  This extraordinary early Art Deco building attracted national attention and support, especially after its highly unusual 10 foot high medallion of an early car (believed by some to be a Model-T) emerging from the nearby Holland Tunnel was revealed last month (it had been covered by a sign for more than 25 years).  However, lacking landmark protections, the owner quickly began demolition of the venerable building earlier this month (CLICK HERE for photographs).  The action by the owner and the inaction by the LPC were particularly confounding and frustrating given that GVSHP had gotten the building determined eligible for listing on the State and National Register of Historic Places, which qualified the owner for grants and tax breaks for re-using and restoring the building (CLICK HERE).  The owner has announced plans to build a nine-story luxury apartment building on the site, which will also require approval by the Board of Standards and Appeals, since the zoning for the site prohibits such uses (no hearing has yet been scheduled).


GVSHP has been working with neighbors to try to ensure that the incredible medallion from the building is preserved and given a new home where the public can continue to view and appreciate it.  With the help of Manhattan Borough President Stringer and City Council Speaker Quinn’s offices, the owner agreed to preserve the medallion when it was removed as part of demolition of the building, though the ultimate fate of the medallion remains in doubt.  Museums from across the City, State, and country have expressed an interest in acquiring the medallion, which has been recognized as an extremely rare and significant artifact.  However, we are hoping to help find a home for the medallion as close to the original site as possible.


For more information on the fight to save the Tunnel Garage, CLICK HERE.


To join GVSHP or support our preservation efforts, CLICK HERE.