Village Preservation continues to uncover information establishing the clear historic significance of 14-16 Fifth Avenue, a pair of former 1848 townhouses in the Greenwich Village Historic District a developer proposes to demolish and replace with a 244 ft. tall tower. This can only happen if the Landmarks Preservation Commission rules that the building is of no historic significance, and the replacement tower is “appropriate” to the site and surroundings. We believe strongly that both are untrue.
Over a year ago, Village Preservation sent documentation to the Landmarks Preservation Commission showing that the building was constructed by one of the great builders of early New York, Henry Brevoort Jr., and that it housed the great writer Bret Harte, as well as a prominent Civil War general, a French Baroness, and an influential magazine editor. But further Village Preservation research, submitted to the Landmarks Preservation Commission, has uncovered an even more astonishing array of historic figures who lived here.
Our research shows that the building was the home of Isaac Merritt Singer, the industrialist, and inventor who revolutionized the sewing machine industry; jurist and philanthropist Charles E. Strong, who led the country’s oldest law firm in the 19th century and helped establish the Bar Association and key New York charities; railroad tycoon George Blanchard; bookbinding pioneer Jesse Fellowes Tapley; and Academy Award-winning actress and singer Celeste Holm, who lived here while performing on Broadway in the original production of Oklahoma!, which launched her career, established the modern musical play, and began the song-writing collaboration of Rodgers and Hammerstein.
Sometime after the new year, plans will be submitted to the Landmarks Preservation Commission (LPC) for the proposed design and hearings will be scheduled at the Community Board and the LPC. We will share the plans, hearing times and locations, and an automated letter you can send to city officials about the proposal. In the meantime, we strongly urge you to share information about this with friends and neighbors and help get them organized to respond in the new year. To help, we have created this flyer you can share or post in your building.