East Village Preservation Progress: Landmarking and Rezoning
The East Village is one of New York’s most historic neighborhoods – a multi-ethnic melting pot from the mid-19th century, and an epicenter for innovation in the arts, literature, and music from the mid-20th century. Humanly-scaled and rife with interesting detail, the architecture of the East Village has always embodied this dynamic history.
But that character has been threatened in recent years by new development; with outdated zoning and without landmark protections, more and more of the East Village’s history was being lost to make way for characterless new development.
While that struggle remains, progress on two key fronts has altered this dynamic. Next Tuesday, the Landmarks Preservation Commission is expected to approve the East Village/Lower East Side Historic District. Covering 330 buildings and 15 blocks between St. Mark’s Place and East 2nd Street, Avenue A and the Bowery, this will be the first larger-scale historic district in the East Village. This comes on the heels of successful neighborhood advocacy for the East 10th Street Historic District, covering Tompkins Square North, which was designated in January (the East Village’s one other historic district, the St. Mark’s Historic District, was designated in 1969). This will go a long way towards ensuring that the East Village’s history and character are preserved for future generations.
In anticipation of this historic event, GVSHP has also released a report outlining the impact of the 2008 and 2010 rezonings in the East Village – comprehensive rezonings initiated by community groups with the aim of preserving and reinforcing the scale and character of the East Village, and preventing out of scale development. Read the report HERE: Keeping in Character: A Look at the Impacts of Recent Community-Initiated Rezonings in the East Village. The report illustrates how these two rezonings have changed the scale of new developments in the neighborhood, helping to preserve many older buildings, strengthening the East Village’s residential character and discouraging dorm and hotel development, and incentivizing the creation and retention of affordable housing.
As in all of our neighborhoods, we have a lot more work to do to preserve the East Village’s character and the history. But fortunately we have some very good news, and substantial progress, to report in the East Village.
You can read more about the East Village HERE. To support this and other GVSHP preservation efforts, click HERE.