City considers designation of five more houses today
For Immediate Release
Contact: Andrew Berman, Executive Director
October 19, 2004
Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation
(212) 475-9585 x38
EFFORT TO LANDMARK FEDERAL-ERA ROWHOUSES MAKES BIG STRIDES
AS CITY LANDMARKS ONE HOUSE IN THE EAST VILLAGE,
HOLDS HEARING ON ANOTHER IN THE FINANCIAL DISTRICT
Houses Are Among 13 Proposed For Designation By
Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation and New York Landmarks Conservancy;
Follows Designation of 3 From List of 13 in June
Manhattan — The Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation today hailed the unanimous designation of 4 St. Mark’s Place (built in 1832) as an individual landmark by the City’s Landmarks Preservation Commission. GVSHP also testified strongly in support of designation of 67 Greenwich Street (built in 1811) as an individual landmark at a hearing also held today by the Commission just prior to the vote on 4 St. Mark’s Place. Both 4 St. Mark’s Place and 67 Greenwich Street are part of a proposal for landmarking of 13 Federal-era houses GVSHP and the NY Landmarks Conservancy have put forward and campaigned heavily in support of (for proposal, CLICK HERE). Landmark designation will prevent any attempts to demolish or significantly alter these houses. Federal-era houses were built between 1790 and approx. 1830, and represent the first architectural style of the newly unified United States of America.
“Today we hail the Landmarks Preservation Commission for acting to ensure the continued survival of these two wonderful relics of New York City’s past. Both overcame incredible odds to survive at these locations, and these joyful anachronisms give testimony to our City’s resiliency and diversity. We are particularly glad that the City has taken up 67 Greenwich Street, a house that survived the Trade Center attacks and now must fight to survive redevelopment plans for Lower Manhattan. But the survival of structures like these will help bring Lower Manhattan back to life, injecting charm, history, and human scale and detail into our City’s sometimes-harsh streetscape. We are deeply gratified that the City has chosen to act on these houses from the proposal which we and the New York Landmarks Conservancy put forward, and we urge them to continue to move ahead with the other houses in the proposal,” stated Andrew Berman, Executive Director of the Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation.
The proposal also includes a row of three houses just to the north at 94, 94 1/2, and 96 Greenwich Street; one on the Lower East Side at 2 Oliver Street; two in Hudson Square at 486 and 488 Greenwich Street; one in the South Village at 57 Sullivan Street; and one in Greenwich Village at 7 Leroy Street. Three houses near Washington Square Park at 127, 129, and 131 MacDougal Street were designated landmarks in June following a big push for designation by GVSHP and the NY Landmarks Conservancy (CLICK HERE for more information).
4 St. Mark’s Place is a grand late-federal house built originally as part of a row of similar houses on St. Mark’s Place in the early 19th century, when St. Mark’s Place was one of New York’s premier residential addresses. Only one other of these houses, 20 St. Mark’s Place, still remains, and it has been a designated New York City landmark since 1969. 4 St. Mark’s Place is now perhaps best known as the home of the vintage clothing store ‘Trash and Vaudeville.’
67 Greenwich Street is also an unusually grand early federal house four bays wide with an elliptical rear bay. The house is a remarkable survivor, having also originally been part of a row of identical houses on what was then New York’s most elegant residential street; the house is now the sole remnant of this row. 67 Greenwich Street escaped destruction from the building of the nearby Brooklyn-Battery Tunnel entrance, as well as of the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. Should it be landmarked, it will also be guaranteed to survive the post-9/11 redevelopment of Lower Manhattan, a fate of which many older buildings in the area cannot be assured. If acted upon, 67 Greenwich Street will be the first site in the Financial District the City has chosen to landmark since the 9/11 attacks. The house was heard by the Landmarks Preservation Commission for designation in 1965, but the Commission never acted.
The Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation has long worked to protect undesignated Federal houses in Lower Manhattan. In 1995, GVSHP first embarked upon documenting and advocating for the protection of all of the 150 surviving unprotected federal era houses in Lower Manhattan (another 150 such houses were already protected by landmarking) with the assistance of a grant from Preserve New York (a grant program of the Preservation League of NY State and the NY State Council on the Arts); the study was subsequently continued and greatly expanded by former GVSHP staffer Susan DeVries.
In 2003, GVSHP joined with the NY Landmarks Conservancy in calling for the designation of 13 prime examples of the types of unprotected federal houses of Lower Manhattan examined in the study. GVSHP launched a letter writing and e-mail campaign by its members to encourage the Landmarks Preservation Commission to save these and other federal rowhouses.
To urge the Landmarks Preservation Commission to move forward with protecting more of the proposed federal houses, click here.