Rare Endangered Stable GVSHP Fought to Save Gets Consideration for Landmark Status!
128 East 13th Street is believed to be the last surviving horse and carriage auction mart building in New York City. A once-common building type in New York, these marts are distinguished by their high central halls, where horses were paraded around on rings for potential buyers to review. This particular survivor also has an unusually distinguished history. It was built in 1903 by Jardine, Kent, and Jardine, one of the era’s most distinguished architectural firms. According to contemporary reports in the New York Times, in the mart’s early years “the Belmonts and the Vanderbilts and other families transacted their horse affairs” there. Later, the building was converted to a machine shop, and there according to the New York Times during World War II women were taught “assembly and inspection work, the reading of blueprints, and various mechanical aspects needed in defense industries.” Most recently, the building served as the studio of Frank Stella, one of the 20th century’s most notable and influential artists. Few buildings in New York could be said to have had such a distinguished history, intersecting with so many key phases of our city’s development and transformation.
In July, GVSHP discovered that the building had been sold and the new owner planned to tear it down for a seven-story apartment building. GVSHP immediately brought the danger to the Landmarks Preservation Commission’s (LPC) attention, and requested immediate action to save it. Fortunately, the Commission had already begun examining the building, and was very receptive to the call.
Without a moment to spare, on August 8th the LPC ‘calendared’ the building, meaning it is being formally considered for landmark designation, and certain protections are in place which should help ensure that it remains safe while the Commission considers designation. The LPC has assured us that they intend to consider the building expeditiously, in light of the urgent danger it faces. The owner initially took action seemingly aimed at removing the façade of the building in order to avoid landmark designation. However, that has stopped, and GVSHP urges anyone seeing any work going on to alter, remove pieces of, or demolish the façade of the building to immediately report it to 311 and to call us at (212) 475-9585 x38.
GVSHP also put out the call to our friends to support the effort to preserve this building. Special thanks go to Borough President Scott Stringer, State Senator Tom Duane, City Councilmember Rosie Mendez, Assemblymember Deborah Glick, the Historic Districts Council, the NY Landmarks Conservancy, and scores of others who joined us in urging the City to protect this unique but endangered gem. As soon as a hearing date has been set for the proposed landmarking or a vote has been taken, we will let you know.
How To Help:
Please write to the Landmarks Preservation Commission thanking them for their swift action to consider this building for landmark designation and urging them to designate it as soon as possible. Click here for a sample letter you can use.