In a vote today, the Landmarks Preservation Commission designated the Boerum Hill Historic District Extension. The 288-building district is split into three distinct sections, all adjacent to the existing 250-building Boerum Hill Historic District that was designated in 1973. According to an LPC press release, the extension “represents the diverse cultural and economic history of Boerum Hill, as well as its largely intact 19th-century architecture.” It’s mostly residential blocks, made up of late 19th-century brownstone and brick townhouses, along with a block-and-a-half commercial stretch of Atlantic Avenue.
Landmarks Preservation Commission
Grand Central Terminal Lobby via Wikipedia
On June 26th, 1978, the U.S. Supreme Court handed down a momentous decision that wouldn’t just save a cherished New York landmark, it would establish the NYC Landmarks Law for years to come. This drawn-out court battle was the result of a plan, introduced in the late 1960s, to demolish a significant portion of Grand Central Terminal and erect a 50-story office tower.
Though the proposal may seem unthinkable now, it wasn’t at the time. Pennsylvania Station had been demolished a few years earlier, with the owners citing rising costs to upkeep the building as train ridership sharply declined. The NYC Landmarks Law was only established in 1965, the idea of preservation still novel in a city practicing wide-scale urban renewal. Finally, Grand Central wasn’t in good shape itself, falling apart, covered in grime, and home to one of the highest homeless populations in New York City. But a dedicated group of preservationists–aided by Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis–took the fight to the highest levels of the court. Keep reading to find out how, as well as learn about the celebrations planned by the MTA surrounding the anniversary.
During a nearly two-hour public hearing on Tuesday, passionate preservationists, architects, and community groups testified in front of the Landmarks Preservation Commission in support of designating the postmodern skyscraper at 550 Madison Avenue as an individual landmark. Best known as the AT&T Building, the 37-story tower was designed by Philip Johnson, along with his partner John Burgee, and completed in 1984.
As postmodernism’s first skyscraper, 550 Madison has stood out for its pink-gray granite facade, arched entryway and Chippendale-inspired crown. A wide range of people on Tuesday voiced support for giving 550 Madison landmark designation, including architectural critic Paul Goldberger. In his testimony, Goldberger cited his own 1978 New York Times review of the building, before it was built, when he called the AT&T Building “a major monument” of postmodernism and “the most provocative and daring skyscraper to be proposed for New York since the Chrysler Building.”
Vault lights in Soho, via WooJin Chung for 6sqft
“Viva Vault Lights!” wrote the Historic Districts Council in response to the Landmarks Preservation Commission’s decision to backpedal on its rules amendments, which called for “more oversight by LPC staff but less time for public review” in proposals for alterations to historic buildings. HDC’s celebratory sentiment is in response to one of the now-moot stipulations that Soho and Tribeca’s vault lights–historic, industrial-era sidewalks made from small circular glass bulbs–could be removed by building owners and replaced with modern sidewalks.
The planned expansion of the Frick Collection is delayed again after the Landmarks Preservation Commission decided Tuesday to not vote on the project, following hours of public testimony. Dozens of neighborhood advocates, preservationists and museum goers attended the hearing to discuss the Beyer Blinder Belle and Selldorf Architects-designed expansion, which would include 60,000 square feet of repurposed space and 27,000 square feet of new construction.
The plan would expand the existing Upper East Side building’s second level, add two set-back stories above the music room and an addition behind the Frick Art Reference Library. According to Curbed NY, critics of the expansion said the additions would be too large and block the design of the existing library. Despite a presentation from head architect Annabelle Selldorf, no decision was made about whether to grant the $160 million project its certificate of appropriateness.
Photo via LPC
The Landmarks Preservation Commission (LPC) on Tuesday designated three blocks in Central Harlem as a historic district in recognition of the significant role African Americans played in social change in New York City and beyond during the 20th century. The Central Harlem District measures West 130-132nd Streets, the mid-blocks between Lenox and Seventh Avenues.
LPC notes how Harlem residents used residential buildings to accommodate cultural, religious and political activities, starting with the Harlem Renaissance through the civil rights movement of the 1960s. “This collection of buildings is exactly why we designate historic districts: it’s an architecturally distinctive and historically significant set of structures that together tell an essential piece of Central Harlem’s story,” Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer said. The commission also launched an interactive story map as a way to illustrate the unique influence of this district through photos, maps and video.
The New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission (LPC) on Wednesday launched a new interactive web map that displays applications and permits for work on individual, interior and scenic landmarks, as well as buildings in historic districts. Permit Application Finder users can search by community district and work type, allowing the public to see geographically where LPC has issued permits for the first time.
“LPC reviews and approves thousands of permit applications for work on designated properties each year, and with this map, information on all of these projects is just a click away,” LPC Chair Meenakshi Srinivasan said in a statement. “It is an excellent example of how we are leveraging technology to make our regulatory process more efficient and transparent.”
Revised rendering via DXA Studio
Last November, the owner of newly-landmarked buildings at 827-831 Broadway, noted for their cast-iron architecture and as the home of artist Willem de Kooning, submitted a proposal for a four-story prismatic glass addition and landscaped roof terrace that architects DXA Studio say was influenced by de Kooning’s work. After sending the plan back to the drawing board twice, the Landmarks Preservation Commission on Monday finally approved the revised design, which reduces the height of the addition to three stories and places it more setback from the street. LPC recommends that DXA use a darker cladding material over 47 East 12th Street to give it a totally matte finish.
Photo via Shinya Suzuki’s Flickr
Ninety-five years to the day since it first opened, the Coney Island boardwalk has been officially designated by the Landmarks Preservation Commission as NYC’s 11th scenic landmark. The historic designation includes 2.7 miles of public beachfront, stretching from Coney Island’s West 37th Street to Brighton 15th Street in Brighton Beach. Since 2014, Council Member Mark Treyger has pushed for the boardwalk to be landmarked, but the commission repeatedly rejected the proposal.
“The Coney Island Boardwalk is as much a part of the culture as it is a part of the history of New York City,” LPC Chair Meenakshi Srinivasan said in a press release Tuesday. “It is a beloved public space that embodies Coney Island’s democratic spirit and reflects our City’s values of tolerance, inclusivity and equity.”
Photo via CityRealty
Earlier this year, the Landmarks Preservation Commission (LPC) unveiled a series of new proposed rules, which the group said would streamline the application process and improve transparency. But the regulation overhaul, as 6sqft recently reported, has caused concern among preservationist groups, who fear that more oversight by LPC staff but less time for public review won’t allow enough input for public opinion and limit the opportunity for testimony and comment on applications. Following a backlash from the rule change, it was announced today that LPC commissioner Meenakshi Srinivasan will step down from her post.