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On Tuesday the Landmarks Preservation Commission voted unanimously to designate the 125-year-old Cathedral Church of St. John The Divine, the world’s largest cathedral; in addition, 115 neighboring buildings became the Morningside Heights Historic District. The designated district runs from West 109th to 119th streets between Riverside Drive and Amsterdam Avenue and includes the famously unfinished cathedral and surrounding campus. With the designation, calendared by the LPC in September, comes a 3-D online map that provides more information about the buildings in the district, most of which were constructed between 1900 and 1910, including townhouses dating back to the late 1800s as well as pre-war apartment buildings.
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It’s champagne and caviar tonight for billionaire hedge funder Steven A. Cohen, who received the official go-ahead to build a massive, six-story, single-family mansion at 145 Perry Street today. The Landmarks Preservation Commission (LPC) voted almost unanimously in favor of the plan despite outcry from local residents and, most notably, Andrew Berman of the Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation (GVSHP) who had denounced the design in a statement as “starkly modern,” “fortress-like and massive,” and more like a bank or a luxury retail store you’d find in Miami or Los Angeles, not the “simple but charming” Village.
In 1984, a series of grime-covered windows at 714 Fifth Avenue caught the attention of an architectural historian by the name of Andrew Dolkart. Seemingly innocuous, and almost industrial in aesthetic—at least from afar—the glass panes would later become the foundation for a preservation victory.
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The Landmarks Preservation Commission’s plans to add 10 additional blocks to the South Village Historic District are at the top of the agenda for city preservationist groups. As Crains reports, the addition of the historic district is also a condition for a City Council vote in support of the St. John’s Center development, a 1.7 million-square-foot, mixed-use project proposed for 550 Washington Street across the street from Pier 40 in Hudson River Park. That project requires the council’s approval, and City Councilman Corey Johnson said in August that he’d vote for the project, proposed by developers Westbrook Partners and Atlas Capital Group, if the addition of the third and final phase of the historic district, currently bordered by Sixth Avenue, West Fourth Street, LaGuardia Place and Houston Street, goes forward. The Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation (GVSHP), among others, has pushed for the landmarking of what would be the city’s first tenement-based historic district.
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After revising its expansion plan last month to preserve more public parkland, the American Museum of Natural History had its day in front of the Landmarks Preservation Commission yesterday, and as DNAinfo reports, the agency lauded the plan for a new Richard Gilder Center for Science, Education and Innovation, with chairwoman Meenakshi Srinivasan referring to it as a “stunning piece of architecture” and an “absolutely wonderful addition.” In making their determination, the Commission was presented with a slew of new renderings, which show the $325 million, Jeanne Gang-designed project from various angles, as well as new views of the surrounding parkland.
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New York City has catalogued and created a digitized archive of the many buried artifacts from its past; Wednesday the Landmarks Preservation Commission is officially opening a repository of those countless artifacts. The New York Times reports that the Nan A. Rothschild Research Center–the first municipal archive devoted to a city’s archaeological collection, has found a home in Midtown Manhattan. More than a million artifacts will now be available for viewing by researchers and scholars by appointment; a digital archive is already available. The climate-controlled repository at 114 West 47th Street contains artifacts from 31 excavated sites from all five boroughs, including the city’s first major historical dig, the Stadt Huys (now 85 Broad Street in Lower Manhattan), which, when the artifacts were discovered in 1979, raised the idea that archaeological treasures were buried beneath old buildings.
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After first revealing its controversial $325 million expansion almost a year ago, the American Museum of Natural History has now filed plans with the Landmarks Preservation Commission to move ahead with the Jeanne Gang-designed project. Though, as the Wall Street Journal reports, there’s been some changes, mainly those responding to the community’s concerns over how much of the new Richard Gilder Center for Science, Education and Innovation will encroach on Theodore Roosevelt Park, a city-owned space near the back of the museum at 79th Street.
The new curving Center will occupy one-quarter of an acre of the park, and two historic trees–a 125-year-old English elm and a 75-year-old pin oak tree– will be preserved. Therefore, the public space leading into the museum will have better circulation and more gathering spaces.
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Less than a month ago, the Landmarks Preservation Commission asked contextually proficient architect Morris Adjmi to modify his design for a 10-story, terra cotta office and community facility building in Noho. The site, at 363 Lafayette Street within the Noho Historic District, is controversial for the fact that it’s adjacent to the live/work studio of artist Chuck Close, who filed a lawsuit in 2008 against the previous owner to prevent construction of a different office building that would’ve blocked his loft’s natural light.
Yesterday, Adjmi presented a revised version of the project, which the LPC this time approved, reports New York Yimby. The new design eliminates the five two-story setbacks and opts for slightly angular, less dramatic, floor-by-floor setbacks.
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It’s back to the drawing board for BKSK Architects, reports CityRealty.com. At yesterday’s LPC meeting, architects Harry Kendall and Todd Poisson presented BKSK’s proposal for a new seven-unit residential building at 466-468 Columbus in the Central Park West Historic District being developed by the Roe Corporation. The project would require the demo of an innocuous three-story brick building dating back to 1894 (the existing building facade was updated in 2006), replacing it with an even taller masonry building with a facade punctuated by terra cotta louvers and topped with a modern cornice. The building would also host two retail units on its ground floor and an eighth-floor setback that would give the penthouse a private terrace. While the LPC had no issue with knocking down the existing building, they were less keen on some of the other items.
In February, 6qft reported that Ironstate Development was forging ahead with plans to build a nine-floor, 46,000-square-foot office and community facility building at 363 Lafayette Street in Noho. The long-vacant parcel sits adjacent to the live/work studio of artist Chuck Close at 20 Bond Street. In 2008, he filed a lawsuit against the previous owner to prevent the construction of an office building that would’ve blocked his loft building’s natural light, which he argued the artists depend on.
Squarely sited in the recently extended Noho Historic District, the Morris Adjmi-led design came before the Landmark’s yesterday aiming to compel the commission on the aesthetic soundness of their proposal. Ultimately the LPC decided to table the design and asked Adjmi to return with modifications.
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