The 172-acre Governors Island first opened as a publicly accessible outdoor space in 2005, but it’s still open just 120 days per year, with the city spending over 10 years trying to figure out what to do with the rest of this teeming-with-potential site. Just last year a new 40-acre park and playground opened, and the area is now ready for its next major revitalization. As Crain’s reports, the Trust for Governors Island will roll out a plan to create a 24/7 community with even more public parks, nonprofit tenants related to the site’s maritime history, restaurants, and five million square feet of new commercial, office, and education space.
Landmarks Preservation Commission
Central Park’s Belvedere Castle will undergo major renovations beginning this summer and early fall, to fix the 146-year-old structure’s cracked pavement, leaking roof and plumbing issues. While the plan to give the castle a face-lift was approved by the Landmarks Preservation Commission last month, the plan to make its path handicap-accessible has not yet been approved. According to the New York Times, preservationists are concerned about the Central Park Conservancy’s proposal to build a ramp-like elevated walkway to the castle’s entrance, saying it would alter the experience of Central Park.
Architecture firm Hollwich Kushner (HWKN) has just released a design research project that applies contemporary construction techniques and designs to famous NYC Art Deco landmarks. Part of their goal is to redesign landmarks so that aren’t just beautiful, but so they have unique personalities and remain relevant over time. Through their research project, called New(er) York, HWKN selected twelve timeless landmarks that represent New York. Some of these include iconic structures like the Empire State Building, the Chrysler Building, One Wall Street, the Woolworth Building and the Flatiron.
See the renderings
Image via Wiki Commons
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.
When most people think about archaeologists, they imagine outdoorsy adventurers—perhaps, modeled on the fictional Indiana Jones—uncovering ancient artifacts in remote locations. They probably don’t imagine archaeologists riding the MTA to excavation sites.
In reality, archaeologists frequently do work in New York City and the surrounding region and play an essential yet often under-recognized role in the city’s building industry. While many new developments go ahead without major archaeological studies, most developments only get the green light to move forward after archaeologists have completed at least a preliminary investigation.
In New York City, where buying and selling real estate is a high-stakes endeavor, the topic of historic and landmark designation is frequently raised. There are heated discussions on the subject of listing neighborhoods or buildings on the State and National Register of Historic Places or having them designated by the city’s Landmarks Preservation Commission. It’s important to know what those organizations do and the distinctions between them. You could even be eligible for significant financial aid for your renovations if you own property in an historic district.
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.
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.
Ghoulish history be damned, the Woodbine Company has just received tentative design approvals from the Landmarks Preservation Commission to build a single-family, faux-classical mansion upon the parcel where Dr. Nicholas Bartha blew up his townhouse ten years ago. The now vacant 20′ x 100′ parcel once held the home of Dr. Bartha who purposely tampered with a gas line to destroy the five-floor mansion to punish his ex-wife for divorcing him and having the court rule that he had to sell the house as part of the settlement. The doctor vowed in an e-mail, “I will leave the house only if I am dead,” and on July 10, 2006, set off an explosion which shook the typically quiet Upper East Side block. Only the doctor was inside during the time of the explosion and he succumbed to his injuries five days afterwards.
Russian billionaire Roman Abramovich started assembling his $78 million trio of Upper East Side townhouses at 11-15 East 75th Street back in January of 2015, but it wasn’t until this past March that he first released his proposal to combine the townhouses into a giant mansion. The Department of Buildings rejected his initial, $6 million proposal, which called for “an 18,255-square-foot mansion with a six-foot front yard, 30-foot backyard, and pool in the cellar,” as 6sqft previously reported. But since the homes are located within the Upper East Side Historic District, it’s the Landmarks Preservation Commission who has the final say.
The LPC also rejected Abramovich‘s first proposal in April, but today they reviewed and approved a revised plan from his architect Steven Wang, along with big-name firm Herzog & de Meuron as design consultant. It calls for a modified restoration of the current facades and the removal of the rear yard building elements to be replaced with a garden and new glass facade that unites the three homes.