The twists and turns of clearing out the Landmarks backlog was, in the end, good for Brooklyn. Today the Landmarks Preservation Commission vanquished its backlog and voted to designate the last two Brooklyn buildings of its original list of seven.
St. Barbara’s, at 138 Bleecker on the corner of Central Avenue, was designed by Helmle & Huberty and built in 1907-1910. Features of the elaborate confection include a dome, spires and stained-glass windows. LPC called it a “distinctive ecclesiastical building” and noted it is one of the earliest Spanish Colonial Revival-style churches in the Northeastern United States.
The Forman Building, at 183-195 Broadway, is a former shoe factory and warehouse constructed in 1882. The cast-iron building, rare in Brooklyn, is notable for its unusual Neo-Grec cast-iron ornament showing calla lilies rising from shell-like leaves.
The backlog consisted of 96 sites in the city awaiting designation. Many of the properties had been on the commission’s hearing calendar for more than 20 years. Only seven of 96 are in Brooklyn and six out of those seven were moved forward for designation in the last year. (The Coney Island Pumping Station didn’t make it.)
Initially, the LPC had proposed to dispose of them all in one massive hearing, but a public outcry led to a new plan. With the designation of St. Barbara’s and the Forman Building, six Brooklyn sites are now protected.