Today the Landmarks Preservation Commission will vote to calendar three more historic sites in Brooklyn, all in Bushwick — the LPC calendared three buildings last week. First on today’s agenda is the John and Hannah M. De Coudres House at 1090 Greene Avenue (pictured left). Built before 1867 and altered fairly early in its history, it’s a frame house in the Neo Grec and Queen Anne styles that has remained in excellent condition. The house was built for John De Coudres, a brass founder. It was a Building of the Day in 2010. Second is the Ridgewood Masonic Temple at 1054 Bushwick Avenue (pictured center). Architectural firm Koch & Wagner designed and constructed this Classical Revival build in 1919-20. It was built for the Order of the Freemasons and according to the LPC, “Masonic symbolism is found at various locations on the facade, such as the stone panels at the third story and at the recessed spandrels above the second story.” The building is not currently in use. Finally, the LPC will vote to calendar the Catherine Lipsius House, often referred to as the Cook Mansion, at 670 Bushwick Avenue (pictured right). This was also a Building of the Day pick, and previously misattributed as the William Ulmer residence, which was across Willoughby at 680 Bushwick Avenue. The Romanesque Revival style mansion was built for wealthy brewery owner Catherine Lipsius. It was designed by well-known Brooklyn architect Theobald Engelhardt. Read the full LPC writeup for all three historic sites after the jump…
A tipster sent in these photos of an unusual proposal for a backyard pool in Brooklyn Heights. The description said, “105 Willow Street-Brooklyn Heights Historic District. An Eclectic-Diverse style rowhouse built between 1861-1879. Application is to excavate the rear yard.” More specifically, the homeowner proposed excavating the yard 25 feet down, putting in a pool and whirlpool underground with a barrel vault ceiling and a skylight, and an infinity reflecting pool on the top. The underground pool would not, of course, be visible from the outside, but apparently the LPC didn’t like something about the proposal because it was not approved. Our tipster speculated they didn’t like the sound of excavating “the whole backyard.” Potentially, the homeowner could modify the plans and try again.
The Landmarks Preservation Commission went through a very full agenda Tuesday, voting to calendar three historic Brooklyn sites. The first is the Henry and Susan McDonald House at 128 Clinton Avenue, in Clinton Hill (pictured left). Landmarks says that it’s an “unusually well-preserved and rare free-standing Italianate frame house with Greek Revival style elements” built in 1853-54. It was built for Henry McDonald, a prosperous baker with a business in Manhattan. The second is the Long Island Business College at 143 South 8th Street, in South Williamsburg (pictured right). It’s currently a co-op building, formerly a business college. The Romanesque Revival-style building was constructed in 1890-92 with red brick, brownstone details, and a slate roof. The third is the Peter Huberty House at 1019 Bushwick Avenue (pictured center), a Building of the Day pick. The Colonial Revival mansion was built in 1900. LPC details the facade: “The Huberty House design is cubic in form and is crowned by a hipped roof with dormers. Laid in a Flemish bond, its red brick facades are accented with glazed brick headers, gray brick corner quoins, and stone and terra-cotta window trim. Its main entrance features an impressive Federal-style curved portico with Ionic columns, arched gray brick Gibbs surround, historic double-leaf doors, and stained-glass fanlight.” You can read the full writeup of all three historic structures after the jump. And regarding the vote of a clapboard restoration at 122 Pacific Street, the LPC approved. (more…)
Work has started on the five-story, 28-unit apartment building going up at 196 Macon on a leafy block of brownstones in Bed Stuy. The developers are H Holding Group, which is also building four neo-traditional townhouses at 449-453 Degraw Street in Cobble Hill. This build is scheduled to be completed in June 2014. It’s not clear if the units will be rentals or condos. Although the massing of the building above is obviously contemporary, and the building contains a parking garage, ornamental details nod to surrounding brownstones and include Neo Grec-style window surrounds, windows at street level, quoins and 19th century-style cornices. The property is the back half of a double lot on which sits a landmarked 1863 mansion; the whole thing was until recently owned by the mysterious United Order of Tents, a secret organization for African-American women. The Order of Tents appears to have divided the lot in two for tax purposes in 2011, and last year sold the vacant lot known as 200 Macon Street to Mgsh Properties Inc., which has the same address as the H Holding Group, for $760,000. Presumably, the Order of Tents still owns 87 Macdonough, despite the fact that PropertyShark lists all of the addresses as one property owned by Mgsh Properties.
Wowza, what an improvement! The scaffolding is down at 434 Vanderbilt Avenue, the formerly decrepit Fort Greene townhouse just off Fulton Street. Last summer the architects received the blessing of the Landmarks Preservation Commission and Community Board Two to replace the existing brick, install new windows, and reconstruct the flat-top dormers. Last year this French Second Empire-style home, built in 1866, wasn’t even able to stand on its own. Click through to see what this townhouse looked like before the restoration and in 2007, before the scaffolding was up. Like the result?
Salvation for Decrepit Fort Greene Townhouse [Brownstoner] GMAP (more…)
A short documentary by filmmaker Margarita Jimeno profiles architect Ole Sondresen and his plans for remaking one of the landmarked Pencil Factory buildings in Greenpoint into Kickstarter headquarters. It sounds pretty cool. The idea is to keep the building at 58 Kent Street — or what is left of it — as is and build a glass box on the inside in which the crowdsourced fundraising company’s offices will be housed. Or, as the copy for the film says, “Oleʼs design leaves aspects of the ruin in place.” The glass box will also bring light into the center of the space. The building’s insulation is made out of recycled jeans; Sondresen claims it is edible. “A ruin to me is a manifestation of our species battle with ourselves and our natural environment,” said Sondresen. “Do we celebrate the wonder of life and death like the Capuchin monks or do we bring in the bulldozers and start anew?”
Conversion Plans in a Greenpoint Historic District [Brownstoner]
This morning the Landmarks Preservation Commission voted to expand the Bedford-Stuyvesant/Stuyvesant Heights Historic District. The extended district, which consists of 825 buildings, will be called the Bedford-Stuyvesant/Expanded Stuyvesant Heights Historic District. It triples the size of the existing district in Bed Stuy! According to LPC spokesperson Lisi de Bourbon, the LPC first held a hearing for the expanded district in 1993 but it was tabled due to a lack of consensus among homeowners and elected officials. The second hearing was held in 2011 and everyone spoke in support of it. Here’s what Commission Chairman Robert B. Tierney had to say about the designation: “The historic district extension speaks not only to Bedford-Stuyvesant’s rich architectural diversity but also to its extraordinary social and cultural diversity and deserves to be protected for present and future generations.” What great news for the community, which has been rallying for this and has pinpointed a few other areas of the neighborhood they are working to landmark. Click through to read the full write-up of the new district from the LPC…
Landmarks Votes on Bed Stuy Historic District Tomorrow [Brownstoner] (more…)
Tomorrow afternoon the Landmarks Preservation Commission will hold a designation vote on the Bedford Stuyvesant/Expanded Stuyvesant Heights Historic District. This vote was calendared back in May 2012. For years, the community has shown an outpouring of support to expand landmarking in Bed Stuy, which features architecture by some of Brooklyn’s most famous architects, including Montrose Morris, Magnus Dahlander and Amzi Hill. The Expanded Stuyvesant Heights Historic District is one of several that have been proposed in the neighborhood. You can read a lengthy description of the proposed boundary lines on the LPC agenda. The proposed district includes approximately 825 buildings and is bounded by Tompkins Avenues to the west, Macon and Halsey Streets to the north, Malcolm X Boulevard to the east, and Fulton Street to the south. It encompasses and extends the boundaries of the Stuyvesant Heights Historic District, designated in 1971. Read the LPC’s report on the architecture in the proposed district here.
We last covered the Crow Hill landmarking effort in 2008, and they have not given up the fight. The Crow Hill Community Association will meet Tuesday, April 16, to discuss both its proposal to landmark Crow Hill and the City Planning Department’s Crown Heights rezoning proposal. Volunteers are needed to get the word out in advance of the meeting by posting signs on corners and handing out flyers. Please contact outreach at gmail dot com if you can spare 30 minutes and want to help. The meeting will take place at 7 pm in the St. Teresa Church basement at 563 Sterling Place, near Classon Avenue.
The Sunset Park Landmarks Committee will hold a walking tour of the neighborhood next Saturday, April 13. Urban historian and former Sunset Park resident Joe Svehlak will lead the tour, which will start at the landmarked courthouse on 43rd Street and 4th Avenue. The walk will focus on history, architecture, ethnic diversity, development, and the area’s potential to become a New York City landmark district (it is already listed on the National Registry of Historic Places). The group is seeking New York City landmark status in part to stop historically inappropriate alterations, of which it has several examples pictured on its website. The two-and-a-half hour tour will end in the area’s Chinatown. To reserve a spot, go here.
Photo of 40th Street by Sunset Park Landmarks Committee
To many New Yorkers, Bloomberg is known as the developer-friendly guy who upzoned much of New York City, paving the way for Atlantic Yards, skyscrapers in Williamsburg, Greenpoint and Long Island City, and tons more developments. But to the Wall Street Journal, he’s the Mayor of Preservation: Under his appointee, Chairman of Landmarks Preservation Commission Robert Tierney, the City has landmarked 41 areas, more than any of his predecessors. (And to be fair, as Bloomberg upzoned, he also downzoned, limiting building to preserve the character of some residential areas.) Some of those landmarkings were not based on historic merit but driven strictly by a desire to control development, claimed Michael Slattery, Research Associate of the Real Estate Board of New York. Take, for example, the controversy over extending the Bed Stuy historic districts. “This is a very old-fashioned sort of neighborhood where everybody says hello, where people sit on the stoop,” said Claudette Brady of the Bedford Stuyvesant Society for Historic Preservation. “A lot of it was about new buildings — three-story things that were set back two feet or three feet from the street. Just god-ugly things.” Is the Mayor unfair to developers? Or could it be that the LPC is finally getting around to its backlog of requests going back many years? What do you think?
Mayor of Preservation [WSJ]
Image by Stuyvesant East Preservation League
A public hearing is coming up at the Landmarks Preservation Commission for the Renkin Dairy building at 584 Myrtle Avenue. The former dairy-supply building was calendared in November. The public hearing is scheduled for April 2. The LPC will not make a vote to landmark at that time, they’ll just listed to any public comment. According to the LPC, the Renkin building “is an unusual example of the Moderne style of architecture applied to a small commercial structure in Brooklyn… This office building was designed by the firm of Koch & Wagner in the Moderne style, popular in the early 1930s. This style was a simplified version of the earlier Art Deco style, featuring light colors and straight lines to provide a sense of dynamism related to machines and their speed, seen as emblematic of the 20th century. The building design is expressed through horizontal bands of red brick against a light brick background and projecting or recessed planes on the building’s facades.” Read the full writeup from the LPC here.
Myrtle Avenue Dairy Building Set for Landmarking [Brownstoner]
Photo by the LPC
Tonight the Historic Districts Council will attend a special meeting of the Community Board Three Landmarks Committee concerning recent landmarking initiatives in the neighborhood. The historic districts under discussion are Stuyvesant Heights, the proposed Stuyvesant Heights Expansion, Stuyvesant West, Stuyvesant North, Bedford Historic District and Stuyvesant East. Any homeowners who have any questions at all about landmarking should attend. The meeting is tonight from 6:30 pm to 8:30 pm in the Restoration Plaza basement at 1368 Fulton Street.
A block in Stuyvesant North, via Save Bedford Stuyvesant
Next Wednesday representatives from the Brooklyn Public Library will attend a Community Board Six subcommittee meeting to discuss the plan to sell the Pacific Street Branch of the library and move it into the Two Trees South Site development. As the plan stands, the Brooklyn Public Library will not begin the process of selling the library building until the city approves the land-use review for the BAM South Site. Then the new branch wouldn’t open at that site until 2016. The meeting next week will be an opportunity for the public to ask questions and comment on these future plans. Some Community Board Six members are curious as to how the land-use review process for the BAM South Site will tie into the library move. And it’s worth mentioning that the library sale also depends on approval from the city council, a process that would likely not begin until late this year or early the next. If you’re interested in attending, the meeting is Wednesday, March 20 at 6:30 pm at the 78th Police Precinct.
Community Pushes to Landmark Pacific St. Library Branch [Brownstoner]
Yesterday the Landmarks Preservation Commission approved plans for townhouses on Pearl Street in Dumbo. The LPC sent the plans back to the drawing board in February. Since then, developers Alloy Development reduced the building’s height by a floor. Curbed attended the hearing, where one commissioner said, “I think it’s a little landmark in the making.” According to Curbed, the five townhouses will each have “four bedrooms, three baths, 20-foot parlor floor ceilings, fireplaces, skylit rooms throughout, and roof terraces.” Alloy will begin demolishing the existing garage at the site in a few months. A rendering of the proposed houses can be seen at center right in the photo above.
Dumbo’s First Townhouses Win Landmarks Approval [Brownstoner]
Facade Proposal Revealed for 55-57 Pearl Street Townhouses [Brownstoner]
New Building Proposed for Dumbo Graffiti Garage [Brownstoner]
Dumbo Lot Sells for $4.25 Million [Brownstoner]
Rendering by Alloy via Curbed
Last week the Park Slope Civic Council discussed the move of the Pacific Branch Library along 4th Avenue to the new Two Trees development and the threat the move poses to the building itself. The library branch, one of the 18 Carnegie branches in the city, needs $11 million of repair, according to last week’s article in the Brooklyn Paper. The PSCC tried to get the building landmarked back in 2004 and is now trying again, under the reasoning that the building is in imminent danger of being sold and then demolished. They’ll be resubmitting a request for evaluation to the Landmarks Preservation Commission. They also plan to submit an application for inclusion of the Pacific Branch Library on the National Trust for Historic Preservation’s 2013 list of the 11 Most Endangered Historic Places in the United States. Brooklyn Public Library official Josh Nachowitz told the Brooklyn Paper that the building is worth less than $10 million if sold. The money would go toward the interior build-out of the new branch at the Two Trees site, with leftover funds back into the Brooklyn library system. But this library sale ultimately requires the approval of city Council. That process would not begin until late this year or early the next. Meanwhile, on Friday, Brooklyn Heights group Citizens Defending Libraries protested the closure of another Brooklyn library, the Cadman Plaza branch, as the Brooklyn Heights Blog reported.
Bushwick blog Wyckoff Heights wonders, in light of the surge of development in Bushwick, “how will developers treat historic buildings in Bushwick and Ridgewood?” The answer may be disheartening, considering that many of the neighborhood’s buildings are not landmarked. At 204 Starr Street, a developer removed the cornice and is now constructing a rooftop addition. Above, the before and after pictures at 204 Starr. Over on Suydam Street, 414 is getting a new raised roof, parapet and facade. On Stanhope Street in Queens in the Cypress Avenue West National Historic District, more owners are looking to add extra floors to buildings. The architect working on 400 Stanhope said there are plans for a setback to maintain the historical look of the building. Meanwhile, we would like to note, historian Adam Schwartz and others have been working to landmark portions of Bushwick Avenue for a few years now.
How Will Developers Treat Buildings in Bushwick and Ridgewood? [Wyckoff Heights]
Photos by Wyckoff Heights
After the Park Slope Historic District expanded last spring, neighborhood preservationists got back to work on Phase Two. For the past two years, they have focused on landmarking the northern area of Park Slope, specifically north of Union Street and above 5th Avenue. Very soon, March 6 to be exact, the Landmarks Preservation Commission will hold an invitation-only meeting for homeowners within the LPC’s proposed expansion area. The LPC will provide the proposed landmark boundaries map and answer any questions. The Park Slope Civic Council, which has spearheaded the expansion of landmarking in the Slope, expects the LPC will follow with a public hearing later this year. And if all goes well, the LPC should release a designation report and hold a vote in 2014. The Phase Two area will be about half the size of the most recent South Slope expansion, and include somewhere between 250 to 300 buildings. The blue outline, above, shows the council’s proposed Phase Two expansion. The area inside the red outline is the existing district.
Photo via the Park Slope Civic Council
The Landmarks Preservation Commission posted a slideshow with 25 New York City landmark sites directly tied to African-American culture and history, in honor of Black History Month. In Brooklyn, they include the Weeksville Heritage Center, the First Free Congregational Church at 311 Bridge Street, the Stuyvesant Heights Historic District and the Crown Heights North Historic District. The Bridge Street church, pictured above, was purchased by Brooklyn’s oldest African American congregation in 1854. Its basement served as a safe haven for many escaped slaves. The congregation stayed until 1948, when it moved to Bed Stuy. The slideshow also provides an informative bit of history on both the Crown Heights and Bed Stuy historic districts, both African American neighborhoods that have recieved landmark designation (and are due to receive more) in recent years.
LPC Recognizes Black History Month 2013 [LPC.gov]
Photo by the Museum of the City of New York
Renderings of these new buildings proposed for 269 Washington Avenue and 242 Hall Street surfaced after a Community Board Two meeting notice led us to the website of S3 Architecture. The top rendering is 269 Washington Avenue; below is 242 Hall Street. Each building, at four stories, will go in on a through-lot between Willoughby and Dekalb avenues. The buildings will be connected by a courtyard. Way back in spring the owners filed a building application for ten units, and we heard that it would be a luxury rental primarily made up of large, four-bedroom apartments. The website states there will be ten apartments in each building. Here are more details from the website:
The buildings were fashioned after traditional townhouses in scale and material, with modern interpretations of entry doors, windows with hoods and sills, and a mansard roof carving out rooftop terraces. The ground floor and 4th floors are duplex apartments with lower level recreation spaces or penthouse levels. On other levels are floor-through apartments, fostering communal living with numerous bedrooms per apartment, suited for off-campus co-ed living. Currently filed for approval at the NYC Department of Buildings and Landmarks Preservation Commission. Under construction in 2013.
Looks like they’re really trying to market to the Pratt community. Before any construction takes place, the architects need to get through the Landmarks Preservation Commission. Their date with the CB2 Land Use Committee is Wednesday, February 20th at 5 Metrotech Center, Room LC400.
New 10-Unit Building For Washington Ave. in Clinton Hill [Brownstoner] GMAP