East New York’s Historic and Beautifully Tiled Empire State Dairy Building May Be Saved

Empire State Dairy at 2840 Atlantic Avenue. Photo by Edrei Rodriguez

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Great news for preservationists: The Landmarks Preservation Commission is holding a hearing on the potential designation of East New York’s threatened Empire State Dairy Company Building and Complex tomorrow, Tuesday March 8.

The public hearing will consider the long-closed Renaissance/Romanesque Revival industrial complex at 2840 Atlantic Avenue, which still boasts two original tile murals, for a potential calendar date where it will be reviewed for designation.

Completed in 1915, the buildings were designed by architects Theobald Engelhardt and Otto Strack. Part of the complex is “Abstracted Classicist with Secession detail,” according to the LPC — an unusual style for Brooklyn.

The complex, which processed milk and made ice cream until its midcentury closure, could be “demolished or substantially altered” as a result of the proposed East New York rezoning, according to the New York City Department of City Planning’s final environmental impact statement on the proposal.

Plan via

Plan via Michael Padwee

The potential demise of Empire State Dairy has deeply upset many local fans of the structure, including tile expert Michael Padwee and Zulmilena Then, the founder of landmark-advocacy group Preserving East New York, which included the factory on its list of proposed landmarks.

The scheduling of the hearing indicates the LPC may want to preserve the complex. If the buildings achieve landmark status before any rezoning commences, the Empire State Dairy will no longer be at risk from demolition.

Also being considered at tomorrow’s hearing is the East New York Savings Bank at 1117 Eastern Parkway in Crown Heights. Completed in 1929, this Art Deco structure is not to be confused with the former East New York Savings Bank at 91 Pennsylvania Avenue, a Renaissance Revival work from 1890 that was demolished amid controversy.

Tomorrow’s public hearing will take place in Manhattan on the ninth floor of 1 Centre Street, with Empire State Dairy’s calendaring being the first entry on the itinerary. The factory will be discussed from approximately 9:30 to 9:45 a.m., according to the notice.

Related Stories
Tile Expert Shares Little-Known Story of Historic East New York Dairy Murals
Two of East New York’s Historic Structures Threatened by Rezoning, City Report Reveals
Young East New York Native Fights to Preserve Neighborhood’s Historic Gems

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