Big Surprise: Landmarks Says Yes to Lady Moody House, No to Coney’s Pumping Station

1939 photo via


    Holy Trinity Cathedral/Ukranian Church in Exile photo by Wally Gobetz via Flickr. All other photos by LPC

    In a stunning turnaround and victory for preservationists in Brooklyn, the Landmarks Preservation Commission Tuesday voted to save six of the seven Brooklyn sites on its “backlog” list of 96 sites citywide. Initially, the commission’s new chair, de Blasio appointee Meenakshi Srinivasan, had planned to dump the whole bunch with no public hearings. Many had been on the commission’s calendar for more than 20 years.

    Most notably, one of Brooklyn’s oldest structures, the Lady Moody House at 27 Gravesend Neck Road, got the green light for designation. The privately owned and occupied English farmhouse dates from Gravesend’s earliest days.

    It was constructed about 1700 on top of a cellar from an earlier 1600s house. Recently for sale — it was taken off the market just a few days ago — preservationists feared for its future.

    None of the sites were actually landmarked Tuesday — that will come later.

    All together, 30 of the 96 sites citywide were deemed worthy of landmarking. Five sites were removed from the list “based on their lack of merit,” said the LPC, and 45 sites were issued “no action letters.” (They could be nominated again.)

    Surprisingly, Brooklyn’s Coney Island Pumping Station was among the latter. During the hearing, the Art Deco structure received a strong show of support, and it seemed a shoo-in for designation because it is owned by the city.

    Read on to find out all the deets on what, where, and why.


    Photo by Kate Leonova for PropertyShark

    Lady Moody-Van Sicklen House
    27 Gravesend Neck Road
    Calendared: 1966
    History: One of the most significant historic structures in Brooklyn, according to City Councilman Mark Treyger, the Lady Moody-Van Sicklen House was built sometime between 1659 and 1700 by English Anabaptists. It contains much original material, including 15th-century cellar walls, heavy oak beams, two fireplaces, narrow stairs, floors, and the initials of Thomas Hicks carved into an original beam in the living room.
    Status: Prioritized for designation

    1939 Photo: Public domain, via

    1939 photo via

    Coney Island Pumping Station
    2301-2327 Neptune Avenue
    Calendared: 1980
    History: The Art Deco (specifically Art Moderne) structure was built in 1937 to provide water to fight fires on  Coney Island. The only municipal building designed by well-known architect Irwin Chanin, it is owned by the city. Numerous supporters argued it should become a community arts and environmental center.
    Status: Letter of no action


    Photo by LPC

    Green-Wood Cemetery
    5th Avenue and 25th Street
    Calendared: 1981
    History: The Père Lachaise of New York City, the extremely significant Green-Wood Cemetery was New York’s most popular tourist attraction in the 19th century. Its owners and many supporters, including noted preservationist Otis Pearsall, argued the working cemetery is impractical to designate as a whole. The LPC instead voted to save three structures within the grounds: The Caretaker’s Residence and Visitor’s Cottage, built circa 1876, and designed by famed architect Richard Upjohn; the 1911 chapel by Warren and Whetmore, pictured above, and Upjohn’s main entry gates.
    Status: Three structures prioritized for designation


    Photo by LPC

    St. Augustine’s R.C. Church and Rectory
    116-130 6th Avenue
    Calendared: 1966
    History: Designed in 1888 by notable Brooklyn architecture firm Parfitt Brothers, the Gothic Revival structure features a rocky surface, corner towers,  double apse, and a trumpeting angel.
    Status: Prioritized for designation


    Photo by Wally Gobetz via Flickr

    Holy Trinity Cathedral/Ukranian Church in Exile
    177-181 South 5th Street
    Calendared: 1966
    History: Designed by Helme-Huberty & Hudswell and built in 1905 for the Williamsburg Trust Company, this Beaux-Arts building was originally a bank. It became a court in 1915 and a Ukranian church in 1961.
    Status: Prioritized for designation

    St. Barbara’s Roman Catholic Church
    299-307 Central Avenue
    Calendared: 1980
    History: This Spanish Baroque-style church was designed by Helmle & Huberty and built in 1910. Features include a dome, spires and stained glass windows. The American Institute of Architects guide to New York called it “edible,” on account of its elaborate “wedding-cake icing” decoration.
    Status: Prioritized for designation


    Photo by LPC

    Forman Building
    183-195 Broadway
    Calendared: 1986
    History: This 1882 cast-iron building in south Williamsburg was a shoe factory and warehouse. It is notable for its unusual Neo-Grec cast-iron ornament showing calla lilies rising from shell-like leaves.
    Status: Prioritized for designation


    Map by LPC

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