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We’re happy to report that Historic Districts Council has chosen Crown Heights as one of the six neighborhoods where it will focus its preservation efforts in 2015. As part of its Six to Celebrate program, the Historic Districts Council will help the Crown Heights North Association revive its preservation campaign. Although Crown Heights has two historic districts, some of the neighborhood’s historic buildings are still at risk for development and demolition. Landmarks calendared Crown Heights North Phase III three years ago, but never voted on the expansion.

Another important — and ambitious — Six to Celebrate project is “Landmarks Under Consideration, Citywide.” These are 150 proposed landmarks that are unprotected, 96 of which Landmarks said it would “decalendar” before backing off the plan last year. The Council plans to “document, publicize and conduct community outreach” for all 150 sites to gather support for designation and to help LPC with its backlog. In Brooklyn, the list includes Green-Wood Cemetery, the Lady Moody-Van Sicklen House, and the Forman Building at 183 Broadway.

The Council offers help with research, landmarking, publicity and zoning to community groups in Six to Celebrate, and it hosts walking tours to raise awareness about a chosen neighborhood’s history and architecture.

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The Historic Districts Council just announced its annual list of six areas of New York meriting preservation, as part of its Six to Celebrate campaign this year. Over the year, the HDC will offer hands-on assistance in a number of preservation issues, like documentation, research, zoning, landmarking, publicity, and public outreach. Here in Queens, the HDC selected the Forest Close neighborhood of Forest Hills as an area worth celebrating. Here’s what they have to say about Forest Close:

Designed in 1927 in the spirit of the garden city movement, Forest Close is a charming nook of 38 neo-Tudor houses surrounding a shared communal garden. While the Forest Close Association maintains covenants that regulate design and open space elements of the community and advises residents on design guidelines for building projects, they are now exploring other tools to better protect the area’s special character. The Association is working to engage residents and local stakeholders to promote the preservation of this lush neighborhood in Forest Hills.

The 2014 groups will be formally introduced at the Six to Celebrate Launch Party on Wednesday, January 29th, 6 to 8pm at the LGBT Community Center, 208 West 13th Street. You can get tickets here.

Photo by Michael Perlman

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The Historic Districts Council is hosting a public presentation with Campani and Schwarting Architects on what the HDC is calling “the largest proposal in the history of the Sunnyside Gardens Historic District.” The proposal, of course, is an eight-unit housing development that incorporates the historic 1931 Aluminaire House on the corner of 39th Avenue and 50th Street. The architects will present their plan and respond to questions and Simeon Bankoff, the Executive Director of HDC, will moderate. Many residents aren’t happy with the proposed development, which will be up for a Landmarks Preservation vote on September 24th. The meeting is scheduled for this Thursday, September 12th, from 6:30 to 8:30 pm. It’s at the Sunnyside Garden Apartments Social Hall, 51-01 39th Avenue. Make sure you enter through the semi-circular entrance in the middle of the building and take the right stairway to the basement door on the right.

Sunnyside Park Proposal Is Heading to the LPC [Q’Stoner]

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The Landmarks Preservation Commission may have voted to approve a request to reduce the lot around the Coignet Stone building on the Whole Foods site in Gowanus, but a prominent preservation organization is protesting the decision. The Historic Districts Council had the following to say about the matter in an email blast that went out yesterday: “This proposal is an effort [for Whole Foods] to avoid the normal Landmarks Preservation Commission review process. The owners of the Coignet Building should be required to present plans at a public hearing to show how their proposal relates to the designated property. Otherwise, this will point the way for all who want to build upon a landmarked site and avoid LPC oversight.” The proposal still has to be approved by the City Planning Commission and then the City Council Subcommittee on Landmarks, which should happen within the next couple months. Meanwhile, HDC started a petition asking for “proper protection” for the Coignet Stone building and a public hearing about the request to reduce the lot size.
LPC Approves Reduction of Coignet Stone Lot [Brownstoner]
Preservationists: Don’t Shrink Gowanus Landmark’s Lot [Brownstoner]
LPC Hearing on Reduction of Gowanus Building’s Lot [Brownstoner] GMAP

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On Wednesday the Historic Districts Council is sponsoring a tour of three of Clinton Hill’s most opulent structures. Here are the details: “The Historic Districts Council will lead a tour of Our Lady Queen of All Saints, a soaring century-old parish church. The white stone gothic structure styled after Paris’ Sainte Chapelle features original woodwork and rare four manual organ. Fourteen mosaic windows along the nave portraying 260 biblical subjects were restored in the 1970s. Original glass and iron ornamentation predating the Church remain in tact at the Pratt Library. Tiffany Glass & Decorating Co. designed the interior of Brooklyn’s first free library in 1896. The Pratt Library stores an extensive collection on visual arts and creative writing on its uniquely decorative stacks and glass flooring. The tour concludes in the Caroline Ladd Pratt House, now home to the president of Pratt Institute. One of four mansions built by Charles Pratt for his sons, the Caroline Ladd Pratt House’s luxurious parlor rooms and second-floor stained glass windows that are New York City treasures.” More info here; space is limited to 25 people.
Grand Institutions of Clinton Hill [HDC]