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East 10th Landmarked, But Not Before Controversial Renovation Is Approved

buildingNoah Fecks East 10th Street. The second building from the right was approved for a rooftop addition only hours before the street was designated a landmark district.

The Landmarks Preservation Commission approved a historic district on a block of East 10th Street along Tompkins Square Park today, though a controversial rooftop addition that led to the expedited hearing also got the go-ahead literally hours before the vote.

With the designation, the exteriors of the 26 buildings between Avenues A and B will essentially be preserved as-is. But at the meeting the executive director of the Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation, Andrew Berman, revealed that developer Ben Shaoul’s plans for a rooftop addition to 315 East 10th Street had been approved by the Department of Buildings.

“It reflects poorly on Shaoul and the city agencies that they couldn’t get their act together,” said Mr. Berman. Read more…

On 10th St., Towers that Never Were

St. Mark's in the BoweryIan Duncan St. Mark’s in the Bowery as it looks today, and below, a rendering of one of the towers that might have stood on the site, courtesy of Modern Mechanix.
Design for St. Mark's Church

Frank Lloyd Wright is probably not a name to make the hearts of preservationists quake. But if the architect had had his way, tonight’s debate on a new East Village historic district would have been held in a very different context.

In the late 1920’s, Wright proposed tearing down the row houses on East 10th and Stuyvesant Streets and building over the cemetery at St. Mark’s in the Bowery to make way for four glass skyscrapers. Plans held by the Museum of Modern Art show the church crowded in by the towers: at 19 stories they would have rivaled the Cooper Square Hotel for size.

And just as two East Village clerics have come out as opponents of the preservation area, it was The Reverend William Norman Guthrie, the rector of St. Mark’s, egging Wright on.

The church’s once-affluent congregation had been whittled away as the Lower East Side became a home to immigrants. Guthrie approached Wright in 1927, commissioning him to design an apartment tower on church land, hoping the rent would restore its ailing finances.

“At that time, Wright’s career was in the doldrums,” said Hilary Ballon, an expert on his work and deputy vice chancellor of NYU Abu Dhabi. “Getting to build a skyscraper in New York was a great restart.”
Read more…

Missing Teen Found

Alexander Vorlicky, 14, who had been reported missing from his East 10th Street home, has been found according to reports. The teen is said to be unharmed, but no further information on the circumstances surrounding his disappearance has been made available. — The Local

Fire Alert on East Tenth Street

A reporter on the scene for The Local says that parts of East 10th Street were cleared between Avenues B and C shortly before 4 this afternoon and that firefighters have entered the fourth floor of a building by ladder. We are continuing to track the story.—The Local

This post has been changed to correct an error; an earlier version misstated the extent of the evacuation effort along East 10th Street.

On 10th Street, A Reason to Slow Down

There is no shortage of opinion when it comes to the speed hump installed in November 2009 on East 10th Street between Avenue A and First Avenue.

But now that the hump has been installed for nearly a year, many residents and storeowners are concerned about its effectiveness or confused by its location – or simply annoyed by it.

After several car accidents involving children in front of the 10th Street Boys’ Club, residents and neighbors from the local community board lobbied for the installation of a speed hump on the street.

Roadway layout and driveway locations are major factors that determine where the city places speed reducers, according to a spokeswoman with the Department of Transportation. The department determined the 10th Street hump’s current location as the best place to maximize safety for pedestrians crossing the road.

NYU Journalism’s Alexandra DiPalma, Sarah Tung and Rachel Wise describe the reactions of those who live and work near the speed hump.