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Merchant’s House Hearing Postponed Again

Massing of Hotel

The much-delayed hearing regarding the proposed nine-story hotel next door to the Merchant’s House Museum is now set for Sept. 11. This is the fifth time the hearing has been postponed: Previously, it was scheduled for Sept. 4 after the developer of the hotel requested more time from the Landmarks Preservation Commission to prepare a presentation that will likely seek to allay the many concerns of museum supporters. Critics have said the hotel could threaten the foundation of the museum, and that its size would diminish the historic qualities of the 180-year-old building.

Merchant’s House Hearing Set for Sept. 4

Proposed Hotel

A critical hearing regarding the proposed nine-story hotel abutting the Merchant’s House Museum is scheduled for September 4, the museum just announced in an e-mail. Following the hearing, the Landmarks Preservation Commission will either give the green light for the controversial hotel, or send the developer back to the drawing board. Supporters of the museum consider the proposal dangerous because construction could undermine the structure of the 180-year-old building, as well as its aesthetic. Still, there’s no guarantee the hearing will take place on the scheduled date — it’s been postponed four times already. “Hopefully we don’t have a fifth postponement,” said Emily Wright, a museum spokeswoman. “We’re still of course very concerned, the potential for damage is very serious.”

Merchant’s House Hearing Postponed Again

Proposed Hotel

A critical public hearing on a proposed hotel next-door to the Merchant’s House Museum has been postponed for the fourth time. A spokeswoman for the Landmarks Preservation Commission said that the presentation, originally scheduled for tomorrow, had been put off at the request of the developer, who needed more time to prepare. The museum’s administration has fiercely lobbied against the nine-story hotel, saying it would ruin the 180-year-old building’s aesthetic and could potentially undermine its foundation, as well. A new date for the hearing has not yet been scheduled. Update | 3:56 p.m. An earlier version of this post said the public hearing had been delayed for the second time. According to the Merchant’s House Museum, it is the fourth. “We want to believe it is because the Commission is taking this very, very seriously. As well they should,” the museum wrote in an e-mail.

Merchant’s House Hearing Postponed

merchants houseDaniel Maurer The museum’s fence got a new coat of paint today.

Word just came down from the Landmarks Preservation Commission that a critical hearing on a proposed nine-story hotel next-door to the Merchant’s House Museum has been postponed so that the developer can have more time to prepare a presentation. A spokeswoman said the developer has asked to present the project on July 24.

“I feel like we’ve just come off the L.P.C. ledge,” joked Margaret Halsey Gardener, the executive director of the museum. She added that dialogue between the museum and SRA Architects, which is designing the proposed hotel, has improved since last month. The developer recently installed a seismograph in the museum to monitor construction in the lot on East Fourth Street near Bowery.

But the concerns regarding the hotel’s impact on the house’s structure — as well as the experience for museum visitors — remain. In fact, when the developer recently dug test pits to examine the foundation of the lot “the house was shaking pretty violently,” Ms. Gardener said.

Update | 4:30 p.m. Breaking News: The Merchant’s House Museum’s fence just got a new coat of paint, as pictured above.

N.Y.U. 2031, Now Hotel-Free, Clears Another Hurdle

IMG_0086Sarah Darville The City Planning Commission.

New York University reined in its expansion plans further today by eliminating a controversial hotel and accommodations for retail, paving the way for an easy approval from the City Planning Commission.

“The N.Y.U. proposal for the superblocks will provide important new and needed space to one of the city’s most important institutions of higher learning,” said commission chair Amanda Burden, referring to the two blocks south of Washington Square Park that will be the sites of construction.

The green light from the commission did not come as a surprise — Ms. Burden had praised the plan just last week. Only one of the 13 members of the commission voted against the proposal. Read more…

Effort to Protect Merchant’s House Museum Gets Ratched Up

Proposed hotel and existing lotLandmarks Preservation Commission The garage at 27 East Fourth Street, and the proposed building.

Community Board 2 beefed up its efforts to protect the historic Merchant’s House Museum last night, resolving to disapprove of a plan to build a hotel next to the historic building unless the proposed structure is scaled back.

Earlier this week, the board’s Landmarks and Public Aesthetics Committee issued a recommendation that the nine-story hotel be “in scale with the adjacent Merchant’s House, not industrial buildings on Lafayette,” meaning the new hotel should only be four stories tall. But last night, members of the full board objected that the recommendation failed to explicitly demand that the hotel’s construction permit be denied unless its developers agreed to downsize.

Nick Nicholson, the chair of the board of directors of the Merchant’s House Museum, felt that, without such a rejection clause, the recommendation wasn’t forceful enough in voicing concern that the demolition of a one-story garage next to the Merchant’s House and the construction of the hotel might jeopardize the structural integrity and delicate plasterwork of the 19th century landmark. And members of the board agreed. Read more…

C.B. 2 Committee Votes Against Hotel Adjacent Merchant’s House Museum

Massing of HotelCourtesy of L.P.C. A rendering of the proposed hotel.

A Community Board 2 committee threw a wrench in plans for a nine-story hotel next-door to the Merchant’s House Museum last night in response to concerns that the development would endanger the historic landmark.

The plan, which calls for the demolition of an unremarkable one-story garage to be replaced by the hotel, was disapproved by the Landmarks and Public Aesthetics committee in a unanimous vote. As expected, the museum’s staff and supporters  – including Councilwoman Rosie Mendez, who has funded restoration of the museum – voiced their concerns about construction next to the only intact family home from the 19th century in the city.

“We have to treat this as if it were Notre Dame in Paris,” Nick Nicholson, the chairman of the board of directors for the museum, told The Local today. “Whoever develops the property, the first concern has to be the preservation and safety of this building.” Read more…

Big Hotel Bound For Orchard

Bowery Boogie spotted the renderings of a new hotel planned for Orchard Street between Rivington and Stanton Streets — and the blog’s reaction isn’t too favorable. They call the design, which towers over neighboring buildings, “gut-wrenching, vomit-inducing.” Boogie also notes that the long-stalled property is already up for sale for $26 million and is being marketed as having a hotel that will be “delivered complete” in 2013.

East Village Tweets | May 24

remembrance at St. Vincent'sMichelle Rick

Would-be messages from the East Village in 140 characters or less.

Divine Retribution

Clouds, rain, ice, wind or lung-stopping heat pursue
him, in any country, on almost any day. God’s
punishment for spending ten years in L.A.

Global Transport Provider

The taxi driver from Senegal has lived in Dijon, NY,
Barcelona, and Kansas. He speaks three languages. Just
another working stiff, y’all


‘The debris of laptops’ (Colin Firth) on silvery display.
Everyone mit coffee & Mac. We all changed so quickly.
Can we please change back?

East Village Grunge

Writers mythologized it, residents boasted of it, tourists
ate it up. Now landlords happily serve it to us, in a
grimy, $2,000 plastic cup

Read more…