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Richard Moses Celebrates 5 Years and, Hopefully, 300+ Historic Buildings

richard moses Richard Moses (right) at LESPI’s birthday bash.

At a meeting on Tuesday, the Landmarks Preservation Commission may well create a new East Village/Lower East Side Historic District encompassing over 300 buildings. But the Lower East Side Preservation Initiative isn’t waiting till then to celebrate: the group marked its fifth anniversary last night with bubbly and birthday cake at Smart Clothes Gallery on Stanton Street. Since preservation architects Richard Moses and Britton Baine – inspired by a screening of “Slumming It: Myth and Culture on the Bowery” – started the organization in 2007, they’ve gone on to become instrumental in the creation of a 10th Street Historic District and have led countless tours and discussions about neighborhood history and architecture. The Local chatted with Mr. Moses as he prepared for last night’s birthday bash.


You’ve garnered opposition from religious groups in the community in regards to landmarking. Have others opposed your projects and how do you handle the situation?


There were a few property owners who were opposed. They came out and expressed their opposition, but there wasn’t a huge number of them by any means; I would say a few.

It’s a tricky situation because emotions tend to run high on both sides. Certainly we’re sympathetic to concerns of religious institutions on the idea that they want their congregation to be thriving and we certainly want them to be thriving – we don’t want them to burdened. We feel sometimes that there’s a misunderstanding of some of the requirements of the Landmarks Commission and that there’s a different focus on short-term versus long-term goals. Read more…

Shaoul’s Rooftop Extension Not That Bad?


For all the hubbub, might developer Benjamin Shaoul’s rooftop extension to 315 East 10th Street not be such an eyesore? The Lower East Side Preservation Initiative seems to think so. “Now that work is ending, the final result could have been much worse, and we’re very glad to see the facade including the lovely cornice intact,” the preservationist group writes on its Facebook page. Back in January the block of East 10th Street along Tompkins Square Park was designated a historic district by the Landmarks Preservation Commission, but Mr. Shaoul got the green light for the extra story on his building literally hours before the vote.

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…

In Favor of a Historic District: It Preserves Local Character

East 10th StreetMichael Natale East 10th Street

Today on The Local, we’re hosting a dialogue about the neighborhood’s proposed historic districts. First, below, Britton Baine and Richard Moses, who serve on the steering committee of the Lower East Side Preservation Initiative, speak out in favor of them. Later, architect Ido Nissani argues that one of the districts would burden and disrespect the synagogue he attends. Add your own thoughts via the comments.

This has been an exciting time for the East Village and its historic architecture. In June, the city Landmarks Preservation Commission calendared for public hearing two new historic districts: the proposed East Village-Lower East Side and East 10th Street districts. In July, after three contentious public hearings, Community Board 3 voted with a strong majority to support landmarking these districts.

The question now is, when will the LPC schedule the hearing date for their designation? For preservationists, sooner is much better than later, because until the LPC votes to landmark the districts, the buildings will not be completely safe from defacement or demolition.

Two questions preservationists have been hearing are, why landmark, and how will landmarking benefit the East Village? There are many reasons. Read more…

A First Look at Karl Fischer’s Design for 427 East 12th Street

427 E. 12th St.Karl Fischer An exclusive rendering of the new building bound for 427 East 12th Street

When the news first broke that a new six-story residential building at 427 East 12th Street would be designed by controversial architect Karl Fischer, speculation immediately ensued about its appearance.

Now, The Local has obtained a rendering of the building, which is marked by floor-to-ceiling windows and a penthouse that sits two stories above its neighbors. The developer of the building, Shaky Cohen, said that he and Mr. Fischer had strived to make the building fit into the neighborhood.

“We try to blend in to the neighborhood. We try not to be a focal point,” Mr. Cohen said. “Obviously it’s a modern building — we’re not going to replicate a design from the 1930s.”

He added that the building will feature a pair of one-bedroom apartments on floors two through five, with the ground floor accommodating an apartment with a backyard, and the top floor a penthouse. The building will also include perks like a virtual doorman and a communal roof deck.

But two local preservationists scoffed when they saw Mr. Fischer’s design.

Read more…

Revised Plan Broadens Historic District

Historic buildings of the EVDavid Jarrett Details from a few of the buildings that would gain protection under the revised historic district plan.

The effort to grant historic landmark status to parts of East Village recently received an unexpected boost.

In an apparent response to residents’ concerns, the city has decided to expand a proposed historic district to include an additional block.

The district, which was originally designed to encompass broad swaths of properties along Second Avenue and on 10th Street, now also includes Second Street between First and Second Avenues, as well as new buildings at the corner of Sixth Street and Avenue A.

“The buildings were almost crying out to be included in the district,” said Richard Moses, a member of the Lower East Side Preservation Initiative. “It makes sense to include them, they’re very strong architecturally, and there is a lot of cohesion in the streetscape.”

The decision by the Landmarks Preservation Commission to add the buildings came as State Senator Tom Duane endorsed preservationists’ push for the expanded district.

“Many other buildings not far outside the study areas have architectural, cultural and historic significance and, with neighboring structures, a cumulative ‘sense of place,’ which makes them worthy of consideration,” Mr. Duane wrote in a letter to the commission earlier this month.

If approved, the landmark designation would essentially preserve buildings within the district. Property owners would have to win approval from the commission before making changes to the exterior of their buildings.
Read more…