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DocuDrama: Preservationists Try to Save Row House From Becoming Another 35 Cooper

316 E. Third StreetStephen Rex Brown The rowhouse at 316 East Third Street.

Last week, preservationists doubled down on their last-minute effort to protect a 177-year-old row house that the owner hopes to demolish and replace with a seven-story, 33-unit apartment building.

A quartet of local preservation groups began pressing the city Landmarks Preservation Commission early this month. In a letter you can read below, the coalition cited the building’s historic qualities, which are reminiscent of 35 Cooper Square, another Federal-style row house that was demolished in May amid much controversy.

“The significance of this and the handful of other surviving pre-Civil War rowhouses to Alphabet City cannot be underestimated,” the preservationists wrote in a letter to the commission on August 2, referring to 316 East Third Street. “Built for merchants associated with the East River’s thriving shipbuilding industry, they recall the neighborhood’s formative years and are all that remain from its heyday as the dry dock neighborhood.”

The letter also noted that the commission had singled out the property as being “eligible for historic designation” in a 2008 study assessing the impact of rezoning in the area. 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.
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Residents Laud Historic District Plan

Landmarks Preservation Commission meeting May 12Grace Maalouf Kate Daly, executive director of New York’s Landmarks Preservation Commission, speaks earlier tonight at an informational meeting about two new proposed historic districts in the East Village.

The Landmarks Preservation Commission presented its plans tonight for creating a historic district in the neighborhood and heard from several community groups who voiced their support for the measure and also suggested extending the districts.

The presentation, which occurred during an informational meeting at the BRC Senior Services Center hosted by Community Board 3, is one of the first in a series of steps that would mean property owners in the designated areas would need commission approval before making changes to their buildings.

Kate Daly, executive director of the commission, said she has been meeting and will continue to meet with individual property owners whose buildings will fall into the designated districts, and stressed that Thursday’s meeting was merely to “get the word out to the larger community.”

She added that the commission is “very eager to move forward” in the designation process, and that the two historic districts proposed are just the beginning for the Lower East Side.
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