November 16, 2009
Honorable Robert Tierney, Chairman
New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission
1 Centre Street, 9th Floor
New York, NY 10007
Dear Chairman Tierney:
The Lower East Side Preservation Initiative – LESPI – is writing to strongly support designation of
the Orthodox Church in America Cathedral of the Holy Virgin Protection, at 59 East Second
Street in Manhattan, as a New York City Individual Landmark. We applaud the recent
calendaring of this property by LPC for a public hearing.
Designed by architect Josiah C. Cody in a Gothic Revival / Romanesque style, the church visually
dominates the streetscape with its imposing and individualistic design. Located across the street
from the landmarked Marble Cemetery, it serves as a powerful marker of the Lower East Side’s
history: the church is clearly an outstanding East Village landmark.
Additionally, we support landmarking of Congregation Mezritch Synagogue, at 415 East 6th
Street, and 101 Avenue A. These buildings have not yet been calendared.
The Congregation Mezritch Synagogue, constructed in 1910, is an exceptional classical design
that adeptly conveys monumentality appropriate for a house of worship within the tight confines of
a New York City lot. This building speaks to the resourcefulness and pride of the immigrant
groups who have settled and continue to settle in this neighborhood.
101 Avenue A, constructed in 1876, is a fine example of neo-Grec tenement architecture. Its
fascinating cultural history reflects the history of the East Village itself – from its late 19th century
use as a German-American community hall, to its more recent use as the Pyramid Club, which for
30 years has been a venue for introducing now renowned musical talent and drag performers.
LESPI is an organization dedicated to preserving the architectural, historical and cultural heritage
of Manhattan’s East Village / Lower East Side. We believe that these sites are invaluable parts of
our community’s architectural and cultural heritage. With the East Village and Lower East Side’s
historic resources falling prey to demolition and defacement on an almost daily basis, we believe
that the LPC must act now to save the historically intact areas of these locally and nationally
important historic neighborhoods for current and future generations.
We have enclosed our brochure for your reference. We ask that the LPC move to give these
sites full landmark protection as soon as possible.
Steering Committee Member
LESPI Steering Committee:
Philip Van Aver