October 28, 2015
Meenakshi Srinivasan, Chair
NYC Landmarks Preservation Commission
1 Centre Street, 9th Floor North
New York, NY 10007
re: Landmark Designation of 2 Oliver Street
Dear Chair Srinivasan:
I am writing to strongly support the designation of 2 Oliver Street in Manhattan's Lower East Side as an Individual Landmark. Our city's Federal era structures are amongst our most prized historic buildings, serving as reminders when, in the late 18th and early 19th century, New York was a young and growing port on the verge of becoming the world renowned city it remains to this day.
Constructed in 1822, No. 2 Oliver Street retains most of the essential characteristics of the Federal style - particularly its simple yet elegant design, Flemish bond brickwork, and incised lintels. Its 3rd story addition is a common and for its time respectful alteration to the original 2-1/2 story design.
The building - occupied by, amongst others, James O’Donnell (born 1774), an Irish immigrant who became an accomplished New York architect; and Dr. Antonio Pisani (ca. 1873-1954), whose work greatly benefited New York’s Italian American community - reflects the importance of immigration to the city from its earliest days to the present. Although the Lower East Side is most commonly associated with the more ornate tenement construction that occurred during the late 19th and early 20th century, the early 19th century Federal houses show the more architecturally restrained beginnings of our common history as New Yorkers.
We respectfully ask that the Landmarks Preservation Commission vote to designate 2 Oliver Street, which was first calendared in 1966, as soon as possible. Without landmark protection this important building will almost certainly fall prey to the neighborhood’s intense development pressures. Thank you.
Richard D. Moses
cc: Hon. Margaret Chin, NY City Council
Community Board 3 Manhattan