Designation for the Orthodox Church in America Cathedral of the Holy Virgin Protection

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.

Sincerely,

Richard Moses
Steering Committee Member

LESPI Steering Committee:
Britton Baine
Carolyn Ratcliffe
Marci Reaven
Katy McNabb
Richard Moses
Philip Van Aver

 

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The Lower East Side Preservation Initiative is dedicated to preserving the historic streetscapes of the Lower East Side, including the East Village, Lower East Side below Houston Street, Bowery, Chinatown and Little Italy