LESPI's Letter re Merchant House Museum

May 9, 2018

Marisa Lago, Chair
Dept. of City Planning
120 Broadway, 31st Floor
New York, NY 10271

Dear Chair Lago:

I am writing on behalf of the Lower East Side Preservation Initiative to express our serious concern regarding the 8 story hotel being proposed for 27 East 4th Street, adjacent to the Merchant’s House Museum at 29 East 4th Street.

The Merchant’s House Museum is not only one of the most important historic buildings in Manhattan’s Lower East Side, but has great significance for both our city and country. This is a beautifully preserved architectural gem that, with its intact original exterior and interior architecture and decorative arts, gives us a rare and remarkable insight into a slice of 19th century New York life.

However the building, including its exterior masonry and beautifully ornate interior plasterwork, is extremely fragile, and highly vulnerable to the type of vibrations, impacts, movement of heavy equipment, and mishaps common to contemporary construction. Erecting the new hotel will require intensive excavation which can undermine foundations, concrete pours which can overflow and break formwork and adjoining construction, and other heavy structural work which can suffer a variety of mishaps, easily damaging or destroying the Merchant’s House Museum’s historic structure, ornamentation and finishes.

The Merchant’s House Museum is both a New York City Individual and Interior Landmark, owned by the NYC Parks Dept. It has educated adults and children on NYC history for almost a century. The city should take all steps to ensure that this irreplaceable historic resource is not damaged or destroyed by the construction, including using all available regulatory tools and restrictions.

Thank you,

Richard D. Moses
President

cc: Hon. Bill De Blasio, City Hall

 

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