March 21, 2011
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 support designation of 150 Canal Street, the former Citizens Savings Bank, as a New York City Individual Landmark. This Beaux Arts style building maintains a strong visual presence at Bowery and Canal Street and has an aesthetically symbiotic relationship with the Manhattan Bridge nearby.
In New York, Beaux Arts architecture is perhaps stylistically unsurpassed in its outward expression of civic pride, virtue and aspiration. This bank building, constructed in 1924 in the heart of the Lower East Side’s immigrant community, tells an important story about the aspirations and expectations of the communities it served: its monumental form, rich materials and details, and prominent location served as a beacon in a neighborhood dominated by multiple family residences of simpler and less monumental design. The building is a landmark in the true sense of the word: its architecture proudly and emphatically proclaims its presence on the streetscape, and provides a wonderful marker for navigating the surrounding area.
LESPI is an organization dedicated to preserving the architectural, historical and cultural heritage of Manhattan’s East Village / Lower East Side. With historic buildings falling prey to demolition and defacement on an almost daily basis, we believe that the LPC must act now to save the intact historic resources of these locally and nationally important neighborhoods for current and future generations.
We urge the LPC to vote to designate 150 Canal Street as an Individual Landmark as soon as possible. Thank you.
Steering Committee Member
LESPI Steering Committee:
Philip Van Aver