East 10th Street Historic District is now Landmarked!
In a great victory for the campaign to preserve the historic East Village / Lower East Side, at Tuesday’s Public Hearing the NYC Landmarks Preservation Commission voted unanimously to approve landmark designation for the East 10th Street Historic District.
LESPI, along with representatives of Councilmember Rosie Mendez (a pivotal supporter of the district), Borough President Scott Stringer, State Senator Dan Squadron, State Assemblymember Brian Cavanaugh, and Community Board 3, as well as local residents, and other community and preservation groups, testified passionately for landmark protection for this special blockfront of buildings at the north end of Tompkins Square Park.
LESPI’s testimony, presented by Richard Moses, extolled the importance of this streetscape in the context of the East Village / Lower East Side’s history, architecture and urban environment, noting that it “is one of, if not the, most significant blockfront in the East Village” – see LESPI’s full TESTIMONY here. LESPI Board Members Marie Beirne and Philip Van Aver also testified in support of the district, emphasizing the importance of protecting this and other East Village historic resources.
Loud and sustained cheering followed the Commission’s vote. Unfortunately, the vote does not appear to have come soon enough to prevent city approval of a recently-proposed rooftop addition for 315 East 10th Street, which sits right in the middle of the new district. LESPI is now working with other preservation groups such as Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation, Historic Districts Council and East Village Community Coalition to see what if any courses of action can be pursued. In the meantime, the developer has reportedly expressed his intent to the Commission and on a separate occasion to LESPI to build an addition that does not impact the building’s historic appearance, so we will be pursuing this channel as well.
LESPI supports responsible development and change that respect our community’s unique architectural and cultural heritage. Now that the district is landmarked, changes to its buildings must be respectful. When building owners plan exterior construction work beyond routine maintenance, they must first apply to the Commission, which must find the work to be appropriate to the building’s history and architecture before issuing a permit. This includes future work at No. 315.
At the least, this episode at No. 315 should be considered a wake-up call for the Landmarks Preservation Commission to move forward with landmark designation for the Proposed East Village / Lower East Side Historic District, a much larger district whose historic buildings are still very vulnerable to demolition, defacement, or inappropriate additions. And it should serve as a wake-up call for the Commission to move forward to protect all of the East Village / Lower East Side’s intact historic streetscapes before they are lost forever.
Let’s make sure the Commission moves as quickly as possible to protect the East Village / Lower East Side’s heritage – write to the Commission asking them to accelerate landmarking the Proposed East Village / Lower East Side Historic District as well as other intact
We’re looking for people to help with outreach, people with specialized skills and experience, monetary donations (which are tax deductible as allowed by law), and any other assistance that can help further our mission. We’d very much appreciate your help in our campaign to preserve the East Village / Lower East Side and hope to hear from you in the near future.
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LESPI is a grass roots, all-volunteer not-for-profit corporation initially formed in 2007 to urge the LPC to designate as historic districts intact portions of the East Village / Lower East Side. Our strategy includes documenting and mapping the historic streetscapes, starting with the East Village, and rallying community residents, city officials and the LPC to effect landmark designation.