January 8, 2021
Sarah Carroll, Chair
NYC Landmarks Preservation Commission
1 Centre Street, 9th Floor
New York, NY 10007
Dear Chair Carroll:
I am writing on behalf of the Lower East Side Preservation Initiative to express our serious concern regarding the 7 story building 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 accidents common to contemporary construction. Erecting the new building 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 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.
Richard D. Moses