June 5, 2020
Mayor Bill de Blasio
New York, NY 10007
Re: Restoration of 70 Mulberry Street, New York, NY
Dear Mayor de Blasio:
On behalf of Lower East Side Preservation Initiative, I am writing to respectfully request that your office demand a halt to the ongoing demolition of 70 Mulberry Street, the former PS 23, and call for the building’s restoration, rehabilitation and retention of its existing use as a community center.
Constructed in 1891, 70 Mulberry is one of Chinatown’s most historic buildings, and is listed as a contributing building to the Chinatown National Register Historic District.
The building warrants restoration, at least of the exterior envelope, due to its important architecture, including its unique corner tower design and ornamented stone base; important history as renowned school architect CBJ Snyder’s first public school design; prominent location within Chinatown’s historic core, across from Columbus Park; and cultural importance as a longstanding community center.
We understand that the City has retained an engineer to review Dept. of Citywide Administrative Service’s assessment of the building’s structural condition. For this inspection to be considered completely reliable, the engineer should be very experienced working on buildings of this age and type; and independent of the City / DCAS (i.e. not holding a requirement contract with DCAS). Their findings should be made public.
The new coronavirus has already threatened and harmed Chinatown’s unique cultural heritage. The destruction of one of the neighborhood’s most historic buildings would only add to this devastation. Thank you.
Cc: Lisette Camilo, Dept. of Citywide Administrative Services