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150 Wooster Street A group of Soho artists have filed a lawsuit against the city Landmarks Preservation Commission demanding that the agency reverse an October decision allowing a developer to raze a MacLaren baby stroller store to build condominiums, DNAinfo reported. LPC approved the demolition on the grounds that the property, at 150 Wooster Street, “does not contribute to the historic district and its demolition will not detract from the special historic and architectural character of the historic district.” As The Real Deal reported last year, the stroller store will give way to seven high-end residences and 6,300 square feet of retail. The developer behind the project is MTM Associates, an affiliate of MacLaren that has owned the property for decades. The artists claim that new construction would change the block’s character, bring more foot traffic and block sunlight. “And if they build a store that large,” the plaintiffs allege in the suit, “it will be a mall-type store. We’re trying to keep more mall-type stores out of Soho.” A Wooster Street artist named Joyce Kozloff told DNAinfo that the LPC has recently favored large developers over concerns of the community. However, the city law department that represents the LPC disputed this claim. “As the proceedings before the Landmarks Commission reflect, and as will be demonstrated to the court, the Commission’s actions with respect to this building have not only been consistent, but also appropriate to the special features of the Soho-Cast Iron Historic District,” senior counsel Pamela Koplik told DNAinfo in a statement. [DNAinfo]–Zachary Kussin
  The original architects of the Pan Am Worldport might have hoped that the building would fit in perfectly with the landscape of the new millennium. The terminal at New York’s JFK Airport was built in 1960 by Ives, Turano & Gardner Associated Architects in the shape of a futuristic flying saucer. It made its mark on American cultural history by sending off the Beatles after their first U.S. tour and . Pan Am shuttered its ticket windows in 1991, but the Worldport still serves as a reminder that air travel was once seen as an exotic luxury, rather than a nuisance-riddled necessity. Although the Worldport is iconic, its current tenant, Delta Airlines, is planning to dismantle the structure, now known as Terminal 3, in 2015 to make way for a $1.2 billion expansion of neighboring Terminal 4. The original Worldport space will eventually be used as a parking lot for aircraft. Recently, an online campaign to preserve the terminal has been gaining traction, spearheaded by aviation enthusiast Kalev Savi and partner Anthony Stramaglia. Save The Pan Am Worldport aims to keep this iconic piece of aviation architecture from being demolished, and to see it refurbished and repurposed for new generations of jet-setters. "You just don’t see buildings like that anymore constructed at airports," says Stramaglia. "Now a terminal is more like a warehouse than a showpiece. This building is more of an art form." Savi and Stramaglia started an online petition a little over a year ago that has garnered 1,818 signatures so far. Their current project is to get the Worldport approved for New York Landmark Status, with the eventual hope that it will be recognized with a spot on the National Register of Historic Places. Other terminals and structures at JFK have been recognized for their historic significance over the years, including the TWA Flight Center, a swooping dome that was completed in 1962 and designed by renowned Finnish American architect Eero Saarinen and added to the National Register of Historic Places in 2005. (It was also added to the 11 Most Endangered Historic Places list in 2003.) "In some people’s mind, that was the building worth saving," Savi says. "This criticism that there’s no famous architect associated with [the Worldport] I find to be a moot point." The New York Port Authority and Delta Airlines have said that the Worldport is beyond repair, and upkeep and maintenance have become impractical and costly. "It’s not an asset you can recover at this point," Delta CEO Richard Anderson was quoted as saying in The Architect’s Newspaper in 2010. Other complaints about the space include its small, cramped feel with the addition of baggage screening and TSA security checkpoints, which the architects didn’t have to consider in their original plans. It underwent a renovation in 1971 to accommodate the Boeing 747, but the interior space is still lagging behind modern airport standards. So far, the New York Port Authority and Delta haven’t responded to the campaign. Savi and Stramaglia think that the structure could be preserved with some outside-the-box thinking, and they argue that, in an age of generic cookie-cutter airports, Delta could make a branding statement by repurposing the building, or even housing an aviation history museum inside the terminal. They also posit that tearing the terminal down and paving it over is twice as expensive as the cost of repair and refurbishment. Save The Pan Am Worldport shows no signs of slowing down, and Savi and Stramaglia are hoping that they’ll be able to win some immunity from demolition for the flying saucer portion of the terminal before 2015. "It should be something that the public can enjoy, that can help them remember significant events from the past," Savi says. "It should be something that people want to go to." This post originally appeared on the National Trust for Historic Preservation's Preservation Nation blog, an Atlantic partner site. Kate Flynn is an editorial intern at Preservation magazine. Her work has appeared online at the Washington Post and in Consequence of Sound, a music and culture blog.
815 Fifth Avenue is sandwiched between 812 Fifth Avenue and 817 Fifth Avenue On an historic, stately stretch of Fifth Avenue, a proposal by a Brazilian developer for a luxury high-rise is threatening to disrupt the peace. Residents of two Central Park-facing buildings, at 812 and 817 Fifth Avenue, are gearing up to fight a structure planned for 815 Fifth Avenue that they described in a letter to fellow residents as “contemporary” and “incompatible” with the character of the neighborhood, The Real Deal has learned. Paperwork filed with the Department of Buildings calls for a 15-story building with a dozen apartments as well as partial demolition of a six-story building, which records show is the oldest structure on Fifth Avenue between 59th and 110th streets. JHSF Participacoes S.A., based in Brazil, is named on renderings of the project, although the official documents list the developer as Eight Hundred and Fifteen Fifth Avenue, a limited liability company. JHSF has developed more than 19 million square feet of real estate in Sao Paulo. Brazilian banking magnate Sergio Millerman, the former CEO of Safra National Bank of New York and a consultant to the Safra Group, the Brazil-based international banking empire, is named in official documents as an adviser to the project. A spokesperson for Millerman told The Real Deal that the owners of the project are “highly sensitive to the history of the area” and will proceed in a manner that is “consistent with that sensitivity.” While the spokesperson confirmed that Millerman is assisting the developer on the project, he declined to comment on the identity of the developer. The board of managers for 817 Fifth Avenue sent the Feb. 13 letter opposing the project to both residents of both their building and 812 Fifth Avenue. The letter called for the residents to speak out against the development at a community board hearing last night. The developer presented the proposal Feb. 11 to Community Board 8′s Landmarks Committee, an advisory panel. The Landmarks Committee unanimously rejected the building, calling it “incompatible with the character of the block,” the letter said. The project can still move ahead, however, if the Landmarks Preservation Commission signs off on it. The new building would be 200 feet tall, nearly triple the height of the existing 80-foot-tall structure, according to papers filed with the Department of Buildings. The architect, Timothy Greer of Connecticut-based TP Greer Architects, said he has been working closely with the landmarks commission over the last few months to create a building with will be “senstitive to and consistent with the established architectural character and scale of Fifth Avenue.” While a spokesperson for the Landmarks Preservation Commission could not comment directly on the project, which is in an historic district, she said any new building within such a district should be “consistent with the height and shape of the other buildings in the district” in order to obtain necessary approvals from the LPC. “Whether it is a contemporary design or a contextual, more traditional design, the façade composition, scale, materials and details should have some relationship to the buildings in this historic district which can be abstract or literal,” she said. Residents on the upper floors of 812 and 817 Fifth Avenue are concerned the proposed development will block their views, bringing down their property values. At 817 Fifth Avenue, the views are to the south; residents of 812 Fifth Avenue look to the north. Jewelry designer Janet Yaseen, a resident of 812 Fifth Avenue, said residents of her building stood “shoulder to shoulder” with residents of 817 Fifth Avenue in the dispute. The building on the site, designed by Samuel A. Warner, went up in 1871. Once a single-family home owned by hotel owner James Stewart Cushman and wife Verna, the brownstone today houses 12 apartments and two offices. Real estate investor Robert Haskell sold the building to JHSF last year for $32 million, public records show, $7 million over its asking price. Both 812 and 817 Fifth Avenue have been home to celebrities and the city’s biggest power players. Actor Richard Gere, business magnate Steve Wynn and socialite Courtney Sale Ross have lived at 817 Fifth Avenue; New York Gov. Nelson Rockefeller and his wife, Mary “Tod” Rockefeller, had a home in 812 Fifth Avenue.
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Iconic O'Toole Retooled

Claire Wilson writes for Oculus magazine about Perkins Eastman's LPC-approved restoration and redesign of the O'Toole building. https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/naylor/ARCQ0113/index.php?startid=30 [gallery]
The Tall Elephants in the Room Building additions that don't disappear into their surroundings shouldn't be done. By Aaron Betsky There seem to be a lot of elephants hiding in plain sight these days. Now that we are coming out of the five-year recession that stymied large-scale construction, cranes are swinging into action and developers are dusting off their laser-cut models and festive renderings. And not just for cities in far-off continents. Major cities in America will be the recipient of a spate of new, tall buildings, but some of them claim to be barely there. In Los Angeles, work will finally begin on the two triangular towers, which I wrote about more than a year ago. They will sit right behind the Minoru Yamasaki–designed Century Plaza hotel, a curved recipient of the axis the architect drew from his own triangular versions of the World Trade Center towers. That line was already interrupted by a hideous office block a number of years ago, and there were plans to tear down the hotel. Luckily, saner minds prevailed. The new, Pei Cobb Freed–designed behemoths are triangular, though also curved and with what look like rather fussy façades. Will these two slender exclamation points echo the original skyscrapers? Perhaps, though their form is too weak to make much of a point. They will also be so close to the hotel (which midcentury modern savior Marmol Radziner is renovating) that you wonder whether anybody except for dedicated exhibitionists will want to stay in the west-facing rooms that used to have views all the way to the Pacific. The $2 billion, 1.5 million square-foot redevelopment will also surround the hotel with a shopping mall, leaving it rather marooned. In New York, two similar towers, designed by Skidmore, Owings & Merrill, will rise on a new platform over the Pennsylvania Station rail yards. As in L.A., the whole development also includes a late modernist building, in this case the former home of the New York Daily News, which will be redesigned by REX. This one is a doozy, no less than 5.4 million square feet, much of it in the two 60-story towers. Those will be slicker than their L.A. counterparts, and they are shaved and angled in the manner that has become all the rage since computer technology enabled former students of deconstructivism to manipulate their grown-up towers. This twin will form the backdrop to the Farley Post Office Building, a now largely empty stone bunker that will someday perhaps be the new Pennsylvania Train Station. More recessive and more removed than the Century City towers, these might work, especially if they are joined by the forest of skyscrapers currently planned to sit even further west over the rail yards. Finally, in-between these two, there is the ongoing saga of Bertram Goldberg’s Prentice Hospital, which I have also previously written about. While we await the judicial procedure to run its course, it is interesting to me that all the images that argue for its preservation show it embedded in a mass of structure that makes me think that you might as well tear it down. Many of these images come from a competition last summer (the winner, by Cyril Marsollier and Wallo Villacorta, is particularly egregious), though Studio Gang has added its own variant, a tower on top of cloverleaf structure that—at least in the rendering—will float above it all. Looking at these designs, and then back at the Century Plaza, I am afraid I would say in both cases, and despite my support for preservation: Tear them down. Buildings are designed for a particular use, context, and culture. When those conditions change so much that the building can only continue to exist as a relic with impaired use, what’s the point? Either radically rethink the structure itself, as will happen with the Farley Building, or just start anew. Aaron Betsky is a regularly featured columnist whose stories appear on this website each week. His views and conclusions are not necessarily those of ARCHITECT magazine nor of the American Institute of Architects.
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Recent LPC Designation Hearings

Updates from the HDC blog about recent LPC designation hearings.
Two long-sought-after historic districts finally got public hearings at the Landmarks Preservation Commission yesterday.   The two districts, both of which community members have been advocating for years for consideration, were originally scheduled for an October hearing at LPC, but that meeting was cancelled due to Hurricane Sandy.
  53 Harrison Street Since 1976, the Mud Lane Society for the Renaissance of Stapleton has been campaigning for the protection of their lovely Staten Island neighborhood. HDC has been actively working with the group and Stapleton residents since 2003 to help gain landmark designation for areas in the neighborhood (the St. Paul Avenue – Stapleton Heights HD was designated in 2004), and the Mud Lane Society was recently chosen to be one of 2013’s “Six to Celebrate”, so we were thrilled that this district was finally having a hearing. Hosting a wide range of late 19th-century architectural styles on a single block, the proposed Harrison Street Historic District has a hidden history which is easily overlooked but contributes greatly to its distinct sense of place.  Since its first development in the mid 19th century, the cul-de-sac has had only one teardown on the block.   All the buildings, regardless of cosmetic alterations, are the original structures on their site, a rare occurrence in our city.  Furthermore, the homes on Harrison Street were mostly built by local designers and builders, a fact which opens a window into Staten Island’s architectural and urban design history in an unexpected and unusual way. Twenty-four people testified on the district, twenty in favor of designation.   The vast majority of the supporters were residents or owners of the proposed district and owners of landmarked properties nearby on Staten Island.   The latter spoke of their good experiences owning a landmark and working with LPC. The opposition were largely concerned about the possibility of increased costs for maintenance and the infringement on their property rights. Halsey Street When HDC chose the first class of our “Six to Celebrate” in 2011, placing Bedford-Stuyvesant on that list was an obvious choice, given the architectural quality of the neighborhood, the significance of its history to New York City and the strength of its community. The approximately 800 buildings in the proposed Bedford Historic District are primarily well-preserved rowhouses and small apartment buildings from the last quarter of the 19th century.  Prominent Brooklyn architects such as Montrose Morris and Isaac D. Reynolds designed many of the blocks.  In addition to its late-19th century streetscapes, Bedford-Stuyvesant is noted for being the home to one of the nation’s largest and best-known African-American and Caribbean-American communities throughout most of the 20th century and into today. Stuyvesant Heights was designated in 1971, and an extension to the district was heard in 1993.  Revived interest in landmarking got the extension a second hearing in 2011 and a positive vote on the district is expected soon.  The Bedford community, well informed about landmarking thanks to the tireless work of Bedford-Stuyvesant Society for Historic Preservation, jumped in line to be next. Seeing the crowd who attended the Bedford hearing, LPC commissioner Elizabeth Ryan exclaimed, “Quite the turn out!”. By our count, thirty-six people testified, and twenty-eight of them supported the district, including Councilmember Al Vann, a representative from Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz’s office, Brooklyn Community Board 3, and numerous residents.  Neighborhood residents strongly stated their case for designation, saying it would help protect their community from those who would destroy it through unregulated profit and that a historic district designation would honor the commitment of the longtime residents who stewarded the neighborhood through hard times. Opponents of the designation mostly complained about the process – that the hearing was held in Manhattan during business hours rather than in the neighborhood in the evening and their perceived lack of education and outreach. The latter claim that was strongly disputed by ourselves and others (such as the district manager of Community Board 3), citing  the three community meetings and two informational sessions held by the LPC (to say nothing of the numerous public, community and block association meetings that we have spoken at over the past three years). For more details on the hearing, see today’s article by David Dunlap in The New York Times: https://cityroom.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/01/16/in-effort-to-preserve-bedford-stuyvesant-some-ask-for-whom No decision was made and the record for both of these historic districts was left open for thirty days – please submit statements to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
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Ada Louise Huxtable

Ada Louise Huxtable, Doyenne of Architecture Criticism, Dies at 91

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The legend on her pillow: "Ada Louise Huxtable already doesn't like it" (a caption from a New Yorker cartoon). The world of architecture is in mourning. Ada Louise Huxtable, the Pulitzer Prize-winning, high spirited, fiercely opinionated architecture critic, revered by architecture historians and feared by developers, was the pioneer who brought serious, informed architecture criticism to daily newspapers. Her writing was invariably erudite, lucid and witty. The few times when she graciously conversed with me, in writing or in person, I felt I as though I had been touched by royalty. At the time of her death today at the age of 91, she was architecture critic for the Wall Street Journal. She wrote until the end with the verve, feistiness and exhaustive command of the facts of someone one-third her age. Take her final piece for the WSJ, published early last month, about the New York Public Library's plans to renovate and restructure its flagship 42nd Street facility (or, as she put it, "to undertake its own destruction"). She delivered a detailed analysis of why, in her estimation, the library's stacks should not be demolished---arguing her case not just on historic preservation grounds, but also on engineering grounds:
What no one seems to have noticed, or mentioned, is that the stacks are the structural support of the reading room. They literally hold it up....Restoration and retrofitting would be easier and cheaper than supporting the reading room with the enormously complex and expensive engineering needed during demolition and reconstruction.
What's more, she allowed herself the rare luxury of complaining in print (at some length) about the runaround she had gotten after asking library officials to release "schematic studies of how the vacated space would be used....I have been patient and cooperative, but I believe I have waited long enough." What she didn't mention was that her exasperation may have been heightened by a consciousness that her own time was running out. It is probably no coincidence that two weeks after Ada Louise's heated critique, the Library released more information about its construction plans. In her NY Times report on this, Robin Pogrebin tipped her hat to Huxtable by quoting her complaint in the the rival newspaper about the long-time dearth of information. The Library claimed that "the designs were not refined until now," Pogrebin reported. I hope that both the online editions of the Wall Street Journal and the New York Times (where Ada Louise wrote with universally admired distinction from 1963 to 1982) will link to highlights from among her many articles, along with an appreciative recap of her many achievements. (The Times has just posted its detailed obituary.) The tributes from the art and architecture critics who are her progeny are already pouring in.
January 7, 2013 8:29 PM | Permalink | ShareThis
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Post Sandy Assistance

Dear Clients, Business Associates, and Friends:   I am writing with the hope that you and your families are safe and dry, and that power has been restored to your homes and offices after our two most recent storms.  Our offices were without power for a week, a minor inconvenience compared to what many suffered throughout our region.  We are lucky enough to be back up and running, and we remain on call to help with any recovery effort you may require at this time.  Our architects, staff, and network of trusted and reliable contractors and trade professionals are available to assist you with any emergency property assessments and repairs resulting from the strong winds and flooding sustained in our area, including façade damage, roof damage, or any other building related issues that you may be faced with at this time.  If we can be of any assistance, please let us know. We can be reached at our offices, (212) 995-2464 or send email to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..  Sincerely,  Scott Henson 
August 08, 2012 01:30PM   1155-1205 Manhattan Avenue in Greenpoint Nearly all of Brooklyn’s large manufacturers have left the borough, chasing locations with less regulation, and cheaper labor and real estate. Sometimes, the massive warehouses and factories they leave behind are renovated into luxury apartments, as will be the case at the former Domino Sugar factory. But, according to the New York Times, there is a flowering niche manufacturing industry in Brooklyn that is keeping some of these forgotten buildings in their original industrial intent. The scale of the manufacturing in Brooklyn’s industrial buildings has become smaller and more specialized. One building, at 1205 Manhattan Avenue in Greenpoint, has been divided into more than a dozen micro-factories, producing everything from specialty metal and wood pieces to artisanal glass. The small scale gives entrepreneurs an affordable alternative to outsourcing their product’s manufacture, keeping production costs low. “We think this is the future of urban manufacturing,” Greenpoint Manufacturing and Design Center CEO Brian Coleman, said. “There is a highly skilled work force making products for local consumption.” However these tiny factories are not employing anywhere near the number of New Yorkers the traditional factories employed. In 2011 Brooklyn businesses averaged 11.2 workers per business in 2011. The average in 2000 was 16.8 workers. [NYT] – Christopher Cameron Go to THE REAL DEAL