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On Tuesday, two beautiful historic 1866 cast-iron loft buildings at 827-831 Broadway we fought to save got their stay from the executioner.  After a year and a half, we got the City’s Landmarks Preservation Commission (LPC) to calendar the buildings for landmark designation, protecting them from demolition and alteration until the LPC makes its final decision on landmarking, which must happen within a year.  These buildings were slated for demolition and replacement with a 300 ft. tall office tower – the city’s Department of Buildings had even approved their demolition permit application!

But then GVSHP did what we always do – tons of in-depth research, outreach to elected officials, coalition-building with other preservation organizations, mobilizing the public, and fighting as hard as we can.  Finally, after an initial rejection by the LPC, we got the agency to move, and protect these buildings (watch their discussion and vote here, based almost entirely uponresearch and information submitted by GVSHP.        

And these buildings deserve it.  Built by one of New York’s pioneering industrial families, they are connected to the growth of the tobacco trade, the invention of modern advertising, and the introduction of the sewing machine.  And in the 20th century, they were home to groundbreaking art world figures like Willem de Kooning, Paul Jenkins, Larry Poons, Jules Olitsky, and William S. Rubin.  They are also beautiful works of cast-iron architecture, by one of 19th century New York’s most celebrated architects.  

Portrait of Dutch-born American artist 
Willem de Kooning (1904-1997) in his loft 
studio, 831 Broadway, New YorkMarch 23
1962.Photo © Estate of Fred W. 
McDarrah. All Rights Reserved.

This is not the first building GVSHP has helped save from the wrecking ball, and it probably won’t be the last.  Every day we monitor all 6,500 buildings in our neighborhood for demolition permit applications, so we can fight to save historic buildings like we did here.  In just the last fifteen years, we’ve secured landmark protections for over 1,250 buildings, helping to save them from destruction.       

But the story’s not over.  The LPC must still hold a hearing and vote on whether or not to landmark these buildings.  While we are optimistic, we take nothing for granted, and we will need your continued support to protect these buildings for once and for all.

And of course there’s so much more to do.  We’re fighting to protect the entire area from 5th to 3rd Avenue, Union Square to Astor Place, which faces a rash of demolitions and proposed new towers like the one planned here, partly spurred on by the booming tech industry in the area.  We have to fight a growing number of attempts by developers in the West Village and Meatpacking District to undo and get around existing landmark protections and gain approval for grossly inappropriate new developments.  And we have to expand landmark protections in the East Village, which in spite of our success in securing some landmark and zoning protections still sees an unacceptable number of demolitions and out-of-context new buildings.     

Only you can ensure that GVSHP continues onward with our work – ensuring 827-831 Broadway is landmarked, and securing the protections the rest of our neighborhood needs and deserves. 

Just some of what we fight to preserve and protect.

Previous: 9/16/17

Home : Advocacy : University Place-Broadway Rezoning/Bowlmor Tower : Latest News : 06/12/17

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