Since you are its chairman, I am writing to you to express my utter disgust at the refusal of the Landmarks "Preservation" Committee to step in and save 35 Cooper Square, a 186 year old gem of a historic survivor on the East Village's Bowery. To refresh your memory, I can do no better than excerpt an elegiac post from the blog EV Grieve, lamenting its imminent destruction:
Historians believe 35 Cooper Square was born in 1825. The oldest building on Cooper Square, and one of the oldest buildings of the original Bowery, this charming Federal style building with the traditional gambrel roof, twin-pedimented dormers, and large end chimneys also boasts historical and cultural associations ranging from a direct descendant of Peter Stuyvesant (it was owned in the early 1800s by Nicholas William Stuyvesant, Peter's great-grandson) to Diane DiPrima, the most influential woman of the Beat Generation.
35 Cooper Square stood for 40 U.S. Presidents, from James Madison to Barack Obama, as well as the Civil War, the Spanish-American War, World War I, World War II, the Korean War, Vietnam, Desert Storm, Afghanistan and Iraq.
"Under the stipulations of the Landmarks Law, it qualifies on architectural, historical and cultural criteria for designation as a NYC individual landmark," said David Mulkins, chair/co-founder of the Bowery Alliance of Neighbors
"The building itself is a rare specimen that has remained standing since the transition of the Bowery from a residential area to one that was home to a variety of commercial venues in the early 19th century," added New York Assemblymember Deborah Glick. "While there have been some changes made to the façade of 35 Cooper Square, the building still retains its original twin peaked dormers, chimney, and gambrel roof, and is unmistakably representative of a bygone era in New York City history."
Despite the astonishing history, rarity and historical relevance of thie small treasure, you "preservationists" declined to take action. And why? Because for some reason the stucco coating applied to the building's facade some time in its almost two centuries of existence was enough to negate every reason that might have been put forth to save it.
Mr. Tierney, unlike you, I do not claim to be an expert in architecture. But even I know that a stucco coating is not permanent and can be removed with a hammer and prybar, so for the LPC to make this coating of a mud-like substance and its underlying mesh the sole reason to condemn 35 Cooper Square to death is the most pathetic, jaw-dropping and specious reason I could imagine.
But were it not torn down, of course, then the destroyer of this gem (who definitely doesn't live in the vicinity of the Bowery) would not be able to line his pockets at the expense of our already-ravaged neighborhood, where a seemingly endless flood of large, out of scale and horrifically ugly buildings are being thrown up willy-nilly all over the Bowery and Lower East Side, with irretrievable history being permanently lost in the process. And all the while you and your committee stand idly by and watch, like sleazy voyeurs.
I know there is no way this lovely piece of New York's past will be saved, so won't bother asking you to reconsider the ill-thought-out decision condemning it. So allow me to close by saying that I consider you a disgrace, a total sell-out to corporate real estate interests, who has no real desire to preserve history if there's money to be made by outside interests. And as to those lickspittle, cringing toadys who make up the rest of the "Preservation Committee" (it is to laugh), not one of whom had the spine to stand up and protest, they are just as despicable as you. Had you weasels been around in 1962, you would probably have applauded the destruction of the original Penn Station.
For shame - upon all of you. Your unwillingness to take a stand in this, and in so many other cases, has condemned New York to become a megalopolis bristling with ugliness, rather than a place in which history stands a chance of surviving.
[Photo taken yesterday by Bobby Williams]