Monday, September 10, 2012

How you can help protect the Merchant's House Museum on East 4th Street

From the EV Grieve inbox from the Bowery Alliance of Neighbors...

[The proposed hotel]

Below are details sent from the Merchant's House Museum regarding an extremely important hearing that could indeed impact the structural safety of the city's only fully intact Federal-style rowhouse, the landmark Merchant's House Museum at 25 E. 4th St.

At issue is a proposal to build a 9-story hotel tower on the adjacent 27 E. 4th St., an enterprise that experts agree would have a devastating impact on the Merchant's House.

The Merchant's House is one of the city's most precious historic resources. In recent years, we have seen the destruction of Federal era houses at 35 Cooper Square, 135 Bowery, and in many other locations. Please come out on Tuesday to protect the Merchant's House and stop the inappropriate, out-of-context development that threatens it. — David Mulkins, Chair, Bowery Alliance of Neighbors

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After five postponements, the LPC hearing on the proposed 9-story hotel next door will be held on Tuesday, September 11, at 3:30 p.m. Location: Municipal Building at 1 Centre Street, 9th Floor.

We've said it before, but we'll say it again: The proposed building is out of character with the East 4th Street block and is inappropriate to the historic context of the NoHo Historic District.

Until the 1880s, East 4th Street comprised a row of 13 red-brick and white-marble single-family homes stretching from Lafayette Street to Bowery. Each of these homes featured well-articulated facades and gardens in the rear.

Today, only the landmarked 1832 Merchant's House and 1845 Skidmore House, at 37 East 4th Street, survive to suggest the aesthetics and scale of the block during the mid-19th century.

The proposed 9-story, black glass building butting up against and towering over the delicate late-Federal/Greek revival Merchant's House would brutally shatter this vision.

Adding salt to our wound, the proposed development also poses a grave threat to the structural integrity of the Merchant's House. It's not a question of "if," but rather a question of "how much" damage to the exterior brick and the interior architectural elements will be incurred as a result of demolition and construction next door. According to experts, we can't afford to have the building shift, even one-eighth of an inch.

It's still not too late to help. Please send an email to the LPC urging them to reject the developer's plans. Click here for a template letter.

Find a petition here.

The Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation provides more details here.

BoweryBoogie wrote about the planned hotel here.

10 comments:

Anonymous said...

you guys are nuts.

I am pro landmarks.....but you have gone to far.

this is NEXT to the landmark and on the other side is a building the exact same size. so how can you say it is out of context?

this is a sympathetic contextual design.

Fight the big fights....half of the old bowery is planned to be demolished. you let that great buiilding on great jones get torn down a couple of years ago.

Let them build here and help save other worthy buidlngs.

Anonymous said...

use your energy to help save the buidling that houses
Mary Help of Christians on East 12th.

EV Grieve said...

@ anon 4:44

The Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation and other community groups submitted a request to the Landmarks Preservation Commission asking them to landmark the church. The LPC denied the request.

Anonymous said...

#3......try again......protest, make a petition to save the church.. is it part of the extension of historic district?

that is worth saving.

also, thanks for allowing comments that show differences of opinions.

Anonymous said...

Who said it was a choice of "leave this one alone so we can try to save the other place"- we can try to protect the church and the Merchant House- a tower of that size is too risky as it will damage a fragile landmark. There are so many places to build- can't we slow the pace and study the effects of a project a little first? This breakneck pace of handing developers whatever they desire is out of control- do we really need yet another hotel? In a 2 block radius there are already 3 other hotels (Bowery, Standard and Lafayette House) and 1 hostel.

Uncle Waltie said...

I love tall buildings in my neighborhood - they serve as beacons when I'm lost at Astor Place.

Anonymous said...

another hotel is not needed....but what is the zoning? M? if it is then residential is not allowed.

look, give me a break,are you all engineers? of course the small landmark will be protected and will not be damaged.if it is , there will be a huge lawsuit against the developer.

its his property and he has shown a nice design.

it should be allowed.

Goggla said...

Construction of the Cooper Sq Hotel caused a building on Bowery to collapse. Once it was down, it was much more convenient for the hotel to expand its lobby. Construction like this could easily destroy the Merchant House.

Anonymous said...

Everyone knows GVSHP loses most of the battles it fights, which begs the question of whether its choice of fights makes sense to begin with. Exhibits 1-infinity: NYU. As an alum of NYU, GVSHP remains more than disappointing. They remain well advised to grow spines and alter their tactics -- and for once, just once, get tough (and that really means tough) against their foes. Step in front of the darn wrecking ball if they need to. But they won't, though, as long as its leadership harbors political ambitions. Which means the Merchant's House may be doomed.

S.S. said...

GVSHP has gotten the Far West Village landmarked, has also gotten the area downzoned, has gotten one section the South Village landmarked, has gotten several Federal houses landmarked, awoke and led the community against the NYU hegemony, etc, etc,

Can you please list just one of your accomplishments?