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Carter's View

The Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation, Historic Districts Council, Lower East Side Preservation Initiative, and East Village Community Coalition Friday hailed the decision by the Landmarks Preservation Commission to expand the boundaries of their proposed East Village/Lower East Side Historic District study area to include additional streets and buildings called for by the advocates.

Earlier this month, the LPC released the boundaries of two proposed historic district study areas in the East Village which they proposed for landmark designation and the four groups wrote to the LPC supporting the potential proposed historic districts but urging that additional areas be considered.

The LPC has since agreed to include several of the buildings and areas they had called upon to be included in the district proposals, which they expect to 'calendar,' or begin to formally consider, in June. The LPC has also informally agreed to look at other areas in the East Village at a later date.

The additions to the study areas include buildings along Avenue A, East 6th Street, 2nd Avenue, and East 2nd Street. These include 101 Avenue A, an 1876 tenement of striking architecture which has housed everything from a German Social hall in the 19th century to a drag performance art space in the 1980's, which advocates had sought for years to protect, and the Russian Orthodox Cathedral of the Holy Virgin Protection at 59 East 2nd Street, a spectacular and historic religious edifice built in 1891 which the groups also spent years advocating to protect.

Additional buildings within the areas suggested by the advocates which the LPC has agreed to include are a 1918 former magistrates court building which now houses the Anthology Film Archives at 32 2nd Avenue, a Greek Revival House built in the late 1830's at 65 East 2nd Street, two Federal-style rowhouses dating to the 1820's at 74-80 East 2nd Street, and several 19th century tenement buildings.

"We are deeply gratified that the LPC has been willing to consider and integrate some of our suggestions as they move forward to protect the East Village," said Andrew Berman, Executive Director of the Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation. "So much of our city's great history over the last century and a half can be found in this neighborhood, and too much of it has been lost in recent years. We see this as a first step towards ensuring that the East Village remains a living testament to generations of immigrants and artists who called this neighborhood home, transformed it, and in many cases transformed the world."

"We're very excited by the LPC's active participation in seeking to protect the East Village. This historic neighborhood has suffered without landmark protections for too long and this proposal is a very positive first step towards saving the historic buildings of the East Village for the future," said Simeon Bankoff, Executive Director of the Historic Districts Council.

"We're very happy to see the LPC moving quickly to protect the study areas' wonderful historic streetscapes, which have been very vulnerable to the neighborhood's ongoing siege of building demolition and insensitive alteration," said Richard Moses of the Lower East Side Preservation Initiative. "What we'd like to see going forward, as a next phase, is for LPC to take a much closer look at St. Mark's Place and to the north, and the remaining areas around Tompkins Square. We'd also like for LPC to take a more holistic look at the profoundly historic Lower East Side along its original boundaries, which extend from 14th Street to below Chinatown and west to Broadway."

"We are grateful that the LPC has considered the input of community groups and Councilmember Mendez in extending the proposed historic district in our neighborhood," said Kurt Cavanaugh, Managing Director, East Village Community Coalition.
Architecture Critic Carter Horsley Since 1997, Carter B. Horsley has been the editorial director of CityRealty. He began his journalistic career at The New York Times in 1961 where he spent 26 years as a reporter specializing in real estate & architectural news. In 1987, he became the architecture critic and real estate editor of The New York Post.
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