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A selection of townhouses set to go before the Landmarks Preservation Commission A selection of townhouses set to go before the Landmarks Preservation Commission
Like many of us, New York City’s Landmarks Preservation Commission (“Landmarks”) took a break the week of the Presidents’ Day federal holiday. But on Tuesday, February 28, they will be back at work to hear a new set of applications. Some of them pertain to some of the city’s most famous townhouses, and we look into them in order of appearance on the docket.

17-Prospect-Park-West-01 17 Prospect Park West before (Romines Architects for Landmarks Preservation Commission)
17 Prospect Park West 17 Prospect Park West after
In the decades since 17 Prospect Park West was designed by Montrose Morris in 1899, many of its alterations and upgrades have been confined to the interior – the most recent ones include state-of-the-art kitchen appliances, wine cellar, Savant home automation system, central vacuum, new mechanicals, and integrated surround sound. Fortunately, none of these came at the expense of original details like delicately carved fireplaces, stained glass windows, herringbone floors, and mahogany columns.
Park Slope townhouses Axonometric diagrams
Brooklyn townhouses
However, the most recent plans apply to the house’s exterior: While it already has a private garden, to which the newest owner would like to add a new entrance, Landmarks will hear an application to add a roof terrace. A presentation by Brooklyn-based Romines Architects also calls for removing the existing boiler, putting new heat pumps on the roof, and adding new safety guardrails to the existing flat roof area. To the relief of vintage design enthusiasts, this will not call for a historic laylight in the attic ceiling to be removed or altered. The presentation shows a noticeable difference in the appearance of the roof, but not one that dramatically alters the local streetscape and skyline.
The townhouse shot to prominence after award-winning actors Jennifer Connelly and Paul Bettany bought it for $3.7 million in 2003 and made a tidy profit selling it for $8.45 million to a Google executive in 2008. The townhouse has changed hands multiple times since then, and most recently sold for $11.7 million to a buyer who conducted the transaction through an LLC in August 2022 (per Acris)

188-Spring-Street-01 188 Spring Street (second from left) - Crown Architecture and Consulting for Landmarks Preservation Commission
Over the past few years, 182-186 Spring Street has been in and out of Landmarks with rejected designs for a new building on the site (which once contained a townhouse owned by Beastie Boy Adam Horovitz). Directly next door, the owners of the circa 1824 townhouse at 188 Spring Street are hoping for better luck in their application to alter the front facade and construct rear yard and rooftop additions.
188 Spring Street Current rear yard
Soho townhouses Rear yard rendering
They may yet get it. Early in a presentation by Crown Architecture and Consulting, the team points out that the building has undergone a number of alterations in the nearly 200 years since it was constructed. The presentation also shows the rear facade in somewhat dilapidated condition and a sleek new design that calls for aluminum rails (to replace the wooden ones) and putting in new windows. The rooftop addition does not dramatically alter the local streetscape, and another building on the same block has a penthouse addition larger than the one proposed here. Finally, in addition to the additions, the team would restore the front facade to its original glory.
NYC townhouses Front facade

101-East-63rd-Street-01 101 East 63rd Street existing (Studio Sofield for Landmarks Preservation Commission)
101 East 63rd Street Proposed door
How times have changed – in 1966, a good 15 years before the Upper East Side Historic District was established, acclaimed architect and former Yale School of Architecture dean Paul Rudolph was able to transform an Upper East Side carriage house into a modernist mansion that stands in stark contrast to its brick and limestone neighbors. In the present day, Landmarks approval is required to slightly relocate the entrance door.
A presentation by Studio Sofield shows a slightly smaller entrance door moved to the right and with a new handle. The townhouse is regarded with reverence by architecture aficionados, as it was one of only three New York City buildings designed by Mr. Rudolph, but it is not the only modernist mansion to be altered: The presentation cites the relocated entrance at 32 East 74th Street, as designed by William Lescaze, as precedence.
The proposed alteration takes place in the latest chapter of the house’s rich history. Fashion designer Halston moved into it in 1974 and threw lavish, celebrity-filled parties there over the next 15 years (some of which can be seen in Halston, an Emmy Award-winning mini-series starring Ewan McGregor). Shortly before Halston’s death, he sold the house to Gunter Sachs, photographer and former husband of Brigitte Bardot. The townhouse has been on and off the market since 2011, when it was listed for $38.5 million, and ultimately sold to designer Tom Ford for $18 million in January 2019.

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