We need your support in asking the Landmarks Preservation Commission (LPC) to designate the Russian Orthodox Cathedral, at 59-63 East 2nd Street, as a Landmark. The LPC held a hearing in March for landmark designation but did not take a vote at the hearing.
The Cathedral was constructed in 1891, designed by the reknowned architect Josiah Cleveland Cady, who later designed the Metropolitan Opera House and the auditorium of the American Museum of Natural History. The Cathedral fits as an historic whole with the already-landmarked Marble Cemetery across East 2nd Street. Neighborhood support is necessary in encouraging Community Board 3 and the Landmarks Preservation Commission towards designating the Cathedral as a Landmark. As a first step, PLEASE sign our online petition and please include your name and address in the comments section.
PLEASE ATTEND AND TESTIFY IN SUPPORT OF LANDMARK DESIGNATION FOR THIS HISTORIC STRUCTURE!
In 2008 EVCC became aware of plans to erect an eight-story condo tower atop the Russian Orthodox Cathedral at 59 E 2nd Street in our neighborhood. Thankfully that threat is gone, due in large part to the rezoning of the East Village which prohibits such construction. But, the 150-year-old building remains vulnerable – THIS IS WHY WE NEED YOUR SUPPORT AT THE LANDMARKS PRESERVATION COMMITTEE (LPC) MEETING!
On Tuesday, March 23 the LPC will hold a hearing on a proposal to landmark the structure. EVCC, along with the Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation, urged this designation in a letterto the LPC in 2008.
Date: Tuesday, March 23
Time: 10:50 a.m.
Location: LPC Hearing Room, Municipal Building, One Centre Street (at Chambers), 9th Floor. Bring Photo ID to enter the building.
The EVCC joins a coalition of groups that want to preserve the 98-year-old Mezeritz Synagogue
On August 14, the East Village Community Coalition was the lead organizer of a press conference about the future of a historic synagogue at 415 East 6 Street: The Adas Yisroel Anshe Mezeritz Synagogue.
For a variety of reasons, it looked as if the 1910 synagogue might be sold and demolished — which would have been a great loss to the community from a cultural, historical, and architectural perspective.
Joining with members of the congregation and local preservations groups (including the United Jewish Council of the East Side, Lower East Side Jewish Conservancy, The Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation and The Historic Districts Council), the EVCC helped spread the word about what was at stake.
A letter was drafted to the Landmark Preservation Commission, requesting an evaluation for landmark designation. The EVCC also joined others in presenting a request to the State and National Registers of Historic Places, asking for the synagogue to be added to the list. Though that designation would not prohibit demolition, it would officially confirm the value of the building.
As Dr. Gerald Wolfe, an expert on Lower East Side synagogues, says, this synagogue is “a jewel… an irreplaceable asset to its congregation, New York, and the world. Its demolition would be an irretrievable, unforgivable loss.”
Since the press conference, the development company that was involved with the plan to eliminate the synagogue announced that it is not currently involved with the project. The EVCC will continue to collaborate with other neighborhood groups in working to preserve the beautiful structure.
By supporting Formula Retail Zoning, the EVCC tries to keep our neighborhood free from chains
Earlier this summer, on June 12, the Graduate Cener for Planning and the Environment at Pratt Institute had some good news for the Lower East Side. In a presentation at St. Mark’s Church for the Neighborhood Presentation Center, the Pratt Group discussed the first draft of a study that provides a comprehensive plan to encourage small local businesses on the Lower East Side and discourage large chains.
The primary recommendation of the study, lead by Professors Vicki Weiner and Jonathan Martin, is for the East Village to seek designation as a “special district.” This would allow the area to enforce Formula Retail Zoning — which is an imposing name for a system that sets some limits on the types of businesses in an area in order to preserve the local retail environment. The study, which was commissioned by the EVCC, is one of the most comprehensive investigations into Formula Retail Zoning in New York City’s history.
The EVCC’s goal is to present the study, when it is completed later this year, to locally elected politicians, city planning commissioners, and the Mayors office and help them understand why the “special district” designation is so important for the future of the neighborhood.
As part of that process, videographer Nicholas Whitaker (who did such a great job with his video chronicle of the first Lower East Side Kids’ Art Bike Parade in 2007) has been asked by the EVCC to make a film that demonstrates the way local merchants improve street life. For instance, he will contrast vibrant streets full of local merchants — like East 9th Street — with “dead zones” where chains have invaded, like the stretch of Houston where Whole Foods has generated a wall of glass that discourages community-style street life. The film, which will be shot this fall, will be ready for presentation to authorities by the end of this year.
As the EVCC gets closer to making an official presentation of a plan, community support will be needed. If you have thoughts about the value of Formula Retail Zoning, please log-in or register in the left hand column of this page, and post your thoughts below.
In case there was any doubt about the deterioration of old P.S. 64 (fomerly CHARAS/El Bohio), this backside view shows just how bad things have gotten. Pigeons fly in and out of every floor of the building all day long. Windows are cracked and half-boarded up; rainstorms soak the interior. Every day, the deterioriation increases.
The neglect of this landmarked building must stop immediately, and you can help:
Walk by P.S. 64, just east of Avenue B, between 9th and 10th Streets, and take a look at the current state of the building. Then, when you’re back at your computer, write a few sentences about what you observed, your concerns for the state of this landmarked building, and your thoughts about preserving the building for community use. Be sure to include your name and any affiliation with the community (such as, if you’re a visitor, a neighbor, or a member of a community group). Then send those thoughts in an email to this address: firstname.lastname@example.org
Your words will be added to a letter to Landmark Commission Chairman James Tierney. (Email addresses will be kept confidential.) This could make a major difference, so please take action and write your email today.
Sending an email is a crucial way for you to help preserve the building. But you can also post your comments on this site by clicking to the next page.
At a Sept. 15 2006 hearing, the City Council gave a final unanimous vote to landmark this culturally, historically and architecturally significant building. Many, many thanks to all of you who worked toward this victory for our community.
Previously, on Tuesday, June 20, the Landmarks Commission unanimously declared old P.S. 64 a landmark, which means that the school cannot be destroyed or replaced with a skyscraper. (Read eloquent speeches about the building by Commissioner Roberta Brandes Gratz andCommissioner Christopher Moore .) Unfortunately, the owner still holds a permit to strip the building’s facade (see renderings of the “denuded” building), which — for inexplicable reasons — has just begun.