Down at 1 Centre Street yesterday, fearless protectors of inanimate objects the Landmarks Preservation Commission was gittin 'er done. The big headline was already covered: The approval of Lord Norman Foster's controversial addition to the Parke-Bernet Gallery at 980 Madison Avenue, a decision that may leave no survivors. But that's about the new. What about protecting the old? The LPC also approved the Lamartine Place Historic District, 12 rowhouses on West 29th Street between Eighth and Ninth Avenues. Neighbors fought for the designation after the former Underground Railroad safehouse at 339 West 29th Street (aka the Hopper-Gibbons House, shrouded at right) went under the knife for a penthouse addition. Another Hopper-Gibbons property, the Greek Revival house at 110 Second Avenue in the East Village that's considered the world's oldest halfway house for women, was made an individual landmark.
The Lower East Side got a little LPC love as well, as one of the neighborhood's most classic buildings?the old Jarmulowsky Bank Building at 54 Canal Street (at Orchard Street)?was designated a landmark. The 12-story building, completed in 1912, was once the tallest building on the Lower East Side and has lately been on and off the market with rumors flying about potential hotel conversion. The designation of the limestome and terra-cotta mini-tower, which was basically the World Trade Center for the LES's Jewish immigrant population, is long overdue. In a press release, LPC Chairman Bob Tierney called the building an "instant landmark when it opened." With Jarmulowsky now protected, 70 Pine Street becomes the Manhattan building most people are surprised to learn is not an official landmark. With the wheels in motion on a residential conversion of that building, perhaps the LPC will make a move of its own.
· The 411 on these new landmarks [LPC; warning: PDF]
· Starchitecture Wins: 980 Madison Addition Approved At Last! [Curbed]