The gang from the Great Jones Hotel was outnumbered by upset Noho neighbors at the Landmarks Preservation Commission yesterday, where a public hearing was held to discuss the fate of the proposed facelift for this rising finger of hospitality. To start things off, architect Henry Smith-Miller presented a batch of renderings and photos, with the added bonus of a detailed model of the plan, all decked out with the signature and controversial etched metal scrim. The model also displayed a representation of the stylized bamboo barrier and, out behind the hotel on Bond Street, an undulating fence meant to keep party-goers under control. But the natives were having none of it, and came armed with petitions signed by dozens of residents of both Great Jones and Bond Streets.
Most of the naysayers were up in arms about the hotel in general. They were reminded that the hotel's hulking sliver of concrete, albeit ugly, was built as-of-right, and that its operation is allowable under zoning regulations. None of which is up for discussion or consideration with the folks at Landmarks (take it up with City Planning, if you will), but that didn't stop them. They also hate the way the hotel winks and nods at the acclaimed architectural beauties on Bond Street, and how it disregards its older neo-classical neighbors. In retort an offer was put forth: If they want to pull together the money then they could buy the building and tear it down. There were no takers.
The LPC, while acknowledging that this stack of cinderblocks is a big problem both aesthetically and historically (the hotel started to rise before the Noho Historic District was extended to this block), were more appreciative of Smith-Miller's decorative efforts, noting that the proposed materials were of high cost and quality. It was noted (without mentioning any specific projects) that so many other hotels in this set-back sliver style, which are cropping up all over town, end up looking far less artful than what Smith-Miller was showing. One member, however, wasn't so sure about the Bond Street fence, remarking that it reminded him of "that jungle village in King Kong, where they built the big wall to keep him out." People on both sides had varying opinions on the bamboo curtain. Like so much else here, some liked it while others hated it. After a good hour of back and forth, the hearing was closed. No vote was taken and the LPC's decision on the decorative merits of 25 Great Jones was put off until a later date.
· 25 Great Jones Street coverage [Curbed]