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Historic Chinatown Buildings Demolished to Avoid Landmarking?

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The four-story row house and its tinier townhouse twin at 22-24 Henry Street in Chinatown (or Two Bridges, if you prefer) are two of the oldest buildings in New York, dating back to the 1820's, blog Save the Lower East Side reports. They're also gone, suddenly demolished under some questionable circumstances. In a later update, the blog writes that the buildings were submitted to the Landmarks Preservation Commission for evaluation back in January. On February 4th, permits for construction sheds on both buildings were filed. Now the oldtimers look partially or totally razed without any sign of a demolition permit, steel girders for a mysterious new structure already rising.

Self-certified permits were granted for interior demolition work in March 2009 with "no change in use and egress." Look a bit more than that, no? The owner of both buildings is listed as Siu Man Sat, and Save the LES suspects this is a typical destruction-before-landmarking case. Writes Save the LES: "The demolition of a town house in Greenwich Village would spark a protest, an outrage and an angry movement, but far to the east in Chinatown, no preservationists seem to notice or care. And yet, these two small buildings were probably older than anything in the Village, and in a neighborhood with a much longer and complex history." Another shot of the current work site:

· Only in New York [Save the LES]
· Too late [Save the LES]