Fresh off a Community Board 4 presentation that was not particularly well received, architect/Bob Balaban impersonator Gene Kaufman went before the Landmarks Preservation Commission yesterday to present changes he plans on making to the Hotel Chelsea, which include, most notably, some rooftop additions that have the Chelsea's long-time residents pretty riled up. Kaufman claims that the 16-foot additions will be barely visible from the street, and, when asked what they would serve as, said, "We're looking at it as a lounge space," which was met with loud, contemptuous laughter from the residents in attendance. Eleven people delivered testimony against the additions, including Assembly Member Richard N. Gottfried's Deputy Chief of Staff, who read a statement on behalf of Gottfried, Rep. Jerrold Nadler, City Council Speaker Christine C. Quinn, Manhattan Borough President Scott M. Stringer, and Senator Thomas K. Duane.
We are strongly opposed to the applicant's proposed 3,800 square foot rooftop addition for commercial use on the north side of the building which abuts existing, occupied roof-level apartments. The proposed materials of stucco, aluminum, and glass are not contextual with the original facade, the rooftop's brick masonry, and the slate cladding, all of which will be obstructed or obliterated by this addition ... There is a clear case that this modification would detract from the historical character and qualities of the building which make it such a prominent landmark. He went on to say:
While we realize the effects of the proposed rooftop addition might have on existing tenants is not entirely within the LPC's purview ... If the proposed rooftop addition becomes an eating or drinking establishment, which seems likely, the noise levels will also have a negative impact on the existing tenants. This speech, and the ten speeches that followed, were met with passionate applause. Kaufman then addressed the criticism in the manner of a small balloon slowly deflating, saying things like, "As far as the concerns of the tenants, obviously there are regulations which cover tenants' rights." Multiple LPC members called the planned restoration "commendable," but overall the Commission was fairly split on the issue of the rooftop additions. They ultimately decided that they needed more information about a number of the smaller changes and agreed to review the case again at a later date.
· Hotel Chelsea coverage [Curbed]
· Gene Kaufman coverage [Curbed]