The fight to save the Bialystoker Nursing Home may be down to the wire, but it looks like the preservationists are pulling away after a Landmarks Preservation Commission public hearing this morning saw supporters of the now-closed nursing home/community center show up in droves. Around twenty people delivered testimony, including Councilwoman Margaret Chin; a grandchild of Harry Hurwit, the building's architect; Lower East Side architect Ron Castellano; an underling reading a statement on behalf of Borough President Scott Stringer; and various neighborhood residents.
The most moving testimony came from Sam Solasz, who immigrated to the United States from Eastern Europe in 1951 with ten dollars in his pocket, joined the Bialystoker on the day that he arrived in New York City, and went on to serve as its president for 16 years. Solasz spoke about how the Bialystoker helped him find work, housing, and a community, and how it welcomed countless other immigrants with the same spirit of charity and generosity. In the end, even a developer who showed up seemingly just to express his interest in buying the building had to come down on the side of landmarking. "I just think it's a no brainer," he told the Commission, shrugging. "Everybody here obviously loves this building." The LPC will schedule a meeting where the commissioners will offer their own thoughts on the building at a later date.
· Bialystoker Nursing Home coverage [Curbed]