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Preservationists Rally For a Lower East Side Historic District

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With the neighborhood's influx of new hotels and behemoth developments, Lower East Side preservation groups are once again approaching the Landmarks Preservation Commission with guns blazing in the hopes of securing a historic district south of Houston. The Lo Down reports that Friends of the Lower East Side and the Lower East Side Preservation Initiative have submitted a proposal for designation, backed by 18 other groups, to the LPC. The request for designation centers around the neighborhood's significance as a destination of new American immigrants, and its role as home to American cultural leaders like George Gershwin, Fiorello LaGuardia, and Lillian D. Wald.

The statement of support issued by the organizations in part reads, via TLD,

Manhattan's Lower East Side is recognized as America's iconic immigrant neighborhood with unsurpassed architectural, historical and cultural significance to our city, state and nation. Its great variety of age-old tenements, institutional and commercial build-ings not only enrich the streets with architecture based on human scale and beautifully crafted ornament, but have given the community and its residents a cohesive and stable environment with a strongly identifiable sense of history and place. The only way to effectively preserve the historic streetscapes of this vital neighborhood is through New York City historic district designation. Therefore, we call upon the NYC Landmarks Preservation Commission to landmark, without delay, the historically intact areas of the Lower East Side below Houston Street. The Lower East Side isn't without its designated sites. An area of the East Village, formerly considered the Lower East Side, gained landmark designation in 2012. The staggered area is bounded by 2nd and 7th streets and Third Avenue and Avenue A. Also, a handful of single buildings throughout the neighborhood have gained landmark status.

The renewed call for designation particularly targets areas south of Houston, with an initial focus on an area below Delancey Street between Essex and Forsyth streets. Curiously, TLD notes, the Tenement Museum which stands at the corner of Delancey and Allen streets is notably absent from supporting the effort. The LES Preservation Initiative is circulating a petition for the designation, which they say has garnered about 500 signatures to date.
·· Preservation Groups Ask Landmarks Commission to Declare Lower East Side Historic District [TLD]
· East Village/Lower East Side Historic District Approved [Curbed]
· All Lower East Side coverage [Curbed]