The Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation is pushing for the landmarking of two nearly 200-year-old Federal-style homes on the Lower East Side, located at 206 Bowery and 22 East Broadway. Though both buildings have previously been calendared by the Landmarks Preservation Commission—the first step to making a NYC site a landmark—the agency has yet to move forward.
The push to preserve these modest homes dates back to 2010, when 206 Bowery was under threat of demolition. In response, the Landmarks Preservation Commission calendared the building for a hearing; according to the LPC, the structure was built around 1825, and “was a speculative investment associated with the family and heirs of the wealthy English-born leather merchant James Meinell” until 1918. The house has a long history of commercial space on the ground floor, and since the 1870s has apparently been used solely for commercial purposes.
The East Broadway home dates back to 1832, and was “a house for district attorney James R. Whiting, who also served as a City Council member and later served as a New York Supreme Court Judge,” according to the LPC. It’s retained its pitched roof, arched dormers and Flemish bond brickwork, alongside what LPC believes to be the original molded stone lintels and original sills. The Landmarks Commission calls it "a rare surviving Federal style house in the Lower East Side."
But since getting calendared, the two structures never came up for an official landmarks vote. Due to a law passed in 2016 by the City Council, they will lose their calendaring status if the LPC doesn’t act soon, preservationists say.
The GVSHP points out that the Bowery has already lost several of its Federal structures, including 135 Bowery and 35 Cooper Square. They've asked supporters to sign a letter in support of moving 206 Bowery and 22 East Broadway forward.
"Both houses are set amid an incredible amount of change, from immigration to subway and bridge construction, and their survival is nothing less than miraculous," the letter says. "So few of these houses survive in Lower Manhattan, and it would be a shame to lose more."