Four swaths of Sunset Park are officially city historic districts, following years of advocacy.
The Landmarks Preservation Commission (LPC) voted to designate Sunset Park North, Central Sunset Park, Sunset Park 50th Street, and Sunset Park South as historic districts Tuesday.
The four districts embody the neighborhood’s historic row house architecture—closely connected to its working waterfront, according to LPC—erected between the late 19th and early 20th centuries.
“The history of Sunset Park is reflected in the architecture and natural topography found in these four historic districts that feature intact rows of buildings that represent the major periods of development in this neighborhood,” LPC chair Sarah Carroll said in a statement.
Neighborhood activists who had long advocated to protect these areas, erupted into applause as the commission voted to designate the districts.
“After 30 years of advocacy, finally!” Joseph Svehlak, an advocate for the neighborhood’s historic districts said.
“On many blocks generations of Sunset Parkers have kept their row houses intact and looking historic, but that history is being erased by an increase in absentee investors destroying the row house facades,” Lynn Massimo, project leader of Sunset Park Landmarks Committee, said in a statement. “That history, which is not only architectural history but is also the history of a proud immigrant and working class community, deserves to be honored and preserved.”
Sunset Park South is made up of some 285 buildings and is located between 54th to 59th streets between Fourth and Fifth avenues. The district captures the “early development of Sunset Park and its residential character,” the LPC says.
On 50th Street, there are 25 houses located between Fourth and Fifth avenues that represent the neighborhood’s turn-of-the-century architecture through “cohesive rows of remarkably well-preserved brownstone-fronted houses," according to LPC.
The Central Sunset Park Historic District has 148 buildings located between 47th and 48th streets between Fifth and Sixth avenues, and Sixth Avenue between 47h and 49th streets. Sunset Park North is comprised of approximately 56 buildings on 44th Street between Fifth and Seventh avenues.