CB3 Passes Resolution on 35 Cooper Square

Posted on: March 11th, 2011 at 6:39 am by

Despite the heavy rains last night, a sizable crowd gathered inside the BRC Senior Services Center at 30 Delancey for the CB3 Parks & Recreation committee meeting.  Of the eight items on the agenda, 35 Cooper Square was the marquee event which attracted the masses.

This particular meeting was seemingly the last stop for a passionate pride of preservationists that has already staged a rally, candlelight vigil, and a successful online petition with over 2,000 signatures.  It was an urgent plea at the behest of the Bowery Alliance of Neighbors to a community organization with self-admitted “soft power.” Numerous residents attended to spur immediate action from Community Board 3 against the possible demolition of 35 Cooper Square, and to help notch the Bowery in the State and National Historic Registers.

Architectural historian Kerri Culhane was first at bat, so to speak, explaining the significance of the structure and Bowery as a whole.  She painted broad strokes about the last remaining Federal-style buildings like 35 Cooper Square, and how they are rare survivors, especially in a world now dominated by bigger money interests.  Her testimony was then followed by a string of local activists who provided additional meat and potatoes to the argument.  How a stucco facade shouldn’t be considered an impediment to landmarking; how the now-roofless 35 Cooper is deteriorating due to neglect; how there is already precedent with regard to incorporating historic buildings into modern developments; and the pressing need to at least recognize the Bowery as a culturally significant area worth preserving.

There’s still a slight sliver of hope, as the board voted unanimously to send a resolution outlining community sentiment (i.e. Fury) to developer Arun Bhatia.  CB3 motioned their support due to the following criteria:

  • 35 Cooper Square is the oldest building in Cooper Square, and predates the Cooper Union Foundation Building by thirty years.
  • There is already precedent with regard to preserving other historic buildings with stucco alterations.
  • There is already precedent with regard to incorporating historic buildings into newer developments (e.g. Skidmore House).
  • There is urgency to have the Bowery listed in the State and National Historic Registers.

And lest we forget, the following three applications were also approved:

  • Fashion Forward is a new event by the LES BID to attract more foot traffic to Broome Street.  It will showcase neighborhood fashion merchants at four different stations (May 21, 1 -3 pm).
  • The fourth annual Apple Day, to be held on Orchard Street between Broome and Grand  (September 18, 11 am – 4 pm).
  • Meet the Street is returning.  Organizers hope to capitalize on the crowds of the Fringe Festival in August by having a street fair of sorts (August 20 – 21, 27-28).
  • ride4aiden Sudden Infant Death Awareness (June 18).

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