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.

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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.

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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.

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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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