LPC ‘Backlog Initiative’ Fails to Landmark 2 Federal-Style Houses on the LES

Posted on: February 24th, 2016 at 5:00 am by
2 Oliver St. and 138 2nd Ave, Photo: Real Deal

2 Oliver St. and 138 2nd Ave, Photo: Real Deal

Yesterday was a big day for the Landmarks Preservation Commission. A day of hearings watched closely by both preservationists and big real estate. It was all part of the so-called “Backlog Initiative,” the ambitious plan devised to address the buildup of 95 properties previously awaiting judgement by the city (85% were calendared more than twenty years ago).

Two federal-style Lower East Side buildings, in particular, did not net protective status – 2 Oliver Street and 138 Second Avenue.

The LPC first considered 2 Oliver Street back in 1966, according to public records. Right after the body was establishment, in fact. It was designed by Robert Dodge in 1821, and leased to architect James O’Donnell, who designed the nearby Fulton Street Market, among other achievements. The address was considered one of 13 Federal-style homes the GVSHP and New York Landmarks Conservancy recommended for landmark status in 2003.

LPC Backlog Initiative schedule

LPC Backlog Initiative schedule

138 Second Avenue is another of the Federal-style vintage. Located between St. Mark’s Place and East 9th Street, the building has been sitting pretty since 1832. It was first calendared by the LPC in 2009. The building’s heritage is a case-study in the neighborhood’s evolution, from premiere upper class living to German immigrant cultural center (“KIeindeutschland”).

The Backlog Initiative was originally proposed in 2014 with the goal of quietly de-calendaring all sites without hearings and input. They later changed tune after the collective protest of several preservation organizations like the GVSHP.


Here’s the full list of results for Manhattan…

Prioritized for Designation:
1.  315 Broadway Building, 315 Broadway, Manhattan, CD 1
2.  57 Sullivan Street House, 57 Sullivan Street, Manhattan, CD 2
3.  Interborough Rapid Transit Powerhouse, now Consolidated Edison Powerhouse, 850 12th Avenue (aka 840 Joe DiMaggio Highway), Manhattan, CD 4
4.  Bergdorf Goodman, 754 Fifth Avenue, Manhattan, CD 5
5.  Edgar J. Kaufman Conference Rooms, Lecture Hall and Elevator Lobby, 809 United Nations Plaza, Manhattan, CD6
6.  St. Michael’s Episcopal Church, Parish House & Rectory, 227 West 99th  Street,  Manhattan, CD 7
7.  412 East 85th Street House, 412 East 85th Street, Manhattan CD 8
8.  St. Joseph’s Church, 401-403 West 125th Street, Manhattan, CD 9
9. Young Men’s Christian Association (YMCA) Building, Harlem Branch (now Jackie Robinson YMCA Youth Center), 181 West 135th Street, Manhattan, CD 10
10. St. Paul’s Church and School, 121 East 117th Street, Manhattan, CD 11
11. Loew’s 175th Street Theater, 4140 Broadway, Manhattan, CD 12
12.  Excelsior Power Company Building, 33-43 Gold Street, Manhattan, CD 1

Removed from Calendar, No Action:
1.  143 Chambers Street Building, 143 Chambers Street, Manhattan, CD 1
2.  James McCreery & Co. (original store), 801-807 Broadway, Manhattan CD 2
3.  138 Second Avenue House, 138 Second Avenue, Manhattan, CD 3
4.  2 Oliver Street House, 2 Oliver Street,  Manhattan, CD 3
5.  Mission of the Immaculate Virgin West, 448 West 56th Street, Manhattan, CD 4
6.  Osborne Apartment Building Interior, 205 West 57th Street, Manhattan, CD 5
7.  Sire Building, 211 West 58th Street, Manhattan CD 5
8.  Union Square Park, Manhattan, CD 5
9. Empire Theater (Interior and Exterior), 236-242 West 42nd Street, Manhattan, CD 5
10. Liberty Theater (Interior and Exterior), 234 West 42nd Street, Manhattan, CD 5
11. Lyric Theater (Interior and Exterior), 213 West 42nd Street, Manhattan, CD 5
12. New Apollo Theater Interior, 215-223 West 42nd Street, Manhattan, CD 5
13. Selwyn Theater (Interior and Exterior), 229-231 West 42nd Street, Manhattan, CD 5
14. Times Square Theater (Interior and Exterior), 215-223 West 42nd Street, Manhattan, CD5
15. Victory Theater (Interior and Exterior), 207 West 42nd Street, Manhattan, CD 5
16. 150 East 38th Street House, 150 East 38th Street, Manhattan, CD 6
17. President Chester A. Arthur House, 123 Lexington Avenue, Manhattan, CD 6
18. D.G. Yuengling Brewery Co. Complex, Manhattan, CD 9
19. St. Paul’s Rectory, 113 East 117th Street, Manhattan, CD 11
20.  Hotel Renaissance, later Columbia Club, 4 West 43rd Street, Manhattan, CD 5]

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