Threatened East River Park Buildings Recognized for Architectural Distinction

Posted on: July 16th, 2020 at 5:05 am by

Comfort Station

The following guest post was written by Deborah Wye, a member of the Lower East Side Preservation Initiative board of directors.

Two East River Park Art Deco gems were recently deemed eligible for the State and National Registers of Historic Places by the New York State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO).

Both the Track House near East 6th Street and the Tennis Center Comfort Station between Rivington and Delancey Streets were recognized for their historical significance.

Based on research and an application submitted this past winter by the Lower East Side Preservation Initiative (LESPI), the determination means that the SHPO must review any plans to alter the buildings, including current intentions to demolish them under the East Side Coastal Resiliency project.

Track field house

The buildings were constructed in 1938 for the opening of East River Park, which was planned in conjunction with the new East River Drive. They were designed by Aymar Embury II, the lead architect for Parks Commissioner Robert Moses, during a period of massive construction in New York funded by the New Deal. In fact, the style of these buildings is sometimes called “WPA Moderne,” in reference to that era’s Works Project Administration. Embury was also responsible for the architectural design of many NYC bridges, pools, and other Depression era structures.

Photo: Parks Department

Each building displays remarkable craftsmanship, with colorful terra cotta details that refer back to the maritime and shipbuilding history of this waterfront area. State and National Register eligibility does not prevent demolition, however. Instead, the SHPO works with the project’s design team to mitigate the damage to the historic resources in any way deemed possible. With very few examples of Art Deco architecture on the Lower East Side, preservationists believe it is particularly important that they remain for future generations of Park goers.

All current photos used by permission from Lower East Side Preservation Initiative.

Recent Stories

‘Bowery Showroom’ is Gen Z Retail

Looks like a new concept store is setting up shop on the Lower East Side. Bowery Showroom, a New York-based designer vintage and lifestyle brand, is opening its first retail location this weekend. Not on the Bowery; in fact a few blocks off at 57 Stanton Street. What we gather from the PR babble is […]

Elected Officials Ignore Mom’s Plea to Stop the City from Destroying East River Park [OP-ED]

The following editorial was written by Kirsten Theodos, an East Village resident. There is a crisis right now in New York City. The limited green space we have is under attack, and even a global climate crisis and pandemic won’t stop the City from destroying it. I live near East River Park, the only meaningful green […]

Adam Schlesinger Virtual Tribute is in the Works

A virtual tribute to keep the late Adam Schlesinger’s memory shining on is in the works. The Fountains of Wayne co-founder and bassist passed away one year ago due to Covid complications. “This is a proper musical send-off for my soul brother with a bunch of talented and groovy guests that would make Adam wince,” […]

Tre on Ludlow Street Returns Next Month with New Chef

The following guest post was written by Bowery Boogie reader Colton Moore. Tre, the locals Italian restaurant on Ludlow Street, is set to reopen on Saturday, May 1. It’s the first time back open since the pandemic-related sidelining in December. Returning diners will be surprised (and treated) to a new menu; rather than offering full […]

Shakespeare in the Parking Lot Returns from COVID-19 Sidelines

All the world’s a stage… To honor what would be the Bard’s 457th birthday, the ever-so-popular Shakespeare in the Parking Lot is back for a two night affair. Being the first performance from the troupe since the pandemic sidelined it in 2020, the event promises evenings filled with scenes, songs, sonnets, and soliloquies from the […]