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20 December 2012

IN THIS ISSUE

West Village's Julius' Bar Eligible for State and National Historic Registers

 

Important Land Use Applications: 730 B'way, 40-56 10th Ave., 180 Sixth Avenue

Incredible History Behind East 13th Street Tenement

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West Village's Julius' Bar Eligible for State and National Registers of Historic Places

 

Based upon research and a request made by GVSHP, the New York State Historic Preservation Office has determined Julius' Bar at 159 West 10th Street/188 Waverly Place in Greenwich Village eligible for the State and National Registers of Historic Places (read GVSHP's nomination HERE, and the State's finding HERE). The oldest gay bar in New York, Julius' was also the site of a groundbreaking gay civil rights action in 1966 which resulted in the end of New York State's prohibition on serving alcohol to anyone known to be gay. The "sip-in," in which several members of a gay civil rights organization known as the Mattachine Society went to the bar identifying themselves as 'homosexuals' and asked to be served a drink, was based upon the "sit-ins" being staged at segregated lunch counters throughout the South, and was one of the first recorded instances of civil disobedience against anti-gay discrimination. At the time, the New York Times covered the incident referring to the protesters as "sexual deviates."

 

The State and National Registers of Historic Places are the official record of the places most important to our state and nation's history, as defined by New York State and Federal government. Currently, only two places in the entire country are listed on the State and National Registers of Historic Places for their connection to the gay civil rights movement -- the Stonewall Inn in Greenwich Village (site of 1969's Stonewall Riots and considered the birthplace of the modern gay rights movement, co-nominated by GVSHP in 1999) and the Washington D.C. home of Frank Kameny, the co-founder of the Mattachine Society.

 

The Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation is working with the NY State Historic Preservation Office to identify, recognize, and help preserve sites of importance to the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender (LGBT) civil rights movement. Earlier this year, GVSHP successfully nominated a nearly 200 year old house at 186 Spring Street for eligibility for the State and National Registers of Historic Places based upon the groundbreaking LGBT civil rights work done by three of the men who lived there. While the State found the house's history was of "extraordinary significance," the City refused to hold a hearing on landmarking the property, and quickly issued demolition permits allowing a developer to raze the house (see HERE). The New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission is yet to designate any site based upon its significance to LGBT history, in spite of New York's primary role in the history of the worldwide LGBT civil rights movement.

 

You can find out more about LGBT history and the Village HERE.


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Important Land Use Applications

 

Three applications with broad potential implications for development in our neighborhoods are making their way through the public review process, starting with review by Community Board #2.

  • 730 Broadway (Waverly Place):  NYU is seeking a zoning variance to turn most of this building into labs and academic space (application HERE). The special zoning for NoHo and SoHo prohibit these uses, and keeps NYU from expanding in these areas. The proposed new labs will also require adding a 4-story mechanical addition atop the building, located in the NoHo Historic District. In NYU's 2031 expansion plan, the university failed to reveal that it would seek zoning variances or a 4-story addition on this site. NYU also claimed that its planned new construction on Bleecker and Mercer Streets would house new physics labs, which it now appears would go in this building. Several NYU faculty testified against this variance at the CB 2 Land Use Committee.  GVSHP opposes this variance, and the Board's Land Use Committee also voted to recommend denial.
  • 40-56 Tenth Avenue (13th/14th Street):  A developer is seeking to construct a glass office tower with commercial space in the lower floors, and is asking for zoning variances to make the tower 34% larger than zoning allows (reaching 199 ft. high) and to set the tower back from the adjacent High Line park to allow more light and air to reach it (read the application HERE). The developer argues that landfill under the site and the presence of the High Line on part of the site creates an economic hardship. While GVSHP does not object to setting the building back from the High Line park, we do object to a variance to allow the building to be larger than normally allowed, especially when the Meatpacking District is already overdeveloped and other nearby sites were developed without zoning variances for extra bulk. The Community Board's Land Use Committee also voted to recommend denial of the bulk variance. Read more HERE.
  • 180 Sixth Avenue/God's Love We Deliver (Spring/Vandam Street):  An application has been filed to modify a restrictive declaration governing 166 Sixth Avenue, a property given to God's Love We Deliver (GLWD) in 1993 exclusively for social service use. The amendment would allow part of the GLWD property, and by extension some of its air rights, to be used for a planned 14-story, 160 ft. tall luxury residential development at 180 Sixth Avenue, just north of the site, and to increase the size of that development by 18,000 sq. ft (application and details HERE). The Community Board's Land Use Committee, while praising the invaluable work of GLWD, recommended denial of the modification of the restrictive declaration. GVSHP also highly values God's Love's work, but we are also very concerned about the precedent of allowing properties given by the city for particular public service uses, to then be utilized for private development. We are also as always concerned about preserving the scale and character of this neighborhood.

All of these items will be heard and voted on by the full Community Board Thursday night beginning at 6 pm (details HERE), with further public hearings by the City in the new year (dates TBD) before final decisions are made. 

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143 East 13th Street's Incredible History Sparks Landmarking Proposal

   

GVSHP has researched and documented the history of every single building in the East Village as part of our ongoing effort to promote preservation in this neighborhood. One outstanding building is the pre-law tenement at 143 East 13th Street, which was built in 1863 at the height of the Civil War. Few structures of its kind anywhere in New York City maintain the incredible level of intact original detail as 143 East 13th Street. 

 

Working closely with the owner of the building, GVSHP, along with allied community and preservation groups, has asked the Landmarks Preservation Commission to consider landmarking this incredible structure as it is about to turn 150 years old -- read the nomination and find out more about its history HERE.

 

Read more about East Village preservation efforts HERE.


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Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation

232 East 11th Street, New York, NY 10003 / (212) 475-9585

www.gvshp.org