cont. from P.1
What has happened to our sense of duty to preserve the best of our culture for future generations?We in the Greenwich Village Historic District will not,must not, stand idly by, and let this decision go unchal-lenged. We will appeal this travesty of justice and makesure it is overturned.To do so we need your support. I urge you to go to theGVHD website at http://www.protectthevillage.org/ to seewhat you can do to help our cause.The LPC vote was supposed to be solely concerning theO’Toole building, and pursuant to the statute, O’Toole canonly be torn down if it can no longer be used for its present purposes. The building is now being used for physicians’offices and can continue to be so used.Therefore, the application should have been rejected;however, by mixing apples with oranges, those voting infavor of the application, in reaching their decision relied on the alleged financial problems of the Hospital, its professed difficulty in renovating the present hospital building, located across from O’Toole, and the questionwhether any alternative sites were available to St.Vincent’s. None of these considerations were relevant to thequestion before the Commission, yet the decision turned on just those issues. St. Vincent’s had not even applied for a financial hardship, nor had it opened its books to theCommission, which would have been necessary had itmade such an application.Furthermore, St.Vincent's has always contended that theHospital had to be one huge tower; however, prior to theOctober 28th meeting, the LPC had already decided thatthe size of the proposed hospital building wasinappropriate for the Village. St. Vincent's never reapplied for a Certificate of Appropriateness, so it would appear that the Commission has granted the Hospital the right totear down a historic building in order to erect an edificethat it has already deemed inappropriate.In view of those facts, this decision defies common sense.I have contended from the beginning of this process thatthe attempt by Rudin and St. Vincent’s to build twohumongous buildings in the Village was driven byeconomic and political expediency. If those are the solestandards that we are to employ, what is the sense of having a Landmarks Law? The builders and developerswould bury our historic, cultural and architectural pastunder a slew of undistinguished glass towers.
Let me be clear: I support St. Vincent’s need tomodernize, but I see no inherent conflict between thatneed and the preservation of our beloved Village.
The St. Vincent’s catchment area is now the Westsidefrom the Battery to 59th street. There is no valid reasonthat the Hospital remain here, in our limited communalarea. Let St. Vincent’s build, without constraints,
the Historic District where it can truly best serve the entireWestside community.
Finally, a personal note:
Congratulations to our newPresident-Elect, Barack Obama!
We have been privileged to witness, and participate in, ahistoric moment in American history. By electing Sen.Obama as president we have overcome hate and racism,restored our honor as a nation, and have again become aninspiration and a beacon of hope to the entire world.After eight years of having lost our moral compass and wandering in the desert, we have finally returned to the promised land. Frankly, I was despairing that this momentwould ever come, but it has.It's our our country, and it's good to have it back!
Facelift Planned for Blighted Mid-Block Bldgs.
Block residents have long complained about theunsightly façade of 133-135 W. 13th St. This has been the location of a series of restaurantsover the years (La Champignon, Mandarin House,Covent Garden, New Deal, MariaElena). Mostrecently, it was La Nonna, which closed early thisdecade, leaving the building's exterior uncared-for.Graffiti was not removed, and the front walldeveloped a bulge on an upper floor.Ownership of the building has changed hands a fewtimes in recent years. The latest owners have hiredWilliam W. Suk, AIA, of the Truisi Suk Design Group.At a hearing Oct. 14 before the LandmarksCommittee of Community Board 2, Suk presented aplan to restore the façade in a manner consistentwith our historic district and with the original design of the buildings. The buildings apparently were constructed in the1840's in a style one committee membercharacterized as "transitional Greek Revival toItalianate." One major change to be made in thebuildings is to even out the top row of windows of 133and 135, which currently do not align. The owners will not include a restaurant in therestored building, and the wisteria now climbing itsfront will be removed. The architects claim thewisteria has gotten behind some of the brick work,causing structural problems.Suk would not reveal the owner of the building. Theowner of record is "135 West 13 LLC," managed bytwo brokers at the Corcoran Group based on E. 10thSt.
- Alan Jacobs