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Community Board One Resolution on Little Syria Community House

By Posted in - What's Happening Now? - News And Updates on February 25th, 2012 0 Comments

On June 28, 2011, in an action covered by local media, Community Board 1 of Manhattan (the southernmost part of Lower Manhattan below Canal Street) unanimously voted to request that the Landmarks Preservation Commission “speedily approve this culturally and architecturally important building [105-107 Washington Street] as an individual New York City Landmark.” They recently followed up this resolution with an additional letter to the Commission signed by members of the committee.

When you consider that local political bodies, nearly all of the Arab-American organizations in the United States, the leading preservationists in New York City, many local citizens, and finally individuals from around the world are making pleas on this issue, the request to have the Landmarks Preservation Commission simply hold a hearing on this building and let us make our case seems extremely reasonable.

The recent stories by The New York Times, The BBC, PRI’s The World, and Al Jazeera English emphasize the perceived historical and cultural value of this building for posterity.

Here is the text of the Community Board’s June resolution. Julie Menin and Catherine Mcvay Hughes are the current chairperson and vice chairperson. The current members of Community Board 1 are: Marc J. Ameruso, Linda Belfer, Peter Braus, Roger Byrom, George Calderaro, Paul Cantor, Deron Charkoudian, Susan Cole, Michael Connolly, Mark Costello, Marva Craig, Ann M. DeFalco, Jeff Ehrlich, Bruce L. Ehrmann, John Fratta, Jeff Galloway, Dennis Gault, Peter Glazier, Tom Goodkind, Oliver Gray, Paul Hovitz, Mariama James, Noel E. Jefferson, Tricia Joyce, Michael Ketring, Joel Kopel, Elizabeth Lamere, Diane Lapson, Joseph Lerner, Megan McHugh, Catherine McVay Hughes, Julie Menin, Jeffrey Mihok, Patricia L. Moore, Anthony Notaro, Ruth Ohman, Una L. Perkins, Harold Reed, Robert Schneck, Coren Sharples, Edward Sheffe, Paul Sipos, Michael Skidmore, Vera Sung, Allan Tannenbaum, Robert Townley, Paul Viggiano, Elizabeth Williams, Tiffany Winbush, and Chow Xie.

DATE: JUNE 28, 2011

COMMITTEE VOTE: 8 In Favor 0 Opposed 0 Abstained 0 Recused
BOARD VOTE: 33 In Favor 0 Opposed 0 Abstained 0 Recused
RE: 105-107 Washington Street, Designation as individual New York City Landmark

WHEREAS: The building was designed in 1925 by Architect John F. Jackson – who became known for his extensive and impressive work on Community and YMCA buildings; and

WHEREAS: The building was sponsored by Bon Ami Cleanser magnet William Childs as a Community House for the perpetual welfare of people in lower Manhattan with the cornerstone being laid by Governor Al Smith in 1925; and

WHEREAS: The Community House served many nationalities with the area becoming known as Little Syria in the late 19th Century and Bowling Green Village in the 20th Century; and

WHEREAS: The building was designed in the Colonial Revival style, with characteristic red brick façade, limestone base and trim, insert plaques with swag ornament, window lintels with projecting keystones, and mansard roof with dormers over a modillioned cornice embodies the Colonial Revival style; and

WHEREAS: The neighborhood has lost many important resources since 2011: 4 Albany Street – demolished, 21-23 Thames Street – demolished, 96 Greenwich Street – seriously altered, 47-49 West Street – Crystal Building – demolished, 50-52 Trinity Street – demolished; and

WHEREAS: The are other buildings in the Lower West Side Neighborhood that are in danger in addition to 105-107 Washington Street: 109 Washington Street, 78 Trinity Street – The American Stock Exchange, 125 Greenwich Street – Western Electric Building; and

WHEREAS: There are two existing individual NYC Landmarks in the neighborhood: The Syrian Church adjoining 105-107 Washington Street and 41 Greenwich Street; and

WHEREAS: The Committee was encouraged the applicant – representing Friends of the Lower West Side – had the support of the Settlement House but suggested they get support from the Historic Districts Council, MAS and NY Landmarks Conservancy, as well as return with other Requests For Evaluation on other endangered buildings and consider an historic district designation for the Lower West Side; now

THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED THAT: CB#1 urgently requests the Landmark Preservation Commission review the Request For Evaluation and speedily approve this culturally and architecturally important building as an individual New York City Landmark.

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