Tuesday, December 02, 2008

93rd Street Beautification Association to Part the Red Sea to Stop Illegal Penthouse Construction

I have to give it to Susan Hefti. She is a real trouper and so absolutely dedicated to all that is good over on East 93rd Street, including having the street renamed for the Marx Brothers and having the Landmarks Preservation Commission extend the Carnegie Hill Historic District by one block.

Today, Susan pointed me toward a sample letter on the 93rd Street Beautification Association's website that anyone can use to help stop the construction of a probably-illegal penthouse on top of another penthouse on this endangered block.

You can read the full version of the sample letter here. Meantime, here's a tease:

City of NY
Board of Standards & Appeals
40 Rector Street, 9th Floor
New York, NY 10006-1705

Re: BSA Calendar Number - 162-08-BZ, Property ID - 150 East 93rd Street, Block 1521, Lot 51, Manhattan

To the Board:

Historic East 93rd Street between Lexington & Third Avenues is a very special block. In addition to the world-famous Marx Brothers House, the block boasts a row of 19th century brownstones that are older than any of the brownstones already within the protection of the Carnegie Hill Historic District. These houses date from the same year Abraham Lincoln won re-election (1864) and even pre-date the Lexington Avenue extension.

In addition to these two significant facts, East 93rd Street's unique stepped-down roof-scape, in part a function of the block being one of the steepest hills left in Manhattan, has been celebrated by architects and historic preservationists alike. In fact, Place Matters, the partnership project of the Municipal Arts Society and City Lore, is so charmed by this remarkable stepped-down roof-scape, it has devoted an entire page to this historic block on its web site. So I'm sure BSA can appreciate the fact that any project which threatens the historic character of this little neighborhood is of grave concern to many.

I am writing to express my very serious concerns about the proposed Penthouse for which the applicant is requesting a special permit. Before irreparable harm is rendered upon this block, I respectfully ask BSA to deny applicant's request for the reasons stated above and below:

You'll have to click over to read the rest, which I exhort you to do.

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