On Tuesday, February 10, 2015 the Landmarks Preservation Commission held a Public Meeting on 361 Central Park West where architects presented their plans for multiple alterations to the exterior of this Individual Landmark, designed by Carrere & Hastings.
Please find a copies of LANDMARK WEST! President Kate Wood ‘s letter to Chair Meenakshi Srinivasan as well as other support letters from architects Charles Warren , Page Cowley and Robert A. M. Stern.
Also, please read LANDMARK WEST! Founder and former President Arlene Simon‘s Valedictory Speech to the LPC on December 9, 2014.
First, the bad news about the First Church of Christ, Scientist. If you thought the proposal to redesign the Classical stone façade, stained-glass windows and roof of this Individual Landmark designed by Carrere & Hastings couldn’t get any worse…think again.
At this morning’s Landmarks Preservation Commission “Public Meeting,” it was evident that the application to convert this Landmark to condo use has strayed far from the principles of appropriateness established by the public testimony and the Commissioners’ own comments at the December 9, 2014, Public Hearing.
This was no time for “business as usual.” When Chair Meenakshi Srinivasan made a statement opening the “Hearing” to allow the applicant to speak (remember today’s session was billed as a “Public Meeting,” where no testimony would be taken), Landmark West! President Kate Wood seized the opportunity – the right, as a member of the public – to be heard. Over Chair Srinivasan’s objections, she urged the Commissioners to stand up for this Individual Landmark and not allow a shoehorned residential use (also requiring a slew of code variances) to compromise it irreversibly. Opponents of the project then stood up and left the room.
Essentially, the development team wants to plow ahead with plans to cut dozens of new windows, including six in the massive stone piers that define the Central Park West façade, and alter the original stained-glass windows. Some other aspects of the design have been modified as well.
Now for the more positive news. The Commissioners (a bare quorum of six) did not take a vote. Most of those present indicated a general willingness to approve the application, but specifically objected to the six new windows cut into the Central Park West façade, unconvinced that they were absolutely required to accommodate a new use. So, it’s back to the drawing board…and back to the waiting game.
BIG THANKS to everyone who came down, wrote emails/letters, and made the effort to participate. Speaking up can make a difference!
· Preserve, don’t destroy this Carrere & Hastings Landmark
· Bring any future amendments to this application to a Public Hearing, not a so-called “Public Meeting” – if the applicant can speak, so must the public
· Vote “no” to changes that serve only short-term development goals, not the long-term integrity of this Landmark