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Preservationists Push To Make East Village, Lower East Side A Historic District

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TWC News: Preservationists Push To Make East Village, Lower East Side A Historic District
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The Landmarks Preservation Commission is looking to add a historic district to two Manhattan neighborhoods. NY1's Bree Driscoll filed the following report.

Both the East Village and the Lower East Side of Manhattan are vibrant neighborhoods known for their rich immigrant heritage and artistic culture. Now, there is a move underway to preserve that legacy.

"The East Village and the Lower East Side was the biggest immigrant way-station in the entire county," says Andrew Berman of the Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation. "Literally hundreds of thousands of people have roots that came through this neighborhood."

The Landmarks Preservation Commission is set to vote on Tuesday, Oct. 9, on whether to create the East Village Lower East Side Historic District.

It would generally encompass the area along Second Avenue between St. Mark's Place and Second Street but it would also include a portion between First Avenue and Avenue A between St. Mark's Place and Sixth Street.

The Orthodox Cathedral of the Holy Virgin Protection falls within the proposed district.

"We are especially sensitive to government intrusion on our rights for expression and how we dictate our religious thoughts and facade on the building," says Richard Wright of Cathedral of the Holy Virgin Protection.

Wright says the church has asked the LPC to be removed from the district and is waiting to hear back. He also worries that the new district would gentrify the neighborhood.

"We have spent nearly $1 million in the last decade alone conserving our building and for the city to come in and tell us that they can do it better is, quite frankly, an insult," he says

Meanwhile, Berman says he would like to see even more of the neighborhood preserved than what is currently proposed and done quickly before more historic buildings are lost to new development.

"It will help ensure that the buildings, the institutions, these wonderful places where not only did history take place but where wonderful things continue to take place in the neighborhood survive for generations to come," Berman says.

If the Landmarks Preservation Commission approves the district, it goes into effect immediately. From there, the City Council has the opportunity to either uphold or overturn the designation.

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