Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Meet the new Director of Education: Adam Rubin

Hello! My name is Adam Rubin and I am very excited to be joining the LANDMARK WEST! staff as Director of Education. For those that I've already met, thanks for the warm welcome, and I look forward to meeting more members of the LW! community over the next several months.
Before coming to New York, I worked on the west coast as Youth Outreach Coordinator at the Los Angeles Conservancy from 2007 to 2010.  As a native Angeleno, I really fell in love with my hometown through teaching kids, families, and the general public about the city’s incredibly vibrant and eclectic historic built environment.  I enjoyed my experience at the Conservancy so much that I decided to pursue my Master’s Degree in American Studies and Historic Preservation at the George Washington University in Washington D.C., which I completed in 2012.  I relocated to New York City after graduating and have worked at the Center for Architecture Foundation and at the Brooklyn Historical Society before starting at LANDMARK WEST! last week.
As summer winds down and a new school year begins, I look forward to engaging Upper West Siders (and fans of Upper West Side buildings) of all ages with their architectural heritage in new and inspiring ways.  I believe that the study of buildings and urban spaces not only helps kids and adults understand and appreciate the beauty and context of local architecture, but can also provide a unique lens through which we can begin to look at deeper issues of cultural identity, civic responsibility, and how to grow a healthy and engaged community over time.  Please come up and say hello the next time you see me at a LW! event!

Friday, August 9, 2013

Illegal Rooftop Addition still standing after three years of the demolition decision!

By Jennifer Perez

With the proposed rooftop addition at The Evelyn (101 West 78th Street) being the talk at LW! recently, I've been inspired to do a little rooftop addition research myself, and I came upon the case of 12-14 West 68th Street. As you may have seen from earlier posts from March 17, 2010 and May 4, 2010, this case involves an illegal rooftop addition that was constructed by the owners of the building. 14 West 68th St. is a Queen Anne-style house that was built in 1895 with a studio building (12 West 68th St.) attached to it: built in 1925. This illegal addition was discovered by a resident living in West 67th Street who wondered if the addition was ever approved by the Landmarks Preservation Commission (LPC). After public hearings and meetings, the LPC declared that the new addition was built on this landmark illegally. It seemed as though the original owners knew they lived in a historic district (the Upper West Side- Central Park West H.D. designated in 1990) but believed the addition was approved when they received the permit from the Department of Buildings (DOB). "How can a building owner get an addition past the Landmarks Preservation Commission? Easy: just don't tell them!" as Curbed NY once stated.
After constructing the addition, the property was sold to a new owner. The new owner proposed modifications that were to feature windows replicating those found on the studios building's lower floors, new brick, and masonry matching the studio. A parapet was to be also removed and reduce the illegal addition height by seven feet. The LPC denied the legalization as declared that the illegal addition must be taken down.
However, this illegal addition is still standing today, three years after the LPC determined that it should be demolished. The addition is still standing strong and tall without a fright. Many are demanding that the decision of the demolition of the illegal addition should be enforced. We need to have our landmarks protected and the rules enforced!