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City to Consider East Village Historic District Containing Nearly 300 Buildings

Tenement buildings along East 7th Street will be considered for designation by the city as part of a larger historic district.
Tenement buildings along East 7th Street will be considered for designation by the city as part of a larger historic district.
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NYC Landmarks Preservation Commission

By Patrick Hedlund

DNAinfo News Editor

EAST VILLAGE — The city is considering historic designation for a large swath of the East Village containing hundreds of tenement buildings and rowhouses that played a key role in downtown's immigrant experience.

Following the completion of a 2010 buildings survey, the Landmarks Preservation Commission is eyeing the area bounded roughly by East 2nd and East 7th streets between First Avenue and the Bowery, as well as 10th Street on the north side of Tompkins Square Park, for possible designation as a historic district.

The area in question covers nearly 300 buildings, including a concentration of intact 19th-century residential structures and several institutional buildings located within the study area.

The East Village currently counts just one historic district — the 38-building St. Mark's Historic District located along Stuyvesant, East 10th and East 11th streets between Second and Third avenues, the LPC noted.

The neighborhood also contains 27 individual landmarks, including the concert venue Webster Hall on East 11th Street, the La Mama Experimental Theatre Club building on East 4th Street, and the 11th Street Public Baths building. The LPC completed a study in 2006 that led to individual landmarking for many of these properties.

The commission will hold an informational session April 26 for property owners to discuss the possible designation.

Historically, some owners oppose landmarking because of the restrictions and regulations the designation imposes, particularly concerning building renovations.

For instance, neighbors on the Upper East Side recently battled over over a landmark proposal for the two-block stretch known as Hellgate Hill.

News of the designation was greeted well by Andrew Berman, executive director of the Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation, which has been conducting its own, broader-based survey of historic East Village properties.

"We think that this is a very, very important first step. The East Village is woefully under-landmarked, and this will hopefully begin to address that underrepresentation," he said.

"We very much intend to encourage the commission to take this a first step in what we hope will be a series of steps in protecting the neighborhood's vast array of historic resources."