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Landmarks Approved From Bowery to Turtle Bay

By Amy Zimmer | June 28, 2011 5:53pm

By Amy Zimmer

DNAinfo News Editor

MANHATTAN — A neo-Tudor Gothic style townhouse in Turtle Bay, a terra cotta-clad loft building in the West Village and a Federal style house on the Bowery are among Manhattan's newest landmarks.

The Landmarks Preservation Commission approved these three buildings on Tuesday. It also voted to schedule a public hearing for two East Village historic districts: a 300-building swath from East 2nd and East 7th streets between First Avenue and the Bowery and 26 buildings along East 10th Street between Avenues A and B.

The oldest of Manhattan's new landmarks is the Hardenbrook-Somarindyck House at 135 Bowery, a 22-foot-wide, 3.5-story-tall row house that dates back to 1817 and was built by a prominent soap and candle merchant who helped establish the predecessor of the New York Stock Exchange.

The Fisk-Harkness House, at 12 E. 53rd St., between Fifth and Madison avenues, was originally built as a brownstone in 1871, but its façade was given a limestone neo-Gothic facelift in 1906 after Harvey Fisk, a prominent banker, bought the building.

At that time, the area in the 50s off Fifth Avenue was Manhattan's most desirable, LPC officials said.

"Before it became a magnet for luxury retailers and offices, this was an exclusive residential neighborhood that attracted many of New York's wealthiest citizens," LPC Chairman Robert Tierney said in a statement. "The building vividly recalls that moment in the city's history, and has remained in active use since then for many different purposes."

After adding such Gothic ornaments as gargoyles, buttresses, finials and crenellations, Fisk later sold the townhouse to William Harkness, a Standard Oil heir whose widow sold it to an art gallery in 1992. LIM College, for fashion and business, currently resides there.

The 12-story building from 1913 at 154 West 14th St., also landmarked on Tuesday, has a much less genteel history.

It was built to house various manufacturers and distributors and was home to the Corn Exchange, the Works Progress Administration and the U.S. Treasury's map making division.

But it is significant as one of the first city buildings with glazed terra cotta in hues of white, beige, mustard, cobalt blue, celadon, and green, LPC officials said. Before this structure, New York buildings often used terra cotta only to resemble masonry.