Wednesday, August 20, 2014

beam me back in time, Scotty

Sometimes a client will ask “How detailed are New York City’s architectural records?” and, “Why can’t we just build whatever we want and how would they even know?”

I'll tell you.

909 Broadway is a squat three story between 20th and 21st. It was originally built as a home and so it is mentioned in Phillips Elite Dictionary from 1881.

That old, arched iron beam over the facade caught my camera the other day.

909 is in the heart of the Ladies’ Mile Historic District, a neighborhood we’ve featured before:

This area is highly prized and fiercely protected by the Landmarks Commission for its excellent stand of antique, Victorian buildings.

So I went looking for the history of that old curved beam and sure enough, it dates from 1874. 

That “iron arch girder” is interesting enough to warrant a mention in the Landmark Commissioner’s report.

So now let us return to the present. 

Madura is a French home furnishings retailer. They applied to make changes to 909 to improve the little building for retail. That curved beam is apparent in their FaceBook picture.


They sought permission to make typical retail changes like color, new windows and storefront, an awning and some signage.

But they were denied. See?

The community board likes buildings here just the way they are, thank you very much. 


And don’t even think about disturbing that old beam.

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