PRESERVING WEST END AVE. MOVES FORWARD

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By Dan Rivoli

The Landmark Preservation Commission was scheduled to meet with West End Avenue property owners Wednesday, Sept. 15, about the designation of hundreds of buildings.

The meeting, which at press time was scheduled for 6 p.m. at P.S. 75, is an informal but crucial part of the landmark designation process. The meeting is to inform property owners of the added regulation that comes with landmark designation.

The year-old proposal would landmark 745 buildings on West End Avenue between West 70th Street and West 109th Street, including many side streets. “With a few exemptions, virtually everything is included,” said Richard Emery, the founder and president of a nonprofit West End Preservation Society. “This is a remarkable and far more ambitious landmarking than we have ever contemplated.”

The West End Preservation Society submitted the request to the Landmark Preservation Commission after a Columbia University professor, Andrew Dolkart, conducted a 260-page study of the avenue’s architecture.

“West End Avenue is the longest stretch of pre-war buildings that’s basically unbroken,” Emery said.

The commission is considering a plan that would extend existing Upper West Side landmark districts, according to Elisabeth de Bourbon, a commission spokesperson.

“Many of them would be extended to include the 745 buildings we believe are deserving of designation,” de Bourbon said.

The Upper West Side has seven historic districts, but only a few cover buildings on the avenue. The Riverside-West End Historic District is the largest, covering seven blocks of West End Avenue from West 87th Street to West 94th. The districts were created to preserve the distinct residential buildings constructed in the late-19th and early-20th century.

“The buildings that are worthy of designation are a natural extension of the existing districts,” de Bourbon said.

The West End Avenue proposal will officially move through the designation process next month, when the commission votes to schedule a public hearing.

Update:

The Landmark Preservation Commission released a draft of the proposed West End Avenue historic district expansion:

West End Avenu Study Areas _ALL_20100916

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