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South Village Building Damaged by Fire

68 Thompson Street

At 2 AM this morning, a beautiful South Village building caught fire, resulting in a three-alarm fire that injured 10 firefighters and 1 civilian woman, sending all to the hospital.  It took 140 firefighters over two hours to get the fire, which started in the basement and made its way all the way up the six-story building, under control.  The cause of the fire is yet undetermined, but more information is available from the Huffington Post, the Daily News, and Gothamist.  Of course we are extremely grateful that this fire took no lives, the most important thing.  However, the building at 68 Thompson Street, between Broome and Spring Streets, was clearly significantly damaged.

L: photo courtesy of Ricardo Nelson for Gothamist; R: photo courtesy of Rachel Pincus for Gothamist

The New-Law Tenement was constructed in 1904 by the architect John Hauser.  Impressively designed in the Beaux Arts style, this tenement possessed lyrical ironwork fire escape balconies, a chunky and elaborately detailed cornice, a modulated façade, and intricately detailed coursings and lintels.   Also, like many buildings in the much-under-protected South Village, 68 Thompson was especially significant for its intact cast iron storefront.   In 1965, this building was one of many slated for demolition by Robert Moses’ plan for a Downtown Expressway.  It survived that tragedy, but today is not so lucky.

The building is located within GVSHP’s proposed South Village Historic District.  In 2010, after eight years of lobbying the city’s Landmarks Preservation Commission, a third of the proposed district was landmarked, with vague assurances that the remaining two-thirds would be considered at some point in the near future.  With damage to yet another South Village building, there is still no word from the LPC as to if or when they will act to protect the remaining two-thirds of the neighborhood.

If you’d like to help preserve the South Village, click HERE.

the intricate, 19th Century facade details
the elaborately detailed cast iron storefront

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