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43 MacDougal Street: A Happy Ending At Last?

Five years ago we wrote about the terrible, deteriorating conditions at 43 MacDougal Street, a landmarked, 1846 Greek Revival townhouse at the corner of King Street in the King-Charlton-VanDam Historic District.  The building had been neglected to the point of near-abandonment for over a decade.

43 MacDougal Street, April 4, 2011

With a rainy week ahead, we were worried the historic structure might not survive, as it was unsealed and had suffered for years not just from the elements but from homeless encampments within and without.

A few days later, we found out things were even worse than we thought.

43 MacDougal Street, April 7, 2011, from above

Neighbors of the building had to deal with garbage, smell, rodents, penetrating leaks, and the fear that the buildings might collapse.  For years, GVSHP pushed both the absentee owner and the City to take action to save the deteriorating landmark, including calling for a “demolition by neglect” suit.

Who says there are no happy endings?

43 MacDougal Street today — nearing a happy ending.

Five years later, a new owner has made an earnest and diligent effort to restore the building.  In the spring of 2014 he filed an application with the Landmarks Preservation Commission (LPC) to restore the building and modestly expand the attic floor (which was too low to accommodate residential occupancy).  GVSHP strongly supported the application and the LPC approved it.

Work has been moving along steadily over the intervening months, and on a swing by recently we saw the scaffolding had been largely removed, and the beautifully restored historic façade was, for the first time in years, revealed.  The only exterior work remaining is completion of the renovation of the ground floor, which will become an active storefront again with restoration of its Greek Revival details.

The old neglected storefront and images of the planned restored one, from the application.

We can’t wait for the ribbon-cutting!



3 responses to “43 MacDougal Street: A Happy Ending At Last?

  1. So wonderful that the building is being revived. Can you imagine how many families walked the halls and steps of that building? My grandmother and grandfather, Maria and Joseph Santangelo raised 9 children on the top floor of 50 Mac Dougal Street. We grandchildren, now in our late 60’s, early 70’s still hold in our hearts the wonderful days of growing up in the Village. We played on the roof and by the grace of God, not one of us fell off. All the aunts and uncles are gone now and we are the next on the conveyor belt of life. Yet, the Village lives on.

  2. I attended grade school at St. Anthony of Padua directly across the street from 45 Mcdougal St. Around 1950 and always wondered who lived in 45 Mcdougal as I lived in a tenement at 124 Thompson St on the corner of Prince St. It had to be rich people to live in such an elegant looking building.
    It’s great to see come alive again.

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