On January 3rd, 2017, Village Preservation released the first version of our report: New Buildings Approved for Construction within the Greenwich Village Historic District Since Designation. The report has been regularly updated to reflect additional new buildings approved for construction within the district. Amazingly, prior to the issuance of the report, there was no source where one could find all such designs approved in the Greenwich Village Historic District.
The Greenwich Village Historic District was designated on April 29, 1969 — the city’s largest and one of its first landmarked districts. This report documents 45 buildings approved for construction in the historic district of about 2,300 buildings from designation through 2021. Some were never built. Some are now neighborhood classics. Some sparked enormous controversy, and still do. Some will make you wonder “what were they thinking?” Today we explore a few of these approvals:
224 West 11th Street
The first new building approved for construction in the newly designated historic district was a new St. John’s in the Village Episcopal Church at West 11th Street and Waverly Place. This building was approved in 1972 to replace the pre-Civil War era classical revival church destroyed by a fire on March 6, 1971.
The new modern church was designed by Edgar Tafel, a student of Frank Lloyd Wright. The modern congregation is known for its inclusive and welcoming community, care for the needy, and engagement with the arts and local community.
18 West 11th Street
On March 6, 1970, 18 West 11th Street, an 1845 Greek Revival townhouse was destroyed in an explosion. The explosion was caused by the domestic terrorist group Weather Underground, who were assembling a bomb in the basement. Three militants were killed in the blast.
A debate ensued about how to replace the building, one of the first to be built in the newly-designated district. Some wanted a replica of the destroyed building to be built. Others advocated for a new design to reflect or memorialize the disruption in history.
There were strong reactions against the new design, but following extensive debate, the new design was approved by the Landmarks Preservation Commission. Now known as the Weathermen House, this new structure was designed by the firm of Hardy Holzman Pfeiffer.
293, 295, and 297 West 4th Street
While walking along West 4th Street between Bank Street and West 11th Street, one probably wouldn’t think twice about the contextual, historic-looking structures at 293 and 295 West 4th Street. But these new buildings (which are actually just one building) only resemble historic structures and were built after 2005. Along with the more modern-looking new approval at 297 West 4th Street, these buildings replaced a two-story structure spread across the length of the lot.
You can explore the Greenwich Village Historic District’s history and architecture via our interactive Greenwich Village Historic District Map or on our blog about significant figures and places in the district.