Sunday, November 06, 2005

DEIS: Neighborhood concerns; Impacts to historical resources


Draft EIS states:

Between 1890-1895 the Macombs Dam Bridge and its Manhattan and Bronx approaches(NYCL, S/NR-eligible) were built (discussed below in greater detail under “Known Architectural Resources” and “Existing Conditions”).

As currently planned, these garages would be set back approximately 12 feet to the east and west of the Macomb’s Dam Bridge Approach, essentially eliminating the visibility of this section of the landmarked structure within the project area. However, the most prominent features of the Macombs Dam Bridge roadway system—the Macombs Dam Bridge Pratt truss spanning the Harlem River and the camelback truss spanning the Metro-North Railroad right-of-way—would remain unaltered by proposed Parking Garages A and C.

The Park Plaza Apartments (NYCL, S/NR), designed by Horace Ginsberg and Marvin Fine (1929-31), are located at 1005 Jerome Avenue between East 162nd and 165th Streets, directly across Jerome Avenue from the proposed stadium site. The Park Plaza, clad in orange brick accented by multi-colored terra-cotta ornamentation, was one of the first and most prominent Art Deco apartment houses in The Bronx (see View 15 of Figure 6-10). Its design spearheaded the proliferation of Art Deco buildings that significantly altered the appearance of The Bronx during the 1930s. It is located approximately 100 feet from the project area.

The Mullaly Recreation Center (NYCL-eligible, S/NR-eligible) dates from the early 1930s and is located in the western section of John Mullaly Park between East 164th and East 165th Streets. The building was renovated in 2000 as part of a $3.1 million overhaul of John Mullaly Park

The apartment building at 1001 Jerome Avenue (S/NR-eligible), sited across Jerome Avenue from John Mullaly Park, was built in 1937. This Art Deco building is clad in gray brick, rises eleven stories, and is divided into three expressed bays alternating with two recessed bays (see Views 22 and 23 of Figure 6-14). The windows of each bay are arranged in columns accenting the building’s verticality. Decorative brickwork also draws the viewer’s eyes upward. It is located approximately 100 feet from the project area.

The proposed stadium site is located more than 90 feet (the anticipated area of potential impacts from construction) from the known architectural resources in the study area. However, the Park Plaza Apartments, located at 1005 Jerome Avenue, and the apartment building located at 1001 Jerome Avenue, adjacent to the Park Plaza Apartments, are directly across Jerome Avenue, a 100-foot-wide street, from the proposed stadium site.

Although Parking Garage B would be visible from the Mullaly Recreation Center, the parking garage is not expected to significantly affect this known historic resource since the proposed garage would not create significant shadows or otherwise alter the building’s context or significant features.

In addition, the proposed stadium would be located across Jerome Avenue from two architectural resources, the Park Plaza Apartments at 1005 Jerome Avenue and the apartment building at 1001 Jerome Avenue. However, the proposed project is not expected to have any adverse contextual impacts on these resources. Though the proposed context of the project area between East 164th Street and East 161st Street would change from one containing parks and recreational facilities to one that contains a new stadium, garage, and new open spaces, the significance of these buildings lies primarily in their Art Deco designs.


Of all the landmarks concerned above, the DEIS seems more concerned with preserving the view of the Macomb’s Dam Bridge and it’s approaches than it does of any other historical impacts. The fact is, 1001 and 1005 Jerome Avenue are superb historical resources. While their significance is contained primarily in their Art Deco designs, the context of those designs as located across from the park play a significant role in the overall contextual picture. By placing the stadium in this location, the park will be eliminated and a negative contextual impact on the resources will be created.

Add to that the fact that people actually live in this resource, and you have another issue.

Placing the large bulk of a 138 foot tall stadium 100 feet away from the front door of a historic one-of-a-kind Art Deco building will have a negative impact on this New York City Landmark. To say it will not ignores what the building is – a landmark.


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