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Many longtime residents of the Village have wondered about the fate of 43 MacDougal Street, which has sat vacant for decades. Located at the corner of King Street on the eastern edge of the Charlton-King-Vandam Historic District, 43 MacDougal is a Greek Revival style townhouse that was built as part of a row in 1846.

The Charlton-King-Vandam Historic District was designated in 1966, making it the oldest historic district in our neighborhood and one of the oldest in the city (the Landmarks Law was enacted in 1965). According to the Landmarks Preservation Commission’s (LPC) designation report from that year, the storefront at 43 MacDougal Street “was built as a wine shop, and the wine cellars still exist beneath the shop.” The existence of its original shop front was noted as “a rare survival in the city.”

In the c. 1940 photograph shown here, that storefront is still visible. Even though the image is small, it is wonderful to see what the building once looked like, considering it has been covered in scaffolding for so long. With two street-facing facades, the building clearly has great potential. It sits in harmony with its fellow Greek Revival neighbors and preserves the human scale that is so cherished in the neighborhood.

Despite its vibrancy in the photograph, 43 MacDougal was eventually abandoned and left to deteriorate. Now, however, we are hopeful that the building will once again become an active part of the neighborhood. After years of GVSHP and the community pushing the LPC to take action against the previous neglectful owner, a new owner stepped in and agreed to work with the LPC to restore the building. The approved work includes stabilizing walls and pointing brick, among other tasks. In addition, an application was filed to slightly raise the roof in order to create livable space on the top floor (the ceilings there are quite low). The addition will be minimally visible from the street.

With support from GVSHP, local block associations, and Community Board 2, the application was approved at an LPC public hearing on June 3rd of this year. According to the architect, the work is expected to take about twelve months. If you are interested in seeing this proposal, please visit our website at http://gvshp.org/43macdougal to see photographs of the application.

Amanda Davis is the Director of Preservation and Research for the Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation

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