WestView Letter February 2014: Dear Editor,

Dear Editor,

A very large and inappropriate building is being proposed for 7th Avenue South between Charles and West Fourth. This is further proof, that developers seeking healthy financial return don’t care about the historical integrity of a neighborhood, they don’t care about the inhabitants, they don’t care about destroying and darkening an entire block, they don’t care that a modern seven-story building will tower over Charles Street, and West Fourth, they don’t care about obscuring and killing a magnificent old tree whose beauty benefits thousands of people living here and passing by on 7th Avenue south, and they certainly don’t care about blocking off the unique view of the back facades of original West Village brick townhouses that will no longer be seen by hundreds of thousands of tourists visiting our unique Village.

But the residents of our Village do care. We replant trees when they fall or die, we maintain our century-old houses and apartments at great cost, we grow gardens, plant flowers in our streets and make the Village unique so that visitors from all around the world come to see it. They marvel to discover such a different New York, a neighborhood of charm and character, with no skyscrapers and perpetually shaded streets found elsewhere in our city. It is our duty to work to prevent its loss.

This developer would like to scar our Village, for the

sole reason of selling one more high luxury penthouse. Fortunately, we live in a city and a Village where the law protects the legacy we have received from those that came before us. Our Community Board 2 and the NYC Landmarks Preservation Commission have looked at this developer’s plans and have said “NO.” LPC on January 21 and CB2 two days later. But, the battle is not over; LPC sent the developer away, telling it to reduce the height and “do something” about the penthouse and other features of the building. We have a protector, but we must let our protector know that we care.

One (of eleven) LPC commissioners, Michael Goldblum said the building not too tall and dismissed the objections of the several neighbors who spoke at the January 21 public hearing as NIMBY protests that should not concern LPC. But, in blizzard conditions, 16 people, many of whom might be thought too old for such things, came to protect their community from this tall building.

Just six months ago, this developer proposed a similar building of the same height and was told to make it smaller. The developer didn’t comply with the request, but came back with a “new” building of the same height designed by a different architect, getting a second bite at the apple. We need to tell LPC to finally disapprove of this plan. The essential modification needed is a height reduction to the level of the house that would stand next to it. Write to “” and tell them so.

If we all don’t show a strong opposition to this proposed building, in a few years, Seventh Avenue South, will look like a Midtown avenue, and the Village will darken in the shadow of high towers. They have been built and are being built on the River. If the Landmarks Law and the Landmarks Commission can tell us what color we should paint our shutters, but not protect us from buildings like this, what is its true mission? It is Seventh Avenue South that needs protection in order to preserve the character of the Village and a row of tall buildings will destroy that character for this part of the Village.

We are all concerned, so please write an email to the Landmark commissioners (““) before we find ourselves walking along Seventh Avenue grumbling that such buildings should never have been allowed. It will be too late.

Marc Levy

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