West Chelsea gets landmark status

By Jane C. Timm | July 16, 2008 01:51PM

The Landmarks Preservation Commission designated a West Chelsea Historic District yesterday, landmarking an area from West 25th to West 28th streets between 10th and 12th Avenues.

The commission also voted to designate uptown’s Morningside Park and a Staten Island commercial building as landmarks.

The West Chelsea Historic District is made up of 30 buildings that recall the area’s manufacturing era.

The Chelsea buildings were all built before 1930 and represent then-popular industrial design trends: red-brick facades, American Round Arch style, Rundbogenstil (a German style that uses arches, elaborate brickwork, and pilasters in its design). 

“West Chelsea’s streetscapes owe their cohesiveness and special character to the fact that the majority of the district’s buildings, which are 75 years old or more, are still remarkably intact,” Commission Chairman Robert Tierney said in a statement.  

The landmarked structures include the Otis Elevator Building at 260 Eleventh Avenue, an Italian Renaissance Revival style building that originally housed the pioneering elevator manufacturer’s corporate headquarters as well as a repair and manufacturing facility.

Morningside Park, designed by Central Park architects Fredrick Law Olmsted and Calvert Vaux, marks the first scenic landmark designation since 1983. The LPC noted its unusual topography, scenic views and public sculptures.

“Olmsted and Vaux managed to tame the park’s difficult terrain and turn it into one of the most picturesque places in New York City by respecting and enhancing its inherent beauty,” Tierney said.

The Staten Island Tottenville Shop, a former George Cunningham Store, was one of seven Staten Island buildings nominated for landmark status last year. The building was originally constructed as a butcher shop. Located at 173 Main Street, the small one-story Queen Anne-style building still has original clapboards, fish-scale shingles, and storefront windows.