Chelsea landmark may be disfigured

January 06, 2011 09:56AM

Tony Mamounas has ignored a Department of Buildings’ demand that he dismantle a fifth story that was added to a Chelsea landmark that may be the only surviving documented Manhattan station on the Underground Railroad, the Times reported. Mamounas, the building’s owner, had been ordered to remove the addition by last month, but neighbors say that work has been proceeding on the property, a Greek revival house at 339 West 29th Street, between Eighth and Ninth avenues, which was once home to prominent abolitionists. “It’s just come to this desperate situation,” said Fern Luskin, an architectural historian who lives on the block and has taken up the cause of protecting the building. “[The addition] will permanently disfigure the evidence of what happened there.” The DOB initially allowed the addition in March 2005, but revoked the permit in July 2009 after hearing complaints and after finding that the expansion did not meet fire safety codes. In November, the city ordered Mamounas to remove the additional floor by Dec. 7, but he is expected to appeal the order. [NYT]