Landlord of Manhattan Underground Railroad building appeals LPC decision

Hopper Gibbons House (center)
Hopper Gibbons House (center)

A Chelsea landlord has appealed the city’s decision to force him to remove an illegal addition to the top of his historic, and landmarked, brownstone, DNAinfo reported.

Tony Mamounas, owner of the Hopper-Gibbons House, at 339 West 29th Street, allegedly began adding the fifth floor in 2005, but finished the addition after the Landmarks Preservation Commission made the building a landmark in 2010. The building is a known stop on the Underground Railroad, a network of abolitionists who helped slaves find freedom before the Civil War, in Manhattan.

Mamounas was ordered to remove the fifth floor in November of 2010, but has not done so as of yet.

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Fern Luskin, co-chair of the Friends of the Hopper Gibbons Underground Railroad Site, a preservationist group, told DNAinfo the addition destroys the historical significance of the home and is out of scale with the rest of the block, which boasts only four-story buildings.

“It’s just a terrible aesthetic discordance and disruption, it sticks out like a sore thumb,” Luskin told DNAinfo.

The Board of Standards and Appeals will hear the appeal next Tuesday. [DNAinfo] –Guelda Voien