Volume 73, Number 44 | March 3 - 9, 2004

Two stones forward one stone back in the Village

A worker recently restoring cobblestones on Horatio St.

Although, to the chagrin of neighbors and preservationists, construction for a new apartment building recently damaged cobblestones on historic Charles Lane, farther north at Horatio St., extensive cobblestone damage from over the years has been repaired.

After reading an article last year in The Villager on Horatio St. residents’ complaints about cobblestones being removed on their street for utility work and the holes being patched with asphalt, the National Architectural Trust, a nonprofit preservation group, decided to take action.

The National Architectural Trust had to get permission from the city Department of Transportation to do the work, and the agency had to approve the work plan. Eleven asphalt-smeared spots on Horatio, between Greenwich and Hudson Sts., needed to have cobblestones replaced.

The job cost $21,000, half of which was paid for by the Trust and the other half by the Horatio St. Association and some residents.

DiSano construction, a firm experienced in working with cobblestones and sensitive to the job’s needs, was used. The final work was done yesterday, according to Dan Reardon, area manager for the National Architectural Trust.

Reardon said the city was happy to let the Trust and the contractor do the job, which he thinks may have been the first time where a private, nonprofit organization did cobblestone repairs on a New York City street.

At Charles Lane, however, distinctive brown cobblestones over 200 years old were recently removed for work on the foundation of a new luxury residential tower designed by Richard Meier. Initially, it wasn’t clear if the stones had been removed or just covered with concrete.

However, Evan Bachner, a Charles St. resident, sent The Villager a photo of the area behind the construction fence, which he took with his cell-phone camera, clearly showing the cobblestones were removed.

“I stuck my head through the hole in the construction fence,” he said, “and there were no cobblestones on the construction site, not piled anywhere. That street is one of the oldest streets in the Village. The cobblestones were bigger and more round than anywhere else in the city and now they’re gone.”

Bachner said the construction fence is 100 ft. long and extends a third of the way, or 3 ft., into the lane, meaning about 300 sq. ft. of historic cobblestones are gone.

“They should get the stones, wherever they put them, and put them back,” he said. “If they want to be in this neighborhood, they should have more respect for the neighborhood. This is a city street.”

Bachner and a neighbor filed complaints with D.O.T. and the Department of Buildings.

The newspaper e-mailed Andrew Berman, executive director of the Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation, the photo to review.

“Outrageous,” Berman responded. “It shows a complete lack of respect for the historic fabric of this community. It’s bad enough that a historic warehouse, light and air, and our sense of scale are being destroyed by this project. I have demanded a complete investigation by the Department of Transportation.”

Lincoln Anderson


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