Volume 73, Number 5 | June 2 - 8, 2004

Arch, architect, Villager among G.V.S.H.P. awards

By Albert Amateau

A Department of Sanitation worker, an Italian food business established 97 years ago, the recent Washington Sq. Arch restoration and The Villager are among the winners of the 14th annual Village Awards by the Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation honoring the people, places and institutions that make the Village and the East Village special neighborhoods.

Angelo Bruno, who has been helping keep the West Village clean for 14 years, will receive one of the seven awards at the June 15 celebration at the Center for Architecture, 536 LaGuardia Pl.

“He’s been working for the West Village community beyond the call of duty since 1980,” said Mary Ann Arisman, a G.V.S.H..P. board member, about Bruno, a resident of Staten Island and father of two grown daughters. “He had triple bypass surgery a few years ago and insisted on getting back to work as soon as he could,” Arisman recalled.

Raffetto’s, the family firm making and marketing pasta and other food products since 1906 at 144 W. Houston St., will also receive the coveted Village Award. Founded by Marcello Raffetto, an immigrant from Genoa, the business was passed on to his son, Louis, who retired 10 years ago and passed the enterprise on to his two sons.

“We have papers from sometime between 1900 and 1906 about a store around the corner at 174 Sullivan St., but my grandfather moved the store here in 1906,” said Andrew Raffetto, who runs the business with his brother Richard and the help of their mother, Romana. “My father was born on the third floor of this building,” Andrew added.

In 1993, the family moved the kitchen and wholesale marketing part of the operation to Leroy St. in a manufacturing district of the Village. In addition to the retail shop on W. Houston St., Raffetto products are sold at shops including Jefferson Market in the Village, Dean & De Luca in Soho and Fairway on the Upper West Side.

The Villager, which celebrated its 70th anniversary in April 2003, will be honored for its coverage of the Village, East Village and Lower East Side, Noho and Soho, Chelsea and the Flatiron districts.

“The Villager stands out among local newspapers for the depth and breadth of its coverage as well as for the attention it pays to historic and neighborhood preservation issues,” said Andrew Berman, G.V.S.H.P. executive director.

The renovation of the Greenwich Village Community School at 272 W. 10th St. at the corner of Washington St. and the building of a new wing, under the direction of the architect Leo J. Blackman, is also an award winner. Construction of the $8 million project completed last September took two years and required a variance from the Board of Standards and Appeals for the new wing to be built as tall as the original 1887 building.

“The school’s director, Eve Kleger, oversaw the project every step of the way,” said Blackman. “We wanted the new and the old buildings to be seamless and appropriate to the neighborhood.”

The $2.7 million restoration of the 109-year-old Washington Sq. Arch undertaken by the Department of Parks and Restoration completed this year was also honored. The contractor for the project was Mughal Waterproofing and Masonry, and the subcontractor for the delicate masonry work was Archa Technology, Ltd. The design consultant conservation team included Koutsomitis Architects, P.C., conservators Mark Rabinowitz and Robin Gerstad and engineers Robert Silman Associates. Lighting was designed by Domingo Gonzalez Associates.

St. Mark’s Historic Landmarks Fund, the organization responsible for maintaining St. Mark’s Church-in-the-Bowery on E. 10th St. and Second Ave., the historic churchyard and the rectory behind the church is also a Village Award winner this year.

The church, established in 1799, was restored after a fire in 1979 destroyed the steeple and again after a devastating fire in 1988. The rectory, designed by Ernest Flagg, is the home of the Historic Districts Council, G.V.S.H.P. and the Landmarks Fund

Five theaters and music venues on the Bowery will also share a Village Award: Amato Opera, at 319 Bowery; Bouwerie Lane Theatre at 330 Bowery, the home of the Jean Cocteau Reportory Co.; CBGB’s at 315 Bowery; Bowery Ballroom at Bowery and Delancey Sts.; and Bowery Poetry Club at 308-10 Bowery.

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