October 2, 2008

Robert Tierney, Chair
New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission
One Centre Street, 9th Floor
New York, NY 10007

Dear Mr. Tierney:

As Columbus Day approaches, I wish to make another appeal on behalf of the proposed South Village Historic District.

I greatly appreciate the New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission's (LPC) announcement this past February that it would begin surveying the proposed district west of Sixth Avenue for potential designation. I recognize that this announcement came relatively soon after the Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation submitted its proposal for a South Village Historic District in January 2007. But given the threat to important buildings within the proposed district – both west and east of Sixth Avenue – I encourage LPC to move forward with preserving the entire district. Indeed, the urgency of this matter is underscored by the fact that the new owner of the row house at 178 Bleecker Street, between MacDougal and Sullivan Streets, has applied for demolition permits.

Columbus Day, the annual celebration of Italian-American heritage, falls on October 13 this year. It would be a particularly significant day for LPC to announce another positive step towards the preservation of the South Village. As you know, among the succession of quintessential New York constituencies that settled in the South Village, Italian-Americans are a defining community. Their enduring mark on the neighborhood is reflected in churches like Our Lady of Pompeii and St. Anthony of Padua, as well as in the intact tenements that were home to turn-of-the-century Italian immigrants and in the small storefronts that served them, some of which still house such gustatory institutions as Raffetto's Pasta, Florence Prime Meats, O. Ottomanelli & Sons, and Faicco's Italian Sausage.

While I appreciate the demands placed on LPC and the limits of its resources, the present danger to the South Village's historic buildings calls for a swift and comprehensive designation process.

I appreciate LPC's work on this proposal thus far and look forward to the South Village Historic District becoming a reality.


Thomas K. Duane

New York State Senate
29th District

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