Testimony by NYS Senator Duane before the New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission Regarding the Granting of Landmark Designation to Baumann Brothers Furniture Store

September 16, 2008

My name is Thomas K. Duane and I represent New York State's 29th Senate District, in which Baumann Brothers Furniture Store is located. I submitted testimony to the New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission's (LPC) 2002 hearing regarding this site, and I would like to reiterate my wholehearted support for the proposed landmark designation of this building, located at 22-26 East 14th Street.

I have long had a particular interest in and appreciation for the Baumann Brothers Furniture Store building. Constructed in 1880-1881 and designed by the noteworthy architectural firm, D. & J. Jardine, this building faces 14th Street and displays a remarkably large caste iron facade with rich ornamentation. It was commissioned by James McCreery for what was then Manhattanfs primary retail shopping district and was initially leased to the Baumann Brothers store, whose painted sign is still visible on the western wall. The building has several notable architectural features including columns ornamented with strapwork design and bands of upright anthemia, culminating in capitols carved with detailed garlands. Sunflowers appear in panels on blocks atop the columns of the third and fourth stories and also in bas-relief panels throughout the facade of the building.

I believe the Baumann Brothers Furniture Store makes an important contribution to the enduring character and history of the Union Square neighborhood and is a notable artifact of the period when 14th Street, Union Square and Ladies Mile intersected to form Manhattan's retail center. In 2002, I noted the rapid development and changes taking place in the Union Square area. Unsurprisingly, this trend continues, making this designation particularly urgent. Thus, I strongly recommend that the Baumann Brothers Furniture Building be favorably considered for historic designation at this time.

Thank you for your consideration of my comments.

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