NEWS AND ISSUES
July 20, 2009
Howard H. Roberts, Jr.
MTA New York City Transit
New York, NY 10004
Re: Proposed Emergency Ventilation Facility for the 7th and 8th Avenue Subway Lines
Dear President Roberts:
We appreciate MTA New York City Transit's (NYCT) participation in the June 22, 2009 community meeting we hosted with Manhattan Community Board 2 (CB2) regarding design alternatives for NYCT's proposed Emergency Ventilation Facility Project at Mulry Square (61 Greenwich Avenue at Seventh Avenue South). Nonetheless, we are dismayed that none of the three design options that NYCT presented that night are contextual to the Greenwich Village Historic District, within which the project will be located.
We recognize that, as a New York State agency, NYCT is not required to apply for a Certificate of Appropriateness for this structure from the New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission (LPC). However, we ask that that NYCT submit its plans to LPC voluntarily in order to ensure a design that befits this historically significant neighborhood.
As you know, our offices, CB2, neighborhood organizations and individual constituents have had considerable concerns about this proposed project since NYCT made us aware of it more than two years ago. It is certainly not a project that our community would hope to see in the midst of the Greenwich Village Historic District, nor one we welcomed after the extremely disruptive nearly five-year expansion of NYCTfs emergency ventilation facility at 13th Street and Sixth Avenue. Yet, we have accepted NYCTfs determinations that Mulry Square is the only feasible site at which a single fan plant could serve both the Seventh and Eighth Avenue subway lines, and that it is most practical and cost-effective for NYCT to house the facility above ground at 61 Greenwich Avenue, which the community had hoped would be converted to a public park.
Given these concessions and the negative impacts that this project will have on the neighborhood (as acknowledged in NYCTfs Draft Environmental Impact Statement), we ask that NYCT go beyond its obligations to create a design that respects the historic character of the surrounding community. While we understand that NYCTfs plans must be reviewed by the New York State Historic Preservation Office, the agency should also submit to LPCfs more rigorous review process to ensure contextually appropriate construction.
Additionally, we ask that NYCT take exceptional steps with respect to the September 11, 2001 Memorial Tiles that currently hang at 61 Greenwich Avenue and which NYCT has agreed to retain and integrate in the sitefs design. NYCT should identify professionals through its Arts for Transit program and/or existing staff who have the requisite expertise to incorporate these tiles into the final design without compromising their nature as a spontaneous memorial.
Thank you for your attention to this matter. We are confident that by working together we can arrive at a design that meets both NYCTfs and the Greenwich Village communityfs needsSincerely,
Thomas K. Duane
Deborah J. Glick
Christine C. Quinn
NYC Council Speaker
Scott M. Stringer
Manhattan Borough President
Jerrold L. Nadler