126-134 East 78th Street
James W. O’Connor
1923-2; c. 1866
Upper East Side Historic District
A neo-Federal style school building designed by James W. O’Connor and built in 1923-24, and a pair of Italianate residences built c. 1866. Application is to construct rooftop and rear yard additions.
CB8 Hearing: 11/17/2014 (Approved)
LPC Hearing: 12/02/2014 (No Action)
LPC Meeting: 01/13/2015 (Approved w/modifications)
Our Preservation Committee found the proposal for 126 and 128 East 78th Street to be agreeable. We appreciated the applicant’s decision to retain the individual characteristics of the formerly-matching townhouses. As the rooftop addition is not visible from the street we found it to be appropriate.
However, our committee did not have enough information to assess the impact of the massive rooftop addition at 130-134 East 78th Street. It is impossible to fully evaluate the addition without a mock-up or sightline studies from the point of maximum visibility. The single sightline study available is from directly in front of the building, and therefore is inadequate. Based on the low-rise character of the neighborhood, we expect this addition will be exceedingly visible far beyond the nearest corner. The applicant explained that they chose to forgo any mock-up installation or further sightline study precisely because they anticipate that the addition will be so visible. This defies logic.
In 2012, our Preservation Committee asked the Commission to deny the previous application because of its visibility. That proposed addition was 4’ higher than the existing condition. This new proposal would rise almost 33’ higher than the existing building — much too high to be considered without the proper studies to show the impact on our neighborhood.
The Preservation Committee at FRIENDS requests that the Commission deny the application.