20 East 71st Street
Upper East Side Historic District
A neo-Italian Renaissance style residence designed by C.P.H. Gilbert and built in 1922-23. Application is to install a guardrail at the rear facade, and to request that the Landmarks Preservation Commission issue a report to the City Planning Commission relating to an application for Special Permit pursuant to Section 74-711 of the Zoning Resolution for a Modification of Use.
CB8 Hearing: 04/07/2014 (Approved)
LPC Hearing: 05/13/2014 (Approved)
Built originally as a residence, 20 East 71st Street was purchased in the late 1940s by the Catholic Archdiocese and used as a home for the blind. In 1979 it was turned into offices and an art gallery. The change in use from residential to commercial and now back again is not uncommon on the Upper East Side. With changes to how the Department of Buildings responds to situations where a residential building loses its grandfathered ‘legal non-compliance’ status due to a use change, we anticipate 74-711 applications will continue to become more frequent.
The Preservation Committee at FRIENDS is pleased when a building is returned to its original use, especially when it includes restorative work. As such we find the proposal to be respectful, and that it enhances the historic features of the building. Further, understanding the addition of the guardrail on the rear façade is required for code compliance, the applicant’s solution of using existing historic fabric as precedent is appropriate. The Preservation Committee at FRIENDS supports approval of this application.