The future of a wonderful fortress, the warehouse of the Great Atlantic and Pacific Tea Company (the A&P) at the southern corner of Vestry and West Streets is in now in doubt.
No demolition permit has yet been granted, but the real estate press is talking as if destruction as a real possibility. Have a look at the slide show above.
We need to stand up and tell the powers that be to protect this building. Given its unusual history, it should be designated a New York landmark, or at the very least added to the Tribeca North Historic District. Help us make that happen by signing the petition below through the link provided here: The petition is addressed to the Landmarks Preservation Commission. It asks them to protect this building.
The current situation is this: Aby Rosen (the well-known developer) bought this building from David Ellis. He has owned it for seven years. The building is home to rent-stabilized tenants, many of whom are artists. They have lived in this building since 1977. Many are extremely well known in the art world. Mr. Rosen is seeking to sell this building to someone who will tear it down and build a new structure on the site.
Demolition would be a huge mistake. Why not develop the building with a restoration approach in mind? Accept it as a landmark of the Tribeca neighborhood. Bring it back to its full glory. Many developers make money this way, witness for example the fine restoration work that has recently taken place at the SW corner of Harrison and Staple Street. Below, see why this building merits landmark protection. In this way, Mr. Rosen could turn from villain to hero in one simple move.
Here are Five Reasons Why 67 Vestry Should be Landmarked
- It was built in 1897 as the first, large, purpose-built warehouse of the Great Atlantic and Pacific Tea Company, an iconic American company which had been founded in the Washington Market area on Vesey Street, at the epicenter of what was the world’s largest food market. To our city’s great shame, the market was destroyed in the 1964 Washington Street Urban Renewal Plan, including the original A&P store at 31 Vesey. That means that the only historic fabric left to mark the passage of this great American business story is the warehouse building at 67 Vestry. A more recent and less important A& P Warehouse across the river in Jersey City is an official National Landmark. Why not this original one as a NYC landmark?
- It is also one of only four historic buildings left of the Washington Market era along the river. If we let the developers demolish these warehouses along West and Washington Street, we are destroying a key part of the Washington Market story, one that linked a growing New York City to small farmers all across the country. That link happened here, at this place, at the A&P Warehouse.
- The architecture is worthy of designation. It is nobly designed, deliberately creating the impression of fortress-like stability. Both its architects – Frederick Dinkelberg of the original building, and Frank Helme of the two story addition, were notable, highly praised designers of important buildings across the country and in New York City. Many of their other buildings are individually landmarked. Why not this one?
- Tribeca North Historic District is besieged by inappropriate, glassy non-architecture that does not fit in and detracts from the Historic District around it. This particular building anchors the last remaining stretch of Washington Street near Tribeca North Historic District. Destroying it would harm the rest of the historic district which, as most Tribecans know, is in desperate need of expansion.
- Great artists successfully adapted this building to residential use. It became one of the epicenters of Tribeca’s revival as a place of artistic production, housing famous creators such as Marisol, Andy Warhol, John Chamberlain, Wim Wenders and Robert Wilson. It even nurtured into existence the Dia Arts Foundation. This history should also be honored.