Text and photos by Brian J Pape, AIA

Gays Against Guns Demonstration

Walking on Tenth Street on the way to dinner, we were surprised to come to a demonstration at the Fourth Street intersection. Only in the Village, perhaps, can one happen upon such a powerful display, wordless, unmoving, disguised.

The silent sentinels in white, wearing shrouds covering their faces, held black and white posters of victims of gun violence, creating an opportunity for passers-by to step up and read each caption. A few coordinators were available to answer questions while maintaining the sanctity of the sentinels’ silence. The stationary formation wrapped around the triangular block to Seventh Avenue. I heard one of the monitors say that there were 49 posters, one for each death at the Orlando Pulse nightclub–but this is a nation-wide issue. posts news and events for the inclusive group formed in 2016.

134 Jane Street Begins Construction

Aurora Capital continues to be busy at far West Village properties. They were involved with the 70-74 Gansevoort Street development, a six-story office building. They are now developing the parcel at 134-140 Jane Street with plans for an 11-story, 120-foot-tall condo and mixed-use structure. It is located directly across West Street from the Hudson River Park (shown in the above photo looking southeast from West Street at the construction site). Titanium Construction Services is listed as GC and 134 Jane Street LLC as the owner.

It is being designed by BKSK Architects who are very active in the West Village. This includes 144-150 Barrow Street and 540 Hudson Street residential at Charles Street. The concrete-based structure will have a cellar despite the flood-plain location, a 30-foot-long rear yard and 20 enclosed parking spaces. The posted rendering depicts only a block diagram of the mass of the building without indicating materials or color. It shows conformance with the setbacks and height of its 1998-constructed condo to the south at 495 West Street. Photographer Annie Leibovitz bought a full-floor apartment (shown at the right in the photo) for $6.5 million last year. Neighbors might remember that Leibovitz had developed a three-townhouse studio on Greenwich Street that she sold for $28.5 million in 2014.

Early reports are ambiguous about the new units. Marketproof reports 35 units, 15 of which will be residential. The Real Deal says 15 residences and 200 square foot retail, out of 106,000 SF total floor area. Back in 2021, YIMBY blogged the same information. It is not anticipated to be complete before winter of 2026.

18 & 20 Christopher Street Need Repairs

The community has focused on the destruction of 14 Gay Street and its threatened neighbors at 12 and 16 Gay Street. Now, just around the corner another set of Celeste Martin’s former holdings are in jeopardy within the Greenwich Village Historic District. Take a look at 18 and 20 Christopher Street. For years, an enormous wisteria vine out front climbed up the drainpipe of the white-painted brick facade and onto the roof. The peeling paint on the wooden dormers and cornices highlight the drooping window sills, lintels and roofing.

Ever since the city took responsibility for the properties upon Martin’s death in 2018, the community has wondered whether the two-story, circa 1827 rowhouses would be protected. Well, the city did nothing. They auctioned off the properties to Gopher Group, who passed them on to the Nazarian Property Group in 2022. This May, perhaps in response to the disaster at 12 Gay Street, the city Department of Buildings issued an order against Lionel Nazarian to vacate the dilapidated premises, including the five dwelling units, due to the danger to the public. The commercial storefronts (leased to John Dorian West and to the Delice & Sarrasin Restaurant), along with the dwelling units, have been vacated. The city has also posted a notice to remedy the unused curbside restaurant shed by June 26.

Protective sidewalk scaffolding has been erected and workers are hauling debris out of the building. Temporary shoring and bracing have been added to support the floor joists in both buildings.

The city LPC (Landmarks Preservation Commission) and DOB must approve any work being proposed or executed, but it may take community pressure to preserve the integrity of these historic neighbors.

145 Perry Street Mansion Nearing Completion

After several years of scaffolding and barriers around the Perry and Washington Street corner, neighbors can finally appreciate the newly built mansion, apartment block and sidewalk scene at 703-711 Washington Street. Hedge-funder Steven A. Cohen’s Greenwich Heights Corporation and Point72 Asset Management developed this 30,000 square-foot (SF) project for the Cohen family. The 8,250 SF site was purchased for $38.8 million prior to clearing. It is two separate buildings: the 20,000 SF mansion with the 145 Perry entrance (on the right in the photo above) and the 10,000 SF, five-unit family apartments with the 711 Washington Street entrance on the left. Note the modern dark metal and glass curtain wall façade.

Attempts at developing this site have been proffered since 2005 when the Bloomberg administration rezoned the area for mid-rise, mixed-use development.
This design by Leroy Street Studio Architects and Higgins Quasebarth + Partners Architects, built by Sciame Construction, still has interior finishes to complete before it can be occupied, later this year.

The mansion features yellow brick meant to lighten the large masonry expanses with their bronze-toned windows and terra cotta red insert walls. The southwest corner of the mansion sets the brick in an open grid pattern to allow more light and ventilation for the corner planters. Granite blocks protect the base of the walls and the lower-level windows. The main entrance is set back under the street wall and is adjacent to the one-car garage door, also in dark metals. One reason noted for the LPC approval was the provision of generous “gardens” in the back yards as well as the corner planters and rooftop plantings (as shown in an early set of plans below).

After all these years of preparation, will this still fit the Cohen’s lifestyle? We’re in the seventh inning stretch.