Hearing held on 1860 cast-iron building

Owner opposed, claiming that building was a “knock off” of famous cast-iron pioneer. Landmarks held a public hearing on the proposed designation of 63 Nassau Street, a cast-iron building in lower Manhattan that Landmarks’ research staff attributed to the pioneer of castiron construction, James Bogardis. The building, thought to be constructed in 1860, contains carved medallions of George Washington and Benjamin Franklin that are similar to those on the Bogardis building at 85 Leonard Street, a designated landmark. The staff emphasized that Margot Gayle, credited with saving SoHo’s cast-iron architecture due to her tireless advocacy for the buildings’ preservation, attributed the building to Bogardis in her book on his work and castiron construction.

The owner’s attorney, Robert A. Shankill, in opposition, speculated that the building was a “knock off” of a Bogardis building and not his original work. Comparing it to buying a fake Gucci bag on the streets of lower Manhattan, Shankill pointed out that the building had sat on Landmarks’ consideration list for over 40 years, “so obviously, you thought that it was not number one.” Shankill described its top floors as vacant and unsafe.

Margot Gayle appeared at the hearing to underscore the importance of the designation. Gayle’s comments focused on her research on Bogardis buildings in New York and Philadelphia. Several other preservationists appeared in support of the designation; all echoed that Gayle’s stamp of authenticity should “not be taken lightly.” Fran Eberhart emphasized that the building was very rare since few cast-iron buildings remained in Manhattan’s financial district.

Landmarks Chair Robert B. Tierney closed the public comments, noting that Landmarks was honored by Gayle’s attendance.

LPC: 63 Nassau Street Building, 63 Nassau Street (LP-2213) (Nov. 14, 2006).

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.