Ridgewood North Historic District designated

Ridgewood North Historic District designated. Photo: LPC.

District’s “Mathews Model Flats” attracted German immigrants living in Bushwick, Williamsburg, and Lower East Side. On September 15, 2009, Landmarks voted to designate 96 buildings in Ridgewood, Queens as the Ridgewood North Historic District. G.X. Mathews Company and Louis Allmendinger designed and developed the area in 1908 and 1911, setting the standard for future tenement construction. The area is characterized by three-story tenement buildings featuring yellow and orange Kreischer-brick facades, stone details, pressed-metal cornices, and ironwork at the stoops and area-ways. The buildings, known as “Mathews Model Flats,” constituted better-quality housing than previous tenement models, providing larger rooms and private bathrooms. The tenements attracted working-class German immigrants from nearby Bushwick, Williamsburg, and the Lower East Side. At a hearing on December 16, 2008, local residents, preservationists, and elected officials all testified in support of designation. 6 CityLand 12 (Feb. 15, 2009).

The Commissioners were united in supporting designation. Chair Robert B. Tierney said the area possessed the “quality and interest” necessary for historic district status and represented an important chapter of New York City history. Commissioner Pablo Vengoechea called it a “striking and cohesive series of facades,” and Commissioner Margery Perlmutter found the district significant for its role in the development of tenement design.

Landmarks unanimously approved designation.

LPC: Ridgewood North Historic District, Queens (LP-2319) (Sept. 15, 2009).

CITYLAND Comment: At the same meeting, Landmarks heard testimony on the proposed designation of the Ridgewood South Historic District. Also developed by the G.X. Mathews Company, the tenements in Ridgewood South were built later than the Ridgewood North tenements but feature similar Renaissance and Romanesque-revival style design. Elected officials and preservation groups, including representatives of the Greater Ridgewood Restoration Corporation, the Ridgewood Property Owners Civic Association, and the New York Landmarks Conservancy all testified in support of designation.

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