Three Far West Village buildings landmarked

Landmarks unanimous in designating all three buildings. On March 6, 2007, Landmarks voted to designate three nineteenth century buildings in the Far West Village as individual landmarks. The 159 Charles Street House, the 354 West 11th Street House, and the Keller Hotel all received wide community support at the November 2006 hearing. 3 CityLand 170 (Dec. 2006).

Built between 1841 and 1842 for a carver and manufacturer, the Greek Revival style row house at 354 W. 11th Street, which Commissioner Thomas Moore called a “true survivor,” occupies the site of the former Newgate Prison. The building later housed merchants, businessmen, a grocer and a jazz pianist. One of the few remaining row houses in the waterfront neighborhood, the house retains its original brickwork, wrought-iron areaway, and ornamented entrance. Landmarks Chair Robert B. Tierney called the building “a great tribute” to the various owners who had maintained it so well through the years.

Merchant Henry Wyckoff commissioned the construction of the 159 Charles Street House in 1838, also on the site of the former prison. It is the sole remaining example of nine houses built by Wyckoff on the site. As the area changed from middle- class and residential to an industrial maritime neighborhood, the building was home to merchants, a sea captain and boatmen’s families, until local brewery Beadleston & Woerz purchased the building to house its workers in the 1880s. The Greek Revival row house is one of the few surviving examples of the Far West Village’s early development and maintains an original brownstone base and entryway. The current owners supported designation, only asking that the garage not be included in the designation. Landmarks granted the owners’ request.

Built in 1897 and 1898 and designed by architect Julius Munckwitz, the Keller Hotel served as a transient hotel until the 1930s under a contract with the government to feed and house overflow from Ellis Island. Developers later converted the hotel to single-room-occupancy, with the bar at the ground floor serving as part of the nexus for the West Village’s emerging gay community. Landmarks Chair Tierney, who praised the owners as “good as any preservation commission could wish for,” found the building important for what it said about the history of the waterfront.

The Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation issued a press release praising Landmarks’ actions but stated that its campaign to preserve the Far West Village’s character was ongoing.

LPC: 354 West 11th Street House (LP- 2210) (March 6, 2007); 159 Charles Street House (LP-2211) (March 6, 2007); Keller Hotel, 150 Barrow Street (LP- 2212) (March 6, 2007).

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