CB3 Committee Approves Grassroots Plan to Save Historic East River Park Buildings

Posted on: October 19th, 2020 at 5:02 am by

Track field house

An ambitious grassroots proposal to rehabilitate two endangered East River Park structures received backing from Community Board 3 last week.

As previously reported, two Art Deco gems rooted in East River Park were recently deemed eligible for the State and National Registers of Historic Places by the New York State Historic Preservation Office. Both the Track House near East 6th Street and the Tennis Center Comfort Station between Rivington and Delancey Streets were recognized for their historical significance. Each was constructed (and completed) in 1938, and ready for the park opening one year later.

However, these 72-year-old relics stand in the way of the city’s controversial plan to raze and rebuild the park in the name of coastal resilience. There are replacement structures lined up, albeit bland and without the historic connection.

Track House restoration, Photo: Davies Toews Architects

So, the Lower East Side Preservation Initiative is fighting for the survival, and found initial support from the Parks subcommittee of Community Board 3.

The proposal is to lift the buildings on stilts as would be necessary when the Park is raised eight to ten feet. Then the structures would receive a facelift.

Tennis center restoration, Photo: Davies Toews Architects

Davies Toews Architects is the designer of record for the restoration project.

“We were thrilled that the Parks Committee approved our proposal that the buildings should be lifted, restored, and adaptively re-used, with the understanding that LESPI will do outreach to the community, particularly at the Baruch, Lillian Wald, and Jacob Riis Houses,” Richard Moses told us in an email.

The full board of CB3 would first need to ratify the committee decision before recommending to the city.

In 1939, Photo: NYC Parks

In 1939, Photo: NYC Parks

In 1939, Photo: NYC Parks

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