Goodbye 316 East 3rd Street

EV Grieve broke the news this morning that the beautiful early 19th century rowhouse at 316 East 3rd Street has alas been demolished.  We knew it was coming, but the site of the now-vacant lot really brings to light the fact that the East Village is still gravely unprotected in terms of landmarking.

L: 316 East 3rd Street, which stands no more; R: the elegant doorway

The building went on the market in May of 2010 for $3.995 million, emphasizing the fact that it was not a landmarked property and that the vacant lot next door left plenty of opportunities for expansion or rebuilding.  By August of 2011, the site was in contract and a 33-unit Karl Fischer apartment building was in the works.  Back when we last wrote about this house, GVSHP, along with neighbors and fellow community groups, called upon the LPC to hold an emergency hearing to landmark the rare historic structure.  Sadly, the commission rejected this request, making 316 East 3rd Street the fourth early 19th century surviving house in the East Village which the LPC declined to protect.  Now, as the scaffolding and rubble on East 3rd Street between Avenues C & D remind us of this loss, we felt it appropriate to take a look back and honor the building’s history.Built in 1835 along with its neighbors at 318 & 320 (the building at 318 has since been demolished), this building was originally a two-story structure, known from the Flemish bond brickwork present only on the first two stories.  A property value jump found in 1857 tax records indicated that the third story with common bond brickwork was added that year.  It appears that a tea room may also have been added to the rear of the structure at that same time.  Its handsome cornice, likely a product of the 1857 expansion, was well intact, as was its Greek Revival ironwork flanking the entry stair, likely from the mid-1830s.

L: the cornice; R: the Flemish bond brick work of alternating headers and footers

An interesting side story is that 316 East 3rd Street was the home to Pot Smokers Anonymous in the late 1970s.  According to the group’s founder’s obituary in the New York Times, this organization was a “program of nine weekly group therapy sessions, directed at helping marijuana smokers find alternative ways to deal with stress.”

If you are as saddened by this loss as we are, please send a letter to the Landmarks Preservation Commission urging them to take protective action in the East Village.

The empty site. Image Courtesy of EV Grieve


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