Historic Landmark Only Partially Damaged After Minivan Attack

Historic Landmark Only Partially Damaged After Minivan Attack
Damaged ironwork at 73 Washington Place

73 Washington Place

Numerous media outlets have reported on the Westchester resident who intentionally drove his van into two narcotics officers standing on the sidewalk outside 73 Washington Place last Friday night. The crime was apparently payback for a past run-in between the targeted officer’s partner and the driver. Fortunately, both officers survived, though one was immediately hospitalized. The building as well stands intact except for a section of its 164-year old ironwork that has been uprooted and warped.

Built with its neighbor at no. 75, the late Greek Revival house at 73 Washington Place dates from 1847. It is a lovely example of the style, with its historic doorway, “eyebrow” attic windows, denticulated cornice and lintels all intact. This almost wasn’t the case, however; looking deeper at its history, we realized this is not the first time the building has narrowly escaped damage.

The New York Times, March 13th, 1928

In 1928, a developer planned to demolish nos. 73, 75 & 77 Washington Place and merge the lots for the construction of a 15-story apartment building. Fortunately, this never came to pass (though similar projects did in fact occur all around Washington Square Park). Of course, in 1969, the Landmarks Preservation Commission designated the building a landmark as part of the Greenwich Village Historic District, making such a tear-down illegal without permission from the LPC.

With that designation, the LPC also acquired the power to monitor all work on the building. And given the circumstances, they’ll probably be exercising that power fairly soon when the current owners apply for a permit to fix their ironwork. Should they desire to replace it with new ironwork (in other words, do more than just fix and restore what is already there), they’ll need to go through the LPC’s public hearing process, which is precisely the type of the work we monitor and publicize on our Landmarks Applications Webpage. We will be sure to update the page if such an application does come through the LPC, letting the public know how they can get involved.

Damaged ironwork at 73 Washington Place

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Elizabeth Finkelstein was GVSHP's Director of Preservation & Research from Summer 2008 to January 2012.

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