Saturday, May 25, 2013

Memorable Moments at the HPC

The quirky glass mosaic signs touting "Clothing" and "Toggery" that are part of the facade of 613 Warren Street are soon to disappear.

On Friday morning, the Historic Preservation Commission granted a certificate of appropriateness to the owners of Finch to cover these mosaics with plywood, which will be painted to match the surrounding panels. The only member of the HPC who objected was Scott Baldinger, who told Gossips that he thought the action would turn 613 Warren into "the store in the gray flannel suit." 

Another issue taken up by the HPC on Friday was the proposal to restore the facade of 536 Warren Street. Back in February, a car jumped the curb and crashed into the building. The current owner, Jim Marinaccio decided to use the damage as an opportunity to redo the facade and give it a 19th-century appearance.

At the HPC meeting on May 10, an application was submitted for a certificate of appropriateness to replace the metal that now covers the storefront facade with wood panels. Marinaccio explained that there is no photographic documentation of what the storefront originally looked like and that the face of the brick under the metal had been broken up. He submitted this drawing to show the plan being proposed for the restoration.

Because the drawing submitted did not include measurements or information about materials, the application was incomplete. The HPC offered, however, to consider the application at its May 24 meeting--a meeting meant only to review and approve the language of the certificates of appropriateness--if the missing information could be submitted in time for the members to review it prior to the meeting. As it turned out, the missing information was submitted two days before the meeting, in a form that could not be electronically distributed to HPC members. Jack Alvarez, the architect member of the HPC, who was not able to be present at yesterday's meeting, had had no opportunity to review the new material and submit comments, and HPC chair Rick Rector was unwilling to proceed without his input.

Marinaccio left City Hall after being told, with apologies, that he would have to wait until June 14 for a decision but returned minutes later to report that the carpenter creating the panels had to start now or he couldn't do the job. Marinaccio wanted the HPC to approve the plans so the millwork could begin. HPC member Peggy Polenberg took his part, but then, in an effort to persuade the HPC to relax their scrutiny because what he wanted to do would be a great improvement, Marinaccio made the mistake of saying, "I'm not going to paint it orange. It will be very tasteful." Polenberg, of course, is the owner of the orange building, and after that faux pas, Baldinger wanted to know if she was going to change her vote and withdraw her support.

To accommodate Marinaccio, the HPC will hold a special meeting on Friday, May 31, at 10 a.m., to review the application.


  1. "no ... documentation what the store front originally looked like"

    the building presently owned by 'red chair' had a similar situation - when the store front was removed for upgrade it was clear it originally had a center door entrance flanked by window bays - angelica westerhoff didn't care for that and went back to the side door arrangement

  2. Clothing and Toggery: sweet, familiar, historic, and probably well-crafted, although I don't really know that. It sounds like they'll be preserved behind the plywood. I hope so. I'd like to think the personality that Clothing and Toggery provide that storefront is worth retaining, as a sort of visible palimpsest, perhaps challenging a designer to incorporate them into the current look and brand. Now I'm imagining a friendly, charming pair of resident dogs, named...

  3. Are we forgetting that the many visitors to Hudson come here to see our wonderful architectural details?
    I don't think many of those visitors will be taking home memories of "plywood panels".

  4. I will sorely miss the 'Clothing' and 'Toggery' mosaic which have added character to the store, once a gentlemen's clothing store still in operation by Mr. Kritzman when I first came here in 1981.

  5. Why is it OK to temporally cover architectural details in Historic District ,on a historic bldg, on our main business street of all places. .Reason given by owners,was it clashed with their new signage and graphics... a birch branch extending across arcade with thier name in small metal letters, perched on top,that only reads..if you are walking the correct direction..otherwise its backwards.
    So that is worth covering up such charming details ,next to Robertson's....that helps off set the horrible facade CVS ,put over an old Woolworth Store. I wonder if any of that store front is still under there.
    Ms. Polenberg of Historic Preservation Commission agreed,that it would make things look too busy.
    Should the Leader Building stain glass transom windows be covered as well as it's Leader mosaic tile entrance floor..if a new owner finds it clashes with their graphics? Aren't changes to appearance of historic Bldg. to be compatible with Historic Bldg., not other way round? What is temporary. ? HPC have a time limit? Aluminum siding is temporary and just covering up what's underneath...regardless of what damage that may cause...even if "temporary." Do these people know how to properly preserve the Stain Glass,they are covering? Will Code enforcement be concerned? Will anyone? So that is OK now?

    The Bldg on N.Warren and up from 4th ST. just discovered beautiful
    Exterior details ,underneath plywood and are restoring them. That was a wonderful a sight that was to see.

    If anything ,it explained to me why the new owners of "The Fresh Farmer" BLD,were permitted to close off the glass window display arcade..and cover the front of building ,with what looks like painted MDF. So its "Temporary" thats OK? What isn't O.K? How can HPC say NO now ,to others that want to do same? It makes me very sad.