Sunday, June 30, 2013

The Original, the Plan, the Result

Last summer, the Historic Preservation Commission worked long and hard with Galvan Partners, represented for this project by Ward Hamilton, to get a design they could approve for 67-71 North Fifth Street. Their requirements were simple. Re-create the building as it once was.

Although the building was a notorious study of abuse and neglect, there was photographic documentation to show how the building looked in the 1930s and probably had looked since the 1880s. All the HPC wanted was that the building look like that again.

The photoshopped image of the house (above), created by Bob Mechling, shows that the way back was not that far and would bring the house to a good and authentic feeling place.

Galvan had other ideas--reflecting either the principal's or the architect's preference for faux Greek Revival design. When the HPC rejected the first design, which featured a central portico with two-story columns, reminiscent of 130 Union (another historic building re-created by Galloway as a Greek Revival) . . . 

Galvan offered this design, with three faux Greek Revival porticoes, reminiscent of 102 and 104 Union Street.

Although it seemed perfectly obvious, to this observer at least, that the HPC wanted to see the house restored to what it had once been not re-created into something it had never been, it was determined that 67-71 North Fifth Street should be the subject of the first ever HPC workshop session, in which members of the HPC could confer directly with the owner and the architect. What actually happened at the workshop session, which took place on August 24, 2012, was that Hamilton appeared with yet a third design for the building--one that reinstated the gable and the front porch extending the width of the building.

On the direction of counsel, Cheryl Roberts, only two members of the HPC participated in the workshop meeting: chair Rick Rector and architect member Jack Alvarez. Rector called the new design a "big, big step in the right direction." Alvarez declared himself "ecstatic that the porch is coming back." He did not, however, comment on the fact that the configuration of the proposed porch was not the same as the original porch. There was considerable discussion of the gable. Rector and Alvarez were concerned that the pitch of the gable (and the roof) was more shallow than the pitch of the original. Rector expressed disappointment that the windows in the gable had been eliminated. 

Given this attention to the gable in the review process--to this observer, the gable and the porch were the critical elements the HPC was looking for before granting a certificate of appropriateness--it's hard to accept that the absence of the gable on the house today could be the "consequence of an oversight."


  1. I would really like to hear what Ward Hamilton of Olde Mohawk Masonary, directly involved with this project, from its inception.....has to to say about this, mess.
    Not his GalVan sales pitch on his blog. Not as an employee of Gal Van, if he still is.
    No , I want to hear from Ward Hamilton
    as a currently well respected restoration expert in various Highly Skilled Trades, in the North Eastern U.S.
    Save any rhetoric... Just stick with your plans, that were approved by HPC... that then had to pass all Hudson order to start construction.
    I want to know how, something so devious and against everything preservation stands for, that broke the law,...... you let go down under your watch?
    What did GalVan think he/it, got away with? For what possible rational? Money is no object here...what is it, then?

    Are you now from the Hudson school of dig a hole and get
    a permit later?

    Do you think because this is just Hudson, one will enforce the law and will make you redo it?

    Well grantd...It's traditionally , a safe bet 'round here with Pete...but doesn't make it legal.

    I want to see HPC stand up., and uphold the LAW.

    This isn't just for this's for all the historic buildings we have left, that have not been mangled and destroyed yet.. We are the stewards for the future.
    Hamilton, you of all people, at least you used to know this.
    On the off chance you decided to save your good name & reputation and quit working for GalVan..
    then I sincerely apologize.

    Or maybe you quit....then my sincere apologizes.

  2. These guys would NEVER get away with this in the Greenwich Village Historic District, where they live in Butterfield House on West 12th Street in Manhattan.

    1. are 100% correct. I know first hand

  3. I presented the second and third plans described above, had a successful design workshop with Jack and Rick and, at the Sept 2012 HPC meeting, presented same. The application for a C of A was approved by unanimous vote. That was the last time I had anything to do with 67-71 N Fifth St in my capacity as a consultant to, or contractor for, the Galvan Foundation.

    1. Thank-you Mr.Hamilton for replying.
      I am relieved it was not your company, that is responsible for this deception, and you are not the contractor.
      The only shame is ,that you are quite capable to have had this building restored properly,
      and not waste so many people's time presenting all these weird Galloway notions of Historic Preservation.Did you discuss in your workshop with HPC..that the "gable" was going to be some kind of fake adornment or did that all happen after you were no longer responsible?