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Elaine Young 1942–2018

ElaineC

We are deeply saddened to report that Elaine Young, co-founder of Save Gansevoort, passed away on May 27th.  Elaine was a tireless fighter for our community, and her honesty and fearlessness will be greatly missed.  Save Gansevoort would not have been possible without her continuous hard work and without her inspiration.

She was a true friend to so many of us.  It’s hard to believe she is no longer here.

The following is from Elaine’s family:

Elaine Young was born in Chicago, Illinois on July 3rd, 1942.  Daughter of the late Irving Adler and the late Helen Heda, Elaine is survived by her beloved spouse of 30 years, Virginia Syron.  Elaine is also survived by her brother Jack Adler, his wife Judith Adler, her nephew Matthew Adler, and her nieces Sharon Adler, Anna Adler, and Danielle Witchel.   Elaine spent holidays and weekends with Ginny’s family and will be deeply missed by Judy and Kees Schuddeboom, Greg Khost, Jackie O’Brien, Peter Khost, Aida Izadpanah, Alex Khost and Amanda Wilder.
Elaine graduated from the University of Chicago, majoring in History.  Elaine began her career as an educator and taught in the New York City public schools in Harlem and the South Bronx.  She later moved into real estate and became a broker and partner in Patton Young Properties in New York City.
A world traveler, Elaine was not just a tourist but immersed herself in the culture of places she visited.  Her passions included politics, classical music, art, gardening, and cooking.
Elaine was a fiery activist who worked tirelessly for her beliefs, and she served as President and Board member of her co-op. She was a neighborhood preservationist and spearheaded the “Save Gansevoort” movement. For twelve years Elaine served on Community Board 2 and was a primary member of the SLA Committee.  A dear friend summed up Elaine’s dedication and commitment by saying, “Elaine was the last real soldier for our cause.”

Donations in Elaine’s memory may be made to the Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation to continue her preservation work in the Far West Village and the Gansevoort Market Historic District:  www.gvshp.org/elaineyoung

Court of Appeals Gansevoort Decision

photo: The Villager
photo: The Villager

We have been informed that the Court of Appeals has denied our motion to appeal the Gansevoort ruling.  The Court, as is customary, provided no explanation for the denial.  The Court also lifted the temporary stay, so Aurora is now free to start demolition of 70-74 Gansevoort Street and initiate work on the addition on top of 60-68 Gansevoort Street.

Although not entirely unexpected, this is very disappointing.   We’ve done our very best to get the Landmarks Preservation Commission’s terrible Gansevoort decision overturned in court, and our lawyer Michael Hiller did a wonderful job. But it was always going to be a heavy lift, and we’ve now reached the end of this particular legal road.

Aurora still has to work within the terms of a Restrictive Declaration on this site which prohibits office use.  Given the changes in the NYC real estate market, this may be a bigger problem for them now than it was back when they started this project in 2015.  We will remain vigilant to make sure that the Restrictive Declaration is properly enforced.

Appellate Court Decision and a New Appeal

photo: UpstateNYer
photo: UpstateNYer

We have some unfortunate news:  the appellate court has rejected our appeal of the lower court decision upholding the Landmark Preservation Commission’s approval of the massive Gansevoort development project.  The appellate court’s written decision was very disappointing, and failed to address the many specific points which we raised arguing that LPC’s approval of the project violated Landmarks law.

Because our case has the potential to set important precedents that could strengthen landmark protections across the city, we have received support to file a new appeal to the highest court in New York State, the Court of Appeals.

Our lawyer, Michael Hiller, has filed a motion requesting that the Court of Appeals hear our case, and the court has granted an interim stay prohibiting construction while they consider whether or not to accept our appeal. So, for the moment, exterior alteration or demolition at 60-68 and 70-74 Gansevoort continues to be halted.

We’ll let you know as soon as there is further news from the court.  Stay tuned!

Court to Hear Save Gansevoort Appeal on Thursday, December 14, 2PM

Appellate-Division-Courthouse-27-Madison-Avenue-NYC

Mark your calendars for our big court date:  Thursday, December 14th.  This is the day the appeals court will hear the case brought by Save Gansevoort and the Historic Districts Council challenging the Landmark Preservation Commission’s approval of the massive Gansevoort Project. We hope to see a huge crowd there!

The hearing will be:
Thursday, December 14th, 2:00 PM
NYS Appellate Division, First Department
27 Madison Avenue (25th Street & Madison)

We welcome and need your presence at this significant hearing. A large turnout will demonstrate to the court that there is great public concern about both historic Gansevoort Street and the integrity of New York City’s landmarking process.

The facebook event is here:
https://www.facebook.com/events/313620865785957/

Here is a quick look at recent background:
Save Gansevoort was handed a victory on August 16 when the appeals court agreed to grant a stay in our lawsuit against the developers. The judges’ unanimous decision sent a signal that they take very seriously Save Gansevoort’s fight to preserve historic Gansevoort Street and to stop the two large buildings Aurora Capital wants to build. Our arguments, which have now swayed 5 appellate judges, would set important precedents if our appeal is upheld. These precedents would significantly strengthen legal protections for Historic Districts throughout the city.

More information about  the stay which the appellate court granted us can be found here.
More information about our appeal can be found here.

Save Gansevoort is looking for donations. Many people have been very generous. But lawsuits  cost money and  you can imagine how expensive this multi-year fight has been. Please donate here.

Great Villager Article About the Significance of the Gansevoort Lawsuit

Gansevoort-now-600x400

The Villager has just published an outstanding article about our Gansevoort lawsuit.

The reporter really did her homework; she interviewed two LPC insiders and delves into the legal issues involved and why our appeal could set a precedent that would protect Historic Districts across the city.

If you read just one article about the Gansevoort legal fight, this is the one!

Appellate Court Grants Stay in Save Gansevoort Lawsuit!

justiceWe have some great news!  Save Gansevoort and our ally the Historic Districts Council have won a significant victory in the appellate court.  The appellate court has just granted our motion for a stay which prohibits the developer from doing any exterior work on 60-68 Gansevoort and 70-74 until the court can rule on our appeal.

In order to grant us the stay, the appellate court had to find that there was a substantial likelihood that we would obtain a reversal of the lower court decision which approved the massive Gansevoort development project.

The appellate court rejects the vast majority of request for stays that it receives, so the fact that the court granted our request is very significant.  Moreover, the vote by the 4 judges to grant the request was unanimous. Additionally, a fifth judge ruled in our favor last April to grant us an emergency stay.

This victory bodes well for our fight to preserve historic Gansevoort Street and to stop the two large, out-of-character buildings Aurora Capital wants to build.  Equally important, it bodes well for landmarked Historic Districts across New York City.  Our arguments, which have now swayed 5 appellate judges, would set important precedents if our appeal is upheld and significantly strengthen legal protections for Historic Districts.  We expect our hearing before the appellate court will take place some time in December. Stay tuned!

More information about our appeal can be found here.

Important Update on the Gansevoort Lawsuit

photo: Djmutex
photo: Djmutex

There have been important developments in the past several weeks regarding the lawsuit brought by Save Gansevoort and the Historic Districts Council to stop the massive Gansevoort development.  Here’s an update.

On March 27th, the New York State Supreme Court ruled against our suit to overturn the Landmark Preservation Commission’s approval of Aurora Capital’s huge Gansevoort Street project.  In approving this proposal, the LPC essentially undid important elements of its own designation of the Gansevoort Market Historic District, a designation that occurred just 13 years ago in September 2003. 

We have filed an appeal of the lower court decision, and on April 4th the Appellate Court granted us an emergency stay to stop any exterior construction or demolition work at 60-68 Gansevoort Street and 70-74 Gansevoort Street.

This is great news, but we now need the Court to continue that stay through the appeal process – otherwise, two landmark, historic, irreplaceable market buildings will be destroyed, along with the heart of the Gansevoort Market Historic District.

It is our belief that the lower court decision failed to properly interpret New York City’s Landmarks law.  We are fighting to save one of the last surviving market districts in New York City, and our appeal has the potential to set important precedents for historic districts across the city.  We make multiple arguments, but here are three key points: 

1. Our appeal challenges the assertion that a “no-style” architectural designation automatically allows the Landmarks Preservation Commission to approve a building’s demolition.  In addition to architectural importance, the landmarks law lists eight other criteria of equal importance, such as historical and cultural significance.  These other eight criteria must also be considered before a building may be demolished.

2. Our appeal challenges the LPC’s absurd ruling that the history of the Gansevoort Market Historic District consists of four equally significant periods, and that the previously-existing tenement buildings were as important to the District’s history as the current low-lying market buildings.  This represents a complete misreading of the designation report. It would allow developers to “cherry pick” from any era in a district’s history to justify inappropriate new construction, even if that era was not the reason for the district’s designation.  This would put every historic district at risk. 

3. The lower court erred in determining that so long as the Landmarks Preservation Commission holds extensive hearings and requests at least one modification to a proposed design, its decisions are immune from court review.

The Save Gansevoort lawsuit is one of multiple lawsuits filed against the LPC and other agencies and commissions over a series of unprecedented decisions by the City to grant permission to private real estate developers to develop and convert landmark properties.  Not coincidentally, as with so many of the other controversial decisions by the City favoring real estate developers over the last two years, Capalino & Company was one of the registered lobbyists for the developer on this project, hired for the ostensible purpose of facilitating the approval that the LPC issued.

A copy of the affirmation we have filed in support of our request for a stay pending appeal can be found here (scroll to the bottom of the page).

If you would like to help support our fight, please make a donation here.

Here’s What Happened at the March 8 Court Hearing

justice

Here’s a brief report on the March 8th court hearing on our lawsuit to overturn the Landmark Preservation Commission’s approval of the massive Gansevoort development.

First, a big thank you to everyone who attended the hearing!  There was a GREAT turnout of community residents.  The court was completely packed, there wasn’t a free seat in the room.

The good news:  the judge dismissed the developer’s arguments about our standing to bring the lawsuit; that issue is now off the table, which is excellent.

Our lawyer, Michael Hiller, did a fine job of presenting our case, and then the lawyers for the city and the developer responded.  The judge seemed sympathetic to our arguments.  However, she also emphasized the limitations on the court’s ability to intervene in agency decisions, and indicated that she will take a narrow view of the court’s authority in these matters.

We expect that the judge will announce her decision within approximately 2 months, although it could be sooner.

More information about our lawsuit can be found here.

Join Us for the Big Court Hearing Wednesday March 8

photo: Djmutex
photo: Djmutex

This is the big one!  Our next court date is this coming Wednesday, March 8th, and it will be the hearing at which the real issues in our case will be argued.  Our lawyer will present our case for overturning the Landmarks Preservation Commission’s approval of massive new construction at 60-68 and 70-74 Gansevoort Street, and the city and the developer will present their responses.

Wednesday, March 8th, 2:15 PM
60 Centre Street Room 345 (at Foley Square)
(the hearing will start promptly; allow an extra 10 minutes to pass through security)

PLEASE JOIN US AT THE HEARING!  If you can only come to one hearing, this is the one to attend.  A good crowd is important to show the judge that there is strong community support for preserving the intact block of historic market buildings on Gansevoort Street.

More information about the lawsuit, including a copy of the arguments we have submitted to the court and supporting affidavits from various experts, can be found here.