A short time ago, the Landmarks Preservation Commission voted to protect 339 Grand St., a Federal row house dating to 1832.
The building on the southwest corner of Ludlow and Grand streets is the longtime home of Ideal Hosiery. A local preservation group, Friends of the Lower East Side, led the campaign to win landmark status for the building due to fears that it could be sold and, possibly, torn down. A leader of the group, Linda Jones, said support from City Council member Margaret Chin helped make the case before the commission.
Over the decades, the building has seen some alterations, but commissioners agreed it still included many noteworthy features of the post-Revolutionary War era, including a pitched roof and dormer. The Friends of the Lower East Side group was also actively involved in pushing for the designation of the Seward park Library; that occurred this past summer.
Here’s the commission’s press release on the designation:
Completed in 1833, this intact 3 1⁄2-story, Federal-style building is part of a row of five row houses constructed by John Jacob Astor, a German immigrant who was the wealthiest man in America by the time of his death in 1848, on land he purchased in 1806 from a business associate, William Laight. “This understated row house, by far the most intact of the five that are there now, is a significant reminder of the period after the Revolutionary War when New York City was developing into a major port and financial center,” said Commission Chairman Robert B. Tierney. “It retains a great deal of its original fabric, despite its age and profound changes to the surrounding neighborhood over a nearly 200-year period.” The designation brings to 18 the total number of Federal-style houses to which the Commission has given landmark status since 2002. The “Federal” style, which was fashionable from the 1780s to the early 1830s, takes its name from the then-new republic, yet is considered a continuation of the Georgian style of Great Britain. The houses were often constructed in rows, sharing party walls and chimneys, and featured details such as splayed lintels, cornices, dormers and doorways framed with columns and sidelights. They usually had a three-bay façade with two full stories over a high basement and an additional half story under a peaked roof with a ridgeline running parallel to the front façade. The row house at 339 Grand St. retains its original form, height, width, façade with Flemish bond brickwork, high-peaked roof and dormer. A full-lot rear addition fronting on Ludlow Street was completed c. 1855, and also retains a great deal of original fabric. The building remained in the family of Astor’s granddaughter, Cecilia Langdon de Nottbeck until 1950. It was conveyed to E & I Realty in 1966 by Murray B. Fiterman. Ideal Hosiery has occupied the Grand Street storefront since 1965.