Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Friends of Lamartine Place HELP FIGHT ILLEGAL ADDITION TO THE UNDERGROUND RAILROAD STATION The owner of the Hopper-Gibbons home (339 West 29th Street), the only documented Underground Railroad Station in Manhattan, recently filed with the Board of Standards and Appeals to retain the illegal 5th story addition to this four story row house and to reject the Landmark Preservation Commission’s authority over this building. The Department of Buildings, furthermore, recently issued two new building permits for the sidewalk shed and scaffolding. The Friends of Lamartine Place have hired legal counsel to help fight this permit, but they need your help. Please help preserve this beautiful and historically-important block by making a contribution (even small amounts of $5 or $10 would help). Your donation is completely tax-deductible to the fullest extent of the law. Write a check to the Historic Districts Council – 232 East 11th Street New York NY 10003 and make sure to put “Friends of Lamartine Place” in the memo line. Credit cards donations can be accepted by phone at 212-614-9107 For further information on the history behind the building and on the owner’s latest tactic, see two Daily News articles by Jennifer Cunningham: http://articles.nydailynews. com/2012-01-16/news/30630632_ 1_brownstone-underground- railroad-quaker-abolitionists http://articles.nydailynews. com/2012-01-29/news/30677052_ 1_historic-site-nuisance- abatement-historic-house. View the PDF of the press release:lamartine place donation flyer september 2012 http://hdc.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/09/lamartine-place-donation-flyer-september-2012.pdf _________________________________________________ A brief summary of the Mamounas brothers’ continued defiance of the law over the years at 339 West 29th Street In 2008, the building failed an audit conducted by the Department of Buildings, because it was not in compliance with the Sliver Law, and in 2009, because it was in violation of the Multiple Dwelling Law. The building permit was subsequently revoked. In November-December, 2010, the owners built new apartments in the illegal 5th story addition at the very time they were supposed to do nothing but bring the building up to fire code. In 2011, the Department of Buildings issued an “order to correct” (to remove the 5th story addition) and was even pursuing a criminal investigation against Mr. Mamounas. His current attempt to bypass the “order to correct” and the LPC’s authority and to, instead, keep building skyward is, therefore, particularly exasperating and needs to be fought tooth and nail.

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