Into the dustbin! Preservation group dumps Greenpoint historic district bid

Williamsburger wants to make history in Greenpoint
Photo by Tom Callan

This district is history.

A proposed expansion of Greenpoint’s current historic district was dealt a possibly fatal blow last week when an influential Manhattan preservation group announced it would no longer back the bid, citing lack of public support.

The Historic District Council, the city’s most prominent preservation group, dropped Paul Rubenfarb’s proposal from its list of six worthy preservation projects for the coming year — but Rubenfarb said he would fight on.

“If they did this based on the merits of a particular neighborhood, they definitely would have put Greenpoint first,” said Rubenfarb. “Historic preservation here has been dormant.”

Greenpoint’s current historic district, adopted in 1991, includes Kent Street to Calyer Street between Franklin Street and Manhattan Avenue.

Rubenfarb’s plan called for expanding that district to include a 10-block section of Manhattan Avenue and Franklin Street from DuPont Street to Norman Avenue.

But Community Board 1 member Ward Dennis said that Rubenfarb has not yet assembled “strong grassroots support” from both the board and neighborhood residents, and must do so in order for the proposal to succeed.

Rubenfarb can still apply to the Landmarks Preservation Commission — but it is extraordinarily difficult to get approval for a historic district without powerful backers.

Each year, the city receives 300 requests for historic district designation — about three get approved. A successful campaign to designate a historic district, can take up to five years.

Reach reporter Aaron Short at [email protected] or by calling (718) 260-2547.

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