Row House in Danger

New York is a big city. It’s always changing. It’s always growing. It changes and grows at such a pace that sometimes the little guy, or little house in this case, doesn’t stand a chance.

35 Cooper Square, a two-and-a-half story Federal row house, was a typical New York City home when it was built in the early 19th century. Today, it is an anomaly in the East Village, a neighborhood that has undergone so many changes in recent years that it’s hard to imagine it as the colorful place where artists and writers called home and attributed their creativity to. It was dirty and sometimes dangerous, but it was edgy and alive. Now, it’s clean, sterile and has little soul left.

A recent post to The Local East Village by Greg Howard, where he describes 35 Cooper Square as “little more than an eyesore next to its surroundings,” caused quite a backlash among those who are trying to save what little history Cooper Square still has. Architectural historian Kerri Culhane explains why saving this little house is so important. But based on the pictures, there is no doubt that the house has seen better days and it’s hard to show why it should be saved when it appears to be practically falling down on its own. Another thing to consider is the cost of renovation, which could be substantial and with its comparatively small square footage, to a building in the same foot print, it just doesn’t hold up economically. It doesn’t mean that this situation isn’t terrible.

For those of us who think every row house is worth preservation, we hope for a miracle. It appears that the words of Frank Sinatra, “if you can make it there, you can make it anywhere,” may not hold true for Federal row houses since if you were such a house, you might have a better chance of survival in Philadelphia or Boston.

Additional articles about 35 Cooper Square can be found at: http://eastvillage.thelocal.nytimes.com/2011/03/15/local-legends-35-cooper-square/ http://eastvillage.thelocal.nytimes.com/2011/03/11/your-voices-35-cooper-square/ http://eastvillage.thelocal.nytimes.com/2011/03/14/your-voices-more-on-35-cooper/ http://eastvillage.thelocal.nytimes.com/2011/02/28/final-tenants-reflect-on-35-cooper/

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