July 2017
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MAS Supports the Borough Hall Skyscraper Historic District

Borough Hall Skyscraper

Lower Manhattan did not have a monopoly on skyscraper construction in New York City in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Across the East River in Brooklyn, another downtown rivaled its Manhattan counterpart. The Landmarks Preservation Commission today took a step towards recognizing the history and architecture of Brooklyn’s downtown when it held a public hearing on the Borough Hall Skyscraper Historic District.

MAS testified in strong support of this district, which we proposed in 2006 in conjunction with our colleagues at the Brooklyn Heights Association and the New York Landmarks Conservancy. Designation of this area of Downtown Brooklyn’s historic core will ensure the protection of this exceptional concentration of commercial architecture within the borough and will recognize Brooklyn’s contribution to New York City’s commercial history and architecture.

Brooklyn’s financial sector experienced unprecedented growth after the five boroughs were consolidated into Greater New York in 1898. Spanning nearly a century of rich, high-style, commercial architecture, the proposed Borough Hall Skyscraper Historic District forms a cohesive group of late nineteenth and twentieth century commercial structures in styles ranging from Romanesque and Gothic Revival – as seen at the Montague Court Building (16 Court Street) and the Central Building (191 Joralemon) – to International Modern – as seen at the Lafayette National Bank (200 Montague Street). Each building included in the proposed district survives as an intact reminder of the important development and distinct identity of Downtown Brooklyn’s central business district.

MAS commends the LPC for moving forward with this district and looks forward to the district’s designation in the near future. Check out MAS’ testimony in support of the Borough Hall Skyscraper Historic District.