Southern Brooklyn

Barrison: Lundy's Decision A Black Eye To Preservationists

Cherry Hill Gourmet Market at Lundys in Sheepshead Bay
Photo by Ray Johnson

The city’s Landmarks Preservation Committee approved an application by the owners of Cherry Hill Gourmet Market to legalize a series of alterations they made to the landmarked Lundy’s building during an August 2 hearing, tying no strings to the landlord despite outrage from community leaders.

The hearing reviewed Cherry Hill Gourmet Market’s (1901 Emmons Avenue) alterations, which include several changes made during the property’s renovation two years ago to convert it from a restaurant space to a market. Preservationists hoped that the owner, David Isaev, would be forced to pay to undo changes and restore it into compliance, but the committee gave the greenlight to all the changes, including the most contentious ones – the installation of a large external air conditioning unit adjacent to the back wall, and changes to the sidewalk.

Now Bay Improvement Group President Steve Barrison is slamming the decision, calling it a disgrace and saying it weakens landmark preservation laws citywide.

Barrison writes:

This is a CITY disgrace; I was away out of satellite reception for the most part and I sent my email as soon as I heard for the first time of this LPC hearing.

But this now changes the Landmarks Preservation Commission (LPC) game for all of NYC, like the illegal approval of Lohmann’s 800% over the Sheepshead Bay Special District zoning farce back in 1996, which reversed 2 earlier unanimous denials by the BSA. It then opened the flood gates citywide to over development in all 5 boros.

This shameful approval by the LPC, rubber stamping wrong doing with a mere fine, also sets another precedent for Landmarks in all 5 boros. Any landmark owner knows that even changing a door handle, etc is a burdensome process. Here the Lundy operator of the ILLEGAL Cherry Hill supermarket (not permitted in the waterfront Sheepshead Bay Special District) punched many holes for illegal electrical work and non landmark approved lighting, awnings, and other facade work ALL done WITHOUT prior application or approval, and all that happens is he pays a fine!

This means any owner can now break the law for a price; by just paying a fine. What is the point of a Landmarks Preservation Commission? For the well heeled it is no longer a deterrent to prevent the landmark violations and they will run rampant in the future in our city for anyone that can simply afford to pay the fine. This is wrong and simply should be a call for outrage from the Historic and Preservation community in NYC! This is insulting and weakens the entire foundation of what the Landmarks Preservation Commission stood for as an example for the nation. This decision should be reopened or appealed by our elected officials and preservation leaders and organizations in NYC.

This is forever and the only landmark in the heart of Sheepshead Bay’s historic special waterfront. Now the elected and other officials have the need, opportunity and duty to step up here. In addition, the BSA variance led by none other than hired gun, former city BSA head, and CPC Commissioner, Howard Hornstein, to legalize this illegal use must be opposed and denied for the same reasons. The history of the Lundy building and NYC landmarks everywhere is more important for generations to come, than one short term deep pocketed commercial cowboy. The integrity of Landmarks and their preservation cannot be weakened by the highest bidder. Let’s see what the landmark, historic preservation community and our elected officials do to stop this now.

Comment policy


  1. BIGs bitching and moaning is getting old. The building was garbage and this market is the best possible use for it. Just like most of the zoning in this city is a joke so is the SB special district. This is not a big deal get over it. Whats bad is when some guy steals and cheats people out of millions of dollars gets caught pays a fine and goes on his way. Some guy putting a couple million into improving a building that he does not own and providing jobs in your neighborhood shouldn’t get his balls busted. 

  2. I’m glad that they don’t have to undo what was done. 

    I can’t understand why all these schmucks (BIG, PB/SB Civic (or as I call them the Physic association because they are all full of crap!) and other “community leaders” (yeah, right, leaders – with all of them combined, they still don’t come up with 1 full brain) want beautiful, clean restoration, and a nice market to boot, disassembled and restored to it’s original style – early spanish garbage dump!

  3. While I strongly stand alongside all those who would have rather seen a thriving restaurant return to the site rather than this market, I have mixed feelings about some of the complaints being made.  As for the A/C-Refrigeration Unit, One must understand that any type of business would have had to install such and item to be viable in the 21st Century. Just because such technology did not exist decades ago should not prevent this building from being brought into the modern age.  As for the sidewalk, I would like to see where it is written that the cracked and worn concrete sidewalk surrounding the building was a landmarked item. I’m taking an educated guess that it probably was not.  Unfortunately we do not live in a perfect world. Lundy’s should have remained a resaturant of some sort, which would have been a terrific anchor to the other businesses in the Bay, but the reality is that it was noting more than a crumbling, abandoned hulk, destined to deteriorate into oblivion prior to it’s latest incarnation.

  4. On the 6th day God created the animals that would walk the earth….and on the 7th day God create Cherry Hill where those animals would be prepared into delicious meals and it was good.  And God rested and set outside Cherry Hill eating a tasty desert and he blessed everyone who shopped their and cursed everyone who spoke ill of Cherry Hill.  “This is how it was and will be” God said, and it was good.

  5. The problem is with corruption in Department of Building and Enviromental Control Board. It is being run by italian/irish mafia. 

  6. like i’ve said before, Barrison shows wonderful dedication and does so much for this neighborhood that it’s difficult to criticize him. But at times he’s downright obstructionist. He has a certain idea of what the neighborhood should be, and he’d rather have empty rotted areas than something that isn’t exactly his idea. And I disagree with this.

  7. like i’ve said before, Barrison shows wonderful dedication and does so much for this neighborhood that it’s difficult to criticize him. But at times he’s downright obstructionist. He has a certain idea of what the neighborhood should be, and he’d rather have empty rotted areas than something that isn’t exactly his idea. And I disagree with this.

  8. Is this clown even a lawyer? Why is he spouting off about what’s allegedly “illegal”? I’m guessing the dozens of experienced city lawyers that review these issues have just a tiny bit more knowledge of the issues.

    And personally, I’m thrilled with the changes on Emmons, especially Cherry Hill. The neighborhood is totally revitalized and has gone from a declining dump of geriatrics and vacant stores to a bustling, booming nightlife and restaurant hub.

  9. Well then he should probably go back to legal continuing education classes, because he clearly isn’t reading city ordinances correctly.

    Anyone who has done business with Landmarks and DOB knows that they are tough to work with, and have layers and layers of oversight. Every decision is reviewed by dozens of people, and nothing is officially decided until there’s unwavering internal consensus.

    So, yeah, when some community “activist” starts spouting off about “illegal” uses, I’ll follow the guidance of folks who actually do this for a living.

    And what’s up with these “activists” claiming to represent the “community”? I bet you 95% of the folks in SB prefer Cherry Hill over a vacant dump. 

    Who under the age of 90 prefers the old Emmons Avenue?

  10. When Lundy’s reopened, it did not do well, even though they cut the size of the restaurant in half and expanded (and yuppified) the menu to include pizza and pasta. It was popular years ago, but just couldn’t make it in this day and age.

  11. it is fresh, specially second week of the same salad sitting in the same place. And.. its even fresher when you find bunch of hair in your plov from some uzbek in the kitchens. 🙂

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