CARROLL GARDENS – On Friday, Council Member Brad Lander’s office sent a release announcing that the NYC Landmarks Preservation Commission (LPC) has agreed to consider both 236 and 238 President Street for landmark designation.
236 President, which housed the first stand-alone kindergarten in Brooklyn—the Hans S. Christian Memorial Kindergarten—was recently sold to a developer who plans to demolish the building and replace it with a six-story luxury condo.
Lander and Assembly Member Jo Anne Simon were joined by Carroll Gardens residents and community groups at a press conference last month to call on the LPC to grant the two historic President Street properties individual landmark status. A petition supporting the designation of the two buildings as landmarks has collected more than 2,000 signatures.
LPC Chair Meenaskshi Srinivisan heard the appeals and proposed that the Commission “calendar” both 236 and 238 President for designation as New York City Landmarks. The hearing is scheduled for tomorrow morning, April 10.
“NYC Landmarks Chair Srinivasan took a close look at the buildings, reviewed their history, and recommended to the LPC that the buildings be calendared for designation as NYC landmarks,” the announcement states. “While the formal process takes a while (and leads ultimately to a vote by the New York City Council), the building is protected in the meantime, so it can’t be demolished and replaced.”
“This is great news! A historic treasure of the Carroll Gardens community is being saved,” Lander said in the announcement.
“I’m thrilled that the Landmarks Preservation Commission has decided to review these two unique neighborhood structures as potential landmarks,” Assembly Member Simon said. “236 and 238 President Street both have distinct architecture and history that lends itself to the distinctiveness of the Carroll Gardens neighborhood, and provides a highly sought after sense of place and neighborhood character.”
The Carroll Gardens Historic District was designated in 1973 and is one of the smallest in the city, consisting of only two blocks and only 134 contributing buildings. The President Street block where 236 and 238 are situated is not covered by preservation protections. Along with seeking to expedite the landmarking of the two President Street properties, the community would also like LPC to broaden the Carroll Gardens historic district.
236 President Street was built in 1897 to serve as the first public kindergarten in Brooklyn. It was later the home of the First Methodist Episcopal congregation—the first Spanish-speaking parish in the borough that was founded by Joan Baez’s grandfather. The folk singer and activist joined the fight to save the President Street buildings by sending a letter to the LPC.
Built in 1853 as a private residence and designed in the Anglo-Italian style, 238 President Street was the first building erected on the block between Court and Clinton Streets. Learn more about the history of the two buildings here.
“We’re incredibly thankful for the Landmarks Commission’s swift decision to listen to the community and officially consider these buildings as landmarks,” said the Executive Director of the Historic Districts Council, Simeon Bankoff. “We believe that they are very deserving of landmark designation, and hope this is a start to extending protection to more vulnerable historic buildings in the neighborhood.”