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Group fights for landmark status in East Village

February 9, 2012 5:07:26 AM PST
The East Village is home to historic 19th- and 20th-century buildings that are being demolished faster than they can be saved. But some of the history is hidden from view.

East Village Farms on Avenue A between 6th and 7th streets is set to close its doors after more than a decade in business. But it's what sits above the neighborhood grocery store that is so interesting.

Between the 1920s and the 1950s, it was a movie theater, known as the Hollywood. Much of the ornate architecture remains, including the arch above the stage. The elaborate ceiling design are all still intact.

The Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation has a keen interest in the site.

"We know that the deli on the ground floor, that's been there for many, many years, is in the process of moving out," the group's Andrew Berman said. "We hear that the building is in the process of being sold, and there may be plans to demolish it. So we're very worried. It's a great piece of East Village history that would be a shame to lose."

The preservation group is fighting an uphill battle, as much of the East Village is not landmarked. And getting landmark status for the historic sites is a slow process. The East Village blog EVGrieve.com has been monitoring the demise of many buildings, like 316 East 3rd Street. The brick home was built around 1835, but is now being torn down to make way for a 33-unit apartment building.

"The East Village is one of the most historic parts of New York City, from the immigrants in the late 19th century to the artists and musicians of the late 20th century," Berman said. "There's only a very, very small portion of the neighborhood that's landmarked, though, which protects against demolition."

Plans for the site have not yet been filed with the Department of Buildings, so for now it is just a waiting game. The grocery store has found itself a new location on 48th Street.

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