To the editor:
Matthew Fenton’s article (BroadsheetDAILY July 11) on the Dickey house has meaning in today’s context: The area took only 50 years to go from a millionaire’s haven to slum.
Although the process in retrospect seems almost inevitable given the then laissez-faire attitude to construction, it was also quickly moved forward by the building of the new El.
Who can tell 50 years from now which properties in the five boroughs will be also so changed. And let’s never forget that infrastructure projects have significant future impacts on neighborhoods.
I am thinking principally now of the high flood walls (over 8ft to be effective) that are being considered everywhere.
Mr. Henry Parsons
From the Landmarks Preservation Commission, 2005 on the Robert and Anne Dickey House on Greenwich Street:
FINDINGS AND DESIGNATION
On the basis of a careful consideration of the history, the architecture, and other features of this building, the Landmarks Preservation Commission finds that the Robert and Anne Dickey House has a special character and a special historical and aesthetic interest and value as part of the development, heritage, and cultural characteristics of New York City.
The Commission further finds that, among its important qualities, the large (nearly 41 by 62 feet) Robert and Anne Dickey House at No. 67 Greenwich Street in lower Manhattan is a significantly intact Federal style town house that was constructed in 1809-10 when this was the most fashionable neighborhood for New York’s social elite and wealthy merchant class; that, as constructed, the house was 3-1/2 stories with a high peaked roof (probably with dormers), and featured Flemish bond brickwork, a brownstone base, splayed stone lintels with fluted keystones on the flat 4-bay front facade, and an elliptical 3-bay bow on the rear facade, a popular feature of the day, also with splayed lintels;
…that until 1820 this was the residence of merchant Robert Dickey and his wife, Anne, and that, typical of the period, Dickey conducted his business from the rear of the property on Lumber Street (later Trinity Place); that from 1823 until 1919 the house was owned by Peter Schermerhorn, ship chandler and director of the Bank of New York, and his sons and heirs, until 1832 was leased to socially prominent tenants, was the residence of builder Ezra Ludlow to 1841, became a boardinghouse, and in the 1850s served a number of other uses; that 1872 alterations (still extant) to the building (then a tenement) performed by the distinguished architect Detlef Lienau included raising it to a full 4th story with a molded metal front cornice and replicating the rear elliptical bow, installing a pedimented hood over the front entrance, and replacing original lintels on the front facade’s 2nd and 3rd story outer bays with flat stone lintels similar to those on the 4th story,
…and that in 1922 a one-story commercial extension was built on Trinity Place; that the Dickey House is one of only 5 surviving houses of Manhattan’s most elite neighborhood of the post-Revolutionary War era, which are among the relatively rare extant Manhattan houses of the Federal period and style, and is one of only 7 pre-1810 houses located south of Chambers Street, the oldest section of New York City; and that the Dickey House is further distinguished as the grandest of these houses aside from the designated James Watson House (1793, 1806), 7 State Street, and is the only remaining Federal style town house in Manhattan that has a bowed facade.
Accordingly, pursuant to the provisions of Chapter 74, Section 3020 of the Charter of the City of New York and Chapter 3 of Title 25 of the Administrative Code of the City of New York, the Landmarks Preservation Commission designates as a Landmark the Robert and Anne Dickey House, 67 Greenwich Street (aka 28-30 Trinity Place), Borough of Manhattan, and designates Manhattan Tax Map Block 19, Lot 11, as its Landmark Site.