Civic Council Joins the Fight for Grand Prospect Hall

“The Grand Prospect Hall” by Hobo Matt is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

After a unanimous vote by the Board of Trustees at the September 9th meeting, the Council added its voice to the fight to save Grand Prospect Hall’s facade. This historic Park Slope institution has been purchased by a developer and is slated for demolition. Despite petitions with tens of thousands of signatures, as well as letters from the Council and other organizations, the Landmark Preservation Commission has so far refused to grant landmark status to this important building. Nevertheless, legal battles continue.

Below is the text of the letter the Council sent to the Commission.

September 13, 2021

Ms. Sarah Carroll
Chair, NYC Landmarks Preservation Commission
One Centre Street
New York, New York 10007

Re: 263 Prospect Avenue, Brooklyn

Grand Prospect Hall

Dear Chairperson Carroll:

The Park Slope Civic Council urges the Landmarks Preservation Commission to take the necessary steps to designate Grand Prospect Hall at 263 Prospect Avenue, Brooklyn, as an individual landmark. The agency’s urgent action is required as the demolition of the building has only been forestalled by a Temporary Restraining Order issued by the New York Supreme Court that may be lifted as soon as September 16.

We are submitting this appeal pursuant to a unanimous vote of the Park Slope Civic Council’s Board of Trustees on September 9. PSCC is one of New York City’s oldest civic associations and has been a zealous champion for the Park Slope community’s quality of life ever since, as well as for the protection of its historic character. Our appeal is also consistent with our mission as a voice for Park Slope’s diverse stakeholders, who have overwhelmingly demonstrated their support for Grand Prospect Hall by collecting nearly 38,000 signatures – and more by the day – on a petition to landmark the building.

We believe that Grand Prospect Hall is deserving of landmark designation for many reasons. The building is the work of architect Ulrich J. Huberty whose work is also found at the Prospect Park Boathouse and Tennis House. Its significance is also reflected by its listing on the National Register of Historic Places, which recognized its merit not only as an outstanding example of French Renaissance design, but as an important example of a building type in the early 20th century that was created to fulfill the cultural and entertainment needs of the large numbers of immigrants that arrived in New York City at the turn of the century to assist their assimilation as Americans. In this period in which immigration remains a salient and divisive issue within our society, Grand Prospect Hall’s cultural significance cannot be understated.

Given the large parcel of property that has been assembled by Gowanus Cubes, the owner of Grand Prospect Hall and eleven adjacent parcels, it should be possible to incorporate the exterior of the Hall into any new development planned for that site without imposing an undue hardship on the developer.

We add our voice to those of Mayor de Blasio, Council Member Lander, and Assembly Member Carroll, who have expressed their support for this structure, and further reiterate our urgent request that the LPC heed the overwhelming call by thousands of New Yorkers to save this building from destruction. Please act with all deliberate speed.

Thank you for consideration of this request.

Sincerely,

The Park Slope Civic Council, by
Timothy Gilles, President
Peter Bray, Chair of the Historic District Committee
Ron Weiss, Esq., Board Secretary

cc: Honorable Bill de Blasio, Mayor
Honorable Brad Lander, NYC Council Member, 39th District
Honorable Robert Carroll, NYS Assembly Member, 44th District

Facebooktwittermail