The members of the Willoughby Nostrand Marcy Block Association (WNMBA) are heartbroken by the destruction of our beloved landmark, the Jacob Dangler House. As a community, we were ignored, disregarded, and disrespected by the developer Tomer Erlich of Brooklyn 360 Realty. We are equally disappointed in the Landmarks and Preservation Commission (LPC).
Despite overwhelming support at the hearing from more than 100 members of the community, the City Council Member, State Assembly Member, State Senator, citywide advocacy organizations, as well as more than 2,000 members of the general public via petition, the New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission did not move to designate the property within the required time-frame, allowing for its immediate and unsafe demolition.
The way in which the building was torn down on July 21st without regard for health, safety, and environmental impacts, was egregious and unacceptable. The demolition occurred without warning or consideration for neighborhood residents, and with minimal safety precautions. As a result, toxic dust spewed into the atmosphere at an aggressive and alarming rate.
Since then, the LPC and the Mayor's Office have refused to articulate why this was allowed to happen. The entire community – including elected officials, neighbors, and preservation advocates – feel spurned by the lack of transparency. Such actions do not alleviate the community’s (and public’s) lack of trust in the LPC and the landmarking process.
As a community, we are grieving, and although we were not able to preserve the Jacob Dangler House, the WNMBA will continue to advocate for our community and will continue to be active in our community affairs, and we are committed to ensuring that our voices continue to be heard.
We demand both a response from the administration and a community meeting to discuss the importance of preservation and how this administration can support our goals of preserving the community’s history.
Finally, we urge the Mayor’s Office to detail the action plan going forward by the Department of Environmental Protection and the Department of Buildings. It is imperative that we understand the fine details around clean up at the site, new construction, air quality, and other safety implications.
We will be vigilant in preserving the spirit of fellowship and community that the Jacob Dangler House represented for us. We will hold all city, state, and federal agencies serving New Yorkers accountable.
We look forward to your response and thank you for your consideration.