FINDINGS AND DESIGNATION
On the basis of a careful consideration of the history, the architecture, and other features of this area, the Landmarks Preservation Commission finds that the Ridgewood North Historic District contains buildings and other improvements which have a special character and a special historical and aesthetic interest and value and which represent one or more eras of the history of New York City and which cause this area, by reason of these factors, to constitute a distinct section of the city.
The Commission further finds that, among its important qualities, the Ridgewood North Historic District comprises 96 tenement buildings that are significant as an intact grouping of structures that reflect the development of model tenements in Ridgewood in the early 20 century; that the buildings, primarily three-story brick tenements, were constructed between 1908 and 1914 mainly by the G.X. Mathews Company; that the “Mathews Model Flats” buildings are “new law” tenements with larger rooms and more adequate sanitary facilities than their 19th- century predecessors; that they were built in long rows of repeated designs that create a sense of place; that the facades retain a high degree of integrity and are distinguished by their buff and amber-colored brick facades, carved-stone details, ornate pressed metal cornices, and stoop and areaway ironwork; that development in Ridgewood was spurred by transportation improvements and consolidation into the City of New York; that German immigrant Gustave X. Mathews began building in Bushwick and Ridgewood in the first decade of the 20th century; that by using wider lots, large air shafts, private bathrooms, and limiting occupancy to two families per floor, Mathews’ “cold-water flats’ were a radical improvement to many earlier tenement houses; that Mathews became very successful by creating improved living quarters and controlling costs so that the apartments could be affordable to families of modest income; that the buildings in this district were among the first that Mathews built featuring his innovative floor plans, and are also among the earliest examples of fully developed Mathews Flats in Ridgewood, which became standards for later tenement house construction; that the tenements are striking in appearance, constructed of load-bearing masonry walls of buff and amber-colored, Kreischer brick, with fine detailing in the Romanesque- or Renaissance-Revival styles, including corbelled, projecting, contrasting and geometric patterned brickwork, brick pilasters, and contrasting brick or stone string coursing; that many of the buildings feature Romanesque Revival-style round and segmental arches of contrasting brick or carved-stone door and window lintels, Classically- inspired carved-stone entablatures and friezes, pressed metal cornices and original ironwork at the stoop and areaway; that the buildings facing Fairview and Grandview Avenues have commercial storefronts at the first floor and apartments on the second and third floors, while those on the side streets are completely residential; that the buildings are a cohesive collection of speculative urban architecture; and that the tenements in the Ridgewood North Historic District retain extremely high levels of architectural integrity and represent an important part of the development of housing in New York City. th
Accordingly, pursuant to the provisions of Chapter 74, Section 3020 (formerly Section 534 of Chapter 21) 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 Historic District the Ridgewood North Historic District, consisting of the property bounded by a line beginning at the northwest corner of Fairview Avenue and Woodbine Street, extending northeasterly along the western curbline of Woodbine Street to the western curbline of Forest Avenue, northerly along the western curblines of Forest Avenue to the eastern curbline of Gates Avenue, southwesterly along the eastern curbline of Gates Avenue to the southern curbline of Grandview Avenue, northwesterly across Gates Avenue and along the southern curbline of Grandview Avenue to the eastern curbline of Linden Street, southwesterly along the eastern