Sidewalks are everywhere in New York and a common fixture in almost every neighborhood. You may not give a lot of thought to your sidewalk, just using it to get where you're going and back again, but you'd be amazed by the stories our sidewalks can tell.
Throughout New York, maintaining the sidewalk that adjoins your commercial or residential property is the responsibility of the property owner. In some historic districts, sidewalks are a rather prominent feature and they are considered to unify the neighborhood's aesthetic, and the Landmark Preservation Commission (LPC) has established strict rules and guidelines for sidewalk repair and sidewalk replacement in areas where streetscape uniformity requires preservation.
Navigating the permitting procedures and adhering to the stringent protocols established by the LPC can be challenging, which is why it is important to enlist the services of a reputable sidewalk repair contractor to guide you through the process. Landmark sidewalks must be researched thoroughly, including locating photographic evidence of the building in its historical context. Blueprints must be submitted and approved, and updated photos attached to the application.
Don't trust your Queens landmark sidewalk repair project to just anyone, call a professional, local, licensed, and insured sidewalk contractor and make sure the job is done right!
There are also specific regulations set forth for each type of material used in New York sidewalks. The most prevalent landmark sidewalk materials are concrete, bluestone or granite, and cobblestone.
Landmark Concrete Repairs
For landmark concrete repairs, concrete must be restored with concrete or historical material noted in photographic or documented evidence. All concrete must be color-matched using pigments or tints to achieve desired results. Any scoring of the concrete must be aligned with the adjacent sidewalks. Finally, historic stone curbs must be retained whenever possible.
Landmark Bluestone and Granite Repairs
For bluestone and granite landmark sidewalk repairs, existing granite or bluestone flags must be carefully removed and stored in a secure, dry area to avoid damage until they can be reinstalled. There are provisions for using tinted concrete as a replacement in special circumstances, but even then, attention to detail and precise matching of the existing flags is imperative.
Landmark Cobblestone Repairs
Over the years, many of the original cobblestone pavers may have been covered with asphalt as the city grew and progressed. In the event that cobblestone pavers are discovered beneath an existing asphalt surface, they can be removed to perform repair work. However, they must be reinstalled and covered with new asphalt. Replacement cobblestones must match the historic pavers in texture, size, and color. Any distinctive features that were contained within the cobblestone paving - trolley tracks, for instance - must be retained and reset when the repairs are made.
But Wait, There's More …
Those regulations just scratch the sidewalk's surface. There are other considerations like cast iron and glass sidewalk vault covers, steel plates, and vault lights that have specific requirements as well. The list goes on and on. It's enough to leave even the most enthusiastic historic property buff scratching their head.
Hire a Pro
When you want to ensure that all guidelines, protocols, and regulations are followed to the letter, a professional sidewalk contractor has the expertise and the knowledge to navigate the rules established by protective agencies such as LPC, DOT, and other entities with lots of letters to follow.
Of course, these practices help historic neighborhoods retain their charm, which can enhance their appeal and the value of the commercial and residential properties within those neighborhoods. It's important to remember that the preservation of our historic sidewalks is a gift we give to future generations of New Yorkers, and world travelers from far and near, who enjoy the lovely appeal of our landmark sidewalks.
Let your concerns be a thing of the past and hire a pro for your historic landmark sidewalk project. You'll be glad you did … and your worries, as they say, will be history.