Save the Merchant’s House

The Landmarks Preservation Commission will hold a meeting on Tuesday, December 12, 2023, to review – and possibly vote on – the proposed development next door to the Merchant’s House. Please EMAIL THE LPC to voice your opposition!

Merchant's House Museum

Illustration by SJ Costello

The Merchant’s House is Fighting for Survival!

Since 2012, the Merchant’s House has been fighting to protect our 1832 landmark building from construction next door, to the west, at 27 East 4th Street. Currently it is a one-story garage.

Preservation architects and engineers have analyzed the proposed plans and determined that irreversible damage to the Merchant’s House is guaranteed. At particular risk is our original 19th century ornate decorative plasterwork as well as the plaster walls and ceilings. The original, 1832 plaster is extremely fragile and could literally come crumbling down. The worst case scenario is very possible: damage to the museum could be catastrophic (i.e., complete collapse). 

The Merchant’s House is a city, state, and federal landmark. Shockingly, landmark status does not guarantee protection from adjacent construction.

In recent years, the city’s Landmarks Preservation Commission (LPC) has catered to developers’ interests. Several landmarked buildings have been destroyed. If the Merchant’s House – the very first building designated a landmark in Manhattan – is at risk, no historic building is safe.

To date, we have spent almost $1 million on legal and engineering fees, funds that could – and should – have gone to fulfilling our mission: preserving our landmark building, caring for our original collections, and educating the public.

If the construction next door is allowed to proceed, the Merchant’s House will be forced to close its doors to the public for at least two years to safeguard the collection and secure the building. The estimated cost is $5 million.

Our friends at Village Preservation have more information about the application on their website.

How You Can Help!

Learn more.