The Last Days of 6 Townhouses That Have Stood for 125 Years

Good morning. It’s Thursday. Today we’ll find out about residents who have not given up their opposition to an apartment building planned for their Upper Manhattan neighborhood. We’ll also take a closer look at something that’s everywhere in New York City: scaffolding.

West 158th Street in 2017.Credit…Dave Sanders for The New York Times

Richard W.B. Feigen acknowledged that it was almost too late. “This might not be the 11th hour,” he said. “It’s like 11:59.”

Feigen is a longtime opponent of change on his block, on West 158th Street in Upper Manhattan — change that has taken the form of a 140-unit apartment building. The developer planning it intends to demolish six townhouses, starting with the one next to Feigen’s — part of a row that has stood together since around the time that Theodore Roosevelt and the Rough Riders set their sights on San Juan Hill during the Spanish-American War.

Now the city’s past and its present are colliding on the block. The developer, Artifact Real Estate Development, said in a statement that the project was important for “a city that’s hungry for affordable living space and community space.” Its plans call for 140 apartments, 42 of them classified as affordable.

It’s not a historic block, according to the city’s Landmarks Preservation Commission — a fact that upsets Feigen and other opponents of the apartment project.

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