An 1850 Dobbs Ferry Landmark Disappears Forever

Built in 1850 as a residence and later converted to a variety of restaurant uses; Villa Arturo, later Rudy’s Beau Rivage and now the failed Windows on the Hudson, 19 Livingston Avenue represented a charming and iconic landmark, at the southern gateway to the village of Dobbs Ferry downtown for over 160 years. Last week it was unceremoniously torn down. A combination of excessively grandiose intentions by a new owner, coupled with a diminished economy, limited financing opportunities and a lack of village oversight during the reconstruction phase turned what could have been a great renovation, into a pile of rubble.
It is a sad state of affairs in Dobbs Ferry when what started as a structurally sound building of this vintage, was essentially left to rot, exposed to the elements, in broad daylight on a main road, until such time as there was no other choice but to demolish it. This was the second such building of a similar age and character to be demolished on Livingston Avenue in the past several years. One can only imagine, given the value of the land, which recently sold for $1,145,000, what it’s to be replaced with. Hopefully, it’s not the maximum number of residential units one can possibly fit on the property, sheathed in vinyl siding, as the welcome mat to the village downtown district.
The newly passed Dobbs Ferry zoning code allows the Board of Trustees to request a determination, or catalog, of historically significant buildings and districts in the village of Dobbs Ferry. As of yet, this request has not been made. The demise of these buildings should serve as a wake up call. Perhaps it is time the village exercised the full freedom and powers that the new zoning code allows, in the hopes of either preventing, slowing down or at least adequately regulating and overseeing, with more stringent controls, what goes on during the reconstruction of buildings of this type. Dobbs Ferry, like most other river villages, has an ever dwindling supply of these old buildings, now minus one more. Hopefully, something has been learned here and this can be avoided in the future.

September 2013 Update:                                                                                                Dobbs Ferry Hudson River Views In Peril                                               http://dobbsferry-rivertowns.com/2013/09/12/dobbs-ferry-hudson-river-views-in-peril/

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