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Nyack's Oldest House Is Reclaimed In Complex Negotiation

Citizens, preservationists and public officials celebrate donation of John Green house Photo Credit: Tina Traster
Local activists save Nyack's oldest house Photo Credit: Tina Traster

NYACK, N.Y. – Nyack will reclaim its oldest Dutch sandstone house following a complicated negotiation between Ocwen Loan Servicing LLC, a Division of Ocwen Financial Corporation (NYSE:OCN), the trust they represent, and local activists who run a non-profit group, the John Green Preservation Coalition.

The 1817 house at 23 Main Street, just north of the Tappan Zee Bridge, has been donated to an historic preservation coalition, a nearly unprecedented transaction for a “zombie” house.

Most zombie houses are donated to groups advocating for affordable housing. The dilapidated, long-abandoned, stucco-shrouded, fenced-in house has been an eyesore for more than a decade. Threat of its destruction has worried residents and historic preservationists for decades.

Its builder and original habitant, John Green, was an enterprising entrepreneur who put Nyack on the map by laying the foundation for the seaport and for Nyack Turnpike, the predecessor for Route 59. Ocwen acquired the house in lieu of foreclosure 18 months ago.

Underneath the stucco, which has encased the house for decades, is an architecturally-significant Dutch sandstone structure that represents a typical early 19th -century village house. Though the inside, which had been carved up and severely neglected, needs to gutted, preservation architects believe the exterior of the house can be saved and restored.

Back in September, State Sen. David Carlucci issued proclamations to both Ocwen and the John Green Preservation Coalition, citing this development as a truly historic deed. Members of the coalition, the mayor of Nyack, and representatives from the Town, County and State attended the packed event.

The coalition plans to restore and re-open the house as a visitors’ center and cultural venue to coincide with the re-opening of the new Tappan Zee Bridge, which is also the 200th anniversary of the house.

“The Tappan Zee Bridge has served as a gateway to Rockland County,” said Rick Tannenbaum, president of the John Green Preservation Coalition ( johngreencoalition.org ). “Now the John Green house can serve as a gateway to Nyack. It needs to be protected, appreciated, and utilized.”

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