View All

A list of HDC’s upcoming events as well as our annual programs, and breaking preservation news.




HDC is always busy, view our Past Events page to see what other evens we’ve held.




Re:Neighborhood Values: NY Post, July 5, 2014

Demolition freeze may cover 80% of the city: Crains, April 14, 2014

The Historic Districts Council says the city’s historic districts are not to blame for the shortage of affordable housing: Daily News, February 26, 2014

Landlords take aim at rampant landmarking: Crains New York,July 11, 2013

Landmark advocates recall Alamo-like efforts: Chelsea Now, November 3, 2012

New York Landmark Status Misused, Says Group Preservationists say New York’s history under attack:Epoch Times, June 21, 2012

Preservationists Issue Rallying Cry, Prepare to Save Landmarks Law from Big Real Estate: New York Observer, June 14th, 2012

  • 11 bills 1 Day: The Threat to the Landmarks Law

Real Estate Bigs Ready Wrecking Ball for Landmarks Laws: Curbed, June 7, 2012

Historians blast landmarking bills; Comrie says LPC wants total control despite best interests of landowners: Queens Chronicle: May 8,2012

A Quiet War on Landmarks, or Fixing the Problems with the Preservation Commission?: New York Observer, May 2, 2012

LPC speaks out against controversial landmarks bills: The Real Deal  New York City Real Estate News, May 2, 2012

Proposed Bill a ‘Deliberate Attack’ on Landmarks Law, Opponents Say: DNAinfo, May 2, 2012

City Council About to Knee-cap Landmarks Preservation?: Curbed,  May 1, 2012

Preservationists upset about series of Landmarks bills to go before City Council: The Real Deal  New York City Real Estate News, May 01, 2012

  • Landmarks Lion 2012:

Preservationists roar approval of new ‘Lion’ Gratz: The Villager, November 15, 2012

Preservation School


Head back to school with HDC

The Historic Districts Council is pleased to present a series of classes that will illuminate the essentials of historic preservation. Whether you live in a historic district, sit on your local community board or just want to learn about the built environment of your city, these classes will provide a knowledge and vocabulary for historic preservation. Classes will cover the basics including an introduction to preservation, zoning and New York City building types. They will also instruct hands-on skills including how to read architectural drawings and how to research and photograph buildings.



Schedule of Classes

northside_president7 Monday

September 8, 2014

6:00 PM

Preservation 101 Join Tara Kelly, Executive Director of Friends of the Upper East Side Historic Districts, for this introductory course on preservation — what is it, what tools are needed, and how you can get involved.


brooklyn-suburbs-nypl Wednesday

October 15, 2014

6:00 PM

Historic Building Research Architectural Historian Gregory Dietrich will guide participants on research strategies and procedures, as well as important repositories and document types. Learn the basics of how to investigate the origins and stories behind historic properties.


View Gregory Dietrich’s presentation

by clicking here 

realestate120709_rowhouse_560 Monday

November 10, 2014

6:00 PM

NYC Architectural Styles This program will focus on common architectural styles found in New York City’s historic built environment. [Speaker] will provide an overview of the city’s building types and distinguishing features.


incarnation-landmark-building-plaque Monday

December 8, 2014

6:00 PM

NYC Landmarks Preservation Commission and State/National Register of Historic Places Designation Architectural Historian Kerri Culhane will discuss the process of designation by the NYC Landmarks Preservation Commission and the State and National Register of Historic Places, highlighting the benefits and differences between the two, as well as their usefulness as preservation mechanisms.


zh_height_factor Monday

February 9, 2015

6:00 PM

Zoning 101 Upzoning, downzoning, Floor Area Ratio, oh my! Participants will learn the basics of zoning vocabulary and policies. Speaker (TBA) will illuminate what zoning and changes in zoning regulations mean for your community’s historic built environment.


SunsetPark-8 Monday

March 9, 2015

6:00 PM

Architectural Photography Join photographer and chair of the Sunset Park Landmarks Committee, Lynn Massimo, in this hands-on session about best practices in architectural photography. Learn tips and tricks for getting the best possible photograph of your building or neighborhood.


DKoepp_NYC_TH Monday

April 13, 2015

6:00 PM

Reading Architectural Drawings Architectural drawings and renderings illustrate the often complicated design and construction plans for proposed building projects. Join architect Brendan Coburn to learn how to understand and evaluate the information that these documents present.


4416779971_5ac0d6a112_z Monday

May 11, 2015

6:00 PM

Building Materials The buildings of New York City are constructed using a wide variety of materials: terra-cotta, brick, brownstone, concrete and much more. Join Dan Allen, preservation architect, to learn how these materials are employed, how to identify them, and “scratch the surface” on their maintenance and conservation.



Classes will take place at:

Neighborhood Preservation Center

232 East 11 Street

New York, NY 10003


Light refreshments to be served


$10 each or $60 for all 8

Scholarships available

please contact Barbara Zay at

Category: Featured · Tags:

Defending Historic Preservation in New York City

The demolition of the Dakota Stables

Although community advocates have achieved some big successes in recent years gaining long-sought landmark designations and thwarting (or at least modifying) destructive proposals to historic buildings, historic preservation as both a strategy and as a philosophy is under attack as never before. Emboldened by years of record growth, the Real Estate Board of New York, the principal lobbyist for organized real estate, has been relentless in its campaign to undermine the Landmarks Law and all community preservation efforts. They are accusing preservation efforts of driving up housing costs, endangering affordable housing, stopping job creation and economic growth, protecting worthless buildings and penalizing home and business owners with costly fees and delays. To hear them tell it, landmark designation will transform New York into a lifeless museum city with a “look but don’t touch” mentality. HDC feels that nothing could be further from the truth. REBNY even pursued a serious lobbying effort to transform and weaken the Landmarks Law through a series of bills which would transform how the Landmarks Preservation Commission designated and regulated historic properties. Through HDC’s mobilization of the preservation community, this specific effort was defeated but the threat to preservation laws and historic buildings is still very real.

Preservation practices empower communities, celebrate our history, drive economic growth and sustain development efforts. Preservation enhances our streetscapes, nurtures tourism, encourages investment and employs local labor. It is a popular, populist movement driven by regular New Yorkers who value their homes and their city. The Historic Districts Council works with community groups throughout the five boroughs on efforts to save, preserve and enhance the special character of New York’s historic neighborhoods. We work with communities from areas as different as the Upper West Side and Bedford-Stuyvesant on the shared goal of empowering the community to have a voice in determining their own future. These two communities are ones whose efforts we honored at the Grassroots Preservation Awards and whose successes have been targeted as “over-reaching” by the real estate lobby.

HDC will continue counter arguing REBNY as long as they continue to release studies based on lies  and misconceptions. The threat that REBNY faces to New Yorker’s is very real. Through HDC’s mobilization and education we have been able to keep the preservation community strong, but we will never be as loud as REBNY. We need all the support of our neighborhood partners, history lovers, and lovers of New York.

Additional Resources:

Preservation and Job Creation



 HDC continues to vigilantly defend New York City’s Landmarks Law and promotes efforts to strengthen protections for historic buildings. This section will be updated regularly with current events regarding this issue.

Deserving but not Designated-Brooklyn -Post

Posted by on Thursday, October 30, 2014 · Leave a Comment 

Deserved but not Designated are neighborhoods in New York City which have submitted comprehensive Requests For Evaluation (RFEs) and/or have had public hearings at the Landmarks Preservation Commission, yet remain unprotected by landmark designation.  These landmark-worthy places possess the same qualities as landmark districts, such as architectural integrity, historic significance and distinct neighborhood character. HDC seeks to increase awareness of these deserving neighborhoods with an ultimate goal of gaining official NYC landmark designation for them.

The first step in the Landmarks Preservation Commission’s designation process is the formal Request For Evaluation. The RFE form is available on the Landmark Commission’s website (here) and only asks for basic information. Once an RFE has been submitted, a formal conversation with the LPC can begin. However, experienced advocates often supplement the brief form with supporting materials. These often substantial presentations are usually the product of countless hours of volunteer activity by neighborhood activists spent researching, writing, photographing and fundraising to better represent their case for preservation to the city.

74 Halsey Street






Crown Heights North cover photo

 Crown Heights North





park slope DSCN0637

 Park Slope 






Sunset Park 





Beverley Sq E. -217 E. 19th

 Victorian Flatbush




Category: Deserving but not Designated, Featured, HDC@LPC · Tags: , , , , , , ,

Six to Celebrate-The History and Endurance of New York City’s Carnegie and Branch Libraries- A Lecture

Posted by on Thursday, October 30, 2014 · Leave a Comment 


(images courtesy of NYPL and HDC)


Join the Historic Districts Council for a presentation on the history of New York City’s Carnegie and branch libraries and their endurance into the present.
(at the very first Carnegie Library built in New York City!)

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

5:30 PM

Yorkville Branch of the New York Public Library

222 East 79th Street (between Second & Third Avenues)


In 1899, industrialist and  philanthropist Andrew Carnegie donated the funds which would build 67 architecturally distinctive libraries in the five boroughs between 1901 and 1923. These buildings, of which 54 still function today as libraries, have been community landmarks ever since. Together with the more recently built branch libraries, and the famous main branches, they make up the three library systems that serve the dynamic population of New York City.

Dr. Jeffrey Kroessler, author of Lighting the Way: A Centennial History of the Queens Borough Public Library, 1896-1996, will discuss the early history of the Carnegie and branch libraries, including their philanthropic origins, purposeful locations, and intended neighborhood functions, as well as their endurance into the 21st century.


This event is free and open to the public. Seating will happen on a first come, first serve basis.

If you have any questions, please contact Brigid Harmon at or 212-614-9107


Category: Carnegie Libraries, Carnegie Library, Program & Events, Six to Celebrate · Tags: , ,

Fall Line Up- Library Lecture, Book Talk, Call for 2015 Six to Celebrate Applications

Posted by on Tuesday, October 28, 2014 · Leave a Comment 


October 2014, Volume 11, Number 3

In This Issue:


The History and Endurance of New York City’s Carnegie and Branch Libraries- A Lecture

67th Street Branch, first floor interior, circulation room, n.d. (New York Public Library:

67th Street Branch, first floor interior, circulation room, n.d. (New York Public Library)

Wednesday, October 29, 2014 5:30 PM

Yorkville Branch of the New York Public Library

(the very first Carnegie Library built in New York City!)

222 East 79th Street (between Second & Third Avenues)

Join the Historic Districts Council for a presentation on the history of New York City’s Carnegie and branch libraries and their endurance into the present.

In 1899, industrialist and  philanthropist Andrew Carnegie donated the funds which would build 67 architecturally distinctive libraries in the five boroughs between 1901 and 1923. These buildings, of which 54 still function today as libraries, have been community landmarks ever since. Together with the more recently built branch libraries, and the famous main branches, they make up the three library systems that serve the dynamic population of New York City.

Dr. Jeffrey Kroessler, author of Lighting the Way: A Centennial History of the Queens Borough Public Library, 1896-1996, will discuss the early history of the Carnegie and branch libraries, including their philanthropic origins, purposeful locations, and intended neighborhood functions, as well as their endurance into the 21st century.

This event is free and open to the public. Seating will happen on a first come, first serve basis.

If you have any questions, please contact Brigid Harmon at or 212-614-9107 


Taming Manhattan: An Illustrated Book Talk

Tuesday, November 25, 2014 6:00 PM

Neighborhood Preservation Center

232 East 11 Street

jacket - Taming Manhattan

Join former HDC staffer and Portland State University Professor Catherine McNeur as she discusses her recently published book Taming Manhattan: Environmental Battles in the Antebellum City.

Taming Manhattan details the environmental history of the city in the years before and during the Civil War, when pigs roamed the streets and cows foraged in the Battery. As city blocks encroached on farmland and undeveloped space to accommodate an exploding population, prosperous New Yorkers and their poorer neighbors developed very different ideas about what the city environment should contain. This presentation will focus on nineteenth-century New York City’s long forgotten shantytowns, the people living in the communities, and how outsiders viewed the architecture and communities developing on the metropolitan periphery.

This program is free, but reservations are required as space is limited.

To RSVP please contact Brigid Harmon at or 212-614-9107 


Six to Celebrate 2015 Application


Deadline for nominations is December 1, 2014, and the Six to Celebrate will be announced in early 2015.

The purpose of this program is to provide strategic resources to neighborhood groups at a critical moment so that they can reach their preservation goals.  The program will help community activists learn to use tools such as documentation, research, zoning, landmarking, publicity, and public outreach to advance local preservation campaigns.  The selected groups will receive HDC’s hands-on help strategizing and implementing all aspects of their efforts over the course of the 2014 calendar year, as well as our continued support in the years to come.

Since beginning this program in 2011, HDC has been able to help Six to Celebrate  groups create two new National Register districts (the Bowery and Far Rockaway Bungalows) and two New York City historic districts (Bedford Stuyvesant and the East Village) with many others still in the works in all five boroughs (Bedford, Gowanus, Harrison Street, Port Morris, and Van Cortland Village).  We have also assisted in leveraging more than $40,000 in private and public grants for these community-driven projects. Neighborhoods selected also get professionally-designed websites and illustrated walking tour brochures.

Click here to download the application

Please mail the application along with all requested supplemental materials.

Six to Celebrate
Historic Districts Council
232 East 11th Street
New York, New York 10003



Category: Blog, E-bulletin, Program & Events, Six to Celebrate · Tags:

HDC@LPC – October 28, 2014

Posted by on Monday, October 27, 2014 · Leave a Comment 

Item 1


Hawthorne Court Apartments, 215-37 to 215-43 43rd Avenue and 42-22 to 42-38 216th Street


Landmark Site: Queens Block 6306, Lot 15

Community District 11
A Tudor Revival Style low-rise garden apartment complex designed in 1930-31 by
Benjamin Braunstein.

Hawthorne Court 018

In the far edges of Queens where Bayside merges into Little Neck among rows of developments dating from the first half of the last century, most of the house designs rarely come off as more than undistinguished.  Yet almost everywhere there are surprises, often pleasant and sometimes extraordinary, to startle the wanderer.  In this section of Bayside neo-Tudor houses, a style that enjoyed a brief vogue in the twenties and thirties of the last century, scatter their charms of varying effectiveness over quite a large area.  Even so, for a visitor to come up on a grouping so remarkable as Hawthorne Court on the northwest corner of 43rd Avenue and 216th Street gives special pleasure.

Part of its effectiveness is based on the fact that the site fills a large corner lot that allows a group of good-size and handsome apartment houses to enclose a small network of seemingly random but actually carefully arranged group of picturesque buildings accessed by artfully winding paths leading to a central courtyard partially bounded by largely brick-walled units topped with steeply pitched slate roofs.  Once within the grouping, the visitor feels strongly enclosed by roofs and walls variegated with different motifs and materials but all artfully disposed.  Windows of an array of shapes and materials further vary the experience.  Small as the development is, it is so cleverly enclosed and the welcoming ungated paths lead the visitor so ingeniously through well-maintained tress and plantings of various size and age that a striking unity of character creates a remarkable experience that one hates to leave.

This remarkable grouping is fully worthy of designation.


Item 2



160061- Block 178, lot 7502-

211 West Broadway – TriBeCa East Historic District
A neo-Grec style store and loft building designed by J. Morgan Slade and built in 1881-82 with an addition designed by Schweitzer & Diemar and built in 1901. Application is to remove cast iron vault lights and reconstruct a stair and loading platform.

211 W Bway_e

HDC asks the Commission to deny the removal of the historic vault lights. Applications to remove these historic features are increasing and as a result, vault lights continue to disappear in our downtown historic districts. As this property already has a vault that is both light and diamond plate composite, we ask that the historic lights be covered until funds for their proper restoration become available.


Item 3



161314- Block 825, lot 12-

30-32 West 24th Street – Ladies’ Mile Historic District
A neo-Gothic style store and loft building designed by Browne & Almiroty and built in 1910-11. Application is to install storefront infill and light fixtures.

30 W 24_l

Overall, HDC feels that the new storefront should respond in color and rhythm to the historic architecture above it. We applaud the choice of steel for the storefront, but feel that the material’s potential is not being reached; its application appearing more like extruded aluminum. Finally, we suggest that the applicant study other loft buildings’ light fixtures in the district and supply something less “off of the shelf” to embellish this building appropriately.


Item 4



162565- Block 1209, lot 33-

360 Central Park West – Upper West Side/Central Park West Historic District

A neo-Renaissance style apartment building with neo-Gothic style elements, designed by Rosario Candela and built in 1928-29. Application is to create new window openings and modify architectural elements.

360 CPW_f

HDC does not support this application to alter the façades of the premier apartment building designer Rosario Candela. Candela’s apartment house designs were not arbitrarily conceived, but as with any designer, carefully considered, especially for a Central Park West commission. The design is misleading, as the terracotta will be identically replicated, making the new openings appear original. The Committee agreed that repairing the  masonry is a welcome improvement, but not a trade off for the allowance of these ahistoric window openings.


Item 5



162265- Block 1227, lot 28-

221 West 79th Street – Upper West Side/Central Park West Historic District
A Renaissance Revival style rowhouse designed by Clarence True, built in 1895-96, and altered in 1953 by the construction of a two-story commercial extension designed by S. Walter Katz. Application is to legalize re-cladding of the two-story extension with stucco, and to modify storefront infill at the ground and 2nd floor and an awning, installed without Landmarks Preservation Commission permits.

221 W 79_i

West 79th Street between Broadway and Columbus Avenue is a patch of side-street retail set within the ground floors of townhouses and apartment buildings. This corridor derives its character from the quilt work of signage and storefront treatments from different eras, such as the Dublin House’s 1934 neon sign or the 1953 black glass storefront that was illegally removed at this property. HDC laments the homogenization of the stucco treatment applied at no. 221 and asks that the glass storefront be put back and this legalization be denied.


Item 6



162569- Block 1145, lot 33-

294 Columbus Avenue, aka 100 West 74 Street – Upper West Side/Central Park West Historic District

A neo-Grec and Renaissance Revival style flats building designed by Thom & Wilson and built in 1886-87. Application is to install a sign panel and signage.

294 Columbus_e

Overall, this storefront proposal is a vast improvement, and the Committee was happy to see that the historic cast iron columns revealed and restored. Regarding the sign, we felt that the storefront and the sign were viewed as one piece rather than separate features, and that there should be some delineation between the storefront and the sign band. We suggest incorporating a cornice, or choosing a different color for the sign band, inspired by the building’s array of stone, masonry and cast iron materiality.


Item 7



158351- Block 215, lot 10-

48 Hicks Street – Brooklyn Heights Historic District
A Federal frame house originally built in 1829 and later altered. Application is to re-clad the facades and replaced the storefront infill.

48 Hicks_b

As the applicant carefully documented, this building has changed several times in character, size and shape over nearly two centuries. HDC applauds the next step of its evolution, finding the proposed storefront and restoration work sensitive and attractive. Elements such as a new corner cast iron column and clapboard are the types of details that solidify Brooklyn Heights’ architectural aesthetic. The Committee requests, however, that the brick be rebuilt as an alternative to stucco, which may detract from this otherwise thoughtful project.


Item 9



156700- Block 5181, lot 64-

491 East 17th Street – Ditmas Park Historic District

A Colonial Revival style house designed by Seth H. Cutting and built in 1920. Application is to alter the one-story extension to create an open porch.

491 E 17_a

HDC welcomes the conversion of the extension to an open porch, a historic feature characteristic of the Ditmas Park Historic District. The applicant diligently researched porches in Ditmas Park prior to submitting this application, even providing photographs with examples of other porches in the district. We ask that LPC staff work with the applicant to emulate the details found in these examples, with focused attention on column bases and capitols.

Category: Uncategorized · Tags:

Preservation in the News

Posted by on Friday, October 24, 2014 · 1 Comment 


Historic Districts Council Opposes Frick Expansion


The Historic Districts Council, which can influence the city’s decisions but has no official role, has come out in opposition to the Frick Collection’s planned expansion, the council announced on Wednesday.

The council’s public review committee — which examines proposals for work on landmark buildings that are to come before the Landmarks Preservation Commission — said in a statement that the proposed expansion “will destroy the design intent of Thomas Hastings’ residential composition and John Russell Pope’s graceful museum transformation.”

Click here to read the whole article


City Planning appoints inaugural COO

After the Department of City Planning pledged earlier this year to streamline operations at the agency, it has created and filled a position specifically for that purpose.

Jon Kaufman, a former partner at consulting firm Bain & Co., was appointed the agency’s first chief operating officer Wednesday. While Mr. Kaufman comes from the private sector, he had already volunteered his time earlier this year at City Planning to help analyze the department’s organizational structure—which the de Blasio administration and City Planning Commission Chairman Carl Weisbrod have pledged to dramatically alter.

“Jon’s appointment underscores the de Blasio administration’s commitment to make our review and approval processes more transparent, more efficient and overall more expeditious,” Mr. Weisbrod said in an email to colleagues announcing the appointment.

Click here to read the whole article


That ‘Temporary’ Frick Garden — It Was Created to Be Permanent

Huffington Post By Charles Birnbaum

This “temporary” idea is an important talking point in the Frick’s justification; the garden’s supposed planned obsolescence is foundational to their argument. There’s only one problem — the Frick created this verdant oasis as “a permanent garden” — at least that’s what the museum’s own February 4, 1977 press release about it states. An anonymous source recently sent me the seven page release (with a note saying “This document is on file at the Frick Art Reference Library”) and directed me to the fourth paragraph on page six — there it is, plain as day: “a permanent garden.”

Click here to read the whole article


Scientists recreate old beer they dug up in Chinatown

New York Post By Natalie O’Neill

A beer bottle from the 1800s was unearthed by archaeologists in Chinatown — inspiring them to revive the rare old brew.

The scientists discovered the glass “California Pop Beer” bottle on Bowery Street near Canal Street, where a popular beer hall, Atlantic Garden, bustled in the 1850s, scientists said.

“It’s a light summer drink, slightly minty and refreshing” said Alyssa Loorya, 44, president of Chrysalis Archaeology, which headed the project.

Click here to read the whole article



Decoding New York: Unearthing Treasures Beneath New York’s Streets


During the dig an old glass bottle was unearthed and the bottle’s label said it had contained ‘California Pop Beer’. Alyssa Loorya followed through and tracked down the original beer patent and then reproduced the beer using a home brewing kit. It’s a beer infused with ginger root, sarsparilla and wintergreen oil and reportedly has quite a kick, see Scientists Recreate Old Beer. You can try it yourself if you do the Historic Districts council ‘Historic Pub Crawl’ to be held Sept 6 at 1.00 pm for just $10. Go here for tickets, Historic Pub Crawl. it’s not everyone who can say they have drunk apart of New York’s past.

Click here to read the whole article


The War on New York’s Waterfront


What we don’t need, in a place whose uniqueness attracts the world, is another sterile development that further reduces Manhattan to an overstuffed version of every other city in the country. It will take time, thought, private investment and, dare we say it, significant public funds. But New Yorkers have done these kinds of bold things before. If you don’t believe us, next time you’re downtown on the East River waterfront, look up. There you’ll see a bridge that somebody managed to sell us.

Click here to read the whole article


As New York City property values surge, historic sites reduced to memories

Reuters By Laila Kearney

As wealthy prospective buyers search for dwindling space to transform into high-end retail or apartment sites, city historians and sentimentalists fear that the shops and restaurants from some of Manhattan’s most notable eras have been marked for extinction.

“New Yorkers are seeing buildings and institutions they thought were going to be there forever disappearing,” said Simeon Bankoff, director of the city’s Historic Districts Council. “It seems to have reached a bit of a fever pitch.”

Click here to read the whole article


Midtown East Steering Committee to Make Everyone Happy

New York Observer by: Tobias Salinger  

Representatives from a mishmash of 11 organizations, including Community Boards 5 and 6, preservation groups like the Historic Districts Council, business organizations like the Grand Central Partnership, urban planning research groups like the Regional Plan Association and the industry’s advocacy group, the Real Estate Board of New York, will figure out a way to jumpstart the 73-block rezoning proposal that died in the City Council last winter.

Click here to read the whole article


Buildings With a Past

Creating New York Apartments From Unlikely Buildings


Land is extremely scarce, they say, and historic districts, which are numerous, make new construction tough. Besides, some old-time structures are far bigger than what zoning would allow on their lots today. Adaptive reuse can also be speedier.

But curb appeal may also have something to do with it. “There’s a general movement now that goes beyond real estate, a reaction to a world that’s become increasingly electronic,” said Toby Moskovits, president of Heritage Equity Partners, which is transforming a church-and-school complex into apartments in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. “People are more comfortable,” she added, “with something that feels authentic.”

Click here to read the whole article


 Readers sound off on landmarks

Daily News By: Arthur Levin, Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation

What the Real Estate Board of New York study cited in this article fails to address is that, according to experts, the single largest factor contributing to the increasing unaffordability of our city is the disappearance of existing affordable housing — a fact acknowledged in Mayor de Blasio’s affordable housing plan. Historic districts in fact help preserve and protect thousands of units of affordable housing that might otherwise be lost to demolition.

An objective examination of potential solutions to our city’s housing affordability challenge is not really the agenda of REBNY, a trade association representing developers, which has long lobbied for reducing and eliminating affordable housing protections. The REBNY agenda is to maximize the freedom of its developer members to tear down and build whatever they want, wherever they want.

Click here to read the whole article


Last Night’s Heavy Rainfall Turns Gowanus Canal Into One Big  Toilet Once Again

Pardon Me For Asking

Last night’s heavy rain caused another Combined Sewer Overflow event last night and by 11 PM, much of the waterway was covered with raw sewage.  The smell was unbelievable.  It was too dark to take photos, but I took a walk over both the Union Street and Carroll Street bridges at 6 am this morning, and took some pictures. It was still rather awful and smelly and the bacteria count in the water must have been off the charts.

It is unfathomable to thing that the new residents of the 700 unit Lightstone Group Project at the shores of the canal will have to deal with this every time it rains heavily.

Click here to read the whole article





Save Rizzoli

In the days preceding the ceiling extraction, we had been in communication with Vornado Realty Trust to acquire their permission and insurance requirements for our highly experienced crew to enter the site and remove large portions of the ceiling. By all accounts, they initially supported the endeavor, and everyone appeared to be on board. Our team only awaited the approval of Vornado CEO Steven Roth.

But then on Thursday, as our preservationists prepared to conduct a probe of the ceiling’s material condition, we learned our access to the site had been denied. At the last minute, Steven Roth intervened and thwarted our attempt to preserve the building’s architectural details for posterity.

Click here to read the whole article


Library’s Rose Main Reading Room Closed for Six Months

Plaster Fell From the 52-Foot-Tall Ceiling in May

Wall Street Journal By Jennifer Maloney

The New York Public Library’s Rose Main Reading Room will remain closed for the next six months for inspection and repairs after a plaster rosette fell from its ceiling in May, library officials said Monday.

The reading room is the jewel of the library’s flagship Fifth Avenue building, which draws 2.3 million visits a year. The room’s 52-foot-tall ceilings are adorned with painted clouds and other decorations molded in plaster.

The library Monday didn’t have a cost estimate for the inspection or repairs.

Click here to read the whole article


Mysterious Railroad Relic Unearthed on Governors Island

DNAInfo By Irene Plagianos

A recent dig on Governors Island unearthed a rusty relic of its military history — and island officials aren’t sure what it is.

While working on the island’s sewer systems, excavators found what appears to be part of a railway train car or hand cart once used on the island’s early 20th century railroad system, said Elizabeth Rapuano, a spokeswoman for the Trust for Governors Island.

“It’s a fun surprise — we’ve never found anything like it before,” Rapuano said. “We’re still trying to figure out exactly what it is…we’d love to get responses from the public about [it].”

Click here to read the whole article


Closer look at two significant neighborhoods

This tour was made possible by the Historic Districts Council. It is part of the nonprofit’s “Six To Celebrate,” which offers tours of six areas the group deems worthy of preservation.

“These tours serve to highlight neighborhoods that many New Yorkers are unaware of to shine a light on unknown aspects of their history or built environment,” said Barbara Zay of HDC.

The Forest Close Association its neighborhood for the honor. Forest Close is a group of 1927 rowhouses bounded by 75th Road, 76th Avenue, and Austin Street.

Click here to read the whole article


Ratner wins prize for best … preservationist?

Brooklyn Paper

Preservationists at the Municipal Art Society issued their most prestigious award to Forest City Ratner’s chairman Bruce Ratner and head Maryanne Gilmartin on Wednesday night. Advocates that take exception to the builder’s biggest projects, Atlantic Yards and MetroTech Center, which have replaced and are slated to replace more than a dozen primarily low-slung blocks with hulking skyscrapers and the Barclays Center arena, are fuming at the decision.

“Forest City Ratner Companies has been bulldozing and demolishing huge tracts of land,” said Simeon Bankoff, executive director of the Historic Districts Council, a preservationist group that spun off from the Municipal Art Society in the 1980s. “They’re creating these places that are not places at all.”

Click here to read the whole story



Everything Old Is New Again: Conversions of Historic Properties in Lower Manhattan

Historic properties are being reimagined and preserved through significant new investment and changes in use. These projects show that preser­vation and economic development can be powerful partners. As new office space comes online across the district, historic former office buildings are being converted into new retail, hotel and residential spaces fitting for a 21st Century Downtown.

Click here to access the full report.



Brooklyn’s Historic Churches Disappear to Make Way for Condos


Some preservationists and historians say the loss of churches is changing the face of some of borough’s most historic neighborhoods.

“I think it’s a tragedy that we are losing these unique and amazing structures,” said Sharon Barnes, a member of the Society for Clinton Hill. “They are part of the fabric of our streets and to lose so many is heartbreaking.”

But Simeon Bankoff, director of the Historic Districts Council, an organization that advocates for New York City’s historic neighborhoods, said that church to condo conversions are a practical way to preserve the historic nature of the buildings after congregations can no longer afford the upkeep.

“The actual physical character of the buildings is retained even when they are converted to residential use,” he said.

Click here to read the whole article


The Value of Land: How Community Land Trusts Maintain Housing Affordability


Urban Omnibus by Oksana Mironova
Affordable housing is on New York City’s mind. A critical mass of civic organizations, academic institutions, city agencies, advocacy groups, and others are pondering the essential and perennial issue of how to ensure that the city becomes affordable for the extraordinarily diverse population that makes it work. What’s more, the conversation is riding a new wave of perceived political support from the de Blasio administration, which has tapped leading academics and esteemed private and public sector figures to deliver on its ambitious promise to build or preserve 200,000 units of affordable housing in ten years. With the details of the Mayor’s plan due to be released May 1st, we will undoubtedly be hearing a great deal of commentary about policy and implementation – development sites, low-income housing tax credits, preservation, NYCHA reforms – for weeks to come.
Click here to read the whole report


Plan to Honor Big Developer in Brooklyn Is Criticized

NYTimes BY Matt Chaben

The Municipal Art Society is well known for campaigns to save Grand Central Terminal and Lever House and to stop towers that would have cast long shadows over Central Park.

But now the civic organization is the one defending itself, for deciding to award the developer Bruce C. Ratner its highest honor, one named for the very person who led some of those fights.

“We claim no ownership of the Onassis name, though we do draw on her spirit,” said Simeon Bankoff, executive director of the Historic Districts Council, a citywide preservation group. “To honor Forest City Ratner with an award named for someone so well known for fighting to preserve New York’s neighborhoods is just too much.”

Click here to read the whole story


An economic defense of old buildings

Washington Post By Emily Badger

“For a long time, preservationists have been making the the cultural argument that these places feed our soul, and they connect us to our past,” says Stephanie Meeks, the president and CEO of the National Trust of the National Trust. “But this is the first time we’ve had empirical data to show that these places perform better economically and on many livability factors, as well.”

The report divided each city into a grid of 200-by-200-meter squares to allow comparison across neighborhoods (city blocks tend to be different sizes even across the same city, making that unit a poor measure).

Click here to read the whole article


State will not move forward with historic district designation of Gowanus due to overwhelming opposition

Daily News BY 

The state Historic Preservation Office has decided not to pursue the designation of a large swath of the neighborhood, an area that would have covered 422 properties near the notoriously polluted Gowanus Canal

“It’s very disturbing that people went door to door . . . bullying people to go against this and giving them misinformation,” said Linda Mariano, co-founder of Friends and Residents of Great Gowanus, a citizens group that has pushed for the creation of a historic district since the early 2000s.

Click here to read the whole story


This Is New York Now: Starbucks, Frozen Yogurt and Juice Bars

We’ve been waiting for the other shoe to fall for months now, ever since Bleecker Street Records was pushed out of its longtime home at 239 Bleecker Street in August by a massive rent increase that would have required the record store to pay $27,000 a month. What purveyor of luxury goods would fill the home from which the vinyl mecca drew its name? (Miraculously, Bleecker Street Records found a space around the corner at 188 West 4th.)Now we know, h/t Grub Street: a Starbucks will be moving in.

Click here to read the whole article



New Yorkers, Take Back Your City


The old-school gentrification of the 20th century, while harmful, wasn’t all bad. It made streets safer, created jobs and brought fresh vegetables to the corner store. Today, however, what we talk about when we talk about gentrification is actually a far more destructive process, one that I prefer to call hyper-gentrification.

Unlike gentrification, in which the agents of change were middle-class settlers moving into working-class and poor neighborhoods, in hyper-gentrification the change comes from city government in collaboration with large corporations. Widespread transformation is intentional, massive and swift, resulting in a completely sanitized city filled with brand-name mega-developments built for the luxury class. The poor, working and middle classes are pushed out, along with artists, and the city goes stale. Urban scholar Neil Smith wrote extensively about the phenomenon, calling it “a systematic class-remaking of city neighborhoods.”

Click here to read the whole article


Public Library Is Abandoning Disputed Plan for Landmark


In a striking about-face, the New York Public Library has abandoned its much-disputed renovation plan to turn part of its research flagship on Fifth Avenue at 42nd Street into a circulating library and instead will refurbish the nearby Mid-Manhattan Library, several library trustees said.

“When the facts change, the only right thing to do as a public-serving institution is to take a look with fresh eyes and see if there is a way to improve the plans and to stay on budget,” Anthony W. Marx, the library’s president, said on Wednesday.

The renovation of the flagship, the Stephen A. Schwarzman Building, would have replaced the book stacks under the building’s main reading room with the new lending library. The project was to be paid for with $150 million from New York City and proceeds from the sale of the Mid-Manhattan Library, at Fifth Avenue and 40th Street, and the Science, Industry and Business Library in the former B. Altman building, on Madison Avenue at 34th Street.

Click here to read the full story


New York Public Library Scraps Redesign Plans

The Controversial Renovation Plan Prompted Three Lawsuits


The New York Public Library has scrapped a controversial renovation plan that would have gutted century-old book stacks from its landmark Fifth Avenue building.

Its decision came amid three lawsuits and skepticism from Mayor Bill de Blasio, who was under pressure from his supporters to claw back $150 million in city funding for the project.

The library on Wednesday said that an independent cost analysis it commissioned showed that the renovation of the Stephen A. Schwarzman building would have cost significantly more than the $300 million it originally projected.

“When the facts change, the only right thing to do as a public-serving institution is to take a look with fresh eyes and see if there is a way to improve the plans and to stay on budget,” Anthony Marx, the library’s president, said.

Click here to read the full article



City unveils 200K-unit, $41B housing plan



Mayor Bill de Blasio hails his effort as “literally the largest and most ambitious affordable-housing program” in the history of the nation. He promised to work collaboratively with the real estate industry but vowed to “drive a hard bargain.”

The mayor did not identify specific neighborhoods that would be targeted for aggressive development, however City Planning Commissioner Carl Weisbrod said the Planning Commission would initiate a “dozen” planning studies in the months ahead to start that process. His plan calls for additional building atop rail yards, such as with Atlantic Yards in Brooklyn and Hudson Yards in Manhattan, but does not identify specific locations.

Public housing will be a component of this plan, though likely not the building of new public housing, as Mr. de Blasio noted that funding from the federal government was essentially “frozen.” Asked if new legislation will be required from Albany to help entice developers or protect rent regulated apartments, Mr. de Blasio responded vaguely that his administration expected the full cooperation from both the federal and state governments.

“We insist on real involvement,” he said.

Click here to read the full story


Mayor de Blasio’s Plan to Build More Cells

In considering ways in which space can be arranged to accommodate New York’s poor, the new plan is not the most sensible one. By 

Does anybody care about the quality of housing? Apparently not, or at least not in New York. How and where you live is only a numbers game, as Mayor Bill de Blasio’s announcement of a plan to “spend” up to $40 billion to create “affordable” housing in the city makes clear.

Click here to read the full story


The Giant New Building That Is About to Overshadow the Cathedral Church of St. John the Divine — And How the City Ought to Step In

New York Magazine By 

There’s a better way: negotiate. What matters most to the cathedral’s majesty is its presence on the street, not the height of its still-nonexistent central tower. So if Mayor de Blasio moves fast, before construction has actually begun, he can still broker a compromise:

Click here to read the full article



Architects Newspaper By: Alan G. Brake

One of New York’s leading preservation groups names winners of its first awards program

The Historic Districts Council, one of New York’s leading historic preservation organizations, has announced the winners of its first annual design awards. The goal of the awards program is to “broaden perceptions of the possibilities of design in historic settings,” according to a statement from the organization. AN served as a media sponsor for the awards, and I served as a juror for the awards along side jury chair James Stewart Polshek; Leo A. Blackman, principal, Leo A. Blackman Architects; Jean Caroon, principal, Good Clancy; Andrew Scott Dolkart, director of the Historic Preservation program at Columbia; and Adam Yarinsky, principal at ARO. Drawing over 70 entries from within the five boroughs, the award winning projects exemplify the power of contemporary design to engage with history and enrich the life of the city.

Click here to read the full article


Supporters of Closing Rizzoli Bookstore Call for Reforms to City’s Landmarks Process

News 1

Supporters say the century old Rizzoli Building, which houses the Rizzoli Bookstore, deserves protection through landmark status, despite a rejection by the Landmark Preservation Commission. They say the commission’s process is slow and lacks transparency.

“We’re here today to ask that LPC immediately study those remaining buildings on West 57th street, particularly those on this block, to identify and landmark those that represent the best of their eras, so we don’t have any more Rizzoli situations,” said Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer.

Click here to read the full story



Demolition freeze may cover 80% of the city


Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer’s bid to protect buildings over age 50 frightens developers, construction unions and housing activists.

Crains By Joe Anuta

A politician’s proposal to protect the thousands of older buildings in New York that face demolition each year has triggered a backlash not just among powerful developers, but also among construction unions and advocates for affordable housing who fear the measure could drastically curb residential construction in the city.

The storm began on April 4 at a protest outside the stately, likely-to-be-razed Rizzoli bookstore on West 57th Street, when Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer pledged to do more to prevent such losses in the future. She offered to introduce a bill that would require a 30-day review by the Landmarks Preservation Commission of any demolition permit filed for a building over 50 years old. The measure would apply to nearly 80% of the city’s structures and 91% of those in Manhattan, according to city data.

 Click here to read the full story


Museum fears plaster disaster from next-door hotel project

The Villager by Sam Spokony

  To the dismay of advocates for the historic Merchant’s House Museum, the city’s Landmarks Preservation Commission finally approved a plan for the construction of an eight-story hotel next to the museum, in a six-to-one vote on April 8.

The planned 27 E. Fourth St. hotel — which would sit immediately to the west of the 29 E. Fourth St. museum — had twice been rejected by L.P.C., after first being introduced in 2012 as a nine-story structure. But the final design’s slightly smaller scale, along with other exterior changes, apparently led the commission to allow it to go forward.


Merchant’s House-Neighboring Hotel Approved by Landmarks

Curbed by Jeremiah Budin

The only Commissioner to vote against the proposal, Margery Perlmutter, called it “drab on so many levels.” “I feel likewe’ve been exhausted into saying yes to this proposal, so I’m saying no,” she said.

The hotel proposal has been a subject of controversy not just because of its underwhelming design, but also because of the neighboring Merchant’s House, which preservationists fear will be harmed by the construction. The developers have promised to take extensive measures to ensure that the almost-two-century-old structure will not be harmed, and the Commission had basicallysigned off on that aspect at the last hearing, so there was no further discussion of the museum. It’s supporters, wearing stickers urging the LPC to say no to the hotel, left quietly and dejectedly.

Click here to read the full article



LPC Likely to Protect Ladies’ Mile Buildings From Demolition


Chelsea Now by Scott Stiffler

A developer’s plan to demolish two landmarked 19th-century buildings on West 19th Street was met with stiff resistance by the city’s Landmarks Preservation Commission (LPC), following similar opposition by community leaders and preservationists.

Although no official vote was taken at the April 1 hearing, the commissioners were nearly unanimous in their belief that Panasia Estate, the owner of 51 and 53 West 19th Street (between Fifth and Sixth Avenues), should focus on restoring the buildings — which lie within the Ladies’ Mile Historic District — rather than replacing them with a proposed 14-story residential building.

Click here to read the full article


“Everybody Has Been Bought Off”: Brewer, Neighbors Protest Imminent Rizzoli Bookstore Demolition

Gothamist by Ben Miller

A coalition of preservationists and community leaders held a rally and press conference today in front of the soon-to-be-demolished Rizzoli Bookstore, which has already been defaced, at least on the outside, by the developers who hope to tear it down and put up more glassy condos.

Click here to read the full article


Sunset Park Leading Grassroots Effort to Preserve Its History

NY1 by Jeanine Ramirez

“We’ve got letters from all those homeowners saying that they are in support,” said one person.

On Wednesday, the community board voted unanimously in favor. It will now write a resolution to the Landmarks Preservation Commission.

Board members emphasized that the effort is not to make the working-class community more expensive, but to maintain its architectural significance.

“That character is one of affordability, said Daniel Murphy, the chair of Community Board 7. “We were never a bourgeois neighborhood. We want to preserve as much as that as we can.”

Click here to read the full article


COOKFOX Wins Award for Front Street; BK Heights Tour

Curbed by Zoe Rosenberg

The Historic District Council has awarded an inaugural design award to Historic Front Street at South Street Seaport. Designed by COOKFOX Architects, the project infilled a number of empty sites along the stretch.

Click here to read the full article


A Landmark Restored, From Mosaic Marble Floor to Grand Dome

Michael Nagle for The New York Times

Sandstone walls were painted white. Decorative walnut and mahogany woodwork was painted green. The hand-cut mosaic floors of the two banking halls were badly damaged, as were floors of encaustic tile elsewhere in the building. Most of the decorative hardware was gone. The bird-cage elevator was stilled.

Dust had accumulated so exactly along the lines of the framework behind the dome that Mr. Perez San Martin thought the dark spokes were part of the original mural. A cleaning and restoration by Sandra Spannan of See Painting revealed otherwise.

New encaustic tiles were ordered from the English firm Craven Dunnill & Company, which still had the molds and colors necessary to match the existing floors, Mr. Perez San Martin said. The walls and woodwork were stripped and restored.

Click here to read the full article


Preservation Pays! REBNY’S Campaign Against Landmark Protection Is Misguided

By opposing preservation, REBNY and its allies oppose the will of the people


Imagine New York City without a landmarks law protecting historic neighborhoods and buildings. Actually, one does not have to imagine. There are examples aplenty across the five boroughs. From urban renewal sites to the apartment towers rising in Williamsburg and Long Island City, from “McMansions” replacing older homes in Forest Hills and Kew Gardens to new construction breaking up an intact block of row houses in Sunset Park, there is evidence anywhere you look.

The Real Estate Board of New York has launched an aggressive media campaign against historic preservation. There are too many landmarks, they wail, and many of those are unworthy! They argue that historic districts impede growth and development. Their evidence on all fronts is slim to misleading. Here’s why.

Follow us: @newyorkobserver on Twitter | newyorkobserver on Facebook

Click here to read the full article


Mayor de Blasio’s Brooklyn housing plan is building big worries



The fears crystalized Wednesday when the Planning Board approved a $1.5 billion project on the site of old Domino sugar plant in Williamsburg. It will have towers as high as 55 stories, or about 20 stories more than zoning on the site normally allows.

Permission for the taller buildings was granted in return for the developer setting aside 537,000 square feet, a quarter of all space, for 700 units of affordable housing.

That’s compared to 20% under a less dense 2010 plan.

Click here to read the full article

Cities Mobilize to Help Those Threatened by Gentrification


Newcomers, whose vitality is critical to cities, are hardly being turned away. But officials say a balance is needed, given the attention and government funding being spent to draw young professionals — from tax breaks for luxury condominium buildings to new bike lanes, dog parks and athletic fields.

“We feel the people who toughed it out should be rewarded,” said Darrell L. Clarke, president of the Philadelphia City Council, which last year approved legislation to limit property tax increases for longtime residents. “And we feel it is incumbent upon us to protect them.”


Argument Over a Brownstone Neighborhood

The Case for and Against a Bed-Stuy Historic District

 By /New York Times

Supporters contend that a designation would preserve an architecturally and historically significant part of the city while also rewarding residents who had stuck with the neighborhood during tough times, in part by increasing the value of their homes and preventing unwelcome new development.

Opponents predict that a designation would bring heftier renovation costs and a tangle of regulations for homeowners seeking to improve their properties, along with higher rents and sale prices that would force out the largely low-income minority residents who form the area’s core. Opponents also argue that most Bed-Stuy residents weren’t adequately informed about the proposal.

Click here to read the full article


 Renovation, restoration the trend in Midtown East

By /Real Estate Weekly

With Midtown East’s controversial rezoning currently on hold for the foreseeable future, owners of properties in the district are taking a second look at extant buildings — and many like what they see.

125 Park Avenue

Numerous major renovations and restorations had already been launched in the area prior to the rezoning’s tabling, from SL Green’s swanky 2008 renovation of 125 Park Avenue, a 1923 Romanesque Revival office building directly adjacent to Grand Central, to a current restoration of 501 Fifth Avenue by Abramson Brothers, Inc., which will restore the 1916 Beaux Arts skyscraper’s original limestone façade.

In the wake of these are a slew of similarly ambitious projects, including RFR’s “reimagined” 285 Madison Avenue, a gut renovation and new ground floor at the equally impressive 292 Madison just across the street and a burnishing of 501 Madison Avenue that promises to bring a tarnished Art Deco jewel back to its original luster.

Click here to read the full article


HDC’s Simeon Bankoff Talks About Life on the Preservation Front Lines

City Land Profile

Advice for the Uninitiated. Mr. Bankoff described HDC’s work as tripartite: education, advocacy, and community outreach. In addition to his ubiquitous presence at Landmarks, City Council, and community boards in support of preservation, HDC hosts lectures and tours, often in response to requests from civic groups. Mr. Bankoff likes to bring together civic groups with government representatives from Landmarks, Buildings, and Council, providing the agencies with an opportunity to meet communities in a neutral situation, and the communities with different perspectives on the designation process.

Click here to read the full article


Potential Historic District Supported by Elected Officials and Community Boards

By: Jesse Denno/City Land

Representatives of Council Members Daniel Garodnick and Ben Kallos testified in support of the designation. A representative of Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney voiced her “full-throated support” of “this iconic area of our city,” and a representative of State Senator Liz Krueger testified that “threats to this section of Park Avenue are not merely theoretical.” Representatives of Manhattan Community Boards 8 and 11 also recommended designation.

Click here to read the full article




Category: Featured · Tags: , , ,

Six to Celebrate 2015 Application

Posted by on Friday, October 24, 2014 · 1 Comment 


Deadline for nominations is December 1, 2014, and the Six to Celebrate will be announced in early 2015.


Click here to go to the Six to Celebrate website and find out more.


Category: Featured, Six to Celebrate · Tags:

Campaign to Preserve the Carnegie Libraries-Tremont Branch

Posted by on Thursday, October 23, 2014 · Leave a Comment 


October 2014, Volume 11, Number 3

In This Issue:
• Six to Celebrate -Carnegie Library Tremont Branch
• Campaign to Preserve the Carnegie Libraries


Campaign to Preserve the Carnegie Libraries

Carnegie Library booklet

Starting in 2009, HDC initiated a survey to document the existing Carnegie Libraries throughout New York City. We visited each branch, taking new detailed exterior and interior photographs, documenting existing and historic conditions and researching the rich history of each location. Now we need to raise $15,000 to complete this project and launch it into the public realm. Funding will be used to hire an architectural historian to conduct research necessary to complete the thematic National Register of Historic Places nomination for the Carnegie Libraries and finish photo documentation.

To read more about the campaign or to donate click here


Bronx Carnegie Library: Tremont Branch


Bronx Carnegie Library: Tremont Branch

1866 Washington Avenue
Bronx, New York 10457

The Tremont Branch of the New York Public Library is the second of the Carnegie branch libraries to be built in the borough of the Bronx and one of the earliest to be built in the entire city. The library sits on a generous corner lot at the intersection of Washington Avenue and 176th Street in the East Tremont neighborhood of South Central Bronx. It has continuously served the community for over one-hundred years.

Architects of the library were Carrère & Hastings, the firm responsible for the grand Beaux-Arts main branch of the New York Library on Fifth Avenue and 42nd Street, in addition to fourteen other of the Carnegie branch libraries. The Tremont Library was the firm’s fifth Carnegie branch libraries to be erected in the city and the first to be erected the Bronx.[1] Made of red brick and limestone, the library reflects the materials of the Stapleton and Tottenville branches, which opened a year earlier on Staten Island. Federally inspired, the Tremont Branch library is a monumental public edifice in this predominantly residential neighborhood of the Bronx.

Completed between 1904 and 1905, the library was built by John B. Schaefer, Jr., who would later build the Bushwick Carnegie Branch Library in Brooklyn in 1908. A cornerstone laying ceremony for the Tremont Branch took place on January 21, 1904 that was attended by several hundred people. A number of community leaders gave speeches at the event including Reverent F.B. Makepeace, President of the Bronx Free Library, which had merged with the New York Public Library a year earlier.

The cost of the site was $18,750. The building was erected for a total cost of $100,676. An official opening ceremony was held in the library’s assembly room on July 22, 1905. Notable guests included Arthur Bostwick, Chief of the library’s Circulation Department, William Harman Black, Commissioner of Accounts, as well as a representative of the mayor’s office. Upon it opening, the library was equipped with a staff of nine librarians and, as was custom for the Carnegie branch libraries, a live-in custodian – a position that would be held by various men until well into the 1980s.[2] It is not currently designated.

In order to accommodate the surge in population, an addition to the northern side of the building was erected in 1916 using surplus funds from the Carnegie bequest. The library was refurbished again between October and November of 1953, when major repairs were made to the roof and over two-hundred feet of book shelves were added to the children’s room.[3]

To read more about the Tremont Branch Library click here
To view more image of the Tremont Branch click here
For a full list of Carnegie Libraries in The Bronx click here

Category: Blog, Bronx, Carnegie Libraries, E-bulletin · Tags: , , ,

Taming Manhattan: An Illustrated Book Talk

Posted by on Wednesday, October 22, 2014 · Leave a Comment 

jacket - Taming Manhattan

Taming Manhattan: Environmental Battles in the Antebellum City

An Illustrated Book Talk


Tuesday, November 25, 2014

6:00 PM


Neighborhood Preservation Center

232 East 11 Street






Join former HDC staffer and Portland State University Professor Catherine McNeur as she discusses her recently published book Taming Manhattan: Environmental Battles in the Antebellum City.

Taming Manhattan details the environmental history of the city in the years before and during the Civil War, when pigs roamed the streets and cows foraged in the Battery. As city blocks encroached on farmland and undeveloped space to accommodate an exploding population, prosperous New Yorkers and their poorer neighbors developed very different ideas about what the city environment should contain. This presentation will focus on nineteenth-century New York City’s long forgotten shantytowns, the people living in the communities, and how outsiders viewed the architecture and communities developing on the metropolitan periphery.

This program is free, but reservations are required as space is limited.

To RSVP please contact Brigid Harmon at or 212-614-9107




Category: Event, Featured, Manhattan · Tags:

Our Vanishing Legacy: A Screening

Posted by on Wednesday, October 22, 2014 · Leave a Comment 

Our Vanishing Legacy: A Screening

Tuesday, October 21, 2014 

Doors open at 6:00 p.m. / Screening at 7:00 p.m. / Short program at 7:30 p.m.

You are invited to a rare screening of Our Vanishing Legacy, the first prime-time broadcast advocating preservation efforts in New York City!

First aired on WCBS-TV on September 21, 1961, the short film looks at threats to the City’s architectural heritage prior to the passage of the Landmarks Law in 1965, effectively arguing the need to enact legislation to protect significant buildings. The film explores what were then “unofficial” landmarks, including Carnegie Hall, which had been recently saved from demolition, the prospects for the adaptive reuse of the Jefferson Market Courthouse, and commercial threats to the architectural integrity of Grand Central Terminal. From a vandalized Old Merchant’s House downtown to encroaching white brick apartment buildings uptown, this rarely-seen footage is remarkable to behold.

Following the screening, Gordon Hyatt, the film’s award-winning writer and producer, will answer questions and share reflections on the making of the film. Join us for an evening celebrating how far preservation has come in the past 50 years!


The event will be held at:

The Loft at Professor Thom’s Bar & Restaurant*
219 Second Avenue, btw. E. 13th & E. 14th Sts.
New York City

Free, but reservations are required.

To register, please call 212-988-8379
or email
*Food and drinks will be available for purchase

Co-sponsored by the New York Preservation Archive Project, the Neighborhood Preservation Center, Historic Districts Council, Preservation Alumni, and Pratt Historic Preservation Alumni.  


This program is part of NYC Landmarks50 Alliance, the multi-year celebration of  

the 50th anniversary of New York City’s Landmarks Law.   



Image: Screenshot from Our Vanishing Legacy; Courtesy of Gordon Hyatt and WCBS-TV

Category: Program & Events · Tags: , ,

HDC@LPC – October 21, 2014

Posted by on Monday, October 20, 2014 · Leave a Comment 

Item 1



155819- Block 76, lot 200-

1000A Richmond Terrace Building A, – Individual Landmark Historic District

A Greek Revival style building designed by Richard Smyth and built in 1879-81. Application is to install banners and signage.

snug harbor crop

The proposed aluminum signage is over-scaled and an excessive application to a neo-classical temple style building. The sign band undermines the elegance inherent in classical restraint and we feel that the sign makes the building appear packaged, rather than honored. The Committee suggests placing a sign on the lawn in front of the building and retaining the banners, as this strategy is successful in that these are reversible interventions.

LPC Determination: Approved with modifications


Item 3



147657- Block 1279, lot 46-

35-45 79th Street – Jackson Heights Historic District

A neo-Georgian style apartment building designed by B. Cohn and built in 1938-40. Application is to legalize the installation of a fence without Landmarks Preservation Commission permit(s).

35-45 79 Street-2-cropped

HDC objects to this legalization, which is a prolific violation in the Jackson Heights Historic District. We ask the Commission to take a firm stand in support of its own regulations requiring property owners in historic districts to seek approval of the LPC prior to working on their building, and to deny the application.  To do otherwise is to undermine the Commission’s authority.

LPC Determination: Approved with modifications


Item 4



161351- Block 8068, lot 31-

319 38th Road – Douglaston Historic District

A Post-Modern style free standing house designed by Hsu Associates and built in 1995. Application is to legalize faηade and landscape alterations performed without Landmarks Preservation Commission permits.

319 38th Road-1-cropped

HDC does not condone legalizations in historic districts. That said, to avoid the burdensome task of reconstructing a retaining wall, the Committee suggests that the applicant re-clad the illegal wall in an appropriate anchor fieldstone facing to adhere to the aesthetic of the district.

LPC Determination: Approved


Item 5



153955- Block 8059, lot 30-

233-17 38th Drive – Douglaston Historic District

A vacant lot created by a sub-division. Application is to construct a new house and install a driveway and curb cut.

233-17 38th Drive-1-cropped

With the unique opportunity to design within a New York City historic district, HDC regrets that the formula proposed epitomizes the ubiquitous house of suburban placelessness. There is an array of style within the district to inspire new construction, and the current proposal does not appreciate the vernacular of the Douglaston Historic District.

LPC Determination: No Action


Item 6



159441- Block 10101, lot 9-

161-02 Jamaica Avenue – Individual Landmark

A Beaux-Arts style bank building designed by Hough & Duell and built in 1897-98. Application is to construct rear and side additions, replace doors, install awnings, and infill window openings.

Jamaica Savings Bank-3-cropped

HDC is thrilled to learn that the Jamaica Savings Bank will be tenanted and new life will be breathed into this building. The Committee commends the applicant for their selection of such an attractive building to house their business.  In that vein, we ask that the window awnings be removed and the signage be minimal—the flamboyant Beaux Arts ornament advertises the building adequately. Moreover, there is no point in being designated an Individual Landmark if you can’t see the building beneath its signage.

LPC Determination: Approved with modifications


Item 7



158081- Block 471, lot 57-

192 Grand Street – Individual Landmark Historic District

A Federal style rowhouse built c. 1833. Application is to reconstruct the front faηade, replace ground floor infill, and construct an addition.

192 Grand Street-6

HDC is gravely concerned about the proposed removal of historic fabric of this 181 year old Individual Landmark. The Committee urges the Commission to implore the applicant to consult a structural engineering firm that is familiar and sensitive to 19th century construction methods, rather than approach this project with an expeditor perspective. The current assessment of this building’s structural needs is inadequate, and essentially proposes to demolish the most significant feature of the building—its façade.

LPC Determination: Approved


Item 8



162851- Block 473, lot 14-

484 Broadway – SoHo-Cast Iron Historic District

A store building designed by J. Weber & Sons and built in 1879. Application is to install a barrier-free access ramp.

484 Broadway-2-cropped

HDC is sensitive to accessibility to historic buildings, yet as with any incursion to historic neighborhoods, we ask that the intervention be as minimal and reversible as possible. While this strategy succeeds in reversibility, this diamond-plate ramp consumes half of the sidewalk on Broadway in SoHo, a major pedestrian thoroughfare. We ask the Commission to work with the applicant to conceive a substantially smaller solution.

LPC Determination: Approved





160478- Block 634, lot 33-

317 West 11th Street – Greenwich Village Historic District

A Greek Revival style rowhouse built in 1845 and later altered between 1928-34. Application is to alter the entrance and areaway and construct a stoop, construct a rooftop bulkhead, reconstruct an existing rear extension, and excavate the rear yard.

317 W. 11th Street-4-cropped

This application is an example of a huge intervention in a very old part of the city, architecture-wise. While the Committee found the stoop and bulkhead construction appropriate, we regret the loss of the rear tea porch, which is a rare feature of which very few remain in New York City. The removal of the porch is merely forfeiting fabric for taste—the applicant is not extending this part of the house, only cladding it in glass. A stoop replacement does not legitimize the loss of the rear façade and excavation of the entire backyard.



Item 9



159016- Block 543, lot 60-

125 MacDougal Street, aka 117-119 West 3rd – South Village Historic District

A Second Empire style rowhouse with Federal style elements built c. 1828-29. Application is to install awnings, and to legalize faηade alterations completed without Landmarks Preservation Commission permit(s).

125 MacDougal Street-1-cropped

The blade sign on this corner is successful in anchoring this business establishment, while proposing to wrap a bulky awning around the corner of this building fails in adding value to its street presence. We ask the applicant to study the historic photograph that they produced for today’s hearing, and work toward a design that is of the character in the photo—removing the awning and restoring a corner entry would be savvy first steps.

LPC Determination: Approved with modifications


 Item 10



162793- Block 1111, lot 1-

 Park, East 64th Street Entrance – Scenic Landmark Historic District

An English Romantic style public park designed in 1856 by Olmsted & Vaux. Application is to construct a barrier-free access ramp, modify the wall, install railings, and replace paving.

Central Park-Arsenal Ramp-cropped

HDC thanks the Central Park Conservancy for presenting to our Committee, and appreciates the time and resources that go into such meetings. HDC does not support this application, as adequate and nearby access to the Arsenal and Zoo exists.  A compelling argument for the need for this ramp remains unidentified. This prophylactic intervention is synonymous with unnecessary, and at the expense of historic Central Park fabric.  The Committee looks forward to future proposals from the Conservancy, specifically the restoration of the Naumberg Bandshell.

LPC Determination: Approved


Item 11



162003- Block 1408, lot 8-

111-113 East 73rd Street – Upper East Side Historic District

A Modern style building designed by Brown, Lawford & Forbes and built in 1962. Application is to alter the front faηade of 113 East 73rd Street.

111-113 East 73rd Street-3-cropped

HDC does not find the proposed destruction of this 1962 façade, a contributing Modern structure within the Upper East Side Historic District, appropriate or necessary and we do not support this application.

LPC Determination: No action


Item 12



161157- Block 1377, lot 8-

696 Madison Avenue – Upper East Side Historic District

A neo-Grec style residence designed by J. H. Valentine and built in 1878-79. Application is to legalize the installation of storefront infill and cladding without Landmarks Preservation Commission permit(s), replace an awning and to install heat lamps.

696 madison cropped

There are two crucial pieces of information missing from this proposal: a tax photo and a designation photo. Without this information, the Committee was unable to determine what existed on this storefront prior to the work that the applicant performed, and therefore unable to comment on appropriateness. We expect that the applicant will provide these details to the Commission before an a legalization is approved, especially for a Madison Avenue storefront.

LPC Determination: Approved with modifications


Item 15



161604- Block 1496, lot 41-

1010 Park Avenue, aka 1010-1012 Park Avenue – Park Avenue Historic District

An annex to a Gothic Revival style church designed by Merrill & Homgren and built in 1960. Application is to demolish the building and construct a new building.

PACC-1010 Park Avenue-6

After the Park Avenue Historic District designation hearing, but prior to the Commission’s vote – and the building’s designation as “no style” – HDC submitted a letter to the LPC to urge them to list the former rectory in the designation report with a full description of its architectural and historical significance. While the damage has already been done as far as the building’s designation is concerned, HDC would urge the LPC that this site’s future begins with the preservation of the building which is already there.

This project was pitched to our Committee and to the public as the financial solution to Park Avenue Christian Church’s much needed restoration. Should a skyscraper rise at 1010 Park Avenue, the church should be restored as promised.  The applicant emphasized that approximately two million dollars were needed “immediately,” including preservation for special features such as Tiffany stained glass windows and Guastavino tiles. To ensure the continued survival of this ecclesiastical gem and its jewels inside, HDC urges the Commissioners to not grant approval of this process without a preservation plan.

In cases of new construction, and in this case, a demolition in a historic district, HDC approaches proposals based on a paradigm that the historic, existing buildings are the priority over new buildings which do not yet exist. To this end, we ask that the tower not crowd the Park Avenue Christian Church and further eliminate what little breathing room it currently has. We ask that there be at least a 12-foot separation between these two buildings:  the church is undisputed designated fabric and lies to the north of the building proposed.  So, light into its inner sanctum, from the south, is critical and integral to its function and beauty as a building. HDC also asks that the new building’s height be reduced, which could be achieved by removing the penthouse. The penthouse is too large of a mass and is an ornate distraction from the quiet façade that rests below it.

Overall, the Committee found the design creative and the materials laudable, but assembled in a peculiar style recognized by our committee as “Gotham Gothic,” a cartoonist version of Art Deco skyscrapers best suited to animation, not the real world of Park Avenue. The Committee welcomes the utilization of a cornice and string courses, however we felt that these elements could have related better to 1000 Park Avenue, in deference to architect Emery Roth’s tasteful composition. We strongly suggest pronouncing the base, possibly in a darker material. A distinctive base is a Park Avenue formula that works and should be employed here.

Speaking proactively, HDC implores the applicant to determine an ADA solution at this point in time. Access could be configured within the new building to access the church and preclude a future C of A and future obstruction to the church building.

To conclude, HDC feels that this insertion is unacceptable to the character of the district, to the appearance and function of the church, and to the dangerous precedent it sets for community centers, rectories, parish houses and other annex buildings within church complexes.  These ecclesiastical groupings are common, and if the annex’s demolition is deemed acceptable here, what is to stop it from being acceptable elsewhere in the five boroughs?

LPC Determination: No action

Category: HDC@LPC, Uncategorized · Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Thanks for Visiting

The Historic Districts Council is the advocate for all of New York City's historic neighborhoods. HDC is the only organization in New York that works directly with people who care about our city's historic neighborhoods and buildings. We represent a constituency of over 500 local community organizations.

Contact Us

Historic District Council 232 East 11th Street New York NY 10003 Tel: 212-614-9107 Fax: 212-614-9127

Donate To HDC

Become a Friend of HDC! Consider donating to support our efforts.

Follow Us