Secret Lives Tour: Loew’s Valencia Theatre

Join HDC for a tour of the beautiful Loew’s Valencia Theatre.

valencia-in-1929 (Former) Loew's Valencia Theater









Saturday, October 4, 2014 
11:30 AM

Following last year’s successful tour of the Loew’s United Palace Theatre on 175th Street, we are venturing into the grand opulence of another historic movie house, this time in Jamaica, Queens. The Loew’s Valencia opened in 1929 and was the first of the Loew’s  ”Wonder Theatres,” five buildings lavishly designed to highlight the preeminence of the Loew’s company in and around New York City. (The Kings Theatre, one of the five, is in the midst of a massive restoration and will reopen as a theatre in 2015.) Designed in Spanish Colonial and pre-Columbian styles with spectacular terra cotta facade details, the theatre was once the most successful theatre in Queens. Closed as a movie house in 1977, Tabernacle of Prayer for All has called this building home for more than 30 years.

$30 for Friends of HDC, $40 for general public

To purchase tickets

Secret Lives Tour: Loew’s Valencia


Space is limited.

If you have any questions, please contact or 212-614-9107.


Category: Event, Featured, Jamaica, Secret Lives Tour · Tags:

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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.




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

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.

Secret Lives Tour: United Palace Theater-2013

Posted by on Friday, September 19, 2014 · Leave a Comment 

Secret Lives Tour: United Palace Theater

Tuesday, October 22,2013 6:00pm

HDC’s Secret Lives Tours highlight some of the most original and rarely-seen spaces in New York.  The series takes attendees inside unique and spectacular spaces in the city, both big and small, to learn about their purpose, history and preservation.  Join HDC for a tour of the famed United Palace, led by Mike Fitelson, who oversees the Palace’s arts and cultural center.

Originally known as Loew’s 175th Street Theater, the building was the last of the “Wonder Theatres” to be constructed in New York City and New Jersey in 1930. These theaters were built to showcase vaudeville and later movies, and known for their extravagant and atmospheric design in a variety of exotic styles. Here at the 175th Street location, the decoration incorporates elements of Indian, Cambodian, Moorish, Byzantine and Art Deco architecture. The auditorium seats more than 3,000 people and includes the original seven-story organ. Today the theater is wonderfully intact, a testament to its owner, Rev. Ike and Christ United Church, which purchased the building in 1969, making it the headquarters of their mission. Today the building is home to three separate operations: the United Palace Cathedral, United Palace Theatre, and United Palace of Cultural Arts.

$50 for Friends of HDC, $75  for general public

If you any questions please contact or 212.614.9107

Exact meeting location for tour is available upon registration. Space is limited.

Category: Program & Events, Secret Lives Tour · Tags:

Oh The Many Places You Will Go, With HDC

Posted by on Monday, September 8, 2014 · Leave a Comment 

September 2014, Volume 11, Number 2

atlantic ave. logo

 Historic Tour of 

Atlantic Avenue!

Atlantic Ave-12.19.13 010

Atlantic Avenue between Henry and Court Streets

Saturday, September 13

11:00 AM – 1:00 PM

The Atlantic Avenue Business Improvement District invites you to join a tour of Atlantic Avenue, one of Brooklyn’s most dynamic commercial thoroughfares for over one hundred years. This diverse retail and dining destination connects the historic neighborhoods of Boerum Hill, Brooklyn Heights and Cobble Hill. Tour guide and Brooklyn native Joe Svehlak will guide us from 4th Avenue to Hicks Street, discussing Atlantic Avenue’s architecture, social and commercial history, as well as areas that have been more recently redeveloped. The variety of commercial, religious, civic, and residential architecture combining the new with the old are a testament to the vitality of Atlantic Avenue. In addition to the many shops and restaurants on our walk, we will view a former brewery, several religious sites, and, near the entrance to Brooklyn Bridge Park, a new mural depicting the avenue’s history and significance.

Suggested donation: $10

To reserve your spot, please visit:



A Tale of Three Carnegies:

A Tour of Historic Libraries in Harlem and the South Bronx

Principal façade of the Mott Haven Branch Library, 2010, courtesy of HDC

Principal façade of the Mott Haven Branch Library, 2010, courtesy of HDC

Saturday, October 18, 2:00 PM (WALKING TOUR)

Following the July tour of Carnegie libraries in Chinatown, John Bacon, HDC board member and Director of Planned Giving at The New York Public Library, will return to lead another tour of Carnegie libraries in Harlem and Mott Haven. In Harlem, we will visit the 115th Street and Harlem Libraries, and view the impressive Mount Morris Historic District in between. Bring your Metrocard, as we will then hop on the subway to the South Bronx to visit the beautiful Mott Haven Library and take in its notable children’s floor.

$5 for Friends of HDC, seniors and students; $10 General Admission

For more information and to register click here


 It’s What is on the Inside that Counts:

EverGreene Architectural Arts Studio Tour and Presentation

Eldridge Street Synagogue

Eldridge Street Synagogue


Wednesday, September 17

3:45 PM- Check-in

 4:00-6:00 PM-Studio Tour and Program


EverGreene Architectural Arts

450 West 31st Street, 7th Floor



Friends of HDC/VSA members-$50

2 AIA Approved LU/HSW Credits/2 NY State Licensing Credits

For more information or to RSVP click here 



This program is co-sponsored by


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HDC@LPC – September 9, 2014

Posted by on Monday, September 8, 2014 · Leave a Comment 


Item 1



155446- Block 1289, lot 15-

37-18 79th Street – Jackson Heights Historic District

An Anglo-American Garden Home style attached house designed by Benjamin Dreisler and built in 1926-27. Application is to modify a window opening.

Item 2-1

Item 2-2

While this window modification may seem relatively minor, these blocks within the Jackson Heights Historic District derive much of their charm and character from these rhythmic openings. Alterations such as this only chip away at this architectural unity.

LPC determination: Approved with modifications


Item 2



160105- Block 8018, lot 15-

24 Knollwood Avenue – Douglaston Historic District

An Arts and Crafts style house designed by George Keister and built in 1907. Application is to modify fenestration, remove an entrance hood, install mechanical equipment and relocate a hatch.\

Item 4-1

With full disclosure that the applicant, Kevin Wolfe, is a member of HDC’s Board of Advisers, our committee commends this project for its sensitivity to the property and for the thoughtful approach taken in respecting the Douglaston vernacular.

LPC determination: Approved


Item 3



157412- Block 8020, lot 6-

10 Richmond Road – Douglaston Historic District

A Colonial Revival style house built in 1966. Application is to legalize repaving the driveway, sidewalk, and gutter, enlarging and repaving the front walkway, rebuilding the entrance steps, and rebuilding the driveway retaining wall without permits.

Edited_Item 3_10 Richmond Rd

Landscaping, such as the driveway, retaining wall, entrance walkway and steps are specifically called out as notable features in the designation report for this property. In the Douglaston Historic District, where freestanding houses dominate, these elements are especially prominent. HDC laments the destruction of these features and the precedent that this type of work may set, and is confused that the DOT allowed this work to be completed without LPC permits.

Concerning the removal of historic cobblestone street gutters, HDC would like to mention that just this past May, the Commission denied an application at 105 Grosvenor Street to remove street gutters. These gutters once ran east to west along all the streets in Douglas Manor to facilitate water run-off.  The few remaining ones still serve their intended function, preventing large puddles and standing water from accumulating in the neighborhood. At 10 Richmond Road, the gutter has been repaved in Belgian block, but raised flush with the pavement. At the very least, HDC asks that a more appropriate treatment of the gutter be constructed here.

LPC determination: Approved with modifications


Item 5



156701- Block 169, lot 9-

110 Schermerhorn Street – Individual Landmark

A meeting house with Greek Revival and Italianate style elements, attributed to Charles T. Bunting, and built in 1857. Application is to replace windows.

Item 11-7
One of the great features of historic public buildings like this one is the openness achieved by their operational double hung windows. While the installation of triple-glazed windows would not change the building’s exterior appearance, the openings would be restricted and ventilation drastically reduced. It seems a shame to lose the functional aspect of these windows.

LPC determination: No Action


Item 9


BOROUGH OF Manhattan

156587- Block 484, lot 31-

448 Broome Street – SoHo-Cast Iron Historic District

A store and loft building with French Renaissance style details designed by Vaux & Withers Co. and built in 1871-72. Application is to alter storefront infill installed without Landmarks Preservation Commission permit(s).

Item 16-3
The stark, all-glass doors installed on this whimsical, cast-iron creation by Calvert Vaux are regrettable. The changes proposed here do not worsen the intervention, but HDC would prefer that changes to the storefront honor the building’s original design, rather than reinforce subsequent alterations.

LPC determination: Approved


Item 10


BOROUGH OF Manhattan

158114- Block 615, lot 7-

313 West 4th Street – Greenwich Village Historic District

A Greek Revival style rowhouse built in 1836. Application is to construct rooftop and rear yard additions, alter the front façade, and replace windows.

Item 18-8
HDC generally finds the proposed changes to the front façade to be appropriate, especially the wood paneling at the top story. However, the rear represents too much of an intervention on this intact rowhouse, with an overwhelming amount of glazing and additional bulk.

LPC determination: Approved


Item 13


BOROUGH OF Manhattan

158924- Block 544, lot 38-

38-50 Cooper Square – NoHo Historic District

An office, warehouse and factory building, originally built as a row of houses in the mid-19th century, combined and altered by Fritz Nathan in 1960. Application is to construct a gymnasium and install a railing and mechanical equipment on the roof.

Item 21-4

HDC applauds the applicant on their efforts to minimally transform and adaptively reuse this structure. The proposal represents a clever solution to a school expansion, while also being sensitive to neighboring buildings.

LPC determination: Approved


Item 14


BOROUGH OF Manhattan

155903- Block 446, lot 3-

76 Second Avenue – East Village/Lower East Side Historic District

A building designed by Paul Fein and built in 1928, and altered in the late 20th century. Application is to alter the façade, replace windows, install signage and a rooftop screen.

Item 22-2
HDC is glad to see that this proposal would bring the structure a bit closer to its original configuration, and appreciates the addition of brickwork string courses to add architectural detail and interest. HDC asks, though, that further consideration be given to follow historic photos and other documentation to get the proportions and window openings just right. While such a welcome renovation project is undertaken, it would be a shame to miss the opportunity for accuracy. HDC also asks that the perforated metal screen be reconsidered, as there is no historic precedent for it.

LPC determination: Approved


Item 15


BOROUGH OF Manhattan

158905- Block 1129, lot 29-

170 Central Park West – Individual Landmark

A Roman Eclectic style museum and library, designed by York and Sawyer and built in 1903-1908, with wings added in 1937-1938 by Walker and Gillette. Application is to install signage.

Item 23-3
While our committee does not take issue with the design of the proposed sign, HDC generally laments the continuous use of signage labeled “temporary” on New York City’s most treasured landmarks. These large-format posters have the effect of turning an architectural treasure, such as the New York Historical Society, described in the building’s designation report as “austerely classical in feeling, and displaying great dignity in its composition,” into a glorified billboard, covering the fine architectural details, proportions and symmetry that earned the building’s designation as an Individual Landmark.

LPC determination: Approved



Category: HDC@LPC · Tags: , , , , ,

Preservation in the News

Posted by on Monday, September 8, 2014 · 1 Comment 

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: , , ,

Leo J. Blackman Appointed Historic Districts Council’s President

Posted by on Thursday, September 4, 2014 · Leave a Comment 


 The Historic Districts Council, the advocate for New York City’s historic neighborhoods, is pleased to announce the election of Leo J. Blackman as the new board president. Mr. Blackman has a Masters in Architecture from Columbia University with an emphasis on Historic Preservation and has over twenty-five years of experience in architectural design and construction in and around New York City. Mr. Blackman established the Leo J. Blackman Architects in 2001 and its work focuses on preservation sensitive design, which strives to maintain and complement the historic feel of the neighborhood.

Mr. Blackman has served on the board of HDC since 2005 and was previously president from 2009-2011. Prior to joining the board, he was honored with a HDC Grassroots Preservation Award for his work on the Village Community School located at 272 W. 10th Street in Greenwich Village, Manhattan. This is only one of the many awards Leo J. Blackman Architects have received for their sensitive work with historic buildings.  Along with his involvement with HDC, Mr. Blackman has also served on the Architecture Committee for the Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation since 2005, is a board member of the Drive to Protect the Ladies’ Mile District and is Chairman of the Zoning Board of Review in Amenia, New York (located in Duchess County, New York).

Mr. Blackman’s predecessor was Françoise Bollack, another noted New York City architect and Ms. Bollack and Mr. Blackman are only two of several architects on HDC’s board (many of whom, like Mr. Blackman, are also active in their local neighborhoods). HDC happily welcomes Mr. Blackman back as president, we know we are in capable hands!

Category: Blog · Tags: ,

“A Proven Success: How the New York City Landmarks Law and Process Benefit the City”

Posted by on Thursday, September 4, 2014 · Leave a Comment 

Report Assesses Value of Landmark Preservation 50 Years After Passage of New York City Landmarks Law

Rebuts Claims From Real Estate Board of New York as Self-Serving

a proven success

720 Madison Avenue (left)
New construction that replaced a vacant lot,
Upper East Side Historic District.
Beyer Blinder Belle Architects & Planners LLP, 1996
Gregory Dietrich, photographer, 3/9/14

A Proven Success – CECPP Report

A new report shows how landmark designation by the New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission positively affects such vital civic concerns as community stabilization, affordable housing, sustainability, job creation and tourism. The study, prepared by the Citizens Emergency Committee to Preserve Preservation and released by the Historic Districts Council, details how the 1965 New York City Landmarks Law establishing the NYC Landmarks Preservation Commission has helped improve the city over nearly fifty years.  Entitled “A Proven Success: How the New York City Landmarks Law and Process Benefit the City” ( A-Proven-Success-CECPP-Report.pdf) responds to an anti-landmarking campaign  mounted by the Real Estate Board of New York.

“The success of New York City’s Landmarks Law and the Landmarks Preservation Commission has been validated by the extensive benefits accruing to New York City, its residents and visitors,” said Leo Blackman, president of the Historic Districts Council, the citywide advocate for New York’s historic neighborhoods.  “Preservation has stimulated a series of neighborhood revitalizations that have boosted multiple sectors of the economy, while also ensuring that the city is a better place to live and work. Beyond economics, New York City’s preservation law and agency have yielded social benefits ranging from preserving neighborhoods to promoting sustainability,” said Blackman.

The study analyzes the Landmarks Law and its economic, social, and environmental impact on the city. It specifically responds to allegations by the Real Estate Board of New York about the regulation of historic properties in New York City.  ”REBNY has opposed the Landmarks Law since Mayor Wagner signed the legislation in 1965, and they have been wrong about it ever since. They were wrong about designating the Broadway theatres, wrong about Ladies Mile, and now they are wrong about the supposed evils of preservation. This report sets the record straight,” said Dr. Jeffrey Kroessler, Chair of the Citizens Emergency Committee.

Seeking to exploit the de Blasio’s administration’s emphasis on affordable housing, REBNY has most recently blamed historic district designations for the lack of it. The report counters that “because the Landmarks Preservation Commission does not regulate use, historic district designation does not prevent the development of new and/or affordable housing or impede the redevelopment of a designated property into affordable housing units….[Moreover]  New York City’s affordable housing crisis is more pronounced in its outer boroughts, where there has been minimal designation.”  Within Manhattan, the report notes, “there is no direct correlation between affordability, availability, and historic districts within [its] exorbitant real estate market” and “there are comparable sales prices and availability in both designated and non-designated neighborhoods.”

The report concludes that “REBNY’s record of opposition to landmarks is matched by its even longer history of opposition to affordable housing by advocating for higher rents on rent-regulated apartments, de-regulation, and vacancy decontrol,” and to claim that historic districts are to blame for “the lack of affordable housing in Manhattan … trivializes a very complex and serious issue.”

The 72-page report also addresses and clarifies issues such as gentrification, sustainability, and job creation, noting especially the jobs stimulated by historic preservation among small construction, restoration and architectural businesses.  “There is great deal of misinformation and disinformation being circulated about the process and impact of historic preservation, and this report illustrates through extensive research that landmarks law has generated far-reaching economic, social, and environmental benefits,” says Simeon Bankoff, Executive Director of the Historic Districts Council.

There are property owners and real estate developers who understand the financial returns that follow investments in designated properties.  Highly successful districts like Ladies’ Mile and SoHo are picked out as proof that designation is not a barrier to economic development but instead an inducement for all the company and store owners who are drawn to these commercial areas for the same reasons residents, workers and shoppers are, because of their aesthetics, stability and history.

The report concludes that “New York City’s Landmarks Law has demonstrated that historic preservation not only plays a vital role as a municipal planning tool, but also yields significant benefits to its citizenry and to the world-at-large. It is a proven success.”

Category: Affordable Housing, Blog, Report, Special Blog · Tags: , , ,

A Fall Full of Fun With HDC

Posted by on Friday, August 29, 2014 · Leave a Comment 


August 2014, Volume 11, Number 4

In This Issue:



AH-HP image

The affordable housing crisis in New York has impacted the entire city.

As activists concerned with maintaining and nourishing NYC’s diverse neighborhoods, we ask you to join us in taking back this important public conversation about affordable housing and neighborhood preservation from the real estate lobbyists

Tuesday, September 16th
Theresa Lang Community and Student Center, Arnhold Hall, 2nd Floor
55 West 13th Street, Room I202
New York, NY 10011

To RSVP, click HERE

For questions, contact


Hon. Gale Brewer, Manhattan Borough President

Harvey Epstein, Project Director of the Community Development Project of the Urban Justice Center and NYC Rent Guidelines Board Member

Nadine Maleh, Director of the Inspiring Places program at Community Solutions

Rachel Meltzer, Assistant Professor of Urban Policy at The New School

Moderated by:

Andrew Berman, Executive Director of the Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation

To View all the Community Co-Sponsors Click Here 


It’s What is on the Inside that Counts: 

EverGreene Architectural Arts Studio Tour and Presentation

Eldridge Street Synagogue

Eldridge Street Synagogue

This program will visit the working studio of one of the most well-regarded architectural arts firms in North America. Attendees will be able to view the hands-on work being undertaken by EverGreene artisans to restore and, at times, remake crucial interior features. The program will also include a presentation by EverGreene staff to discuss the process of architectural arts projects, including working with architects and clients, developing historic color palettes, combining historic and modern materials, and options regarding replacement materials.

Wednesday, September 17th

3:45 PM- Check-in

 4:00-6:00 PM-Studio Tour and Program


EverGreene Architectural Arts

450 West 31st Street, 7th Floor



Friends of HDC/VSA members-$50

For More Information and to Register Click Here 



Six to Celebrate Tour:

Park Avenue 

(7) Postum Building, 250 Park Avenue Cross & Cross, 1923 Built FAR: 17.81  Proposed 21.6

Monday, October 6, 6:00PM (Walking Tour)

The June 17 Six to Celebrate tour of the newly designated Park Avenue Historic District quickly sold out and was extremely well received. As such, Urban Historian Justin Ferate will conduct a second tour – beginning at Park Avenue at 91st Street and traveling south along the avenue.  The upper segment of the new district boasts of elegant apartment houses by such impressive architects as J.E.R. Carpenter, George & Edward Blum, Mott B. Schmidt, Emery Roth, Mills & Bottomley, and others. In addition, we’ll view religious structures by some of America’s noteworthy ecclesiastical design firms:  Patrick C. Keely, Cram, Goodhue & Ferguson, and Schickel & Ditmars.
Join us on this walking tour of New York City’s premier historic boulevard. Learn more about the histories of these remarkable architectural treasures and the effort to protect Park Avenue’s historical and architectural significance for future generations.

To Register For The Tour Click Here 

To View the Previous Six to Celebrate Walking Tour Brochures Click Here 


Additional STC Tours 

Staten Island’s Historic Cemeteries-September 27

Historic Libraries in Harlem and the South Bronx- October 18

All tours are $5 friends, students and seniors/ $10 for general public

Click here to purchase tickets

Category: Blog, E-bulletin · Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Preservation Education

Posted by on Friday, August 15, 2014 · Leave a Comment 


August 2014, Volume 11, Number 3

It’s What is on the Inside that Counts:

EverGreene Architectural Arts Studio Tour and Presentation

Eldridge Street Synagogue

Eldridge Street Synagogue

While building exteriors are often the most lauded architectural features and contribute to the sense of urbanism that defines New York City, the interior of these historic buildings-the murals, decorative paint, ornamental plaster, gilding and other unique specialty finishes- make them even more spectacular and unique. These decorative arts, often the most significant and character-defining part of a historic building, grace the interiors of worship spaces, schools, museums, theaters, commercial, residential and government buildings, many dating from the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

Continuing the Historic Districts Council’s investigation of historic materials, this program will look at the extensive work, creativity and knowledge of materials that is required to preserve these decorative interiors. Join HDC for a studio tour and presentation by EverGreene Architectural Arts.

The program will visit the working studio of one of the most well-regarded architectural arts firms in North America. Attendees will be able to view the hands-on work being undertaken by EverGreene artisans to restore and, at times, remake crucial interior features. The program will also include a presentation by EverGreene staff to discuss the process of architectural arts projects, including working with architects and clients, developing historic color palettes, combining historic and modern materials, and options regarding replacement materials.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

3:45 PM- Check-in

 4:00-6:00 PM-Studio Tour and Program


EverGreene Architectural Arts

 450 West 31st Street, 7th Floor



Friends of HDC/VSNY members-$50

 To Learn more or to register click here 

2 AIA Approved LU/HSW Credits/2 NY State Licensing Credits

For more information or to RSVP please contact or visit here

This program is being co-sponsored by


Preservation School


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.

Course List:

~Monday, September 8, 2014- Preservation 101

~Wednesday, October 15, 2014-Historic Building Research

~Monday, November 10, 2014-NYC Architectural Styles

~Monday, December 8, 2014-NYC Landmarks Preservation Commission and State/National Register of Historic Places Designation

~Monday, February 9, 2015-Zoning 101

~Monday, March 9, 2015-Architectural Photography

~Monday, April 13, 2015- Reading Architectural Drawings

~Monday, May 11, 2015- Building Materials

All classes are at 6 PM at the

Neighborhood Preservation Center 232 East 11th Street 10003

For full class description and to register click here 


Category: Blog, E-bulletin · Tags: , ,

LPC Approves Apthorp Rooftop Additions

Posted by on Friday, August 15, 2014 · 2 Comments 


August 2014, Volume 11, Number 2

LPC Approves Apthorp Rooftop Additions


A revised proposal for rooftop additions to the Apthorp was approved unanimously on August 12, 2014, by the Landmarks Preservation Commission (LPC). The Apthorp is a NYC Individual Landmark, designed by architects Clinton & Russell and completed in 1908, and occupies a full city block between Broadway and West End Avenue and West 78th and 79th Streets. The proposal was the third iteration of a plan first heard at LPC Public Hearing in November, 2013, which drew palpable opposition from elected officials, noted architects, community groups, neighbors and Apthorp residents.

At the November 2013 hearing, HDC testified that the Apthorp’s iconic roofscape should be preserved, noting its fully conceived Renaissance Revival design, its ornate facades, and its pair of elegant pavilions which occupy the roof of the north and south sides of the building. The proposal’s most contentious issues were twofold: its extensive visibility (including through the building’s grand arches, from inside the building’s courtyard, and up to a half a mile away from the street) and the enclosure of the open-air pavilions.

The final design resulted in a one-story rooftop addition, with visibility dramatically reduced. Chair Srinivasan added that the addition’s interior height be lowered from 11 feet to 10, which would ameliorate, although not eliminate, the remaining visibility from Riverside Park. The design is a simplified departure from the initial proposed, where cornices and fenestration competed with the grand Apthorp for attention. The enclosure of the pergolas is regrettable, as they were conceived to be enjoyed by all residents of the Apthorp. Their one-of-a-kind views of Broadway and the Hudson River are now solely afforded for those who can afford to purchase the new units.

When the Apthorp was completed in 1908, it was a finished work of art. While HDC is disappointed that new construction has been allowed to be built atop an intact, architectural gem, we congratulate advocates on their dedicated stewardship and vigilance which resulted in a much less intrusive plan. The work doesn’t stop after a building is landmarked. The Apthorp exemplifies the importance of public participation in ensuring the continuity of protecting our City’s architectural heritage.

Category: Blog, E-bulletin · Tags: ,

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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.

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