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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.


  • 2015 Conference- Landmarks @ 50 Honoring Our Past Imagining Our Future



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

Defending Historic Preservation in New York City

Bancroft DestructionThe demolition of The Bancroft Building

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.

Film Screening-Modern Ruin: A World’s Fair Pavilion

Modern Ruin: A World’s Fair Pavilion

Documentary Film Screening

modern ruin a world's fair pavilion promo pic

Tuesday, June 2, 2015


The Paris Café119 South Street (at Peck Slip)

Join HDC for a film screening of Modern Ruin: A World’s Fair Pavilion, Matthew Silva’s documentary about an abandoned structure designed by modernist icon Philip Johnson for the 1964 World’s Fair. This screening will be held at 6:00pm on Tuesday, June 2 at The Paris Café, which first opened in 1873. This café was frequented by such personages as Thomas Edison and Theodore Roosevelt, and it nearly closed after sustaining damage from Superstorm Sandy.

Modern Ruin: A World’s Fair Pavilion tells the story of the Pavilion from the glory days of the fair, through the years of neglect, up to present day advocacy. The filmmakers hope this project will be the first step in engaging and informing people about the building in new and exciting ways. This whimsical, futuristic, and soaring structure, constructed for the 1964 fair, has been left abandoned for the greater part of 50 years. “It would be a shame if its story ended in demolition,” says producer Matthew Silva, “The dreamers see beyond the cracks, rust, and neglect to a thriving community space that will serve New Yorkers for generations.” The film’s goal is to contribute to the re-imagining of Flushing Meadows Corona Park and eventually lead to the repurposing of this great icon.

The New York State Pavilion’s abandoned observation decks and steel arena have inspired generations of New Yorkers who have grown up with this peculiar relic on the horizon. The Pavilion holds a great many surprises, and its best days may be yet to come.

Run Time: 80 minutes


This program is free and open to the public, but reservations are required.
To register, please  email Daria Tavana at or call 212-614-9107.

The Paris Café
119 South Street (at Peck Slip)
*Food and drinks will be available for purchase


HDC Testimony for LPC Hearing on May 19, 2015

Posted by on Monday, May 18, 2015 · Leave a Comment 

HDC regularly reviews every public proposal affecting Individual Landmarks and buildings within Historic Districts in New York City, and when needed, we comment on them. Our testimony for the latest items to be presented at the Landmarks Preservation Commission is below.


Item 1

150 East 42nd Street – Individual Landmark

166138 – Block 1296, lot 46, Zoned C5-3, C5-2.5

Community District 6, Manhattan


An International style skyscraper designed by John B. Peterkin and Harrison & Abramowitz and built in 1954-56. Application is to install signage.

150 East 42nd Street

While HDC does not object to the size and style of these signs, we do question the necessity of inserting more signage on this very simple base since this will not be a public facility for Mount Sinai.

LPC determination: Approved


Item 4

127 Noble Street – Greenpoint Historic District

167294 – Block 2566, lot 66, Zoned R6B

Community District 1, Brooklyn


An Italianate style house built in 1866. Application is to construct rooftop and rear yard additions.

127 Noble Street-existing

127 Noble Street-proposed

HDC finds the double-height rear yard addition to be out of keeping with the neighborhood and its heavy-handed masonry to overwhelm this remarkably intact house. The wood façade would be a nice feature to retain, at least in part, on the rear.

LPC determination: Approved with modifications


Item 5

413 Sterling Place – Prospect Heights Historic District

168089 – Block 116, lot 73, Zoned R6B

Community District 8, Brooklyn


A Renaissance Revival/Romanesque Revival style rowhouse designed by Axel S. Hedman and built c. 1898. Application is to alter the rear façade and construct a rear yard addition.

413 Sterling Place

The row of bay windows on these rear facades is a feature of the block, and we fear that the proposed removal of this one on number 413 would set a precedent for others to follow. The restoration of the bay, which appears to have originally been pressed metal, would be a more sensitive solution and would allow for the same amount of light in the rear. If access to the rear deck is desired, we would suggest extending one of the bay’s window openings down to become a door.

LPC determination: Approved with modifications


Item 7

249 Church Street – TriBeCa East Historic District

168660 – Block 174, lot 7501, Zoned C6-ZA

Community District 1, Manhattan


An Italianate/Second Empire style store and loft building built in 1866-67. Application is to install storefront infill and a barrier free access ramp.

249 Church Street

HDC finds this access ramp to be a very significant alteration to the ground floor. We would ask that the applicant explore other solutions for ADA access, such as lowering one storefront bay and installing an interior lift. We would also ask the overly simplistic storefronts be reconsidered in favor of a more detailed approach.

LPC determination: Approved with modifications


Item 8

36 East 68th Street – Upper East Side Historic District

164137 – Block 1382, lot 47, R8B

Community District 8, Manhattan


A rowhouse designed by R.W. Buckley, and built in 1879, and modified in the neo-Classical style by Morris & O’Connor in 1932. Application is to reconstruct the front façade, modify the roof and rear façade, and excavate the cellar.

36 East 68th Street

HDC finds many of the proposed changes to this house to be unnecessarily fancy, and asks that any changes be based on historical precedent for this house, rather than features found elsewhere in the neighborhood. Both the large central entrance and the copper roof appear heavy-handed, and our committee wondered why the window muntin pattern could not be retained on the front façade. As usual, we also ask that any excavation work be handled with care, especially given the breadth of what is proposed here.

LPC determination: Approved with modifications


Item 9

2195 Broadway – West End-Collegiate Extension Historic District

169149 – Block 1169, lot 57, Zoned C4-6A/R10A

Community District 7, Manhattan


A Romanesque Revival style flats building with neo-Grec style elements designed by Gilbert A. Schellenger and built in 1891-92. Application is to install storefront infill and signage.

2195 Broadway-existing

2195 Broadway

HDC appreciates that the cast iron elements will be restored, but finds the storefront design to be a disappointment in its minimalism. The proposed storefront bay without any signage looks as if it is unoccupied, while the bronze anodized aluminum storefront system has a generic appearance. More attention to details would enliven this proposal.

LPC determination: Approved


Item 11

555 West End Avenue – Riverside – West End Historic District

170198 – Block 1248, lot 36, Zoned R10A

Community District 7, Manhattan


A Collegiate Gothic style institutional building designed by William A. Boring and built in 1907-08. Application is to create a new entrance, install a canopy, create new window openings, replace special windows, construct a rooftop and rear yard additions, and modify the rear facades.

555 West End Avenue-2

HDC wishes to thank the applicant for an admirable restoration job and for bringing back so many of this magnificent building’s original features, including the parapets and the historic mullion and glazing pattern on the courtyard vault end. We look forward to seeing these improvements come to fruition.

LPC determination: No Action


Item 12

375 Park Avenue – Four Seasons Restaurant, Ground Floor and First Floor Interior Landmark; Seagram Building – Individual Landmark

168263 – Block 1307, lot 1, Zoned C5-2.5, C5-3

Community District 5, Manhattan


An International style restaurant interior designed by Philip Johnson and built in 1958-59, within the Seagram Building, an International style office tower, designed by Ludwig Mies van der Rohe with Philip Johnson, and Kahn & Jacobs, and built in 1956-58. Application is to alter portions of designated interiors and alter the sidewalk canopies.

375 Park Avenue-Four Seasons-2

375 Park Avenue-Four Seasons-1

The Four Seasons Restaurant is an iconic space and a Modernist treasure in New York City. Its simple and streamlined rooms are enlivened and defined through innovative spatial arrangement, with multiple tiers and permanent fixtures creating intimate spaces and programmatic functions. In the Grill Room, this proposal seeks to remove one of these permanent fixtures and replace it with movable planters. HDC feels that this measure would undo the designer’s original intent, bringing the room closer to a 21st century desire for big, open floor plates, rather than the mid-20th century vision that this space continues to provide. HDC also feels that it is inappropriate to describe the glass and bronze partition as “non-original”, as it was, in fact, a later alteration by the original architect, Philip Johnson, and has been there for most of the life of the restaurant. It is, therefore, a significant component of the overall plan. The Commission may be aware that there are currently legal conversations in process about the approved transference of elements within the Interior Landmark spaces at 346 Broadway, and whether this constitutes a de-designation. The transformation of permanent fixtures into movable ones at the Four Seasons represents an effective de-regulation of those elements, similar to the situation at 346 Broadway. This leaves them vulnerable to future design changes without LPC oversight. HDC urges the Commission to avoid the emergence of a disturbing trend toward chipping away at Interior Landmarks in order to strip the LPC of its power to protect them.

HDC has for many years held its annual Landmarks Lion gala at the Four Seasons Restaurant, with people sitting on both levels of the Pool Room, and it works beautifully. HDC has a hard time understanding why the proposed operable panels are needed, given the expert functionality of the space. It would be a shame to tamper with what has become a classic, simply to appease a new owner’s sensibilities. Further, due to the pool’s position directly in the center of the room, opening up the panels to the upper dining space would change the perceived dimensionality and symmetricality of the room.We would also suggest that the carpet be reconsidered in favor of a more toned down color scheme.

LPC determination: Mixed (carpet was approved, other elements were not)


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

Corbin Building, Designation Testimony-May 12, 2015

Posted by on Tuesday, May 12, 2015 · Leave a Comment 

May 12, 2015

Item 1

Corbin Building, 11 John Street (aka 1-13 John Street; 192 Broadway), Manhattan


Landmark Site: Manhattan Block 79, Lot 15

Community District 1


The Historic Districts Council is the advocate for New York City’s designated historic districts and neighborhoods meriting preservation.

The Historic Districts Council is the citywide advocate for New York’s historic buildings and neighborhoods.  HDC supports the designation of the Corbin Building on its merits – it is an outstanding architectural feature on the lower Broadway streetscape and the more Francis Kimball buildings that are recognized and protected, the better. However, we question the timing and purpose of this designation.

This building is owned by the Metropolitan Transit Authority and the façade, at least, is in better shape than it has been in 100 years. Since it is owned by MTA, the Landmarks Commission’s authority is advisory at best. As many are aware, the only reason for the building’s continued existence today is its inclusion on the New York State and National Registers of Historic Places over a decade ago, which holds more sway over the MTA’s decision-making process. That inclusion was done at the behest of several preservation groups who were alarmed at the prospect of losing the Corbin Building to the construction of the Fulton Transit Center.  It should be noted that two significant neighboring buildings on Broadway, the 1904 Girard Building at 198 Broadway (described by the AIA Guide as “Assyrian Revival on a rampage”) and the 1911 Child’s Restaurant Building at 194 Broadway, were demolished for the construction.

Although those two sites were deliberately excluded from the final map, the Historic Districts Council successfully sponsored the inclusion of several surrounding blocks to the New York State and National Registers as the Fulton-Nassau Historic District in 2005.It should be noted that although the Landmarks Commission has designated two individual buildings noted in that district ,  the1860  James Bogardus building at 63 Nassau Street and the 1891 Keuffel and Esser Building at 127 Fulton Street by DeLemos and Cordes, the agency has declined to consider the entire district.  This is particularly unfortunate as the vast private investment and residential conversion which swept this area in the past 10 years could have greatly benefited from the agency’s oversight and guidance.  If the LPC is looking to protect open barns, it could do worse than to look at the area around the worthy but completely protected Corbin Building.

Category: HDC@LPC, Landmarks Preservation Commission, LPC · Tags:

HDC Testimony for LPC Hearing on May 5, 2015

Posted by on Monday, May 4, 2015 · Leave a Comment 

Item 1

111 Noble Street – Greenpoint Historic District

16-8795 – Block 2566, Lot 74, Zoned R6B

Community District 1, Brooklyn


An altered frame house built in 1855. Application is to legalize the installation of siding, and windows, and alterations to the areaway wall without Landmarks Preservation Commission permit(s).

111 Noble

A series of sad interventions happened to this house over the years and the latest iteration is not acceptable either. We ask that the applicant work with the Landmarks Commission staff to determine a compromise that would better celebrate this wooden house, a defining characteristic of the Greenpoint Historic District.


Item 2

73 Washington Place – Greenwich Village Historic District

16- 8622 – Block 552, Lot 65, Zoned R7-2

Community District 2, Manhattan


A Greek Revival style rowhouse built in 1847. Application is to install a stoop gate, excavate the full lot, and construct rooftop and rear yard additions.

73 Washington Pl

This application asks a lot of a very old house and an even older neighborhood. The excavation of the entire lot is an enormous demand, especially since the rear and the top of the house will be completely blown out. Also, the Committee was confused to find the introduction of aluminum spandrel panels on a brick rowhouse. This choice alone speaks to the lack of awareness and sensitivity to this 1847 home.


Item 3

16-18 Charles Street – Greenwich Village Historic District

16-9365 – Block 1411, Lot 7502, Zoned R6

Community District 2, Manhattan


Two Greek Revival style townhouses built in 1845-1846 and combined and altered in the early 20th century. Application is to legalize and modify alterations made to the facade and areaway and the installation of key boxes and intercoms, all without Landmarks Preservation Commission permit(s); and to modify the areaway and install fencing.

16-18 Charles St

HDC is thrilled to see the historic trellis reincorporated into this Bohemian survivor, speaking to another era, when this building was converted for artists. The Committee asks that the application go all the way and install new bricks surrounding the door; reintroduce the irregular paving; and properly re-do the stucco as it appears in the remarkable Bernice Abbott photograph furnished as part of this application.


Item 4

444 6th Avenue – Greenwich Village Historic District

16-7343 – Block 574, Lot 2, Zoned C1-6

Community District 2, Manhattan


A Greek Revival style rowhouse built in 1834-35 with a later rooftop addition.Application is to modify the rooftop addition and legalize the installation of railings and HVAC equipment in non-compliance with Certificate of Appropriateness 03-0464.

444 6th AveThis clumsy rooftop addition is regretful. The only thing that could make it worse would be to enlarge it in any way. Frankly, it would be better to view the mechanical equipment through railings than to hide it with a bigger mistake.


Item 5

154 West 14th Street -154 West 14th Street Building-Individual Landmark

16- 2086- Block 609, Lot 7, Zoned C6-3A, C2-6

Community District 2, Manhattan


A loft building incorporating Secessionist, Art Nouveau, Arts & Crafts, and Mission Revival style motifs, designed by Herman Lee Meader, and built in 1912-13. Application is to install rooftop mechanical equipment.

154 W 14 StHDC suggests exploring other roof areas to place this mechanical equipment, especially considering its placement is currently in the center of the roof. Setting it back would greatly reduce its visibility from low-scale Greenwich Village, immediately to the south.


Item 7

150-152 Mercer Street, aka 579-581 Broadway – SoHo-Cast Iron Historic District

16-8173 – Block 512, Lot 20, Zoned M1-5B

Community District 2, Manhattan


A storehouse built c. 1860. Application is to install storefront infill, signage and lighting.

150-152 Mercer StThe Committee wishes to see some utilitarian features retained on this facade, as this was originally a rear façade. The evidence of this, such as the iron shutters from the Jackson Foundry will be eroded away by likely fancy shops. We ask the Commission to study the dimensions of the second story windows. Windows of this height on a narrow street seem ill-fitting and over-scaled.


Item 9

190 Bowery, aka 1-3 Spring Street – (Formerly) Germania Bank Building – Individual Landmark

16-9367 – Block 492, Lot 38, Zoned C6-1

Community District 2, Manhattan


A Beaux-Arts style bank building designed by Robert Maynicke and built in 1898-99. Application is to alter the facade, install a new entrance, and modify windows.

190 Bowery 190 Bowery 2

HDC applauds the sensitive restoration of this exquisite Bowery landmark. Even the new entrance has been designed carefully so that the historic fabric that is removed will be reincorporated into the building, unlike so many applications where fabric is merely discarded. Further, so many landmarked buildings are altered with additions and alterations in exchange for kind restorations. This example shows that it is possible to restore without adding square footage, and we find that remarkable.


Item 11

10 East 78th Street – Metropolitan Museum Historic District

16-7289 – Block 1392, Lot 65 Zoned R8B

Community District 8, Manhattan


A rowhouse built in 1886-1887, and altered in 1946. Application is to alter the front and rear facades and areaway, and construct a rooftop addition.

10 E 78 StThere is a severe disconnect between the historic-inspired “period piece” façade design chosen for this building and the windows selected. If the goal is to make this house look historic, then choose a historically accurate window configuration to rectify this problem.


Item 12

28 Liberty Street (Formerly One Chase Manhattan Plaza) – One Chase Manhattan Plaza – Individual Landmark

16-8200 – Block 44, Lot 1, Zoned C5-5

Community District 1, Manhattan


An International Style skyscraper designed by Skidmore, Owings & Merrill and built in 1957-64. Application is to alter the plaza and tower base, and install storefronts, signage and a stair enclosure.

28 Liberty existing 28 Liberty proposed plaza original plaza proposed

The Historic Districts Council does not support this proposal. 28 Liberty Street, or One Chase Manhattan Plaza is described as “one of the largest and most important skyscrapers in New York City” in its designation report. This Individual Landmark is the future generation’s Empire State Building and should not be irreversibly altered because of a change in ownership and taste.

This Modern masterpiece tower floats upon a solid black granite plinth, its pedestal, which is integral to the perception of this massive building from the street and functions as a signifier of the plaza and public space that rests upon it. Replacement of nearly all of this fabric with glass storefronts is an insult to the skyscraper. A building that was designed to represent power and capital prowess does not need ground floor retail as a crutch.  It was built to stand on its own.

The public plaza is a quintessential design element of mid-century skyscraper design and the original design succeeds in its simplicity. This perfect planar space has merely one puncture, which is the equally masterful Noguchi Sunken Garden, which extends below the plaza. There is no other change in level on this platform and the Committee disagrees that adding a stepped area will enhance this space. If multi-tiers are desired, the applicant should explore furniture or sculpture that could satisfy this curiosity of levels, instead of creating something that is irreversible.

The Committee is concerned about the introduction of several more entrances into the skyscraper, especially the proposed entry on the east façade, which currently has no circulation incursions in its curtain wall. Finally, we ask the Commission to look carefully at all of the signage, which clutters an otherwise composition of clean lines and simplicity.




Category: HDC@LPC · Tags:

Continuing Education Panel: Cast Iron New York

Posted by on Wednesday, April 29, 2015 · Leave a Comment 

The Historic Districts Council is pleased to present Cast Iron New York as part of a series of continuing education panels focusing on historic materials. These programs illuminate the complex histories, manufacturing methods, restoration process and use as a contemporary material.

Continuing Education Panel
Cast Iron New York


Wednesday, April 29, 2015

8:30am Check-in and continental breakfast
9:00am- 12:00pm Program

Neighborhood Preservation Center
232 East 11th  Street, Manhattan

Adorning the façade of buildings citywide, architectural cast iron is one of the most striking features of the New York City streetscape. Its use is so neighborhood-defining that it is the only material  identified in the official name of a historic district. Though most densely seen in the SoHo-Cast-Iron Historic District, cast iron’s early benefits of being inexpensive, mass-produced and stylistically diverse made it a popular choice for commercial buildings, many of which remain intact today.

This program will present a thorough consideration of varied aspects of this material. Topics to be covered will include an in-depth discussion of the use of cast iron in historic architecture, the manufacturing of cast iron for restoration and for new construction and the process of restoring of these historic buildings.


Stephen Gottlieb, AIA- Preservation Architect
J. Scott Howell- Vice President and General Manager, Robinson Iron
Robert Bates, AIA- Principal, Walter B. Melvin Architects, LLC

General- $100
Friends of HDC- $75

This program is available for 3 AIA LU/HSW and NYS credits.


Category: Architect Panel · Tags:

Preservation in the News

Posted by on Wednesday, April 29, 2015 · 1 Comment 

Despite cries of foul, Seaport building appears headed for the wrecking ball

Downtown Express

Because of the Tin’s precarious state, Hughes had proposed carefully dismantling it and restoring it close to its original state, so the latest news presumably should not change those plans, although not everyone is sure.

“It seems clear to me that the reason the Landmarks application for the Tin Building is not proceeding is because E.D.C. is intending to demolish both it and the New Market building,” Simeon Bankoff, executive director of the Historic Districts Council, wrote in an email to Downtown Express. “The people making decisions are acting in bad faith with regard to the public process and the historic buildings of the Seaport.”

His group, Community Board 1’s Seaport Committee, Save Our Seaport, and others have recently signed onto a draft letter to Mayor de Blasio criticizing the overall Seaport process for ”an egregious absence of transparency.”

Click here to read the whole article


Howard Hughes: Here Comes The Tower

The fight that preservationists and Seaport residents have undertaken to stop the Howard Hughes Corporation’s plan to build a 494-foot hotel/condo tower has just suffered what appears to be a major setback, as the city has declared that two buildings that were part ofthe old Fulton Fish Market, the New Market Building and the landmarked Tin Building, are in danger of collapsing and must be demolished. Efforts to stop the development have, up until this point, focused on the preservation of those two buildings, but now that the Economic Development Corp. has issued a statement saying that they “are supported by piles that have deteriorated to the point that they cannot hold the structures above it,” they could be razed next month.


Click here to read the whole article


Julian Niccolini on the Future of the Four Seasons Restaurant

Forbes by Karla Alindahao


One of New York’s legendary restaurants—the Four Seasons—is in its last season at the Seagram Building. This spring, real estate mogul Aby Rosen, who owns the iconic Mies van der Rohe tower (which has been home to the restaurant since it opened in 1959) filed plans to renovate the Philip Johnson-designed space with the local Landmarks Committee—without informing Four Seasons owners Julian Niccolini and Alex von Bidder.

Click here to read the whole article


Council bill would give landmarks agency something new: deadlines

Legislation aims to prevent commission from keeping properties in limbo for decades

Crain’s New York By 

Should the bill pass, it would require the commission to hold a hearing on a structure or property within 180 days of receiving a request to consider it for historic status. The commission would then have another 180 days to vote. If an entire district is being considered, the commission would have a total of two years to make a call. In each case, if no action were taken, the property or district would be removed from the list and could not be resubmitted for five years.

Click here to read the whole article


 Simeon Bankoff: Taking the Context out of Contextual Zoning

City Land

Since their introduction almost 25 years ago, many communities across New York City have looked to contextual zoning to help protect the character of their neighborhoods and encourage appropriate new development which enhances where they call home. These are not fly-by-night efforts; frequently volunteers spend years in meetings with community stakeholders and decision-makers, carefully crafting zoning regulations which correspond with the existing built neighborhood.  More often than not, professional planners and consultants are hired to guide the process, facilitate collaboration with all stakeholders and work with the Department of City Planning to determine if local plans can align with the agency’s citywide mandate.

Click here to read the whole article


‘Citywide Rezoning Plan Would Benefit Developers, Hurt Neighborhoods’


Gotham Gazette by Andrew Berman

The mayor’s ‘Zoning for Quality and Affordability’ plan is not without good points, and its stated goals are worthy of support. But substantial modifications are needed to protect neighborhood character and benefit average New Yorkers before it can live up to its lofty premise, and before it should be considered for adoption.

Click here to read the whole article



‘Zoning Changes Made in Haste Makes For Bad Government’


Sixteen years ago, the Chelsea Plan became a reality. It took years of grinding effort to accomplish. The idea began with Rowena Doyel, founder of the Council of Chelsea Block Associations, and Ed Kirkland, Chair of Community Board 4’s Chelsea Planning and Preservation Committee (now called the Chelsea Land Use Committee), and the originator of the (now-disbanded) Landmarks Committee. Tom Duane, then a CB4 member and Co-chair with Kirkland, was tireless in his efforts to guide the Plan to success.

Click here to read the whole article



‘Zoning Process Too Fast For CB4′


“This is a citywide initiative that is being rammed through with not enough time to make even the most basic consideration of what [the department] should be studying,” Compton said.

Click here to read the whole article


Record $71.9 million spent on lobbying New York City officials in 2014: report

Power players are spending more cash than ever to influence city government officials through lobbying, a new city report shows.

Lobbyists brought in $71.9 million to target city government in 2014, a record high, according to the report by the city clerk’s office covering the first year since Mayor de Blasio and the new City Council took office.

Click here to read the whole article


Woodlawn group fights for historical district status

News 12 Bronx

One Bronx neighborhood has made the Historic District Council’s “Six to Celebrate” list.

Woodlawn, which sits in the north central part of the borough, is full of history that many don’t know about. It’s an old neighborhood that started as a community as a direct result of Woodlawn Cemetery.

The group Women of Woodlawn is behind getting Woodlawn chosen for the “Six to Celebrate” program as it strives toward getting the neighborhood recognized for its rich history.

Click here to read the whole article and watch the video of the Women of Woodlawn being interviewed


Op-Ed: No Tower on the Seaport


The mayor said: “We are not embarking on a mission to build towering skyscrapers where they don’t belong. We have a duty to protect and preserve the culture and character of our neighborhoods, and we will do so.”

That’s exactly the point we’ve made in our forceful opposition to the inappropriate 494-foot residential tower that the Howard Hughes Corporation has proposed to build in the heart of the South Street Seaport, one of the city’s most uniquely historic areas. While we’re committed to revitalizing the neighborhood, it’s true that we have a duty to protect the historic fabric of the Seaport—a low-rise area ever since it became active three centuries ago—from this kind of irresponsible development proposal.

Chin is the City Council member representing District 1 in Lower Manhattan; Brewer is the Manhattan borough president.

Click here to read the whole article


Next TREASURES OF NEW YORK to Mark 50th Anniversary of NYC Landmarks Law, 2/3

On the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the Landmarks Law, the hour-long documentary Treasures of New York: The Landmarks Preservation Movement, premiering on Tuesday, February 3 at 7 p.m. on WLIW21 and Sunday, February 8 at 8 p.m. on THIRTEEN, will explore the history and the future of the wide-scale preservation efforts of New York City’s Landmark Commission to protect thousands of culturally and historically significant sites.

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Park Avenue Is About to Get Something It Hasn’t Seen in 40 Years

After decades in deep freeze, New York’s sacred avenue is about to get a new skyscraper

Bloomberg Business By 

he 893-foot (272-meter) tower will rise amid Manhattan’s biggest rush of skyscraper construction since the 1980s, with millions of square feet of offices in such projects as Hudson Yards on the far west side and the World Trade Center downtown. Levinson is building “on spec,” meaning without any tenants signed up. It’s a gamble on the staying power of today’s accelerating demand for space, and a practice that’s had a checkered history in the city, said Lawrence Longua, a retired real estate professor at New York University.

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Down the Block, Deep in the Stacks Nearly 30 Years of Documenting New York

New York Times By 

Michael Sterne, then the Real Estate editor of The New York Times, conceived of the Streetscapes column in 1986, and paid me the compliment of hiring me to write it. Now, with my final column, it may be appropriate to present an apologia for what I hoped to do, and what I have done.

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New York City Landmarks Panel’s Move Upsets Supporters—and Critics

Behind Commission Decision Are Almost 100 Tales of Potential Landmarks

Groups of school children gather a few times a week in front of Catherine and Alfredo De Vido’s 19th-century house on East 85th Street to start a tour about the history of immigrants in the Yorkville neighborhood.

The De Vidos were surprised to learn the city Landmarks Preservation Commission was planning to drop their rare Manhattan wood house from the list of potential landmarks, where it has been lingering since 1966.

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16 Stories o’ Condos Will Replace ‘Plain’ Little Flatiron Building

Curbed by Hana R. Alberts

Even the Historic Districts Council, which veers strongly to the preservation side of preservation vs. development, approved of the demolition, because the existing structure “appeared in pallor compared to the examples provided of the fanciful Ladies Mile-quality buildings in the district.”

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For a Student of the City, It’s Always New

Andrew S. Dolkart: A Chronicler of New York Old and New

New York Times By MATT A.V. CHABAN

If you’re curious about a particular building in New York, odds are that Andrew S. Dolkart knows something about it. Mr. Dolkart, the 62-year-old director of Columbia University’s Historic Preservation program, spends many Sundays wandering the city with his husband, Paris R. Baldacci, 70, a law professor at the Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law. Mr. Dolkart, in recognition of his tireless study of New York old and new — he has written dozens of books and essays, and is working on a book about the garment district — will receive the Historic Districts Council’s Landmarks Lion award on Nov. 19.

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Glass Dome Could Rise Over Union Square’s Landmarked Tammany Hall

By Heather Holland

A major renovation is coming to the former Tammany Hall headquarters in Union Square where owners want to put a new glass dome over the landmarked building and demolish a theater to make way for retail and office space, the project’s architects said.

The historic structure at 44 Union Square East, built in 1929 to house the Democratic Party machine, will undergo a major overhaul that will restore the facade, gut the existing theater and add windows and glassier storefronts, according to BKSK Architects which is designing the project.

The most striking change will be a new 30-foot glass dome on top of the building, which will add about 27,000 square feet to the structure and will house office space, according to Harry Kendall, a partner at BKSK.

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Independent Engineer Report Supports Dismantling the Harlem Watchtower

An independent report on the structural integrity of the watchtower atop Marcus Garvey Park supports the Parks Department’s claim that the tower needs to be taken down as soon as possible.

Preservationists called for the report after finding out that an emergency contract to take down the tower did not mention anything about the restoration process.

Both the Parks Department and the Department of Buildings cited a 2009 report by Thornton Tomasetti when saying the tower needed to come down immediately.

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Community plan to unlock south Bronx waterfront recognized by state

The state Department of Environmental Conservation named the Mott Haven-Port Morris Waterfront Plan, which turns six waterfront patches into boat hubs, flood protectors and parks, to a draft of its ‘Open Space Plan.’


South Bronx residents have been demanding access to the waterfront — and it seems that state leaders have heard.

A plan to transform six parcels in Mott Haven and Port Morris into waterfront parks has been nominated for addition to a statewide list of land conservation projects.

The plan — cooked up by South Bronx Unite — would build boat hubs, restore a historic gantry and pier and install a waterfront trail that spans the Harlem River, the Bronx Kill and the East River.

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Frick Opponents Get Organized

“[The local community] regards this as the museum down the block,” said Simeon Bankoff, executive director of HDC, whose organization issued a statement in October opposing the plan. “They regard this as a wonderful amenity to their home. The feel very strongly about it.”

HDC cited the destruction of the Russell Page garden and the size of the addition as its major concerns with the proposal, which, its statement said, would “transform The Frick into an institutional environment.”

The fate of the garden is one of the most visible concerns among critics of the expansion, and its salvation is one of Unite to Save the Frick’s top priorities.

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Historic Districts Council Opposes Frick Expansion

New York Times, By 

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.”

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Redevelopment of Former Indigent Farm Community Proposed

Plan for former Farm Colony would entail the demolition five out of eleven historic structures in the district, create senior housing. On September 30, 2014, the Landmarks Preservation Commission considered an application for the redevelopment of theNew York City Farm Colony-Seaview Hospital Historic Districtlocated in Staten Island in the Castleton area. The 45-acre property, which housed indigent and disabled New Yorkers in exchange for labor, operated roughly from 1898 to 1975, and was developed from 1874 to the 1930s. In addition to being a landmarked historic district, the Farm Colony is also zoned in a special natural area district, which mandates the preservation of any unique natural features. The colony’s buildings have been little maintained since its abandonment.

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How to Turn Your Block Into an Historic District

By Nikhita Venugopal

The surge of future development in Brooklyn has made a group of Sunset Parkers think about its past.

When local residents realized the neighborhood’s notable brownstones could be lost to redevelopment, they banded together to save the buildings through a historic district status.

“Sunset Park is in danger of losing its sense of place,” according to the Sunset Park Landmarks Committee’s website.

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City Planning appoints inaugural COO

Crain’s New York, BY 

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.

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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.”

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.”

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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.

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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.”

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 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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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].”

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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.

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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.”

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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.

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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.
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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.”

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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).

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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.

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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.

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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.”

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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:

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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“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.

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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.

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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: , , ,

HDC & Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer’s solution to the Landmarks Preservation Commission’s Back list of Considered Properties

Posted by on Tuesday, April 28, 2015 · Leave a Comment 

Support HDC & Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer’s solution

to the

Landmarks Preservation Commission’s Back list of Considered Properties

Dear Friend,

The public has the opportunity to provide feedback on the LPC’s proposed Administrative Action to eliminate the agency’s back list of Calendared properties but we have to act soon. We have until May 1, 2015 to contact the Landmarks Commission with suggestions on how best to consider this back list. HDC remains gravely concerned that the agency might still issue No Action Letters for these properties at a single Public Meeting, as originally proposed in November 2014. This strategy would be terrible public policy and completely unacceptable.

HDC has joined with Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer and a coalition of preservation groups to formulate an action plan to fairly and transparently consider all the properties currently on the LPC’s back list in a timely manner. Our plan, which has been communicated to LPC Chair Meenakshi Srinivasan, is as follows:

• Items on the calendar for 5+ years should be brought to a Public Hearing with public testimony, with 60 days notice;

• Public notice must include address, block, lot, community district and prior date(s) of public hearings at minimum; where possible, the LPC’s official statement of significance, record or public support or opposition from original hearings;

• Items for consideration should be grouped geographically – preferably by Community District – with a minimum of 2 hearings held for Brooklyn, Manhattan, Staten Island and Queens;

• Public Hearings for these items can occur during regularly scheduled Public Hearings;

• After the Public Hearing, at the following session, the LPC should vote on the record to a) designate an item; b) keep an item on the calendar for one year for more study and a decision; c) not designate after hearing public testimony and LPC staff presentation or d) issue a “no action” letter.

Please take this opportunity to have your voice heard and tell the Landmarks Commission how to proceed with their back list.

Email LPC Chair Meenakshi Srinivasan at by May 1, 2015.

Learn more about these properties – Landmarks Under Consideration

Read Borough President Gale Brewer’s Proposed Action Plan to the LPC here.

What do these points mean?

In pursuit of true transparency and public participation, HDC and Borough President Brewer ask that a 60-day public notice and comment period prior to a public hearing for any property on this “backlog.” We also ask that the LPC consider these properties at a Public Hearing, which will include public input, ensuring that these properties will be evaluated in the same manner as more recently proposed properties. All of these properties have been judged to be worthy of consideration as New York City landmarks and they deserve that consideration, based on their merit, be given to them. Anything less would not be appropriate.

Most of these properties were calendared and first considered before mass-communication technology existed for the dissemination of information about these landmarks. In the interest of the public, the extensive research compiled by LPC’s predecessors, including initial hearings’ files and statements of significance should be made publicly available at the beginning of the 60-day window. Given the length of time and the rising interest in landmark designation since the 1960′s, we feel it should be a requirement to hear public testimony.

In acknowledgment of the LPC’s limited resources, we propose holding these Public Hearings not on individual properties, but rather geographically. Hearing clusters of properties in the same or neighboring community districts will conserve time while allowing advocates from specific communities to speak up about their resources. The LPC regularly allows lengthy presentations by private applicants to landmarked properties. We feel the same courtesy should be extended to this finite list and the LPC should make time to hear these items on regularly scheduling Public Hearing days. After the Public Hearing, at the following session, the LPC must vote on record in the same manner to designate a new property or keep an item on the calendar for a maximum of one year.

Let’s celebrate the 50th Anniversary of the Landmarks Law by demonstrating the growth and evolution of the Landmarks Preservation Commission’s dedication to its landmarks, the Law itself, and its transparency.

Proposed to be de-calendared:Woodbrook (The Jonathan Goodhue House) 304 Prospect Avenue,Staten IslandLast heard at Public Hearing September 13, 1966

Proposed to be de-calendared:
Woodbrook (The Jonathan Goodhue House) 304 Prospect Avenue,
Staten Island
Last heard at Public Hearing September 13, 1966

Category: Blog, Featured, Landmarks Preservation Commission, Six to Celebrate 2015, Special Blog · Tags:

Manhattan Borough President’s Office Proposed Backlog Action Plan for the LPC

Posted by on Tuesday, April 21, 2015 · 3 Comments 


April 2, 2015


Over the last year, my office has met with a number of stakeholders: New York Landmarks Conservancy, Historic Districts Council, Municipal Art Society, Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation, Friends of the Upper East Side, Landmark West!, and the Real Estate Board of New York. My office has heard from Community Boards and block associations. They all want the same thing: a clear, consistent, and transparent designation process.

But before we move forward we need to consider the current calendar volume. The current backlog at the Landmarks Preservation Commission occurred over a long period of time, over many administrations. This proposal seeks to address the current list of properties and should not be seen as the template moving forward. Real process reform needs to occur as well.


The Landmarks Preservation Commission (LPC) has the power to designate landmarks under the 1965 Landmarks Law. Landmarks include Historic Districts (collections of buildings such as the SoHo Cast Iron District), Scenic Landmarks (Central Park), Individual Landmarks (Brooklyn Bridge) and Interior Landmarks (Merchant’s House Museum).

The first step toward designation is being placed on the calendar for a hearing. However, no hearing date actually needs to be set. There are no set timeframes or milestones in the same way ULURP has in order for an item to be officially designated.

There are approximately 100 items that have been on the calendar for five years or more, and some of these items date back to 1966. In November 2014, the LPC proposed removing these items from the calendar in an administrative action with no regard to merit. This action was later postponed.


In summary, the proposal recommends that items that have been on the calendar for five years or more should be brought to public hearing and to a decision regarding designation in order to ensure a public and transparent process. However, given the volume, it is not intended that each item be heard individually. The merits of each individual item should be encouraged to be submitted in writing and a summary of that work should be presented to the Commissioners of the LPC. The purpose of the hearing is to ensure the discussion regarding these items is open, not a yes or no vote, and to allow for the public to comment within a limited timeframe on merits.

The LPC currently has announced a public comment period on how to proceed. It is this plan’s recommendation that at the end of that period, beginning in May 2015, on a rolling basis up to a duration of one year, the LPC should issue a 60-day public notice and comment period in advance of a public hearing at which members of the public may testify on the subject whether all, any, or none of the items for consideration shall remain on the calendar and proceed in the queue for designation.

The public notice should include at minimum the address, block, lot, community district and if hearings were held in the past, when those hearings occurred. In addition, where possible, the following additional information should be included: the LPC’s official statement of significance, and the record of public support or opposition (from the original hearings). It is recommended that a full list with this information be made publicly available before the roll-out begins.

Items for consideration should be grouped geographically, at a number set to be reasonable by the LPC. It is recommended that a minimum of two hearings be held for Brooklyn, Manhattan, Staten Island and Queens given the density and geographic spread of items within these boroughs.

These hearings can occur coincidently with the regularly scheduled public hearings. After the hearing, at the following session, the LPC must vote on record to: a) designate an item, b) keep an item on the calendar for a maximum period of one year, at which point a decision should be made whether to designate, or c) given the summary presentation on the merits submitted by the public and presented by LPC staff, the LPC should make a decision to either not designate or d) issue a no action letter.


Click here to view as PDF


Category: landmarks law, Landmarks Preservation Commission · Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

Annual Grassroots and Preservation Party 2015

Posted by on Tuesday, April 21, 2015 · 3 Comments 



Thursday, June 25, 2015
 6:30 - 8:30 pm
The Museum of the City of New York
, 1220 Fifth Avenue (at East 103rd Street)

PLEASE NOTE:  Due to a scheduling conflict, the Grassroots Awards has been rescheduled from May 28th to June 25th 


Grassroots-Invite_2015-03-2- crop


Being a Co-Sponsor will also help fund HDC’s much-needed advocacy and work with neighborhood preservation campaigns. By co-sponsoring the event at $100, you will receive four advance tickets to the event as well as listing in the invitation, program book, and on the HDC website. At the $250 level, you will receive four tickets to the event; listing in the invitation, program book, and on the HDC website; and a half-page ad in the program book. Similarly, for $500 you will receive everything at the $250 level but with a full-page ad in the program book.  Space is limited on this tour, so please sign up early. Additional ad opportunities and ticket combinations are available; please see below.

Please contact Daria Tavana at 212-614-9107, x14 or for more information.

Every day, HDC works to help local groups and community members make a difference in their neighborhoods. This would not be possible without all your support, hard work and generosity. We look forward to seeing you on June 25th.


2015 Grassroots Tickets


2015 Grassroots Individual Tickets

Category: Featured, Grassroots Awards, Program & Events · Tags: , , , ,

HDC Testimony for LPC Hearing on April 21, 2015

Posted by on Monday, April 20, 2015 · Leave a Comment 

HDC regularly reviews every public proposal affecting Individual Landmarks and buildings within Historic Districts in New York City, and when needed, we comment on them. Our testimony for the latest items to be presented at the Landmarks Preservation Commission is below.


Item 3

32-11 Douglas Road – Douglaston Historic District

164552 – Block 8162, lot 120, Zoned R1-2

Community District 11, Queens


A vacant lot. Application is to construct a house.

32-11 Douglas Road-1

32-11 Douglas Road-2

Douglaston is characterized by its suburban setting, with freestanding homes in various vernacular styles situated in a park-like setting. There have been several new houses built in Douglaston that honor the neighborhood’s character, and this proposal could benefit from further study of such examples. What is proposed here neither blends in, nor seeks to respectfully introduce a new and inventive idea. It seems to ignore its surroundings with its clunky proportions and irrational window pattern. Romantic rooflines are a common feature in Douglaston, but the proposed house’s peaked roof is negated by the presence of large dormers that flatten the roofline, giving the house a box-like silhouette. The cedar cladding is an appropriate material choice, but our committee questions the gloomy, grey stain color. HDC would ask that the applicant be required to come back with a more inspired or referential design.

Our committee also felt that the landscaped berm, meant to cover up the septic system, is a major interruption to the streetscape. The berm looms up from the low, flat upland edge of Udalls Cove, which is a strange juxtaposition with the flat landscape of the adjacent properties.


Item 4

5001 Fieldston Road – Fieldston Historic District

153796 – Block 5829, lot 3601, Zoned R1-2

Community District 8, Bronx


A Dutch Colonial Revival style house designed by Dwight James Baum and built in 1918-19. Application is to replace windows.

5001 Fieldston Road-1

5001 Fieldston Road-2

HDC would much prefer that the proposed windows and doors be wood, rather than aluminum, and asks that the rails and stiles proposed for the French casement doors match the existing profiles.


Item 5

350 West 246th Street – Fieldston Historic District

164012 – Block 5810, lot 430, Zoned R1-2

Community District 8, Bronx


A Tudor Revival style house designed by Louis Kurtz and built in 1934-35. Application is to replace windows.

350 W. 246th Street-3

350 W. 246th Street-2

Steel windows are a crucial feature of the Tudor Revival style in Fieldston. Since thermally broken steel casement windows are available, HDC asks that these be considered instead of the proposed wood windows.


Item 6

442 Henry Street – Cobble Hill Historic District

167644 – Block 322, lot 41, Zoned R6

Community District 6, Brooklyn


An Italianate style rowhouse built in the 1850′s. Application is to construct a rear yard addition.

442 Henry Street-1

HDC finds the proposed design to be a major change to what is and should remain a very simple rear façade. Our committee found the lack of design consistency from floor to floor to be jarring, and with no neighborhood precedent for a bow-fronted deck, finds this part of the proposal to be an odd choice. We would ask that the proposed design of the bottom floors work better with the existing upper floors.


Item 11

212-222 East 16th Street – Stuyvesant Square Historic DistrictUpper

168072 – Block 897, lot 16, Zoned R7B

Community District 6, Manhattan


Three Anglo-Italianate style rowhouses built in 1852, and a four-story school building designed by Chapman, Evans, and Delahanty and built in 1963-65.  Application is to construct rooftop and rear yard additions, combine the rowhouses and construct a multi-story atrium behind the front facades, demolish the rear facades, alter the areaways, and install flag poles.

212-222 East 16th Street-5

212-222 East 16th Street-6

212-222 East 16th Street-7

HDC finds this proposal to be gratuitous and insensitive to both the Friends Seminary complex and the Stuyvesant Square Historic District as a whole. The colossal additions proposed for above the 1850s rowhouses and the 1960s school building are extremely visible from all angles. Even worse, their scale overwhelms, when, in fact, it should be subservient to this block’s wonderful assemblage of historic buildings. When viewed from Stuyvesant Square, the grey zinc cladding of the easternmost rooftop addition is not only an inappropriate material, but also lacks detail, rendering the addition a distracting mass that hovers over the complex. On the front of the rowhouses, we would like to add that the introduction of three new flagpoles seems like an unnecessary obstruction.

HDC is opposed to the complete destruction of the historic material and configuration of the rear facades of the 1850s rowhouses, and feels that at least the top floors should be left alone in order to retain a record of the original design, as the Commission customarily requires. If the rowhouses are to be completely gutted and repurposed, HDC feels that better solutions should be found to solve the problems created by previous additions, rather than exacerbating the situation to the detriment of this historic complex and district.


Item 12

27 East 62nd Street – Upper East Side Historic District

168419 – Block 1377, lot 24, Zoned C5-1, R8B

Community District 8, Manhattan


An apartment building with neo-Renaissance style details designed by Lawlor and Haase and built in 1912-1913. Application is to construct additions.

27 East 62nd Street-3

HDC wishes to applaud the applicant on a very sensitive front façade restoration, including the reintroduction of the cornice in sheet metal and the cleaning and repairing of masonry. On the west elevation, the applicant is proposing to push the wall forward without changing the character of that façade – a refreshing and sensitive approach.


Item 14

316 West 88th Street – Riverside – West End Historic District

162993- Block 1249, lot 57, Zoned R8

Community District 7, Manhattan


An Elizabethan Renaissance Revival style rowhouse designed by Clarence True and built in 1890-91. Application is to construct rooftop and rear yard additions, reconstruct a missing stoop, and excavate the areaway.

316 West 88th Street-1

HDC appreciates the restoration of the missing stoop, but finds the proposed additions to be a massive intervention. In the rear, our committee feels that the building’s relationship to the others in the row should be maintained by limiting the two-story addition to the same height as the adjacent house’s rear addition, as well as keeping the existing configuration of the top two floors and the corbelled brick cornice at the roof. Our committee also questioned the visibility of the rooftop railing, which was not clear from the application materials.


Category: HDC@LPC · Tags: , , , , ,

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