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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.




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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  • Landmarks Lion 2012:

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

Preservation School


Head back to school with HDC

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



Schedule of Classes

northside_president7 Monday

September 8, 2014

6:00 PM

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


brooklyn-suburbs-nypl Wednesday

October 15, 2014

6:00 PM

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


View Gregory Dietrich’s presentation

by clicking here 

realestate120709_rowhouse_560 Monday

November 10, 2014

6:00 PM

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


incarnation-landmark-building-plaque Monday

December 8, 2014

6:00 PM

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


zh_height_factor Monday

February 9, 2015

6:00 PM

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


SunsetPark-8 Monday

March 9, 2015

6:00 PM

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


DKoepp_NYC_TH Monday

April 13, 2015

6:00 PM

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


4416779971_5ac0d6a112_z Monday

May 11, 2015

6:00 PM

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



Classes will take place at:

Neighborhood Preservation Center

232 East 11 Street

New York, NY 10003


Light refreshments to be served


$10 each or $60 for all 8

Scholarships available

please contact Barbara Zay at

Category: Featured · Tags:

Defending Historic Preservation in New York City

The demolition of the Dakota Stables

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

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

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

Additional Resources:

Preservation and Job Creation



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

Landmarks Lion Award 2014- Andrew Scott Dolkart

Posted by on Thursday, November 20, 2014 · Leave a Comment 

Landmarks Lion Award Ceremony & Dinner

Honoring Andrew Scott Dolkart

Morningside 2012-1

Date : November 19, 2014

Time: 6 PM

Location: India House1 Hanover Square, New York, NY 10004 

The Historic Districts Council, the citywide advocate for New York’s historic neighborhoods, will present its annual LANDMARKS LION AWARD on November 19 to Andrew Scott Dolkart, Professor of Historic Preservation and Director of the Historic Preservation Program at Columbia University Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation (GSAPP).

Andrew is widely acknowledged as THE authority on New York City’s historic architecture. Active in the preservation field for more than three decades, he is an advocate, educator, tour guide, consultant, author of more than a dozen books and publications on New York City and contributor to countless Landmarks Preservation Commission designation reports. Through his many decades of service, he has introduced thousands of New Yorkers to their historic built environment, and his work has aided immeasurably to the efforts to preserve and protect the historic character of New York City.

Andrew has won numerous awards for his writing and advocacy. The 2014 Landmarks Lion Award is the first time that he is being honored for the breadth and depth of his contributions to historic preservation.

The award ceremony and benefit dinner will take place on Wednesday, November 19, 2014,  at 6:00pm, at the India House, 1 Hanover Square, New York, NY 10004. The Landmarks Lion Award is HDC’s major fundraising event and provides critical support for the broad range of educational and outreach programs that are crucial to HDC’s constituency, which includes more than 500 neighborhood organizations. Since its founding in 1971, HDC has been dedicated to preserving the integrity of New York City’s Landmarks Law and to furthering the preservation ethic.

For more information  contact HDC at 212-614-9107,


Category: landmark lion, Program & Events · Tags:

Continuing Education- The Shore Thing

Posted by on Thursday, November 20, 2014 · Leave a Comment 

Join the Historic Districts Council for an encore of our most popular continuing education program

The Shore Thing: A Practical Seminar on Shoring Methods and Case Studies for Historic Buildings


As a building ages, its structural integrity can weaken. Shoring practices play an imperative role in the safety and security of structures, both new and old. Intended as a temporary solution to structural issues, shoring is a complex process that must take into account  numerous variables such as building materials, ground stability, weather, and surrounding infrastructure.

Topics to be covered will include an in-depth discussion of the process of shoring related to historic structures; the role of preservation contractors in this process; emergency shoring situations; and detailed case studies of shoring of local buildings. The program will feature three speakers, each an expert in this field.


John J McErlean, P.E., S.E.
Principal, Plan B Engineering
Eric Hammarberg
Associate Principal,  WJE Engineers & Architects
Alastair C. Elliott, PE, LEED AP
Principal, Chief Operating Officer, Robert Silman Associates

Tuesday December 9, 2014

8:30 am-Check in

9:00 am-12:00 pm-Program


Neighborhood Preservation Center

232 East 11th Street New York, NY 10003




Friends of HDC-$100  

Includes continental breakfast


3 AIA Approved LU/HSW Credits/ 3 NY State Licensing Credits









Become a Friend of HDC and get the discounted rate on this and other programs and events!

To become a Friend of HDC CLICK HERE

Continuing Ed: Shoring Seminar

Category: Architect Panel, Education, Event, Featured, lecture, Program & Events, Restoration · Tags:

Andrew Scott Dolkart in the NYT Sunday Routine

Posted by on Tuesday, November 18, 2014 · Leave a Comment 

  2014 Landmarks Lion Award

Andrew Scott Dolkart 


Credit-Ramsay de Give for The New York Times

The Historic Districts Council’s 2014 Landmark Lion recipient, Andrew Scott Dolkart was featured in the New York Times Sunday Routine.

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

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

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.


To read the whole article about how Andrew S. Dolkart spends his Sunday, click here.


Celebrate Andrew With Us!


Cocktail tickets still available!

The award ceremony & cocktails will take place on Wednesday, November 19, 2014, at 6:00pm, at the India House, 1 Hanover Square, New York, NY 10004.

The Landmarks Lion Award is HDC’s major annual fundraising event and provides the  critical support for all our programming and activities. Yes, it’s pricey but this is what enables HDC to offer free services and programs throughout the year.

For more information or to purchase cocktail tickets,

contact HDC at 212-614-9107,, or visit



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

HDC@LPC – November 18, 2014

Posted by on Monday, November 17, 2014 · Leave a Comment 



160850- Block 2285, lot 69-

445 East 140th Street – Mott Haven East Historic District

A neo-Renaissance style tenement building designed by George F. Pelham and built in 1902-03. Application is to replace windows.


Item 2



160851- Block 2285, lot 67-

451 East 140th Street – Mott Haven East Historic District

A neo-Renaissance style tenement building designed by George F. Pelham and built in 1902-03. Application is to replace windows.


Item 3



160852- Block 2285, lot 66-

455 East 140th Street – Mott Haven East Historic District

A neo-Renaissance style tenement building designed by George F. Pelham and built in 1902-03. Application is to replace windows.


Item 4



160853- Block 2285, lot 64-

461 East 140th Street – Mott Haven East Historic District

A neo-Renaissance style tenement building designed by George F. Pelham and built in 1902-03. Application is to replace windows.


Item 5



160854- Block 2285, lot 63-

465 East 140th Street – Mott Haven East Historic District

A neo-Renaissance style tenement building designed by George F. Pelham and built in 1902-03. Application is to replace windows.


Item 6



160856- Block 2285, lot 61-

471 East 140th Street – Mott Haven East Historic District

A neo-Renaissance style tenement building designed by George F. Pelham and built in 1902-03.  Application is to replace windows.


Item 7



160857- Block 2285, lot 58-

481 East 140th Street – Mott Haven East Historic District

A neo-Renaissance style tenement building designed by George F. Pelham and built in 1902-03. Application is to replace windows.

East 140th Street-Mott Haven-1

These beautiful buildings are amongst the very few to benefit from landmark protection in the South Bronx. While the replacement of aluminum windows with aluminum windows is not a bad intervention, per se, HDC feels that these buildings deserve better.  Wood windows, or at least wood-clad aluminum windows, would be a more fitting and long-lasting option.

LPC determination: Approved


Item 11



162689- Block 285, lot 6-

112 Atlantic Avenue – Cobble Hill Historic District

A gas and service station built c. 1960. Application is to demolish the building and construct a new building.

112 Atlantic Avenue-2

112 Atlantic Avenue-1

HDC found much to be admired in the proposed design, particularly the applicant’s use of masonry and quoins on the building’s piers, and is glad to see a building proposed for this underutilized site. However, within this particular context, the proposed design presents some issues. Both the western end of Atlantic Avenue and this section of Henry Street are characterized by mid-to-late 19th century residential buildings with commercial storefronts. These low-scale buildings are elegant in their proportions and fenestration patterns, and our committee would prefer to see a proposed design that harmonizes better with these characteristics.

The proposed building calls much attention to itself with the use of large, industrial-looking windows that might be more appropriate in Red Hook, for example. A more contextual design might be achieved by implementing a bay rhythm that breaks the building into smaller pieces. The height of the building also crowds its neighbors, particularly on Henry Street, and the rooftop accretions add further bulk that will be quite visible on the corner and from within Cobble Hill. Also on Henry Street, HDC found that the very tall base dwarfs those of 327 and 329 Henry Street, and the introduction of a marquee on this façade is out of place in the Cobble Hill Historic District.

LPC determination: No Action


Item 12



160973- Block 1151, lot 66-

203 Prospect Place – Prospect Heights Historic District

A neo-Grec style rowhouse designed by Eastman & Daus and built c. 1885. Application is to construct a rear yard addition and alter the front areaway.

203 Prospect Place-1

HDC finds the proposed rear yard addition to this rowhouse to be sympathetic in its overall size and massing, as well as in its inclusion of punched window openings. The committee felt, however, that the concrete structural wall contradicts this effort, since the light grey color is a stark contrast to the red brick, and could read as a strange and bulky gesture.

LPC determination: Approved with modifications


Item 15


BOROUGH OF Manhattan

163558- Block 1892, lot 33-

351 Riverside Drive – Individual Landmark

A neo-French Renaissance style mansion designed by William B. Tuthill and built in 1907-1909. Application is to construct additions, excavate at the side yard, modify masonry openings, and install windows and doors.

351 Riverside-7

351 Riverside-6

While the applicant is using high quality materials for the proposed additions, HDC questions the necessity of extending the projecting stair bay and rooftop dormer on the north façade. On a mansion of this size, our committee wondered whether the planned interior changes could be done within the existing framework instead of compromising the structure’s massing.

LPC determination: No Action


Item 19


BOROUGH OF Manhattan

162189- Block 525, lot 7505-

175 Sullivan Street – South Village Historic District

A Modern style apartment building designed by Gene Kaufman and built in 2001-2006. Application is to install canopies and signage and infill window openings.

175 Sullivan Street-2

175 Sullivan Street-4

The green panels at the upper floors and base of 175 Sullivan Street lend visual interest to the building. Although HDC does not wish to advocate for the significance of the design, our committee did feel that this proposal takes the building in a somewhat grim direction, removing its playful element.

LPC determination: Approved with modifications


Item 20


BOROUGH OF Manhattan

162807- Block 459, lot 21-

70 East 4th Street – East Village/Lower East Side Historic District

A rowhouse built in 1832-33. Application is to redesign the front façade and construct a retaining wall at the rear.

70 E. 4th Street-1

70 E. 4th Street-2

HDC would like to thank the applicant for presenting the plans for 70 East 4th Street to our Public Review Committee. During that meeting, we raised some concerns about the proposed design and made suggestions for how the building might fit in better within its context in the East Village / Lower East Side Historic District. We would like to share some of those suggestions with the Commission.

As the applicant points out, rows of identical townhouses are a rare type in this district. Unfortunately, the proposed design removes the physical evidence of this house having been part of a row of twelve (of which only four are extant). Our committee felt that there are ways to reference the original design in order to avoid it being read as an entirely new structure. HDC would certainly prefer the use of a more durable and long-lasting façade material than stucco, and wonders whether a portion of the underlying historic brick could be retained by incorporating one or more reveals on the façade. However, whether in stucco or another material, the applicant’s use of scoring to simulate masonry panels presents an opportunity. Rather than being purely modern, this scoring pattern could be reconfigured to reference the building’s residential fenestration, for instance.

Other important features of historic rowhouses are the termination at the crown with a cornice or parapet, and the differentiation of the base with a separate color, material or texture. HDC feels that the introduction of both of these would greatly improve the overall appearance of the building and make it more sympathetic to the row and the district.

LPC determination: Approved


Item 21


BOROUGH OF Manhattan

162730- Block 170, lot 6-

346 Broadway – Individual Landmark and Interior Landmark

A neo-Italian Renaissance style monumental skyscraper with neo-Italian Renaissance style interiors designed by Stephen D. Hatch and McKim, Mead & White and built in 1894-98. Application is to construct a rooftop addition and bulkheads, replace windows, install a canopy, alter the facades, and relocate and alter interior finishes.

346 Bway-2

346 Bway-12

HDC thanks the Commission for the opportunity to testify regarding the residential conversion of 346 Broadway. In reviewing the drawings for this proposal, our committee noted the applicant’s analytical methodology of determining a “hierarchy of significance” for the building’s designated interiors. HDC feels that this subjective analysis should not have any bearing on the legal validity of the Commission’s designations. The protected interiors of 346 Broadway are a rare window into a New York City that is long past. Many buildings of its vintage survive – some of them are even landmarks – but few fully-intact interiors of the late 19th century exist. 346 Broadway is one of these lucky few. One of the building’s protected interior spaces is the clock tower, home to one of the only mechanical clocks in the city. While it seems that there are no plans to remove the four-faced clock as part of this proposal, the clock’s function will effectively cease with the privatization of the tower space, making it simply a relic, as opposed to a purposeful mechanism for public benefit and enjoyment.

The loss of the clock’s function is problematic, but not nearly as disturbing as the effective de-designation of one of our 117 Interior Landmarks, which the Landmarks Law defines as “customarily open or accessible to the public, or to which the public is customarily invited.” Surely, this monumental building provides enough space in which to make a sizeable profit off of New York City’s robust residential market. Must our Interior Landmarks become victims of such schemes? Further, the exclusive, private use of an Interior Landmark challenges both the intent of the Landmarks Law and the authority of the Landmarks Preservation Commission to protect our city’s historic built environment.

Our committee was generally pleased with the design of the exterior, and appreciates that extensive restoration work is proposed. However, we would prefer that the rooftop additions on the eastern end of the building be pulled down to decrease their visibility.

LPC determination: No Action


Category: HDC@LPC · Tags: , , , ,

Apply to be one of the 2015 Six to Celebrate groups!

Posted by on Tuesday, November 11, 2014 · Leave a Comment 


November 2014, Volume 11, Number 3

In This Issue:


Taming Manhattan: Environmental Battles in the Antebellum City

An Illustrated Book Talk


jacket - Taming ManhattanTuesday, November 25, 2014 

Updated Time! 6:30 PM

Updated Location!

Silver Center at New York University

100 Washington Square East, Room 300

(Entrance on Waverly Place)


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

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


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

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



Six to Celebrate 2015 Applications

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


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

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

Click here to download the application

Please mail the application along with all requested supplemental materials.

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

If you have any questions call 212-614-9107 or e-mail Barbara Zay


 Campaign to Preserve the Carnegie Libraries

Carnegie Library bookletStarting in 2009, HDC initiated a survey to document the existing Carnegie Libraries throughout New York City. We visited each branch, taking new detailed exterior and interior photographs, documenting existing and historic conditions and researching the rich history of each location. We are currently looking for a Preservation Consultant to complete the task of surveying and completing a nomination form to the National Register of Historic Places. If you are interested click here. 

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

Preservation in the News

Posted by on Monday, November 10, 2014 · 1 Comment 

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

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


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.

Click here to read the whole report


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.

Click here to read the whole report


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.

Click here to read the whole report


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.”

Click here to read the whole article


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.

Click here to read the whole article


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.

Click here to read the whole article


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.

Click here to read the whole article


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

Huffington Post By Charles Birnbaum

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

Click here to read the whole article


Scientists recreate old beer they dug up in Chinatown

New York Post By Natalie O’Neill

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

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

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

Click here to read the whole article



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


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

Click here to read the whole article


The War on New York’s Waterfront


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

Click here to read the whole article


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

Reuters By Laila Kearney

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

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

Click here to read the whole article


Midtown East Steering Committee to Make Everyone Happy

New York Observer by: Tobias Salinger  

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

Click here to read the whole article


Buildings With a Past

Creating New York Apartments From Unlikely Buildings


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

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

Click here to read the whole article


 Readers sound off on landmarks

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

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

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

Click here to read the whole article


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

Pardon Me For Asking

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

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

Click here to read the whole article





Save Rizzoli

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

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

Click here to read the whole article


Library’s Rose Main Reading Room Closed for Six Months

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

Wall Street Journal By Jennifer Maloney

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

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

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

Click here to read the whole article


Mysterious Railroad Relic Unearthed on Governors Island

DNAInfo By Irene Plagianos

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

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

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

Click here to read the whole article


Closer look at two significant neighborhoods

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

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

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

Click here to read the whole article


Ratner wins prize for best … preservationist?

Brooklyn Paper

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

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

Click here to read the whole story



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

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

Click here to access the full report.



Brooklyn’s Historic Churches Disappear to Make Way for Condos


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

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

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

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

Click here to read the whole article


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


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


Plan to Honor Big Developer in Brooklyn Is Criticized

NYTimes BY Matt Chaben

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

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

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

Click here to read the whole story


An economic defense of old buildings

Washington Post By Emily Badger

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

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

Click here to read the whole article


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

Daily News BY 

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

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

Click here to read the whole story


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

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

Click here to read the whole article



New Yorkers, Take Back Your City


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

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

Click here to read the whole article


Public Library Is Abandoning Disputed Plan for Landmark


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

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

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

Click here to read the full story


New York Public Library Scraps Redesign Plans

The Controversial Renovation Plan Prompted Three Lawsuits


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

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

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

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

Click here to read the full article



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



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

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

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

“We insist on real involvement,” he said.

Click here to read the full story


Mayor de Blasio’s Plan to Build More Cells

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

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

Click here to read the full story


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

New York Magazine By 

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

Click here to read the full article



Architects Newspaper By: Alan G. Brake

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

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

Click here to read the full article


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

News 1

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

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

Click here to read the full story



Demolition freeze may cover 80% of the city


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

Crains By Joe Anuta

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

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

 Click here to read the full story


Museum fears plaster disaster from next-door hotel project

The Villager by Sam Spokony

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

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


Merchant’s House-Neighboring Hotel Approved by Landmarks

Curbed by Jeremiah Budin

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

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

Click here to read the full article



LPC Likely to Protect Ladies’ Mile Buildings From Demolition


Chelsea Now by Scott Stiffler

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

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

Click here to read the full article


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

Gothamist by Ben Miller

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

Click here to read the full article


Sunset Park Leading Grassroots Effort to Preserve Its History

NY1 by Jeanine Ramirez

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

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

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

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

Click here to read the full article


COOKFOX Wins Award for Front Street; BK Heights Tour

Curbed by Zoe Rosenberg

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

Click here to read the full article


A Landmark Restored, From Mosaic Marble Floor to Grand Dome

Michael Nagle for The New York Times

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

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

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

Click here to read the full article


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

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


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

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

Follow us: @newyorkobserver on Twitter | newyorkobserver on Facebook

Click here to read the full article


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



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

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

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

Click here to read the full article

Cities Mobilize to Help Those Threatened by Gentrification


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

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


Argument Over a Brownstone Neighborhood

The Case for and Against a Bed-Stuy Historic District

 By /New York Times

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

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

Click here to read the full article


 Renovation, restoration the trend in Midtown East

By /Real Estate Weekly

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

125 Park Avenue

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

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

Click here to read the full article


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

City Land Profile

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

Click here to read the full article


Potential Historic District Supported by Elected Officials and Community Boards

By: Jesse Denno/City Land

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

Click here to read the full article




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Carnegie Library- Richmond Hill

Posted by on Friday, November 7, 2014 · Leave a Comment 


November 2014, Volume 11, Number 2

In This Issue:


History of the Queens Library System



The genesis of the Queens library corporation was the Long Island City Public Library, established from the collection of William Nelson in 1896.  After the consolidation of the five boroughs into Greater New York in 1898, the library was known as the Queens Borough Library, and was responsible for the entire borough.  Independent libraries such as Flushing (demolished), Poppenhusen and Richmond Hill merged with the new municipal library, and were eventually housed in Carnegie buildings.  The Queens Borough Library acquired its current name, the Queens Borough Public Library, in 1907.  Similar to the Brooklyn Public Library, the Queens system was an independent corporation whose trustees were appointed by the mayor and whose staff was in the civil service.  Of the seven Carnegie Branches constructed in Queens, five remain and continue to operate.

The New York City Carnegie branch libraries were designed to be distinct structures, a new concept at the turn of the Twentieth Century when most branches were simply located in other buildings.  They were intended to be important fixtures in the community and centrally located in a neighborhood.  The Carnegie Committee had a policy to locate branches in close proximity to public buildings such as schools, social service centers, public baths, or YM/YWCA’s.  The Richmond Hill Branch has played this civic role in Richmond Hill for over a century. Today the library’s extensive lawn is used for community celebrations and holiday events.



Queens Carnegie Library,Richmond Hill Branch

Richmond Hill Branch, front façade on Hillside Avenue, n.d.

Richmond Hill Branch, front façade on Hillside Avenue, n.d.

The building, designed by Tuthill & Higgins, architects in 1905, is situated on a triangular lot bordered by Hillside Avenue, Lefferts Boulevard, and the elevated tracks of the Long Island Railroad running along Babbage Street. Tuthill & Higgins designed the Astoria Branch as well. The building has several characteristics of the suburban Carnegie library type. Located in the less densely populated areas of the Bronx, Brooklyn, Staten Island and Queens, these branches are most often freestanding structures within a larger lot.  Frequently, the libraries feature brick walls with limestone ornamentation. Typically built in a Classical Revival style, the buildings have a symmetrical layout, large windows to allow an abundance of light into the reading rooms, and a prominent, decorative entrance.

The Richmond Hill Branch continues to serve as a branch of the Queens Borough Public Library. Land for the site was purchased from William Man and Alrick N. Man ($12,000). Construction with equipment cost $32,659.20. At first, the library had a simple front lawn, and the building’s lot was not encircled by the present wrought iron and brick fences.  Judging from an early postcard, there originally was an ornate stone fountain installed on the Hillside Avenue side. The structure had three Ionic columns that supported a curvilinear entablature with a decorative stone vessel. Today, flagstone paths lead from the streets to the entrances and flower borders are planted along the fence.  In the 1990s, a new handicap access ramp with aluminum railing was installed in front of the main entry.

Originally, the branch consisted of a structure three bays wide and one bay deep that faced Hillside Avenue.  An addition using the same tan brick walls and stone ornament was constructed in 1929, which significantly expanded the facility.  This newer section, containing the Children’s Library, has an entrance on Lefferts Boulevard and an additional bay along Babbage Street. The historic tiled roof with ornate metal cresting was replaced with a standing seam metal roof in the 1960s.  All doors and windows have been replaced. The interior has gone through several renovations.  In 1985, new lit display shelves and a new circulation desk were installed.  The ceiling has been lowered, and the floors have been replaced with asphalt tile. Very few historic interior details remain.

William B. Tuthill of Tuthill & Higgins is most known for designing Carnegie Hall (1889-1891), built in the Renaissance Revival style with a Roman brick façade, the American Female Guardian Society (1901-2) in the West Bronx, the Morris and Laurette Schinasi House at 351 Riverside Drive (1907-09), and a group of row houses at 4-16 West 122nd Street (1888-9) in Harlem.

For the full list of the Queens Carnegie Libraries click here 

For additional information about the Richmond Hill branch click here 

For more information about Carnegie Libraries in NYC click here

For a list of Carnegie Libraries by borough click here 


Campaign to Preserve the Carnegie Libraries

Carnegie Library booklet

Starting in 2009, HDC initiated a survey to document the existing Carnegie Libraries throughout New York City. We visited each branch, taking new detailed exterior and interior photographs, documenting existing and historic conditions and researching the rich history of each location. If you are interested in documenting the NYC Carnegie Libraries as a Preservation Consultant click here.


Category: Blog, E-bulletin · Tags:

Preservation Consultant- Job Posting

Posted by on Friday, November 7, 2014 · Leave a Comment 

About the Historic Districts Council

The Historic Districts Council (HDC) is the citywide advocate for New York’s historic neighborhoods.  For more than 40 years, HDC has been a vital force helping to preserve historic neighborhoods, buildings and open spaces throughout the five boroughs and furthering our city’s preservation ethic. We accomplish these goals through three main program areas: advocacy, education and community outreach.


About The Campaign to Preserve the Carnegie Libraries

New York City’s collection of Carnegie libraries is the largest of any city in the country. Of the 67 built, 57 branches are still standing. The 54 that remain in operation make up one quarter of the city’s public library branches. While there have been additions, roof replacements and window changes over the years, most of the libraries still maintain their distinctly “Carnegie” look. 13 branches have been designated New York City individual landmarks, and two are also on the National Register of Historic Places. The entire group is a monument to philanthropy and education, and all deserve protection for their architectural and cultural merits.



HDC seeks the services of a professional preservation consultant to conduct research necessary to complete a multi-resource National Register of Historic Places nomination for the Carnegie Libraries. Much of the work has already been completed for the National Register nominations. Starting in 2009, HDC initiated a survey to document the existing Carnegie Libraries throughout New York City.


Qualifications should include experience with architectural resource surveys, experience with National Register nominations, capacity to perform the work, past record of performance, and familiarity with the area to be surveyed.


A stipend in the amount of $2,500 is available.


For more information



Please respond with resume to:

Simeon Bankoff, Executive Director

Historic Districts Council 232 East 11th Street New York, NY 10003

Fax: 212 614-9127


Category: Carnegie Libraries · Tags:

Six to Celebrate Fall Events

Posted by on Tuesday, November 4, 2014 · Leave a Comment 


November 2014, Volume 11, Number 1

In This Issue:

History of Atlantic Avenue Tour


Atlantic avenue


11:00 AM - 1:00 PM 

Meet at  the corner of Atlantic and 4th Avenues

Join the Atlantic Avenue BID for a tour of Atlantic Avenue, one of Brooklyn’s most dynamic commercial thoroughfares for over one hundred years. This diverse retail and dining destination connects the historic neighborhoods of Boerum Hill, Brooklyn Heights and Cobble Hill.  Tour guide and Brooklyn native Joe Svehlak will guide us from 4th Avenue to the waterfront, discussing Atlantic Avenue’s architecture, social and commercial history, as well as areas that have been more recently redeveloped.

$10- click here to register 

You may also bring cash the day of the tour

Additional Tour Dates:

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Saturday, April 11, 2015

(please register through the above link)


The Dilemmas of Historic Districts and Urban Design in

An Era of Skyscrapers


An Evening with Authors and Architects Steven Semes and John Massengale

November 15, 2014 

4:00 PM

111 Franklin Street (between West Broadway and Church)  

The Historic Districts Council and Tribeca Trust will host a controversial conversation about the issues facing historic districts today. The Trust invites guests to hear from two experts on historic districts and urban design. They will unpack arguments that are at the cutting edge of architecture and urban design, all crucial for Tribeca and historic districts citywide.

The presentations will be followed by a cocktail reception, during which speakers Steven Semes, author of The Future of the Past:  A Conservation Ethic for Architecture, Urbanism and Historic Preservation, and John Massengale, co-author of Street Design:  The Secret of Great Cities and Towns, will sign their new books.

The event is open to the architecture and design community, educational institutions and the general public.

Tickets are $15 in advance and $20 at the door, subject to availability as seating capacity is limited. Advance tickets are available here at Eventbrite.


For more information contact: Lynn Ellsworth




HDC invites community preservation groups to apply for the 2015 Six to Celebrate program. 

Deadline for the application is December 1, 2014.

Mount Morris Park 007

The purpose of this program is to provide strategic resources to neighborhood groups at a critical moment so that they can reach their preservation goals. The program will help community activists learn to use tools such as documentation, research, zoning, landmarking, publicity, and public outreach to advance local preservation campaigns. The selected groups will receive HDC’s hands-on help strategizing and implementing all aspects of their efforts over the course of the 2015 calendar year, as well as our continued support in the years to come.

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


Click here to download the application


Please mail the application along with all requested supplemental materials.


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

If you have any questions call 212-614-9107 or e-mail Barbara Zay



13-boards 063


The Port Morris Gantries site, one of HDC’s 2012 Six to Celebrate, is being considered as part of a plan for a waterfront park in the south Bronx! The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation Region 2, which covers the 5 boroughs of New York City, held a public hearing on  October 22, 2014 to discuss several projects which the agency has determined to be priorities – the Mott Haven-Port Morris Waterfront Plan being one of several in The Bronx.

City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, whose district covers the Mott Haven-Port Morris Waterfront Plan, issued a statement at the hearing: “I wholeheartedly support the recommendations submitted to you by the Regional Advisory Committee (RAC) for dedication of funds from the Environmental Protection Fund (EPF) within my district…MIT planners and architects worked with the community to come up with a series of recommendations for the Lincoln Avenue site to turn what is now an underutilized industrial area into a place that brings the waterfront to the community in a meaningful way, while also highlighting the growing artist community and historic waterfront buildings.”

You can submit your testimony supporting the funding of the

Mott Haven-Port Morris Waterfront Plan 

until December 17th, 2014 at 4:45PM - 

Click here to submit your testimony!

Mott Haven-Port Morris Waterfront Plan

For more information go to the Welcome2TheBronx website

Read the Daily News Article:

“Community plan to unlock south Bronx waterfront recognized by state”



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

Deserving but not Designated-Brooklyn

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

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

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

74 Halsey Street






Crown Heights North cover photo

 Crown Heights North





park slope DSCN0637

 Park Slope 






Sunset Park 





Beverley Sq E. -217 E. 19th

 Victorian Flatbush




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

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

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

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