Secret Lives Tour: The Gardens of Jackson Heights


Saturday, October 15, 2016

11 am

Jackson Heights in Queens was the first Garden Community and continues to be the largest in the United States. These garden style apartments, detached and semi-detached houses were built as an answer to the crowded slums of Manhattan. The Queensboro Corporation successfully campaigned to have the subway extended through Jackson Heights and built up the area during the early 20th century. The large apartment buildings take up entire blocks with interior courtyards not accessible to the public. These gardens are what made Jackson Heights so unique and appealing, and continue to be a draw today. The picturesque residences were designed in Georgian, Tudor, Gothic, Italian Renaissance and Spanish Romanesque styles. Decorative brickwork, loggias and slate roofs are quintessential design elements found in the architecture. Institutional and commercial buildings were produced to match the residential. HDC named Jackson Heights one of its Six to Celebrate neighborhoods in 2011.

A section of Jackson Heights was designated as a New York City Historic District in 1993,  unfortunately not all the architecturally worthy building were included in the district. Local Queens advocates such as the Jackson Heights Beautification Group (JHBG) have been campaigning to have the district extended. Join HDC and memebers of the JHBG on October 15th as we explore beautiful Jackson Heights, view the interior gardens and learn how to become involved in the preservation of the neighborhood.

General Admission $40

Friends / Seniors $30


HDC@LPC – Designation Testimony for September 13, 2016

Item 2

LP – 2575



Thank you for hearing public testimony today. HDC wishes to reiterate its support for the designation of the Empire State Dairy, and to thank the LPC for moving forward to consider this landmark-worthy complex. The buildings are threatened by the city’s rezoning plans, especially due to their presence on Atlantic Avenue, where increased bulk is being encouraged. The complex is listed in the Environmental Impact Statement as a projected development site, which makes this designation all the more imperative and symbolic. The agency is pursuing designation in part because the buildings have become endangered, and we applaud this effort. In a neighborhood that has only three designated landmarks, this designation would send a strong message to residents about the importance of their neighborhood anchors. An even stronger message would be to take further actions to designate more of East New York’s significant structures so that the city celebrates this vibrant community’s past while also planning for its future.




Item 3

LP – 2577

BOROUGH OF MANHATTAN, block 1290, lot 14

MINNIE E. YOUNG RESIDENCE, 19 East 54th Street

The austere, granite façade of 19 East 54th Street is quite a surprise when compared with the ornate Beaux-Arts designs for which the architectural firm of Hiss & Weekes is best known, most notably the Gotham Hotel. For the widowed Minnie Young, Hiss & Weekes designed a restrained Italian Renaissance inspired town house with a central entrance, pedimented piano nobile windows, and a deep cornice. The openings in the granite facade are crisply cut and virtually devoid of applied decoration. Completed in 1899, the house was originally occupied by Minnie Young and her sister, Joanne B. Arents, along with a significant number of servants – nine in 1900 and seven in 1910. As the neighborhood changed, the house was converted for commercial use, which explains the presence of display windows on the first floor. One notable period in its commercial life was the 1960s, when the building housed the prestigious Kenneth Beauty Salon, which counted Jacqueline Kennedy as a client. Today, the building stands as a rare reminder of East Midtown’s once residential use and character, and as a fine architectural example of such. The fact of its survival and longevity in an ever-changing midtown context is reason enough to grant the building landmark status.



Item 4

LP – 2578

BOROUGH OF MANHATTAN, block 1291, lot 127


This striking town house was designed by Taylor & Levi and completed in 1908-09 for Martin Erdmann, a successful banker who commissioned the house for his early retirement when he was only in his forties. In 1910, he lived here on his own income, with no family members, but with eight servants. Erdmann was born in New York, but his father was from Germany, which may explain the house’s unusual German Renaissance style design. The building is unlike any contemporary New York town house, with its gabled front, strapwork ornament and leaded windows. In 1909, an anonymous critic for the journal Architecture commented on just how unusual the façade was, noting that it was “conceived in so different a vein from most New York houses that its propriety can be questioned…but there is much in this house to awaken an intelligence lulled to sleep by monotonous repetition of classic forms.”

This is the only remaining house on what was once a residential block. It has been preserved since 1956 by The Friars Club, a club for actors. Club members refer to the building as “The Monastery.” The club was established in 1904 and in 1911 inaugurated the Friar Frolics, for which Irving Berlin wrote “Alexander’s Ragtime Band.” The club is best known to the public for its famous Celebrity Roasts, where famous performers joke about the guest of honor. Though not being considered for landmark status today, it is worth noting that many of Erdmann’s original interiors remain intact.



Item 5

LP – 2581

BOROUGH OF MANHATTAN, block 1275, Lot 61

18 EAST 41ST STREET BUILDING, 18-20 East 41st Street

In 1912, the architects George & Edward Blum received a commission for a twenty-story office building from the Holland Construction Company. Over the course of their prolific careers, the Blums created some of the most distinctive buildings in New York City, often employing a singular Arts-and-Crafts aesthetic that exploited the properties of ornamental terra cotta. Although the Blums are best known for their apartment houses, they were also responsible for a significant number of commercial office and loft buildings. The East 41st Street office building is one of their most unusual, given that it was designed in the neo-Gothic style. This choice of design, as well as the use of terra-cotta cladding, was likely inspired by the Woolworth Building, which was then under construction. Like the Woolworth, 18 East 41st Street’s terra-cotta is coated with a bright white glaze, with the recessed sections of the three dimensional façades highlighted with polychromy.

However, what makes the East 41st Street building so exceptional is the quality of the ornamental detail, which combines the Blums’ interest in using both organic and geometric forms. The façade is highlighted with spandrels, vertical bands, balconies and other features on which can be found twining vines with large leaves and what appear to be ripe figs ready for the picking. The Blums, who were of Alsatian descent, studied at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts in Paris and were familiar with progressive French ornamental design. They used one of their favorite French-inspired ornamental devices on this building – the naturalistic leaves that appear to lap over their frames. These organic design features are balanced on several of the Blums’ most important buildings with an overlay of geometric detail. This is evident here in the square grids that appear in many locations on the façade and in the geometric grids cut into the shield designs used on the projecting window balconies. The building has sustained a few alterations over the years, including the removal of its storefront, but has undergone an exceptionally sensitive restoration. Its striking features and commanding presence make it worthy of landmark status.



Item 6

LP – 2580

BOROUGH OF MANHATTAN, block 1285, lot 59

HAMPTON SHOPS BUILDING, 18-20 East 50th Street

The Hampton Shops Building, a well-preserved neo-Gothic skyscraper, is fully deserving of landmark status, not just on its own merits, but as a contextual backdrop for St. Patrick’s Cathedral. Designed by Rouse & Goldstone, with Joseph L. Steinman, the structure is an anomaly amongst the firm’s prolific catalogue in New York City. William L. Rouse and Lafayette A. Goldstone joined forces in 1909 and quickly made a name for themselves in designing grand apartment buildings. They were also known for their high level of skill at adapting Renaissance-inspired architecture to New York City’s skyscraper typology. Completed in 1916, the Hampton Shops Building is neither an apartment building nor a Renaissance Revival style building. For this commission, they considered the context of the new structure, directly across the street from the south façade of St. Patrick’s Cathedral, and chose grey terra-cotta cladding and gracious Gothic style ornament to complement their venerable neighbor. It is worth noting that in the designation report for the individually landmarked S. Jarmulowsky Bank Building, the LPC described both that structure and the Hampton Shops Building as “unique designs” for the firm of Rouse & Goldstone. It is only fitting, then, that this building, like the Jarmulowsky Bank, be granted landmark status. With its strong verticality, pointed arches and rich ornament, the building contributes to East Midtown’s history and sense of place, and should be celebrated and protected as such.




Item 7

LP – 2579

BOROUGH OF MANHATTAN, block 1279, lot 28

YALE CLUB OF NEW YORK CITY, 50 Vanderbilt Avenue

The original Yale Club of New York City opened on Madison Square in 1897. After moving to 30 West 44th street in 1901, the Club relocated permanently to 50 Vanderbilt Avenue in 1915. At that time, the Grand Central Terminal area was fast becoming the center of civic life in New York, and it made sense for a club catering to successful businessmen to be in the heart of it. Built across the street from the terminal shortly after its completion and on land owned by the New York & Harlem Railroad, the Yale Club is an important contextual component to the Grand Central area.

The 22-story “clubhouse,” seven bays wide along Vanderbilt and six bays deep along 44th Street, was designed by New York architect James Gamble Rogers. Rogers was known for not only revivalism but outright historicism in architecture, though he often relied on modern construction methods. The neo-classical Yale Club incorporates elements of the Italian Renaissance Revival. A massive five-story base of coursed limestone ashlar with rusticated joints supports fourteen stories of tan brick, topped by a double-height ballroom in the limestone-clad “capital,” consisting of round-arched windows flanked by monumental order which appears, from the ground, to be some version of Corinthian. The deeply overhanging roof remains intact, with copper modillions and anthemia visible, a rarity in buildings of this style and period.

In addition to this highly-visible commission, Rogers, a Yale alumnus, was responsible for extensive work at Yale’s New Haven campus. In 1917, shortly after completing the Yale Club, Gamble Rogers was commissioned by the university to master plan and redesign a significant and prominent part of Yale’s central campus, known as the Memorial Quadrangle, now Branford & Saybrook Colleges.



Item 8

LP – 2576

BOROUGH OF MANHATTAN, block 1283, lot 17

400 MADISON AVENUE BUILDING, 400 Madison Avenue

Constructed during the speculative building boom of the late 1920s, the 20-story office building at 400 Madison was one of several rental office buildings—in aggregate, over 3 million square feet of space—added to the particularly booming “Grand Central Zone” in 1929 alone. It replaced two six-story apartment buildings as the neighborhood was transformed into the business center of Manhattan. The unusual footprint, 188 feet long on Madison and only 44 feet deep along 47th & 48th Streets, allowed for extensive street frontage along the avenue, offering prime retail space. The second floor was originally designated for a bank, with upper floors rented out as commercial office space. A selling point of the design was that “[n]o portion of usable floor area will be more than 27 feet from a window,” and that no space was wasted with light wells or rear courts, efficiencies that would not have been lost on investors or renters. All service portions of the building were located along the rear wall, away from daylight.

The tiered upper stories of 400 Madison take advantage of the light & air zoning requirements to deploy a richly textured program of boldly geometric Gothic Revival-inspired terra cotta ornament, including crenellation, pinnacles and tracery elements topping an otherwise restrained façade. At street level, the original bronze and glass storefronts remain remarkably intact, a rarity in ever-changing Midtown. The unusual form of the building, masterfully turning an odd footprint into a selling feature based on natural light and retail frontage, coupled with the intactness of its elaborate terra-cotta decoration and street-level storefronts reflecting the boom years of the late 1920s in Midtown, qualify 400 Madison for consideration as a New York City Landmark.

Craig Severance studied in France before beginning to practice architecture in New York City around 1900. After a brief stint with Carrère & Hastings, Severance established his own practice in 1907. Severance partnered with William Van Alen between 1914 and the early 1920s, before returning to his own practice. In the 1920s, Severance became one of the most successful and well-known commercial architects in New York real estate circles. Just after designing 400 Madison, the architect engaged in what many observers of the period called the “altitude race” between Severance and his former partner, Van Alen, to build the tallest building in New York. Severance’s 1929 commission for 40 Wall Street was beaten out on a technicality by the spire of Van Alen’s 1930 Chrysler Building before the Empire State Building overtook both in 1931.




On September 13, the LPC is also considering the designation of 601 Lexington Avenue, formerly known as the Citicorp Center, designed by Hugh Stubbins with Emery Roth & Sons and built in 1977.  In its classification for the 12 buildings it proposes to designate within the East Midtown Rezoning area, the LPC identified three categories: “pre-Grand Central Terminal”, “Terminal City”, and “post-Grand Central Terminal”. Only one building, Citicorp, falls within the final category, despite the presence of many significant mid-century office buildings in the area, and the inclusion of several of these on the LPC’s own list of eligible landmarks as part of the city’s Environmental Impact Statement. Even after the announcement of the 12 buildings to be designated, HDC continued to advocate for these mid-century buildings, but the LPC refuses to pursue any of them. HDC is dismayed by this oversight, especially since this inaction seems to be driven by real estate pressure.

While none of the city’s preservation advocates recommended the building for landmark status, the inclusion of Citicorp is not controversial in itself. The building is, after all, an iconic skyscraper and an important architectural record of 1970s New York. HDC is pleased to see it move forward toward designation. However, in the context of the buildings that are being left out of the LPC’s East Midtown action, Citicorp’s presence on the list looks like a token gesture in an attempt to appear inclusionary of all phases of the area’s history, when, in fact, there is a significant layer of roughly 50 years that will not be represented in this historic action. Had this building come forward for a hearing outside the context of the East Midtown Rezoning, HDC would have gladly advocated and testified on its behalf.

Category: HDC@LPC · Tags:

HDC@LPC – Testimony for LPC Hearing on September 13, 2016

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

893 Broadway – Ladies’ Mile Historic District


A neo-Grec style L-shaped commercial building built in 1844 and altered in 1873-74 by James J.F. Gavigon with a new neo-Grec style cast iron faзade. Application is to replace storefront infill and alter the facades.

HDC applauds measures to restore this fine building in Ladies’ Mile, but feels that any such effort should take its cues from the ample historic photo documentation that exists for this building in order to properly replicate its details.

LPC determination: Approved



Item 2

38 West 76th Street – Upper West Side/Central Park West Historic District


A Renaissance Revival style rowhouse with Romanesque Revival style elements designed by Gilbert A. Schellenger and built in 1891. Application is to reconstruct a stair and reconfigure the areaway.

The replacement of one bad intervention with another is not good practice in historic districts, and the proposed stair does nothing to bring this house in the right direction. At the turn of the 20th century, stoops were a real feature of rowhouses, which is especially true in this district. Great examples of existing stoops are found all around this house, and we wish to make a plea for the replication of this house’s original stoop, rather than fancifying them with cast iron newel posts in an attempt to mitigate their impact.

LPC determination: No Action




Item 3

340 Riverside Drive – Riverside – West End Extension II Historic District


A Renaissance Revival style apartment building designed by Sugarman & Berger and built in 1925. Application is to replace windows.

HDC finds that a more sensitive approach would be to bring back the double-hung windows in this location, rather than installing tilt-and-turn windows. An even better solution would be for the building to pursue a Master Plan to return the mutli-light window configuration slowly over time, rather than allowing for piece-meal changes that detract from the building’s overall appearance. A Master Plan for the thru-wall air conditioning units would also be preferable, in order to ensure that the overall scheme is cohesive.

LPC determination: Approved with modifications



Item 5

236 West 101st Street – Riverside – West End Extension II Historic District


A Renaissance Revival rowhouse designed by Gilbert A. Schellenger and built in 1892-93. Application is to construct rear yard and rooftop additions, raise the chimney and replace windows.

The proposed rooftop addition would be entirely invisible if not for the bulkhead, so we ask that the applicant investigate bringing down the height as much as possible. HDC finds the treatment of the rear yard addition to be somewhat awkward, especially with the central metal spandrel panel, and finds it to be a little too tall, as well, strangely cutting off the bottoms of the top floor windows. We would suggest that they work with the LPC staff to get the details of the rear yard addition just right.

LPC determination: Approved with modifications




Item 7

122 West 69th Street – Upper West Side/Central Park West Historic District


A Gothic Revival style church building with Romanesque Revival style elements designed by William Horation Day and built in 1880 . Application is to alter the landscape, and install gates and signage.

HDC wishes to compliment the applicant on this very sensitive and thoughtful formal landscape plan, which we are sure will greatly enhance the church campus and the historic district.

LPC determination: Approved



Item 9

1 Riverside Drive – West End-Collegiate Extension Historic District


A Beaux Arts style rowhouse designed by C. P. H. Gilbert and built in 1899-1901. Application is to install an entrance canopy and awnings.

HDC finds the awning in the courtyard to be an acceptable insertion. However, because the entrance canopy would obscure the portico on this individually landmarked structure, we do not find it appropriate. The existing entrance porch already has a decent overhang and a nice vehicle for displaying the center’s signage, so it would be a shame to mar these gracious entrance details for little benefit.

LPC determination: Approved



Item 10

156 East 89th Street – Individual Landmark


A Queen Anne style rowhouse designed by Hubert, Pirsson & Co. and built in 1886-87. Application is to construct a rooftop addition and alter the rear faзade.

While HDC finds the rooftop addition to be acceptable, we find the changes to the rear yard addition – namely the replacement of masonry with glass at the return of the bumpout – to be an egregious and inappopriate way to face the rear yard neighbors. The addition of this much glass would give the rear yard addition an unfortunate fish bowl effect.

LPC determination: Approved



Secret Lives Tour- Hendrick I. Lott House

Posted by on Friday, September 9, 2016 · Leave a Comment 

The Historic Districts Council is being granted exclusive access to the Lott House built in 1720/1800

Lott House

September 10, 2016

1940 East 36th Street, Brooklyn


The Historic Districts Council is being granted exclusive access to the Hendrick I. Lott House. The Lott House is currently being restored and is not open to the public. This vernacular Dutch American Farmhouse was built in 1720/1800 and remained in the family until New York City purchased it in 2000, making it the longest continual ownership by a single family in NYC. The interior craftsmanship is a result of Hendrick Lott’s carpentry skills. Unfortunately the interior has yet to be restored and is currently in a state of ‘preserved ruin’. HDC Board Director and President of Chrysalis Archaeology Consultants, Alyssa Loorya will guide us around the house and explain what work has been completed and what the future plans are. Restoration of the Lott House is a joint effort of the City of New York/Parks & Recreation, Historic House Trust of New York City, Marine Park Civic Association, and Hendrick I. Lott House Preservation Association.

The tour will begin at the Kings Highway B,Q subway station where HDC will provide transportation to the Lott House.

*Note – the house isn’t wheelchair accessible at the moment, sorry for the inconvenience

Category: Program & Events · Tags:

#PreservationPays Challenge Winners

Posted by on Friday, September 9, 2016 · Leave a Comment 

#PreservationPays Challenge winners have been announced ! Thank you to everyone who participated 


1. Sarah Rosenblatt



2. Michael Slaven



3. Sheila Langan



4. Emily Dorris



5. Nicholas Kaufmann


6. @FlyingKarateMonkey



7. Jon Haines



8. Zoe Watnik



9. Jillian Kaye



10. Vi Tagala


The Historic Districts Council, Sotheby’s International Realty, and Gothamist will announce the #PreservationPays Challenge winners on Wednesday, September 28 at Jimmy’s 43, 43 East 7th Street NY, NY 10003. This event is free and open to the public, everyone is welcome to join!

Five lucky winners will be treated to a private tour of the Woolworth Tower Residences in Lower Manhattan led by Historic Districts Council Adviser and official Woolworth Building Historian Lisa Renz. This tour, which is supported by Sotheby’s International Realty, is an once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to tour this iconic landmark.

Learn more about “How Historic Preservation Benefits New York City


Good Luck!


About the Buildings


Washington Square Park, Manhattan  |  A C E B D F M to W 4th St – Washington Sq

Designed by noted architect Stanford White and modeled after the Arc de Triomphe in Paris, this 77-foot-tall triumphal arch was built in 1892 to celebrate the centennial of George Washington’s inauguration as the first President of the United States.



881 7th Avenue, Manhattan  |  N Q R to 57th St – 7th Ave

How do you get to Carnegie Hall? Practice, practice, practice – and look for its rich façade of Roman brick, brownstone and terra cotta! This world-famous concert hall is celebrated for its impeccable acoustics – some of the best in the city.


736 Franklin Ave, Brooklyn  |  2 3 4 5 to Franklin Ave

This lively neighborhood restaurant draws a broad array of patrons with its captivating brick façades and whimsical storefront.


10 South Street, Manhattan  |  1 to South Ferry or R to Whitehall St

The launching point for ferries to Governor’s Island, this Beaux-Arts beauty also serves as an architectural touchstone in lower Manhattan. Featuring cast-iron elements and Guastavino tilework, this New York City Landmark was restored in 2005 using historic preservation tax credits.


33-52 81st St, Queens  |  7 to 82nd St – Jackson Heights

Home to one of the most magnificent groupings of apartment buildings in the city, this Queens enclave also boasts great restaurants, tree-lined streets, and a charming commercial spine. It was designated a New York City Historic District in 1993.


500 Nostrand Avenue, Brooklyn  |  A C to Nostrand Ave

This castle-like, highly-ornamented New York City Landmark was designed in a combination of the Romanesque Revival and Queen Anne styles and completed in 1890.  It was restored in 1998 after a disastrous fire in 1994, and now contains 46 units of affordable housing and is a prime example of how historic preservation and affordable housing can work together to superior and inspiring effect.


2 Park Place, Manhattan  |  2 3 to Park Place or R to City Hall

More than a century after the start of its construction, Cass Gilbert’s neo-Gothic masterpiece remains, at 792 feet, one of New York City’s most iconic skyscrapers.



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Category: Event · Tags: , , ,

Meet Our New Advisers!

Posted by on Saturday, September 3, 2016 · Leave a Comment 

The Historic Districts Council would like to introduce the newest additions to our Board of Advisers               |
The Historic Districts Council’s small professional staff is directed by our dedicated Board of Directors & Advisers, whose members represent over two dozen historic neighborhoods and are drawn from the fields of architecture, education, history, marketing, law, design, public relations, journalism and community activism.

We invite you to scroll down to learn about the latest additions to our team:


ANGELAngel Ayón is the founder of AYON Studio Architecture and Preservation. He is trained and experienced as an architect and a preservationist in both his native Havana and New York City. Mr. Ayón holds a professional degree in Architecture and a M.Sc. in Conservation and Rehabilitation of the Built Heritage from Havana’s Higher Polytechnic Institute, as well as a Post-Graduate Certificate in Conservation of Historic Buildings and Archaeological Sites from Columbia University. He is a former Fitch Foundation Fellow, was the leading advocate in the campaign to rehabilitate the Mount Morris Fire Watchtower in Marcus Garvey Park, and is the Vice-President of Save Harlem Now!.


PETER_UPDATEDPeter Bray is Executive Director of the Brooklyn Heights Association, an organization dedicated to preserving the physical fabric of the neighborhood and informing and advocating for residents and businesses on matters affecting the community. Mr. Bray also serves as a Trustee of the Park Slope Civic Council and has led the committee overseeing the expansion of the Park Slope Historic District.


CHRISTIANChristian Emanuel is a Licensed Real Estate Salesperson with Sotheby’s International Realty, working in the office of Stan Ponte. Prior to joining the company, Mr. Emanuel was a brokerage manager and founding-level agent of a startup brokerage in Manhattan. Also active in the preservation community, he helped lead the campaign to preserve the Long Island City Clocktower and worked closely with the Historic Districts Council under the auspices of our Six to Celebrate program. Mr. Emanuel is a graduate of New York University.


DANDaniel Karatzas is a Licensed Real Estate Associate Broker with the Beaudoin Realty Group as well as a board member and former president of the Jackson Heights Beautification Group. Mr. Karatzas is the author of Jackson Heights – A Garden in the City, which chronicles the history of Jackson Heights and its unique contribution to urban planning history. He holds Engineering and Business degrees from Columbia University, and worked with the Historic Districts Council to advance the preservation of Jackson Heights through our Six to Celebrate program.


RACHELRachel Levy is Executive Director of FRIENDS of the Upper East Side Historic Districts. A graduate of the historic preservation and urban planning programs at Columbia University’s Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Historic Preservation, Ms. Levy previously worked with the Park Slope Civic Council, Landmark West!, and the Municipal Art Society. She is currently working with the Historic Districts Council to advance the preservation of Manhattan’s Yorkville neighborhood under the auspices of our Six to Celebrate program.


JOYCE_UPDATEDJoyce Mendelsohn is an educator, historian, and preservation activist. Author of “The Lower East Side Remembered and Revisited,” Ms. Mendelsohn was the first Director of Education at the Lower East Side Tenement Museum, served as a consultant to the Historic House Trust, on the Board of Directors of the Lower East Side Jewish Conservancy, and is an adviser to the boards of the Lower East Side Preservation Initiative and Bowery Alliance of Neighbors. She is one of three founding member of Friends of the Lower East Side and was awarded the Historic Districts Council’s Mickey Murphy Lifetime Achievement Award in 2010.


LISA_UPDATEDLisa Renz is a preservationist and architectural historian specializing in nineteenth and early twentieth century American architecture. Ms. Renz holds a Bachelor of Arts in Architectural History and Theory and earned a Master’s Degree in Historic Preservation from Columbia University’s Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Historic Preservation. She is currently the official historian and tour guide of the Woolworth Building and previously worked on the restoration of Grace Church in Manhattan.


BRIAN_UPDATEDBrian Scott Weber is a director specializing in television commercials. In addition, Mr. Weber is a member of Manhattan Community Board Four, which encompasses the neighborhoods of Hell’s Kitchen and Chelsea. Mr. Weber was also active in the effort to preserve the former Christ Church on West 36th Street in Manhattan.

Please click here for a full list of Directors and Advisers.

Category: Featured · Tags:

HDC@LPC – Testimony for LPC Hearing on September 6, 2016

Posted by on Friday, September 2, 2016 · 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

17 Fillmore Place – Fillmore Place Historic District


An Italianate style flats building built c .1853. Application is to reconstruct the façade.

Project architect: not listed

HDC’s Public Review Committee finds the overall intent of this scheme to be acceptable, but has serious concerns about its proposed execution. The wall section and brick replacement assembly should be studied further, especially concerning the use of corrugated galvanized metal ties. Our committee felt that the applicant should investigate replicating the blind header condition instead, and that the precast brownstone lintels and sills should be carefully planned to ensure the dimensions are just right.

LPC determination: Approved

17 Fillmore Place-existing

17 Fillmore Place-ex and prop


Item 2

303 Henry Street – Brooklyn Heights Historic District


A Greek Revival style rowhouse built between 1840-49. Application is to create masonry openings, replace cladding and a fence, remove a grille, and alter the areaway.

Project architect: Studio Nielsen

HDC finds most of the proposed work to be appropriate and welcome, including enclosing the areaway and removing the grilles on the front façade. However, we do take issue with the unnecessary regularization of the shingles on the side wall. While it is unclear what this façade’s original condition was, the Victorian-era shingles are a quirky and beloved feature of this very visible corner building. If the shingles are deteriorated, why not replace them with the same shingle patterns, which are readily available? Transforming this historic alteration into something far less interesting would be a waste.

LPC determination: Approved

303 Henry-ex

303 Henry-prop-render

303 Henry-shingles


Item 5

50 Bridge Street – DUMBO Historic District


An American Round Arch style factory building designed by William Tubby and built in 1894-95. Application is to establish a master plan governing the future installation of through-wall mechanical units and louvers.

Project engineer: Cowley Engineering, P.C.

HDC is not convinced that the proposed mechanical units are appropriate or absolutely necessary. Our committee wondered whether an internal mechanical system could be installed with cooling units on the roof in order to avoid punching holes in the façades of this factory building.

LPC determination: Approved

50 Bridge St


Item 6

 Fort Greene Park – Fort Greene Historic District


A park, originally known as Washington Park, designed by Olmsted and Vaux in 1867. Application is to construct a barrier-free access ramp, alter and construct pathways, and construct drainage infrastructure.

Project architect: NYC Parks Department

HDC is pleased to have the opportunity to comment on this application, which seems very sensitive overall. On the record, we are unclear about the public’s right to comment on inter-agency applications such as this one, as sometimes the public is not invited to testify on landscape applications. The public would certainly benefit from an explanation of these rules concerning designated public parks, those existing within historic districts and those that have been designated as scenic landmarks, in order to better understand its role in future applications concerning these publicly-owned historic properties.

LPC determination: Approved

Fort Greene Park


Item 7

1 Verona Street – Bedford Historic District


A neo-Grec style rowhouse with a Second Empire-style addition attributed to Thomas B. Jackson and built c. 1881. Application is to install a curb cut and parking pad.

Project architect: not listed

HDC finds the curb cut to be acceptable and the turfstone to be a perfectly good solution for the parking pad, but does not find it appropriate to install it all the way around the property. We could endorse this application if the turfstone were limited to the parking pad.

LPC determination: Approved with modifications

1 Verona St-plan

1 Verona St-turfstone


Item 8

564 9th Street – Park Slope Historic District


A neo-Classical style rowhouse designed by Thomas Engelhardt and built in 1902. Application is to replace windows and entrance doors.

Project architect: Jordan Parnass Digital Architecture

While the change to the windows is appropriate and imperceptible, we do wish to make a plea for a more closely replicated condition at the entrance. The glass proportions are much higher on the proposed door and transom than on the existing, so we would ask that the dimensions be studied and replicated. We also found the proposed hardware on the door to be strangely contemporary.

LPC determination: Approved with modifications

564 9th Street


Item 13

228 West 11th Street – Greenwich Village Historic District


A Greek Revival style rowhouse built in 1838. Application is to install security grilles and legalize painting of windows and cornice without Landmarks Preservation Commission permit(s).

Project architect: Jacobson Shinoda

HDC does not take issue with the black painted cornice and windows, but does find the security grilles to be too heavy-handed at the parlor level. Perhaps the applicant could investigate riot glass or some other security measure that would not represent such a dramatic and precedent-setting intervention on this quaint block.

LPC determination: Approved

228 West 11th Street


Item 14

61-63 Crosby Street – SoHo-Cast Iron Historic District


An Italianate style store and loft building with neo-Grec style features, designed by W. Joralemon and built in 1873-1874, and altered by Theodore A. Tribit in 1875. Application is to construct rooftop and rear yard additions, and remove fire escapes.

Project architect: David Grider Architect

While some visibility at the roof might be acceptable in this context, HDC wonders whether some of the height might be dropped down a bit by moving the elevator bulkhead to the rear part of the new addition. From certain vantage points, the addition is quite visible, and the elevator overrun seems excessive.

LPC determination: Approved with modifications

61-63 Crosby St-render

61-63 Crosby St-visibility


Category: HDC@LPC · Tags: , , , , , ,

Dr. Westmoreland’s letter of opposition to LPC: Hopper-Gibbons House

Posted by on Wednesday, August 31, 2016 · Leave a Comment 

Meenakshi Srinivasan
Chair Person
Landmarks Preservation Commission
1 Centre Street,9th Floor North
New York , NY. 10007

Dear Ms. Srinivasan,

I am  writing  this  letter  in  support of  the  efforts  of  Fern Luskin, and the Friends  of  Lamartine Place  Historic  District Councils effort  to secure  an  order  from  the  Landmarks Commission directing  the  owner of  the  Hopper  Gibbons House 339 W. 29st to remove  a rooftop  addition , constructed   apparently without  a   building  permit . The  Hopper, Gibbons  is  an important  physical  element of  the   American Civil  War  that  survived  the July  1863 New  York  City  Draft  Riots ,and  is  only  remaining  building  that  was  attacked  because  the  then  owners  were  sheltering  Blacks  who  were  fleeing  enslavement, and the site of  meetings  between Black, and  White  Abolition  leaders .

The 1863 Draft  Riot in  New  York  City  began  as  a  violent  protest by  members  of  the  Irish  community against the  implementation  of the  draft , during the  Civil  War Incited  by  the  Democrats ,  felt  they  were  being  drafted  into  a  war  that  would  free enslaved  Black  People , who  would  compete  with  them for  jobs. The  Irish  were also  angry because middle, and  upper  class  White New  Yorkers were  able  to  pay  substitutes  to take  their  places in  the  Union  Army. The  anger  vetted against  the  Black community in  New  York  City  was a  violent  replay of that  of  1712  when  enslaved  Black  New Yorkers  were  executed  to suppress  a slave  revolt, starting July 13 ,1863 the  homes  of  Blacks  were  firebombed , the  Negro  orphanage, that  housed  more  than  200  children   was  burned . Before  the  battle  ended   more  than  200  people  were killed  , and  there  was  more  than  1million  dollars  ,( in 1863  money)  in  fire  damage . The  homes  of  people  thought  to  be  abolitionist  were  targeted ,and  many of  their  homes  were burned . The  home  of  the  Hopper Gibbons  family who  were Abolitionist  was singled out  by  the  arsonists,  and on  the  2nd  night  of  the riot (July 14, 1863) the Hopper  Gibbons  home  was  torched, the  occupants  would not go through the front  door to  the outside, in  fear of being  assaulted  or, worse  killed.

James Sloan  Gibbons , and his  daughter Lucy Gibbons  Morse  were  in  the house  when  the  inferno  began, Abigail Hopper Gibbons was  in the  South  with  a Union  army  regiment  serving  as  a  volunteer nurse . Mr. Gibbons  had  developed  an  alternate  plan  of  escape  with  the   help  of  his  neighbors  whose  homes  were attached  to 229 W. 29th  Street , and  while the  arsonist , the  bad  guys  , and  the  bullies  stood  on  the  street  waiting  to pounce  on  the  Abolitionist, James Gibbons, his  daughter Lucy, and others  trapped  in  the  melee climbed up  ladders  through  scuttles  which opened  on  the  roof , scampered  across roof  top to  another  scuttle, climbed  down  another  ladder  into a hallway  ,and  by  exiting   by  the  rear of the  building Mr.  Gibbons, and  his  daughter escaped harm.

The  New  York   Draft Riots  were  brought  to  an  end when after  four horrendous  violence, rape  and  pillage  , the US  Secretary of  War  ordered  the  transfer  of   four regiments  of  the New  York  troops that  participated in  the  Battle  of Gettysburg  to  the  streets  of  lower  Manhattan . Efficient , brutal ,and systemic action  broke  the  violent  action of  the  mobs  that  had  taken  control  of  the  streets  of  America.

Although  the  home of  the  Hopper Gibbons  family was gutted   by  fire the  family  rebuilt  the  interior, Mr. and  Mrs.  Gibbons would  not  only  become  celebrated  for their  abolition, and human rights  activity Mrs.  Gibbons became  a major  force in  women prisoners reform  with policies  that were  instated  nationwide .

The  roof at  339 W.29TH  Street ,provided  a flat ,safe contiguous  corridor to the  Gibbons  , and  anyone  else  needed  to  escape  the  flames that  gutted  the  Gibbons  home. The  use  of  that  roof  was  possible  because the  neighbors  were  willing  to provide James ,and  his  daughter  with  access to safety via  the  unlocked scuttles in  their homes. The  neighbors got  involved , the  took a  risk ,similar  to  that  taken  by  untold  numbers  of  White  people  who  lead all  but  one  of  the  Black  Orphans  to  safety.

The roof  should  be  PRESERVED  as  was ,as a flat stable  surface , a safe  corridor , that enabled  good  people ,who  were  doing  good  work to live , and  continue to help  those  seeking  dignity, and  freedom. The  removal of the newly constructed  vertical element,(theaddition) will  allow  people  in  generations  to  come to  stand  on  the  street below ,as I have  , and  marvel at the  courage  of people who risked  their  lives , running  at  full speed ,forty feet above their  pursuers in  the  dark  of  the  night  running toward  another righteous   battle .

Carl B.  Westmoreland

Senior Advisor at the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center

Category: Alert · Tags:

20th Century Bronx

Posted by on Thursday, August 11, 2016 · Leave a Comment 


Wednesday, August 10, 2016 at 6PM

 Bronx Civic Center/ Executive Towers

Join the Historic Districts Council as we explore the past, present, and future of the Bronx Civic Center’s magnificent range of 20th Century architecture!

Guests will first be treated to a brisk walk with Adrian Untermyer, Deputy Director of the Historic Districts Council, with stops at the Art Deco Bronx County Building, the Grand Concourse Historic District, two Urban Renewal-era housing developments, and more.

Guests will then be treated to an intimate walk-through of the Grand Concourse’s mid-century Executive Towers with architect and Historic Districts Council Board Member Françoise Bollack, who is currently coordinating the lobby’s restoration and reconfiguration. Designed by architect Philip Birnbaum between 1959 and 1963, Executive Towers was touted in real estate brochures as “the first luxury skyscraper in the Bronx.”

The evening will conclude with wine and conversation in a high-floor apartment in the Executive Towers featuring exquisite views of the neighborhood.

$20 General Admission and $10 for Friends of the Historic Districts Council


Visit to become a Friend and unlock discounted pricing.

Exact meeting point will be provided via email after registration.

Category: Program & Events · Tags:

Introducing Our Infographic!

Posted by on Wednesday, August 10, 2016 · 2 Comments 

Learn how historic preservation creates jobs, drives tourism, and supports local economies across NYC.

Preserving historic buildings and neighborhoods is good for New York City.

Most New Yorkers believe this to be true in their hearts, but it is sometimes helpful to have the facts to back it up. In response, the Historic Districts Council created a series of infographics entitled “How Historic Preservation Benefits New York City.”

The graphics have a simple message: as part of New York City’s multi-billion dollar tourism trade, a generator of good jobs and an attractive option for affordable housing, landmark buildings and historic districts are a positive force for the financial well-being of the city.

Based on the expansive 2014 report “A Proven Success: How the New York City Landmarks Law and Process Benefit the City, the infographics consolidate critical facts and figures to demonstrate the value of historic preservation in our city.

We invite you to review the infographics below, and encourage you to take the #PreservationPays challenge to spread the word — and be entered to win a trip to the Woolworth Tower Residences!


Preserving buildings and providing affordable housing are not mutually exclusive. Landmark designation does not dictate the use of a building and certainly does not impede redevelopment of a property into affordable housing. Furthermore, there has been no provable correlation to suggest that rent increases are a result of landmark designation.


New York’s remarkable historic buildings are a unique attraction. Upwards of 54 million tourists visited New York City in 2013, spending more than $38 million dollars in the process. Tourists are drawn to our city for its rich culture, distinctive built environment, and historic shopping districts.


Maintaining New York’s distinct sense of place is a full time job for many New Yorkers. Construction on historic buildings results in more and better paying jobs than new construction and secures federal tax credit dollars. Historic hotels, museums, restaurants, and parks are a staple in New York City and maintain thousands of good-paying jobs.



We encourage you to use the infographic to help familiarize yourself with the facts, spread the word, join the effort, and enjoy your city!

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