SETTING THE RECORD STRAIGHT ON PRESERVATION!

(Why landmarks and historic districts are good for NYC!)

 

FICTION:Too much of the city is off limits to development and construction.

FACT:Only 3.6% of NYC is protected by landmark designation. This means that 96.4% of the city is unrestricted by any landmarks regulation.

FACT: The Landmarks Preservation Commission and its staff spend the vast majority of their time reviewing and approving applications for alterations to landmarks and historic districts. These include the new tower above the Hearst Building and the 1300-plus-foot towers above the Art Students League and Steinway Hall.

 

FICTION:  Landmarking is bad for the construction industry and building trades.

FACT: Preservation and renovation create tens of thousands of good-paying jobs in the construction and building trades. According to Nicholson and Galloway Masonry, Restoration, Roofing, Coppersmithing and Waterproofing, “We are a Union Contracting firm employing over 150 Trades people . . .  . For anyone or any organization to imply that the preservation of historic buildings detracts from jobs in New York could not be further from the truth.” (hdc.org/landmarks-law/help-save-the-landmarks-law-testimonials)

FACT:  Most architectural practices derive the bulk of their income from renovation work.

FACT: In January 2014, the Department Of Buildings processed 7,184 applications, out of which 945, or 13.15% were for work on landmark properties. Since landmarks only represent 3.6% of all NYC properties, applications for work on landmarks should be no more than 3.6% of all applications – instead they are almost four times that. This means that there is more construction activity, more economic activity, and more capital improvement on landmark properties than elsewhere. It also means that landmarked properties generate numerous, good jobs.

FICTION:  Landmark and historic district designation limit affordable housing.

  FACT:  NYC’s historic districts are comprised of thousands of affordable housing units.

FACT:  LPC does not regulate use, so developers are free to create affordable housing in any historic district.

  FACT:With96.4% of NYC unencumbered by preservation regulations,how can preservation be a major barrier to affordable housing?  The hundred-story buildings of “Billionaires Row”  on 57th Street contains no affordable Housing, although they are not in a Historic District.

 

FICTION:  People and businesses want to be in new construction.

FACT:Tech companies, from local startups to branches of West Coast giants like Google, vote with their feet in favor of neighborhoods like Union Square, Flatiron and SoHo – all part of what constitutes Manhattan South. . . .Today’s techies typically prefer proximity to their peers, buildings with character and history….” (CRAIN’S May 13, 2012)

FACT: The most desirable neighborhoods in NYC to live and work in are in our  historic districts; that’s why developers want to build in and adjacent to them.

For additional FACTS about preservation go to http://hdc.org/featured/help-save-the-landmarks-law

Continuing Education Program: Terra Cotta New York-post

The Historic Districts Council is pleased to present the first in a series of continuing education panels which will focus on historic materials. These programs will illuminate the complex histories, manufacturing methods, restoration process and use as a contemporary material. The first program
is

Terra Cotta New York

 

(Former) Loew's Valencia Theatercrop4416779971_5ac0d6a112_z

 

Architectural terra cotta is one of the most prevalent ornamental features in urban environments, and New York City is filled with remarkable examples. The skyline here is rich in terra cotta figures and intricate decorative  detail. This program will present a thorough consideration of varied aspects of this material.

 

Topics to be covered will include an in-depth discussion of the use of terra cotta in historic and modern buildings; the manufacturing of terra cotta for restoration and for new construction and case studies of the restoration and maintenance of these historic buildings. The program will feature four speakers, each an expert in this field.

Speakers are:
Susan Tunick- President, Friends of Terra Cotta and author of Terra-Cotta Skyline.

 

John Krouse- President, Boston Valley Terra Cotta

 

Dan Allen- Principal, CTA Architects

 

Harry Kendall- Principal, BKSK Architects

 

 

*********
Tuesday June 24, 2014
8:30 am-Check in
9:00- 1:00-Program
at the
Neighborhood Preservation Center
232 East 11 Street
New York, NY 10003
Public-$125  
Friends of HDC-$100  
Includes continental breakfast

 *********

 

3.5 AIA Approved LU/HSW Credits/ 3.5 NY State Licensing Credits

 

For more information or to RSVP please contact Brigid Harmon at 212-614-9107 or bharmon@hdc.org

 

 

Pictures of Recent Historic Districts Council Events

 E-BULLETIN OF THE HISTORIC DISTRICTS COUNCIL

June 2014, Volume 11, Number 3

Grassroots Preservation Awards

and Preservation Party

grassroots-logo

The 2014 Grassroots Preservation Awards and Preservation Party was held on Wednesday June 4, 2014 at Grace Church. The recipients were

  • Michael Perlman
  • Beaumont Apartment Tenants
  • Friends of First Avenue Estate Coalition
  • Lola Finkelstein and the Multi-Board Task Force on East Midtown.
  • Friend in High Places- Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer
  •  Friend from the Media- The Lo-Down

For more information click here

——————————————————————————————————

STC_Logo_Web

Six To Celebrate Tours

 

Each year HDC holds a series of tours for our Six To Celebrate neighborhoods. Below are pictures from the Atlantic Avenue tour, the Forest Close tour, and the Park Avenue tour.

If you were unable to join us on the previous tours fret not; there are four remaining tours from July-October. All tours are $5 Friends, Students, Seniors/ $10 General Public

  • From Yiddish to Chinese and Beyond: A Walking Tour of Historic Libraries in Chinatown
  • Thursday, July 10, 6:00 PM (WALKING TOUR)
  • Madison Square North, Manhattan
  • Sunday, September 14, 11:00 AM (WALKING TOUR)
  • Staten Island’s Historic Cemeteries
  • Saturday, September 27, 11:00 AM (TROLLEY TOUR)
  • A Tale of Three Carnegies: A Tour of Historic Libraries in Harlem and the South Bronx
  • Saturday, October 18, 2:00PM (WALKING TOUR)

To register for the tours go to our website by clicking here 

Forest Close, Queens

Saturday, June 7, 2014 (WALKING TOUR)

Led by architectural historian Barry Lewis, this walking tour covered some of the highlights of Forest Hills, one of the city’s most beautiful suburban-style communities developed in the early 20th century. Featured on the tour was Forest Close, a nook of 38 neo-Tudor houses surrounding a communal garden. Designed in 1927 in the spirit of the garden city movement, Forest Close can be described as an enclave within an enclave, its private orientation and country-inspired architecture lending charming appeal.

Atlantic Avenue, Brooklyn

Saturday, June 14, 2014 (WALKING TOUR)

A commercial thoroughfare for more than one hundred years, Atlantic Avenue is a diverse retail and dining destination connecting the historic neighborhoods of Boerum Hill, Brooklyn Heights and Cobble Hill. Tour guide Joe Svehlak walked between 4th Avenue and Hicks Street, discussing Atlantic Avenue’s architecture, social and commercial history, as well as areas that have been more recently redeveloped.

 Park Avenue, Manhattan

Tuesday, June 17, 2014 (WALKING TOUR)

After a years-long preservation campaign by a coalition of residents, activists and community groups, 2014 is Park Avenue’s year! In February, the Landmarks Preservation Commission held an important Historic District hearing to landmark Park Avenue’s unprotected blocks, and in April, the Commission voted to landmark the district! The City Planning Commission will vote next week and City Council is expected to vote in the coming months. Tour guide Justin Ferate led this walking tour of New York City’s premier historic boulevard and explained about the effort to protect Park Avenue’s historical and architectural significance.

 

Category: Blog · Tags:

HDC@LPC – June 24, 2014

Posted by on Monday, June 23, 2014 · Leave a Comment 

 

Item 10

CERTIFICATE OF APPROPRIATENESS

BOROUGH OF Manhattan

157594- Block 1111, lot 1-

Central Park East 72nd Street Adventure Playground – Scenic Landmark

A 1930s playground, redesigned by Richard Dattner and rebuilt in 1970, and adjoining landscaping, within an English Romantic style public park designed in 1856 by Olmsted and Vaux. Application is to replace paving, fencing, benches, and play equipment, and modify a pathway.

Item 32-E 72nd St PG-4

Item 32-E 72nd St PG-6

HDC would like to first commend the applicant on the proposed work in the West 67th Street Playground, noting the sensitive approach to working within its historic configuration. In reviewing the drawings for both the West 67th and East 72nd Street Playgrounds, our committee felt that the same sensitivity employed at West 67th Street should be granted at East 72nd Street. Given that the playground’s oval shape dates back to the 1930s and Richard Dattner’s design was conceived within that framework, HDC would prefer to see the oval retained. That design continuity and connection to the playground’s history would be a shame to lose.

LPC determination: Approved

 

Category: HDC@LPC · Tags:

Preservation in the News

Posted by on Monday, June 23, 2014 · 1 Comment 

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

NYTimes By C. J. HUGHES

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

—————————————————————————————————————————

 

RIZZOLI CEILING SOON TO PERISH

 

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
BY MATTHEW PERLMAN

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

—————————————————————————————————————————

DOWNTOWN ALLIANCE RELEASES REPORT

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

By 
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

NYTimes By ROBIN POGREBIN

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

WSJ By JENNIFER MALONEY

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

 

Crains BY ANDREW J. HAWKINS

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

——————————————————————————————————————

HONORS> HISTORIC DISTRICTS COUNCIL DESIGN AWARDS

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

BY JEFFREY A. KROESSLER/New York Observer

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

BY / NEW YORK DAILY NEWS

 

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

By TIMOTHY WILLIAMS/New York Times

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

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

————————————————————————————————————————————————

Argument Over a Brownstone Neighborhood

The Case for and Against a Bed-Stuy Historic District

 By /New York Times

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

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

Click here to read the full article

——————————————————————————————————————————————

 Renovation, restoration the trend in Midtown East

By /Real Estate Weekly

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

125 Park Avenue

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

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

Click here to read the full article

—————————————————————————————————————————————————

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

City Land Profile

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

Click here to read the full article

—————————————————————————————————————————————————

Potential Historic District Supported by Elected Officials and Community Boards

By: Jesse Denno/City Land

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

Click here to read the full article
—————————————————————————————————————————————————————————

 

 

Category: Featured · Tags:

North Brother Island: An Illustrated Book Talk

Posted by on Monday, June 23, 2014 · Leave a Comment 

North Brother Island: The Last Unknown Place in New York City

An Illustrated Book Talk

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Doors open at 6:00/Talk starts at 7:00

The Paris Café119 South Street (at Peck Slip)

Join us for a visual exploration of the one place most New Yorkers will never get to explore on their own. Photographer Christopher Payne will present a book talk on his recently published North Brother Island: The Last Unknown Place in New York City

In 1902 famed social commentator Jacob Riis, writing about North Brother Island, which then housed the Riverside Hospital said, “Today, where once was a waste of sand, are broad and shaded lawns; winding, well-kept walks, trees, shrubs and flowers; handsome, substantial buildings and hospital pavilions or ward.” Later in his article observing the differences in smallpox hospitals in Europe
compared to this institution on North Brother Island, he noted that the “isolation secured in New York is absolute.” And though the island, 20 acres stranded in the middle of the East River, would see decades of activity both positive and tragic, this absolute isolation, even with vast transportation advancements citywide, would be the reason why the island was abandoned to nature by the middle of the 20th century.

 

Photographer Christopher Payne was granted permission by the city to photograph the island and its ruined structures, and the result is North Brother Island: The Last Unknown Place in New York City. The book tells the story of the island; its thriving years, its connection to a number of infamous events and people, and recent decades when vegetation has consumed the now crumbling buildings. The book includes photography by Mr. Payne, a history of the island by University of Pennsylvania professor and preservationist Randall Mason, and an essay by author Robert Sullivan.

N-Brother Island-640

Program is free and open to the public, but reservations are required.
To register, please call 212-614-9107 or email bharmon@hdc.org.

*Food and drinks will be available for purchase
The Paris Café, first opened in 1873, was frequented by such personages as Thomas Edison and Theodore Roosevelt, and was nearly closed after sustaining damage from Superstorm Sandy.
 

This program is being co-sponsored by Fordham University Press
FUP

 

 

Category: Event, Featured, Program & Events · Tags: , , , ,

2014 Graduate Thesis Presentations

Posted by on Friday, June 20, 2014 · Leave a Comment 

On May 28, 2014 the Historic Districts Council hosted a graduate thesis presentation in the offices of the World Monument Fund in the Empire State Building. The call for proposals stated.

As the only citywide voice for community-based preservation, the Historic Districts Council is eager to recognize graduate work that makes a contribution to historic preservation in New York City. We hope that students will consider submitting works addressing the full spectrum of issues: cultural, political, esthetic, material, historical and others.  The purpose of this presentation is to enrich the field of preservation advocacy in New York City by making fresh scholarship available to a wide audience.

001027003010

Presentations

 

168Measuring the Impact of Historic District Designation on Real Estate in New York City

Julia Lewis (Columbia University)

 

166Tapestry Brick Dwellings: The Emergence of a Residential Type in Brooklyn

Jonathan Taylor (Columbia University)

 

 

165No Building Left Behind: Gaining Energy Efficiency in New York City’s State and National Register Properties

Lakan Cole (Pratt Institute)

 

 

167The Manhattan Taxpayer Building: Symbol of Decline and Catalyst for Change

Lauren Hall Wallis (Columbia University)

 

134Early Twentieth Century “Face Brick” as a National Industry (New York City Focus)

By Julie Rosen (Columbia University)

 

169The Future of Preservation, Preservation of the Future

Jessica Baldwin (Pratt Institute)


Category: Event, Materials, National Register, Program & Events, Young Professional · Tags:

2014 Grassroots Preservation Awards and Preservation Party -Pictures

Posted by on Thursday, June 19, 2014 · Leave a Comment 

grassroots-logo-640

The 2014 Grassroots Preservation Awards and Preservation Party was held on Wednesday June 4,2014 at Grace Church. The recipients were:

For more information click here

Category: Featured, Grassroots Awards · Tags: , , , , , , ,

Six To Celebrate Tour- Forest Close, Queens-Pictures

Posted by on Wednesday, June 18, 2014 · Leave a Comment 

Forest Close, Queens
Saturday, June 7, 2014 (WALKING TOUR)

Led by architectural historian Barry Lewis, this walking tour will cover some of the highlights of Forest Hills, one of the city’s most beautiful suburban-style communities developed in the early 20th century. Featured on the tour is Forest Close, a nook of 38 neo-Tudor houses surrounding a communal garden. Designed in 1927 in the spirit of the garden city movement, Forest Close can be described as an enclave within an enclave, its private orientation and country-inspired architecture lending charming appeal.

Category: Six To Celebrate 2014 · Tags:

Six To Celebrate Tours- Park Avenue, Manhattan-Pictures

Posted by on Wednesday, June 18, 2014 · 1 Comment 

Park Avenue, Manhattan
Tuesday, June 17, 2014 (WALKING TOUR)

After a years-long preservation campaign by a coalition of residents, activists and community groups, 2014 is Park Avenue’s year! In February, the Landmarks Preservation Commission held an important Historic District hearing to landmark Park Avenue’s unprotected blocks, and in April, the Commission voted to landmark the district! Votes by the City Planning Commission and City Council are expected in the coming months. Join tour guide Justin Ferate on this walking tour of New York City’s premier historic boulevard and learn more about the effort to protect Park Avenue’s historical and architectural significance.

Category: Six To Celebrate 2014 · Tags: ,

Thanks for Visiting

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

Contact Us

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

Support HDC

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

Follow Us