(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.” (

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


  1. Susan Clarkson says:

    Hello I am interested in getting information on how to landmark a neighborhood. I live in Yorkville on York Ave. My block is the last block untainted by new construction. The buildings are old (mid 19th century) and lovely but because of the new Q train (2nd Ave subway) my block is in danger of being leveled to make way for a high rise residential building. At the moment, not only are the buildings historic but they are storefronts and serve a purpose for our local Yorkville community. I (and my neighbors) would greatly appreciate any info. available on how to go about preserving our beautiful neighborhood.

    Extremely thankful for any help given,
    Susan Clarkson

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