Cynthia Mailman: St. Paul’s Ave-Stapleton Heights Historic District; Mud Lane Society for the Renaissance of Stapleton
Interviewed October 4, 2010 by Susan Hopper, HDC board member ———————————————————————————————————
How did you get started with preservation? I think it was David Goldfarb, a former Historic Districts Council board president and Staten Island preservation advocate, who suggested it.
How has the Historic Districts Council helped? HDC was helpful with our first district. They came to meetings, gave us a tremendous amount of information, and were there to talk to us when we were not sure. In terms of the current efforts, HDC has also been extremely helpful. When we had a meeting they sent Frampton Tolbert, deputy director. They encouraged us and told us to send letters to the Landmarks Preservation Commission, distributed our letters of support, and wrote us up in their newsletter. It is important to have someone who knows how the city works. Through HDC I have met others from around the city who are involved in preservation. HDC has been helpful with LPC, how the city works, and real ways to approach and deal with the city.
Where are you now with preservation and historic districting? It seems to me that as older people moved away, younger people didn’t care about neighborhood. I live in the neighborhood but not the historic district. I own a property in St. George, not Mud Lane. There are only two historic districts on Staten Island and they will be there and not be ruined. But Harrison Street was supposed to be part of the original district but was cut out by LPC–it is ruined now. People have done a lot of work there and I see a lot of stucco houses.
Advice for other neighborhoods interested in an historic district? Get in touch with HDC and do not do it without them. If people want to know anything about historic districts, they have to get in touch with HDC.
Updates: To see HDC testimony for the 2004 creation of the St. Paul’s Avenue/Stapleton Heights Historic District: http://www.hdc.org/Testimony/testimonymar30.htm For information on Staten Island’s first historic district, St. George, created in 1994, go to the website of the St. George Historic Association: www.preserve.org/stgeorge/stgeorgedistrict.htm