Since 1971, HDC has been a vital force helping to protect historic neighborhoods and buildings throughout the five boroughs. HDC analyzes proposals affecting historic neighborhoods and takes action to ensure they are preserved and enhanced. We have been involved in the creation of almost every one of the more than 100 officially designated historic districts in New York City. Currently that encompass close to 30,000 individual buildings. We have organized residents, conducted studies, gathered resources, testified before city agencies, and helped people to better understand preservation for over 40 years.
WE EDUCATE: HDC educates communities about the many ways they can gain protection by providing essential support and expert guidance. Each year, HDC offers over two dozen public programs including conferences, workshops; and talks with experts on New York City history, restoration and construction practices, and community organizing. We also offer walking and bicycle tours to the general public of neighborhoods and sites which highlight the diversity of New York’s history and culture. In 2011, we launched the Six to Celebrate program, which offers one year of intensive preservation and community guidance to six New York City neighborhoods. As part of this program, HDC organizes tours of the neighborhoods, offers programs focusing their historic and cultural importance and creates informational materials about them. For information about these tours, click here. For information about other tours, including our Secret Lives tours which provide access to rarely seen historic spaces, click here. You can also read about our other programs, such as the Monday Morning Coffee Talks, the annual conference, and the Grassroots Awards and Preservation Party.
HDC’s publications are great resources for both neighborhood residents and community activists. Check out our Preservation Resources page to learn more.
WE ADVOCATE: HDC has led a number of citywide initiatives to strengthen preservation and to address threats to the New York City Landmarks Law. We regularly testifie before public bodies and municipal agencies on issues which affect historic buildings and neighbors such as planning and zoning proposals, landmark designations, and plans for new construction, demolition or building alterations. We bring a neighborhood-based perspective to broad discussions of public policy and to specific agency determinations. HDC also serves as the voice for these neighborhoods, few of which have either staff or volunteers to follow the deliberations and decisions of public agencies. Recent citywide initiatives include:
2012 Threats to the Landmarks Law
The Real Estate Board of New York recently joined forces with a handful of construction and development industry groups to create a coalition calling for a halt to landmark designations and an evisceration of the Landmarks Preservation Commission’s ability to protect and regulate New York City’s historic architecture. The group claims that landmark designation lowers values, raises costs, stifles development and diminishes affordability. HDC feels that nothing could be farther from the truth. Preservation practices empower communities, drive economic growth and sustain development efforts. Preservation enhances our streetscapes, nurtures tourism, encourages investment and employs local labor. HDC is working closely with many other preservation groups to show our discontent with the proposed laws. HDC took immediate action and provided testimony at the public hearing and immediately formed a coalition to support the protection and integrity of the Landmarks Law.
–To read HDC’s testimony click here.
–To join the citywide coalition, click here.
–To read letters from some of the many businesses who have prospered in New York City because of historic preservation, click here.
–To read more about the 11 proposed bills heard by the City Council on May 2, 2012, many of which threaten historic preservation in New York City, click here.
A new amendment to New York City’s zoning codes promotes major work to be done on buildings in order to make them more energy efficient. However, the amendment is detrimental to historic preservation, as it encourages façade alterations with no regard to historic appropriateness or aesthetics. To read HDC’s testimony on the amendment, click here.