Summer & Fall Events


August 2012, Volume 9, Number 2



The Secret Lives Tours Series take attendees inside some of the most unique and rarely-seen landmarked spaces in the city, both big and small, to learn about their history and preservation.

Pomander Walk and Lotus Garden

Thursday September 6th at 2 p.m.


Image courtesy of Urban Research Tool.

The small and quaint structures that sit on the block known as Pomander Walk were built in 1921 as place holders for a commercial enterprise that was to be built for the entrepreneur and businessman Thomas Healy.  The

“Tudor-esque”  village was designed by the architectural firm of King and Campbell who were instructed to create a neighborhood that mimicked the scenery used in the Broadway performance of Lewis Parker’s Pomander Walk.  The commercial structures that would have demolished Pomander Walk were never constructed though, and the neighborhood was designated a Landmark in 1982. The magazine Architecture & Building described the block in 1922, ”as though a portion of the olden times was transported to the heart of the modern world.” Architect Dan Allen, whose firm Cutsogeorge Tooman and Allen Architects is responsible for the restoration of the block, will talk about the project. (Attendees will not go inside private residences.)

Two blocks away perched 20 feet above West 97th Street on a garage rooftop is the Lotus Garden. This site was once the home of the Riverside and Riviera movie theatres that were demolished in the 1960’s.  The lot sat vacant for some time, and eventually the community took over the space, replacing it with what became known as the Broadway Gardens.  As real-estate developers contemplated what to build on the lot, the neighborhood realized that their serene garden could be lost forever.  The community along with several city officials organized a group demanding that Broadway Garden be preserved.  Subsequent negotiations between the developers and the residents led to the decision to place a garden on the rooftop of the garage which now was eventually constructed.   Lotus Garden is cared for by a number of volunteers and community gardeners who will be guiding us on this special tour.

Fees: $30 for the general public, $20 for Friends of HDC, seniors and students. Advance reservations are required. Location and directions for this tour will be provided upon registration. Click here to purchase tickets or for more information call 212-614-9107 or email


Secret Lives 1 Wall Street tour 086 on Flickr.Taken from balcony window of 1 Wall Street during HDCs


The Bank of New York Mellon

Financial District, Manhattan

Wednesday, September 19, 5p.m.

Limited to 25 people

The Historic Districts Council invites you to tour three spectacular spaces in the Art Deco tower at One Wall Street. Built across from Trinity Church as the Irving Trust Building, the limestone skyscraper is a private wonder occupied today by The Bank of New York Mellon. Visitors will view the bank’s museum, 49th floor reception room, and The Red Room, with its spectacular red and gold mosaics. The museum’s artifacts illustrate the architectural and institutional history of BNY Mellon in Lower Manhattan. On the top floor, gilded shells from the Philippines decorate the angular ceiling of the three-story reception room. The adjacent observation decks provide splendid views in four directions. The tour will be led by Christine McKay, historian of BNY Mellon.

The Red Room next to the New York Stock Exchange greets the bank’s clients. Named for an intricate mosaic design glittering along the walls and ceiling, the room was designed by artist Hildreth Meière (1892-1961) with architect Ralph Walker of Vorhees, Gmelin and Walker. Meière is regarded as the foremost muralist of the Art Deco style in the 1930s. Her daughter Louise Meière Dunn and granddaughter Hildreth Meière Dunn will join us as special guests and speak about the International Hildreth Meiere Association, the group they lead to preserve her artistic legacy.

Price: $100 Friends of HDC, $150 for Guests. Location and directions for this tour will be provided upon registration. Business or business casual attire is requested.

To purchase tickets, click here or call 212-614-9107, ext. 14 or e-mail Advance reservations are required and space is very limited.


Six to Celebrate Bicycle Tours!

There are just two more of HDC’s popular Six to Celebrate Tours left. Join us in September for bicycle tours of Victorian Flatbush and Port Morris.

Saturday, September 15, 11am

Victorian Flatbush, Brooklyn

BICYCLE TOUR led by Nicole Francis, Beverly Square East Neighborhood Association

Victorian Flatbush

Located in the heart of Brooklyn, Victorian Flatbush is known for having the largest concentration of wooden Victorian-style homes in the country. The area presently has five New York City Historic Districts, but the blocks in between them remain undesignated and unprotected despite architecture of the same vintage and style.  Six local groups representing Beverly Square East, Beverly Square West, Caton Park, Ditmas Park West, South Midwood and West Midwood have joined together with the Flatbush Development Corporation to “complete the quilt” of city designation of their neighborhoods. Nicole Francis, one of the leaders of this effort, will take attendees on a leisurely ride through this picturesque community. Bikes will not be provided.

Saturday, September 22, 12pm

Port Morris Gantries, Bronx

BICYCLE TOUR led by Harry J. Bubbins, director of Friends of Brook Park


In the South Bronx neighborhood of Port Morris, a pair of ferry gantries deteriorating in an empty lot may seem an eyesore to some, but the Friends of Brook Park sees them as the centerpiece to an engaging public space. Taking inspiration from other New York City waterside parks, this new park will combine recreation, education, and preservation of New York’s history for residents and visitors alike. This tour will visit the exterior of the gantries site but also examine other historic areas of Port Morris. A limited number of bicycles are available upon advance request, otherwise bikes will not be provided.

$10, $5 for Friends of HDC, students and seniors. To purchase tickets, click here. Meeting location announced upon registration.

Six to Celebrate is generously supported by The New York Community Trust.

Additional support for the Six to Celebrate Tours is provided by public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council and from New York City Councilmembers Margaret Chin, Inez Dickens, Daniel Garodnick, Vincent Gentile, Stephen Levin and Rosie Mendez.


Last Chance to Join the Landmarks Lion Award Benefit Committee

Honoring Roberta Brandes Gratz

Monday, November 5th, 2012, 6:30pm

Join HDC on Monday, November 5, 2012, as we honor our latest Landmarks Lion, advocate, author, journalist and urban critic Roberta Brandes Gratz. Roberta is known for her deep knowledge and expertise about preservation and urbanism, both within New York City and across the country. She is a nationally-respected leader in promoting preservation practices and policies for urban revitalization and has written extensively about how neighborhoods and downtowns can regenerate from economic stagnation by “thinking small in a big way”. Click HERE to learn more about Roberta Brandes Gratz.

This event will take place at the Four Seasons restaurant (99 East 52nd Street), a legendary modernist landmark. Tables are available for $10,000 and $5,000 and individual tickets to the event start at $500. Congratulatory Program Journal ads are also available. To join the Benefit Committee and purchase tickets to the event, click HERE. The deadline for inclusion on the invitation is Friday, August 17, 2012.



The Return of HDC’s Monday Morning Coffee Talks

Navigating the Board of Standards and Appeals

With Christopher Collins, BSA Vice Chair

Monday, September 10, 2012, 8:30am, FREE


In New York City, one body has the power to grant exceptions to certain local building laws and regulations on a case-by-case basis: the Board of Standards and Appeals (BSA). BSA Vice-Chair Christopher Collins will explain the basic steps of presenting to the Board, from how to navigate their procedures and requirements to the most effective approach to formulating arguments.


~Donate to HDC~

We need you to continue the campaign! By donating you are aiding in the fight to preserve New York City’s irreplaceable architecture and history. HDC is the only organization that works with communities in all five boroughs. That’s a lot of buildings, and we can only do it with a lot of people



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The Historic Districts Council (HDC) 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.

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