The Historic Districts Councils 2009 Annual Report
Letter from the Executive Director:
Okay, let’s not sugar-coat it. For New York preservationists, there was not much to be thankful
for in 2009. Unthinking, out-of-scale development continued in many cases unfettered by the
slow economy: the MoMA/Hines Tower was slightly lowered due to community opposition,
but it will still be an enormous building shoved onto a side street. The Brooklyn Bridge is still
scheduled to be blocked off by a skyscraper on Dock Street; the city sided with the nowdefunct
St. Vincent’s Hospital in its scheme to practice urban renewal in the midst of a
designated historic district, and the Landmarks Preservation Commission declined to landmark
a portion of the B.F. Goodrich Building for patently political reasons. Frankly, it was not a
banner year for community-minded New Yorkers who care about their historic neighborhoods.
On the other hand, it was not entirely bleak. Rewarding years of grassroots advocacy, the
Landmarks Commission deliberated on extensions to four historic districts, several of which
were later designated. Additionally, the LPC’s backlog of “Heard But Not Designated” sites
continued to shrink a bit as several properties were designated or had additional public
hearings. HDC elected a new president, Leo Blackman, who is dedicated to furthering
preservation in New York City and is making improved communication with municipal
agencies a cornerstone of his agenda.
In the following pages we reflect on other high points of the year 2009.
Thank you again for your support of HDC.
To read the full annul report click here