Annual Report 2010-2011

The Historic Districts Councils 2010-2011 Annual Report


Letter from the Executive Director:

In 2011 the Historic Districts Council reached a very special milestone of 40 years
as the citywide advocate for New York’s historic neighborhoods, buildings and
open spaces. Who knew that when a small group of volunteer representatives from
the city’s designated historic districts banded together four decades ago, it would
grow into the robust, professionally staffed, yet still grassroots-based organization
we are now? Today we have a constituency of more than 500 neighborhood-based
organizations as well as thousands of individual activists across the city in over 100
designated historic districts and many other historic neighborhoods, all dedicated to
the preservation of their communities.
To celebrate our 40th birthday, we introduced a host of new initiatives and programs,
chief among them Six to Celebrate, which identifies six historic New York
City neighborhoods that merit preservation as priorities for HDC’s advocacy and
consultation over a yearlong period. We also further expanded our educational
programming for preservation practitioners and introduced new exclusive behindthe-
scenes tours. Several neighborhoods that HDC has been advocating for became
designated historic districts, including a portion of the Art Deco Grand Concourse
in The Bronx; more of the remarkable brownstone neighborhood of Crown Heights
North and the wood-frame houses of Wallabout, both in Brooklyn; as well as the
historically significant African-American community of Addisleigh Park in Queens.
The past two years have not been without challenges. Preservation has become
more and more politicized, despite the evident merit of individual buildings and
neighborhoods. In those two years the New York City Council overturned two
designated landmarks, the almost 200-year-old Hardenbrook-Somarindyck House
at 135 Bowery in Manhattan and Grace Memorial Hall in Jamaica, Queens. The
LPC declined to hold hearings for several significant buildings, including 35 Cooper
Square (a lovely Federal-era townhouse on the upper Bowery) and the beach colony
of Cedar Grove on Staten Island, the last of its kind in the city. These and other
losses are reminders for preservationists to remain vigilant and to continue fighting
to ensure that our old-growth communities and buildings are judged on their merits
and do not become the victims of political machinations.
Thanks for all your support in enabling us to reach our significant milestone. Now
that we’re officially grown-up, we’re dedicated to working harder than ever on
preservation issues in all five boroughs. With your involvement, together we will
preserve what’s great about New York City for the next 40 years and beyond.

Simeon Bankoff,

Executive Director

To read the full annul report click here: HDC_2010-11_AnnualReport_Final2