Events , Tours

2019 Conference Tours


Sunday, March 24, 2019

2:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m.

This tour of Gowanus, a long-neglected waterway and community facing both revival and new challenges, will focus on priority buildings and small districts that preservationists and residents have been pushing for landmark designation. Tour-goers will learn about the proposed Gowanus rezoning, the Gowanus Superfund CAG and the EPA’s ongoing efforts. This tour will be led by Brad Vogel, a Gowanus resident and founding member of the Gowanus Landmarking Coalition.


 Cast Iron of SoHo

Sunday, March 31, 2019

10:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.

Marvel at the world’s greatest trove of cast-iron buildings in this guided tour through the streets of SoHo.  Cast iron began as a mid-nineteenth century cheap imitation of stone, in which the glories of the world’s past could be offered to American merchants through that most modern of marketing tools, the sales catalog — in mass-produced, ready-to-build versions.  But cast iron soon developed into a remarkable technology expressive of the industrial revolution and modern America, capable of entirely new architectural effects.  Tour highlights include cast-iron recreations of Venetian palaces on Broadway, French style Mansard roofs on Greene Street, and the audaciously original metallic creations of New York’s Victorian commercial architects.  The tour led by architectural historian, Anthony W. Robins, also incorporates SoHo’s more recent history, including the proposed SoHo rezoning; the impact of the proposed Lower Manhattan Expressway, designation as a New York City Historic District, the changing economics of light industry, and the fashions of the art world, as well as new buildings designed to fit into the district’s historic streetscapes.

Inwood: A great New Deal / Art Deco civic design on the verge of 21st century change

Saturday, April 6, 2019

11:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.

Inwood, a neighborhood characterized by great New Deal / Art Deco civic design, is on the verge of 21st century change due to recent Rezoning. This tour is intended to examine effects of the Rezoning, beginning at the Packard Building, completed in 1926, designed by noted industrial architect Albert Kahn.  The tour will continue north along Broadway, passing art Deco and earlier apartment buildings, stopping to look at the Inwood Branch of the NYPL and soon-to-be lost iconic views of the Cloisters Tower and the Gould Memorial Library in the Bronx. Art Deco designs of Isham and Inwood Hill Parks and newly proposed parkland along the Harlem River waterfront to the east, to be created as part of the Rezoning will be discussed along with the “Contextual” Rezoning of much of Inwood’s residential area and the much higher buildings proposed to be built both along Broadway and to the east along the Harlem River waterfront. These new structures could replace beloved neighborhood icons like the Seaman Drake Arch, disturb a recently re-discovered African slave burial ground, and displace many Inwood businesses and residents.

Pat Courtney, of Volunteers for Isham Park, Inwood Preservation and HDC’s Board of Advisors, will end with a look at Inwood’s first new Historic District of small houses along


The ever-changing face of the South Street Seaport

Sunday, April 14, 2019 

5:30 p.m. – 7:30 p.m.

The Seaport’s extant historic buildings signal the relative opulence of its early days: a warehouse built by one of the most famous American architects of the 19th century; the headquarters of one of America’s largest tea enterprises; the finest of hotels, lodging the likes of Teddy Roosevelt as he awaited passage across the Atlantic.

Anything but a fixed historic district, since its inception the Seaport has nearly always been in perpetual flux. In the wake of Superstorm Sandy’s submersion of the neighborhood, the Seaport has transformed yet again, this time into a luxury district reshaped by the Howard Hughes Corporation.

Many New Yorkers will remember a very different Seaport – far less wealthy, yet with perhaps a richer sense of community than recent redevelopments suggest. Nostalgia is natural, yet we cannot glamorize those days, when the Fulton Fish Market was ruled by the mob, and the same hotel which lodged Roosevelt transformed into the headquarters of Lucky Luciano associate Socks Lanza. Still, this version of the Seaport has perhaps deeper roots, going back to when this was the city’s most infamous district, home to rat pits, lady bouncers, and river pirates.

Every kind of person has walked the Seaport’s streets. Perhaps you’d like to join them. Take a walk with Rebecca Manski of the South Street Seaport Museum as the buildings of Seaport tell their story.

Green-Wood Cemetery 

Saturday, April 20, 2019

11:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.

This trolley tour explores the design trends of Green-Wood’s distinctive architecture, including styles ranging from Neo-Classical to Egyptian Revival and from Art Deco to Art Nouveau. Learn how, through thoughtful conservation, these designs will endure through generations. A National Historic Landmark, Green-Wood was one of the country’s first rural cemeteries, founded in 1838. By the mid-19th century, the cemetery had earned an international reputation for its beauty, and became a prestigious place to be buried.

Famous residents include Tammany leader William “Boss” Tweed, Horace Greeley, Jean-Michel Basquiat, and Leonard Bernstein, among many other public figures, athletes, artists, entertainers and inventors. Prior to its establishment as cemetery, the land was the site of the Battle of Long Island, and is Revolutionary War historic site. The cemetery is also magnet for bird watchers. This tour will be led by Green-Wood’s Manager of Restoration and Preservation, Neela Wickremesinghe.

Support is provided in part by public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council and by the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature. Additional support is provided by New York City Council Members Margaret Chin, Robert Holden, Corey Johnson, Ben Kallos, Stephen Levin, and Keith Powers.

Help preserve New York’s architectural history with a contribution to HDC

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