2020 Grassroots Preservation Awards

New Yorkers may not be able to meet in person but that does not mean our 2020 Grassroots Preservation Awardees deserve any less recognition. The Historic Districts Council has split up the celebrations in various ways including virtual walking tours and presentations. Continue reading below for dates and information on the awardees.

Schedule of Grassroots events: 

6:00 – 7:00 p.m.

June 24, 2020Virtual Tour of LGBT sites in Greenwich Village with Grassroots awardee NYC LGBT Historic Sites Project

June 30, 2020 –  Virtual presentations from Nathan Kensinger and Peter Bray

July 8, 2020 – Virtual presentations from Dorrance Brooks Property Owners and Residents Association and St. Marks Independent Block Association

  • Dorrance Brooks Property Owners and Residents Association (Manhattan)
    • This Central Harlem organization raised funds to get their neighborhood successfully listed on the State & National Register of Historic Places. They are currently seeking NYC landmark designation to help protect their community from the extreme real estate development pressure being focused upon it. 


  • St. Marks Independent Block Association (Brooklyn) 
    • This group, closely associated with the Crown Heights North Association, successfully pursued legal action against the Landmarks Preservation Commission for permitting a project which would greatly damage one of the last remaining free-standing mansions in the Crown Heights North Historic District. The City is currently appealing the judgment but this is a rare instance of a successful community-sponsored legal challenge to the agency. 


  • NYC LGBT Historic Sites Project (Citywide)
    • This group has made remarkable progress in succeeding in promoting and preserving sites of historical significance in New York City. They are on the forefront of preservation practice today. 


Friend From the Media (honoring members of the Fourth Estate who contribute to the public understanding of preservation)

  • Nathan Kensinger
    • Mr. Kensinger is a photographer, filmmaker, and curator who has been documenting New York City’s abandoned edges, endangered neighborhoods, and post-industrial waterfront for more than a decade. His Camera Obscura photo essays have appeared on Curbed since 2012 on a regular basis, opening up hidden corners of New York to tens of thousands of readers. Mr. Kensinger is currently a contributing writer on Gothamist.


Friend in High Places (honoring preservation supporters in elected office)

  • Council Member Justin Brannan (D, 43rd CD [Brooklyn: Bay Ridge, Dyker Heights])
    • CM Brannan has shown himself to be a champion of community-based preservation in South Brooklyn in a number of ways. His support was instrumental in the creation of the first NYC historic district in the area.


Mickey Murphy Award (honoring longtime record of achievement in historic preservation)

  • Peter Bray 
    • Mr. Bray has been a strong advocate for historic preservation in Brooklyn. He was involved with the Gowanus Landmarking Coalition who helped spearhead the designations of five Individual Landmarks. He has also been very active in his own neighborhood of Park Slope, helping lead the first two expansions of the Park Slope Historic District since its original designation in 1973. He also served as Executive Director of the Brooklyn Heights Association (BHA) during a pivotal time for the neighborhood’s campaign to preserve the Brooklyn Heights Promenade and temper development in Brooklyn Bridge Park. During his tenure as Executive Director, he also focused attention on unprotected historic buildings on Montague Street. Prior to his tenure at BHA, Mr. Bray was involved in revitalizing communities in the South Bronx and founded and directed the New York City Financial Network Action Consortium, which was designed to strengthen the growth of affordable financial services to low-income communities and to increase opportunities for low-income families to save money, build financial skills and start businesses.

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