50th Anniversary Lecture Series

What We Learned: Takeaways from 50 years of advocacy

December 15, 2020

6:00 – 7:00 p.m.

via Zoom

In this final installment of our 50th Anniversary Lecture Series panelists will discuss what HDC and the preservation world have learned over the past 50 years. Looking at preservation as a profession, as an educational tool and as a community organizing principle, they will discuss what some of the future opportunities and challenges for preservationists (and HDC) might be. We’ve lined up a great panel, Angel Ayón, Samuel Brooks and Vicki Weiner, and moderator Tara Kelly who between them represent a great cross-section of the preservation community, with varied and valuable experiences in education, professional practice, nonprofit organizations and community activism – as well as sharing a history with HDC from running the place to being a Six to Celebrate partner.

Genesis: How HDC came to be and why we needed to exist

Thursday, February 20, 2020

Join us for a special panel discussion of longtime preservation professionals as they talk about the early days of the Landmarks Preservation Commission when historic district designation was still new and unformed and the preservation community was still coalescing. The Historic Districts Council was formed in 1970 by the Municipal Art Society as a committee of volunteers from the city’s nascent and potential historic districts. Learn from the people who were present at the beginning about how HDC carved out a niche and fulfilled a much-needed citywide advocacy role.

Scheduled speakers:

Laurie Beckelman began her career at the Municipal Art Society (MAS) in the early 1970’s and then served as President of the New York City Landmarks Conservancy in the 1980’s before being appointed as chair of the New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission (LPC) in 1990 under Mayor Dinkins. She is currently the Associate Director of the Shed, the premier artspace at Hudson Yards.

Frank Emile Sanchis III was an early staff member at the LPC, serving from 1969 – 1971, before going into private architectural practice. He returned to LPC in 1978, eventually serving as Executive Director until 1986. He subsequently worked at the National Trust for Historic Preservation, and MAS before becoming the head of the Americas program for the World Monuments Fund in 2010.

Anthony M. Tung served as a Commissioner on the LPC from 1978 – 1988 under Mayor Edward Koch. He has taught architectural history and international urban preservation at the Columbia University Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation, Metropolitan Museum of Art, MIT and the New School. He has lectured in Amsterdam, Athens, Edinburgh, Havana, Istanbul, Kyoto, Madrid, Mexico City, San Juan, Singapore, Vienna, and across North America—consulting on heritage conservation policy with officials in Toronto, Halifax, New York, New Orleans, and Cuba.

This series is Co-sponsored by the New York Preservation Archive Project

In the Thick of It: Our best war stories, how certain districts/landmarks came to be

Thursday, June 11

6:00-7:00 p.m.

This panel will be presented via Zoom – registration is required 

Designation is only the beginning is a common saying amongst preservation advocates; but claiming designation is step one is somewhat of a fallacy. In reality, we know the process of designation has many, many steps. Advocates work for years to have their neighborhood or building Landmarked. In this panel, three leaders of community groups will discuss their experiences obtaining Landmark Designations for their neighborhoods and describe how HDC helped. Jeffrey Kroessler will talk about Sunnyside Gardens, Queens; Lynn Massimo will talk about Sunset Park, Brooklyn; and Deb Young and Suzanne Spellen will talk about Crown Heights North, Brooklyn.

Scheduled speakers:

Jeffrey A. Kroessler has a Master of Library Science from Queens College and a Doctorate in American History from the City University of New York Graduate School. Mr. Kroessler is an Associate Professor at John J. College of Criminal Justice and the CUNY Head of circulation. Mr. Kroessler is a preservationist, an advocate and an author. In addition to HDC, he serves on the Boards of the Citizens Emergency Committee to Preserve Preservation; Greater Astoria Historical Society; Queensborough Preservation League; Sunnyside Gardens Preservation Alliance; and the City Club. Dr. Kroessler has been on the HDC Board since 1986.

Lynn Massimo holds a degree in fine art photography from New York University and spent part of her early career as an architectural photographer. Though she has officially left the commercial world of photography, her expertise found a new outlet in 2013, when she co-founded the Sunset Park Landmarks Committee to advocate for the designation of a Historic District in Sunset Park, Brooklyn. As part of this effort, Lynn spearheaded a block-by-block outreach and survey campaign, including the documentation of Sunset Park’s many elegant rowhouses, religious structures, institutional buildings and green spaces. Her photographs proved instrumental in bringing awareness to the cause and bringing the campaign to the attention of the New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission.

Suzanne Spellen is a long-time board member of the Crown Heights North Association, Inc. (CNHA). She was a resident of both Crown Heights North and Bedford Stuyvesant for almost 40 years, starting in the 1980s. A popular columnist for, she also gives walking tours and lectures on Brooklyn neighborhoods and architecture. In 2015, HDC awarded her their Grassroots Award for her community activities and writing. She now lives in Troy, NY, and is Vice Chair of the Troy Community Land Bank, has a seat on the Troy Planning Commission.

Deborah Young was in one of the first classes at Medgar Evers College, received a joint Masters in Social Work and Business from Columbia University and is a licensed social worker. In 2001 Ms. Young and her husband, the late Anthony F. Martin, purchased a home in the Crown Heights North (CHN) section of Brooklyn.  It was at this time that she became actively involved in the CHN community. She co-founded the Crown Heights North Association (CHNA) and is the Board Chairperson and President.  To name a few accomplishments, she along with the CHNA board members are responsible for securing Landmark Designation for over 1700 homes, organizing the first open house tour, placement on the National & NY State Register of Historic Places, recipients of the Neighbor Preservation Alliance’s Neighborhood Preservation Award, securing access to the Federal & Commercial Historic Preservation Tax Credit Program for members of the community, recipients 2017 NYS Historic Preservation Award.
Co-sponsored by: The General Society of Mechanics and Tradesmen of the City of New York

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