Pride of Lions Biographies

Lisa Ackerman (2007): Lisa has longtime roots in international preservation, art history and grant-making.  She is an internationally-known expert in heritage conservation in Europe and the Middle East.

Full Bio

Lisa Ackerman was named Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer of World Monuments Fund in 2007. Previously Ms. Ackerman served as Executive Vice President of the Samuel H. Kress Foundation. Ms. Ackerman holds a B.A. from Middlebury College, an M.S. in historic preservation from Pratt Institute, and an M.B.A. from New York University. Ms. Ackerman serves on the boards of Historic House Trust of New York City, New York Preservation Archive Project, and US/ICOMOS. In 2007 she received the Historic District Council’s Landmarks Lion award and in 2008, Ms. Ackerman was named the first recipient of the US/ICOMOS Ann Webster Smith Award for International Heritage Achievement.

Ms. Ackerman has devoted her time and energy to many preservation organizations, currently serving on the boards of the New York Preservation Archive Project and the Historic House Trust of New York City. She is a former trustee of Partners for Sacred Places, US/ICOMOS and St. Ann’s Center for Restoration and the Arts. Additionally, from 1999 to 2006 she served on the board of advisers of the Neighborhood Preservation Center, home of HDC and several other preservation groups, and was one of the individuals responsible for making the Center a reality.


Kent Barwick (1997): Kent has been involved in as a leader or adviser on almost every major preservation campaign in New York City since before Mayor Koch appointed him as chair of the Landmarks Preservation Commission in 1978.

Full Bio

Kent Barwick, a figure synonymous with historic preservation in New York City, is  a past president of the Municipal Art Society and a former Chairman of the New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission.  He has devoted more than 40 years to advancing historic preservation in New York and his work stands behind scores of landmarks and historic districts, including the Daily News Building, the Longwood Historic District, the Richmond County Courthouse, the Greenpoint Historic District, and Pratt Institute.  A preservationist with an eye to the future, Mr. Barwick was also a major force in the renaissance of Times Square, which was saved from becoming a lackluster canyon of office towers through new zoning and the designation of its historic theaters. He holds a special passion for New York’s historic waterfront and has instrumental in numerous community-driven efforts to revitalize and reactivate our city’s vast and neglected edge.


Beyer Blinder Belle Architects & Planners (2004) : For over 40 years, BBB has been the architecture firm which has handled most of the major preservation projects in New York City, including the rebirth of Grand Central Terminal, etc., etc.

Full Bio

Recognized for excellence and integrity in architectural design, historic preservation, interior design, urban design and master planning, Beyer Blinder Belle is a firm of 150 professionals, with offices in New York City, Washington DC, and Beijing, China.

The firm began its practice in 1968 with the belief that cities thrive on the dynamic interaction between past and present. In 1980, James Marston Fitch joined the firm as its first Director of Historic Preservation.

Beyer Blinder Belle has been an innovator in expanding the definition of preservation by creating new life in historic structures, respecting the spirit and context of the original, yet incorporating the material, operational and perceptual realities of the 21st century. The firm’s new buildings combine inventive design and advanced technology with a well-rooted sense of identity. The Design Build Division extends the firm’s commitment to innovation in design and integrity in construction.

Museums, educational facilities, transit centers, houses of worship, theaters and large-scale urban planning projects are among the diverse project types for which Beyer Blinder Belle is known, in addition to commercial and mixed-use developments, residential complexes and governmental buildings. Beyer Blinder Belle is deeply committed to sustainability and stewardship. Respect for resources, both cultural and material, is interwoven into the firm’s mission. The firm has received numerous awards, including two from Time Magazine for Design of the Year.


Barbaralee Diamonstein-Spielvogel (2011) : Barbaralee has served as a defining voice on major urban issues of our time, including the historic built environment of our city, state and country.

Full Bio

Barbaralee has served as a defining voice on major urban issues of our time, including the historic built environment of our city, state and country. She is a pioneering champion of the arts, serving as the first Director of Cultural Affairs for New York City and as the longest-term Landmarks Commissioner in the city’s history, spanning four mayoral administrations. She was the Chair of the New York City Landmarks Preservation Foundation and since 1995 is the Chair of the Historic Landmarks Preservation Center. Barbaralee also served ten years on the United States Commission on Fine Arts and was the first woman to be appointed to Vice-Chair in its 110-year history. A founding Director of the High Line, she is currently a Director of the Trust for the National Mall and a Commissioner of the American Battle Monuments Commission. Barbaralee’s definitive book “Landmarks of New York” is an irreplaceable resource for anyone interested in our city’s remarkable built heritage. She created the “Historic District Street Sign” program over 20 years ago and her Cultural Medallion program informs New Yorkers and visitors about otherwise unnoticed landmarks. Her exhibit “The Landmarks of New York” has toured 82 countries on five continents, bringing awareness and appreciation of NYC’s remarkable built environment to audiences around the world. Barbaralee’s newest book, her 20th, “Landmarks of New York V” will be published this fall.  It describes each of New York City’s 1,287 individually-designated landmarks and 102 designated historic districts. To accompany its publication, Barabalee curated a new exhibition on New York City’s historic architecture which will tour 11 cities in New York State.


Joan K. Davidson (1995) : Joan has been a leader and funder for grassroots preservation efforts throughout New York City and New York State.

Full Bio

Without Joan’s leadership, vision, and personal encouragement, New York City’s preservation movement would only be a shadow of its vital and vibrant self.  Joan Davidson continues to lead the way and inspire us through her work.  She has done so much for grassroots preservation as President of the J.M. Kaplan Fund, and for the State of New York during her all too brief time as Commissioner of the Office of Parks, Recreation, and Historic Preservation.


Andrew Scott Dolkart (2014) : Andrew is the architectural historian of record for New York City’s landmarks and historic districts. As head of the Columbia GSAPP, he is educating a new generation of preservationists.

Full Bio

Architectural historian and preservationist Andrew S. Dolkart is the Director of the Historic Preservation Program at the Columbia University School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation.  He has been active in preservation in New York for several decades.  His research work focuses on the architecture and development of New York City, with special emphasis on the layering of architecture and history in New York’s neighborhoods and on city’s overlooked building types.  He is the author of the award-winning Morningside Heights: A History of Its Architecture and Development and Biography of a Tenement House in New York City: An Architectural History of 97 Orchard Street.  His most recent book, The Row House Reborn: Architecture and Neighborhoods in New York City, 1908-1929 was published in 2009.  He is currently working on a book and exhibition tracing the architecture and development of New York’s Garment District.


Kenneth K. Fisher (2002) :

Full Bio

During his ten-year term in City Council representing that area, Ken was a tremendous supporter of preservation – both in his district and throughout the city. He was responsible for the establishment of the Vinegar Hill Historic District, as well as the DUMBO/Old Brooklyn Waterfront National Register district which have helped bring economic development to these neglected areas while safeguarding some of the most historic stretches of New York City waterfront and maintaining their unique industrial character. As Chair of the Landmarks, Public Siting & Maritime Uses Subcommittee, he led his Council colleagues in assuming responsibility under the 1990 City Charter for reviewing designations of individual landmarks and historic districts. He sponsored legislation that finally brought teeth to the Landmarks Law, and commissioned the Independent Budget Office to analyze property values in residential historic districts — proving that designation boosts the social and economic health of neighborhoods. Ken helped found the Brooklyn High School for the Arts which initiated an emphasis on the built environment and preservation trades which is still being followed in NYC public schools. Since leaving public service in 2001, Ken has continued to be involved in public policy as a legal advisor, public speaker and host of a monthly television show on public affairs.


Dr. James Marston Fitch (1998) :

Full Bio

Dr. Fitch was,  for decades,  a leading authority in the United States in the field of historic preservation.  He was the founder and director of the Graduate Program in Historic Preservation at both Columbia University and the University of Pennsylvania.  As a noted architect, who studied at the University of Alabama and Tulane University, Dr. Fitch established Beyer Blinder Belle’s unique design and development approach to preservation.  An acclaimed writer, he served as Associate Editor of Architectural Record and Architectural Forum and published well over 200 books, articles, reports, reviews, and other communications on architecture and preservation in the U.S. and abroad.  Dr. Fitch’s 70 year career exemplified extraordinary dedication to the preservation of the built environment and to the field of historic preservation.


Margot Gayle (1993):

Full Bio

Margot Gayle, founder of the Friends of Cast Iron Architecture,  is hailed worldwide as the savior of this treasured but threatened building type.  In New York City she led the drive to designate the Soho Cast Iron Historic District, bringing the protection of the Landmarks Law to the world’s largest collection of buildings with cast-iron fronts.  Since its landmark designation in 1973 as an historic district, the Soho area, formerly a manufacturing and warehouse neighborhood, has become an internationally renowned center for modern art.  In addition to numerous articles and books on the history and maintenance of historic metalwork including cast iron, Margot Gayle is the author of Cast Iron Architecture in New York, the encyclopedia on the subject.


Roberta Brandes Gratz (2012)

Full Bio

Roberta is known for her deep knowledge and expertise about preservation and urbanism, both within New York City and across the country. She is a nationally-respected leader in promoting preservation practices and policies for the revitalization of urban areas. She coined the term, “Urban Husbandry,” for her first book, The Living City, to describe the process by which urban neighborhoods and downtowns can regenerate from economic stagnation by “thinking small in a big way.” She also coined the term “SoHo Syndrome” for her second book, Cities Back From the Edge, to identify the process unfolding in onetime industrial neighborhoods in cities across the country and abroad. Roberta has also been an active presence in preservation efforts in New York City and elsewhere, particularly the fight to save and designate the Broadway theaters and opposition to Westway. She served on the New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission from 2003 to 2010, participating in some of the biggest preservation issues of our time. Roberta is the founder and President Emeritus of the Eldridge Street Project, an award-winning effort that restored the historic Eldridge Street Synagogue on the Lower East Side and established The Eldridge Street Museum on the site. In 2005, in collaboration with the legendary Jane Jacobs, she founded The Center for the Living City, which promotes increased civic engagement among those who care deeply for their communities. Roberta lectures internationally on urban development. Her publications, including The Battle For Gotham: New York in the Shadow of Robert Moses and Jane Jacobs; Cities Back from the Edge: New Life for Downtown; and The Living City: Thinking Small in a Big Way, detail how cities actually revitalize themselves and the importance that preservation plays in the life of our cities. She is currently writing a book on post-Katrina recovery in New Orleans.


Hugh & Tiziana Hardy (2013) :

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Hugh and Tiziana have been involved for decades in preservation and the way we adapt and preserve building. Each in their own way has helped to shape the movement, leading the way in saving and appreciating some of New York City’s most significant buildings. Hugh is widely known for his work restoring and adapting world-class landmarks such as the New Amsterdam and New Victory Theaters, Radio City Music Hall, Central Synagogue and Bryant Park, just to name a few. He has designed sensitive and world-class additions for the Brooklyn Academy of Music and Lincoln Center, seamlessly blending old and new. Tiziana led community efforts to designate the eclectic and historic neighborhood of NoHo, filled with cast-iron storefronts, Victorian-era lofts, and the only Louis Sullivan-designed building in New York City, the exuberant Bayard-Condict Building. Trained as an architect, she renovated historic brownstones in Harlem as well as designing the interiors of her own family’s homes.  Both of these individuals are powerful voices for the need for historic preservation as a force that helps New York City remain vibrant.


Kitty Carlisle Hart (2003) :

Full Bio

This year, HDC celebrates Kitty Carlisle Hart, a longtime champion of preservation and cultural organizations across New York State.  While chair of the New York State Council on the Arts (NYSCA) from 1976-1996, Mrs. Hart directed many millions of dollars in support to preservation projects from the Niagara Frontier to Staten Island.  Through her strong advocacy under four governors, during good economic times and bad, she fought to keep historic preservation as a core program of NYSCA, the only arts council in America that provides such funding.  In addition to her twenty-year stewardship of NYSCA, Mrs. Hart supports the cultural life of New York City by actively serving on the boards of such institutions as the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Museum of Modern Art.


Barry Lewis (2005) :

Full Bio

The New York Times has called Barry “as informed a companion as anyone could wish.” For over 25 years, Barry Lewis has been educating New Yorkers and visitors alike on the incredible variety of architectural, social and cultural history that New York offers. Lewis is best known, along with host David Hartman, for the Emmy Award-nominated “A Walk Through…” television series on WNET/Thirteen where Lewis and Hartman traverse historic neighborhoods around the city. This program, one of the most popular in Thirteen’s local line-up, includes “walks” through Queens, Brooklyn, Central Park, Harlem, Greenwich Village, Hoboken, Newark and down Broadway and 42nd Street. Filming for an episode highlighting The Bronx is began in October 2005. HDC is honoring Barry for his achievements in bringing to light the historical, architectural and cultural riches that make each New York neighborhood unique. A professor of architectural history at The Cooper Union Forum and the New York School of Interior Design, Lewis has also delivered speeches to distinguished audiences at Harvard University, Columbia University, Skidmore, Owings and Merrill, the Smithsonian Institution, and Cushman and Wakefield, among others. Lewis has a devoted following who look forward to his programs and lectures highlighting both well-known neighborhoods and hidden gems of the city.


Joyce Matz (2000) :

Full Bio

Highlights of her preservation portfolio include City & Suburban Homes, Town Hall, the Beacon Theatre, the Universalist Church and St. Bartholomew’s.  She helped in the fight to prevent tower additions to the New-York Historical Society and the Metropolitan Club.  As a private citizen, Ms. Matz has devoted years of service to the Landmarks Committee of Manhattan Community Board #5, where her efforts included the designation of the Broadway theaters and Rockefeller Center.


Walter B. Melvin (2008) :

Full Bio

Mr. Melvin and his firm have spent over 30 years preserving and restoring some of New York’s most noted historic neighborhoods and buildings. He is known for his work on important institutional and civic buildings such as The Frick Collection, The Cloisters, the Jewish Museum, General Theological Seminary, Grace Church, and the New York Public Library’s famous Lions Patience and Fortitude. He is equally renowned for the large number of residential buildings he has restored. Grand apartment houses by such figures as Rosario Candela, James Carpenter and Emery Roth line his project list and he has worked on such storied apartment buildings as the Dakota, San Remo, Alwyn Court and Kips Bay Towers. Buildings big and small from Manhattan’s Riverside Drive to Staten Island’s North Shore have benefited from his expertise.


Dorothy Marie Miner (2001) :

Full Bio

This year, HDC celebrates Dorothy Marie Miner for her decades of service in defending the integrity of the New York City Landmarks Law and strengthening the practice and interpretation of historic preservation law nation-wide. As long-time Counsel to the New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission, Dorothy helped protect the New York City Landmarks Law from some of its greatest challenges and her work has strengthened the Law and shaped how it is interpreted today. She contributed greatly to the milestone cases of Penn Central v. the City of New York City which upheld the integrity of the Landmarks Law in the U.S. Supreme Court, and St. Bartholomew’s Church v. the City of New York, which defended the Landmarks Preservation Commission’s right to regulate designated religious properties. Since leaving public practice, Dorothy has devoted herself to strengthening historic preservation law on a state, national and international level – working closely with organizations such as the National Trust for Historic Preservation and the Preservation League of New York State, as well as educating the next generation of preservationists.


Rev. Dr. Thomas F. Pike (2009) :

Full Bio

Rev. Pike is well known in the preservation field for his longtime leadership. He has been involved with countless preservation and community groups, all the while leading Calvary-St. George’s Church for more than 30 years. He served on the New York Landmarks Preservation Commission from 1991 until 2006, helping protect numerous designated landmarks across the city. He assisted in the creation of the New York Landmarks Conservancy’s Sacred Sites Program and also serves on The Conservancy’s board today. He was a founding trustee of Partners for Sacred Places, where he currently serves as chair emeritus, and he also serves on the board of the Cathedral of Saint John the Divine. In the past, Rev. Pike has served on the boards of the Preservation League of New York State, Partnership for the Homeless, and the Federation of Protestant Welfare Agencies. He has been a resident of the Gramercy Park neighborhood for four decades and in 2006, became a trustee of Gramercy Park.


Arlene Simon (1994) :

Full Bio

For over a decade, Arlene Simon has devoted herself to the West Side, to landmarks preservation, and to the City of New York.  Whether leading the successful effort to achieve landmark status for the “Best of the West” or fighting the good fight for transitional zoning, Arlene’s creativity and tenacity have set the standard for preservationists everywhere.  Generous with her knowledge, networks, and passion, her advocacy for preservation has touched all corners of our City.


Robert Silman (2006) :

Full Bio

Mr. Silman is a national preservation champion and generous advocate for New York City’s historic buildings. Since its inception in 1966, his firm, Robert Silman Associates, has consulted on more than 13,000 architectural projects, mostly in historic buildings. Notable projects in New York City include Ellis Island, Radio City Music Hall, the Cathedral of St. John the Divine, the American Museum of Natural History, the Guggenheim Museum and the Bethesda Fountain in Central Park.


Robert A. M. Stern (2010) :

Full Bio

Mr. Stern, during four decades of running his own Midtown Manhattan firm, writing definitive books and leading Ivy League graduate programs, has tirelessly helped save historic architecture in every New York borough. Dean of the Yale School of Architecture since 1998, he has also headed Columbia’s preservation program, co-written books about New York’s architectural evolution from the Civil War to the 21st century, and fought high-profile battles for endangered buildings. His five-volume New York series, spanning from New York 1880 to New York 2000, explores our city’s architecture in all its geographic and stylistic diversity: from Downtown’s Art Deco spires to leafy Tudor suburbs in The Bronx, Victorian boathouses on stilts at the Staten Island coast, and avant-garde airline terminals. As founder and senior partner of the 230-person Robert A.M. Stern Architects, he directs the design of projects across the U.S. and as far afield as France, India, and China. Out of respect for existing contexts as varied as Columbia’s campus and the gardens of Wave Hill in Riverdale, the firm has added neighborly structures that honor, rather than defy, the spirit of the places in which they are built. Recent high-profile New York projects have ranged from sympathetic renovations to the 1978 Kaufman Center performing-arts complex on West 67th Street in Manhattan to the rebirth of an abandoned 1880s brick public school on Patchen Avenue in Bedford-Stuyvesant. Mr. Stern has also fought to save other architects’ innovations, including modernist works by the likes of Skidmore, Owings & Merrill, Harrison & Abramovitz, and Edward Durell Stone.


Anthony C. Wood (1999) :

Full Bio

Tony’s leadership of HDC is but one facet of his admirably productive career.  Tony’s activism and influence – as policy expert, writer, educator, advisor, trustee, and funder – advances the cause of historic preservation far beyond New York City.  From grassroots organizing to civic groups, through the Preservation League of New York State, the National Trust for Historic Preservation, the Partners for Sacred Places and countless stops along the way, few others are as well-traveled as Tony in the world of preservation.


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