Designation Testimony

Testimony for 935 St. Nicholas Avenue Individual Landmark

LP-2670 –

935 St. Nicholas Avenue Building – 935 St. Nicholas Avenue (aka 929-939 St. Nicholas Avenue, 462-466 West 157th Street)

Item to be Heard

A Gothic Revival style apartment building built in 1915 and designed by architects Groenberg & Leichtag, which for many years was home to legendary jazz musicians Duke Ellington and Noble Sissle.

As the citywide advocate for New York’s architectural, historical and cultural neighborhoods, HDC enthusiastically supports the designation of 935 St. Nicholas Avenue as an Individual Landmark.

As home to both Duke Ellington and Noble Sissle from the 1930s through the 1970s, 935 St. Nicholas Avenue embodies a history of Jazz, American popular music, and Black placemaking in Harlem that shaped the city and the nation.

Ellington’s astounding catalog of more than 3,000 compositions was recognized with the Presidential Medal of Freedom. Sissle, who was dubbed “Mayor of Harlem,” served as part of the Harlem Hell Fighters’ regimental band during WWI, cowrote the first successful Broadway musical featuring an all-Black cast, and founded the Negro Actors’ Guild, which Ellington served as co-vice-president.

The remarkable cultural history that played out in this building, and therefore the stories this structure can tell about 20th Century Harlem, are profoundly worthy of preservation. HDC is glad to see LPC continue its work toward recognizing sites of cultural history. 

HDC has long been a champion of cultural landmarks. In fact, this year, our preservation conference was titled “Looking Beyond Landmarks” and focused on sites of cultural significance, public art and memorialization. We hope that LPC will continue to consider many more sites of cultural significance throughout the 5 boroughs   

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