Thursday, February 25, 2010

LW! meets new Public Advocate Bill de Blasio

As reported by Cristiana P.

Yesterday, LW! and more than two dozen other organizations and individuals concerned about historic preservation and the future of our city, met newly appointed Public Advocate Bill de Blasio.

Public Advocate (PA) de Blasio relayed his interest in working with preservationists to reframe preservation as it connects to other public priorities, including affordable housing, economic development and energy efficiency.  The links, he explained, are real.  The challenge we have before us is to reinterpret the preservation cause in more universal terms.

Other topics touched upon included--but were certainly not limited to--the preservation of religious properties, the role of the PA's office as a resource for citizens meeting up with an unresponsive Landmarks Preservation Commission, and the forthcoming Charter Revision process.  Truly, just a skim off the surface!

All present agreed that regular forums with PA de Blasio are critical for affecting change.

Representatives from the following groups were in attendance: AIA Queens, Bay Ridge Conservancy, Brooklyn Heights Association, Crown Heights North Association, Douglaston & Little Neck Historical Society, Friends of the UES Historic Districts, Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation, Harlem Heights-West Harlem Community Preservation Org., Harlem Preservation Foundation, Historic Districts Council, LANDMARK WEST!, Municipal Art Society, Myrtle Avenue Brooklyn Partnership, New York Landmarks Conservancy, Park Slope Civic Council, Preservation League of Staten Island, Save St. Vincent!, Sunnyside Gardens, West End Preservation Society, Women's City Club.  The forum was further enriched by architects, preservationists, lawyers, and community advocates attending as individuals.

Love Your Landmark #9 - 33 West 67th Street

The Atelier
33 West 67th Street
(featured on LW's 2009 Spring House Tour)

It's like a medieval castle in the middle of the West Side!  Gothic flora and fauna, human heads and arches pointed towards the sky.  So great!

Arlene S. and fellow 67th Street regular

Monday, February 22, 2010

Love Your Landmark #8 - San Remo Apartments

San Remo Apartments
145 Central Park West
(visit the San Remo in LW's Buildings Database)

One of the things that I remember most vividly about my childhood visits to Central Park were the twin towers of the San Remo on Central Park West.  Like something out of a fairy tale, they rose above the trees, inviting me to daydream about what it was like to live on high in an urban castle.

Alyssa Nordhauser,
LW! Intern
Graduate Student, Pratt Institute

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Love Your Landmark #7 - Astor Apartments

Astor Apartments
2141-2157 Broadway at West 75th Street
(on the LW! Wish List)

I would like to think of myself as personified in this landmark loveThe A.I.A. Guide to NYC* described this dignified pre-WWI building as being "bland but handsome," adding that its "copper cornice is both potent and elegant." A match made in preservation heaven!

Will Vogel,
LW! Intern
Graduate Student, Pratt Institute
*Elliot Willensky and Norval White, The A. I. A. Guide to New York City, Fourth Edition," Three Rivers Press, 2000.

Love Your Landmark #6 - 27 West 67th Street

27 West 67th Street
(featured on LW's 2009 Spring House Tour)

There's no place on the West Side quite like West 67th Street between Columbus Avenue and Central Park West.  It's the Artists Colony Historic District.  Amazing history; a one-of-a-kind block!

Arlene Simon,
President, LW!

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Love Your Landmark #5 - First Church of Christ, Scientist

First Church of Christ, Scientist
West 68th St. and Central Park West
(recipient of one of LW's 2009 Unsung Heroes Awards)

Here is one of my favorites: I live close by and watched it being restored.  Especially interesting was when they put the cupola back up.  But I would not want to spoil this view with the sign, so you get it surrounded by snow instead. 

Ulrike K.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Love Your Landmark #4 - First Baptist Church

First Baptist Church
Broadway at West 79th Street
(on the LW! Wish List!)

Nothing inspires me quite like this striking church.  It's an anchor for this important intersection that never fails to put a smile on my face!

Sarah Sher,
intern, LW!
student, Columbia Univ. Masters program in Historic Preservation

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Love Your Landmark #3 - Apple Bank for Savings

Apple Bank for Savings
(check out this Individual Landmark in the Online Buildings Database)

Standing at the base of this building, with the massive carved stone, makes me feel so small!  And gotta love the incised "Central Savings Bank" lettering!  I love it!

Lauren Racusin
student, Columbia Univ. Masters program in Historic Preservation

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Love Your Landmark #2 - Chelsea Storage Warehouse

Chelsea Storage Warehouse
West 107th Street between Amsterdam and Columbus Avenues
(on the LW! Wish List!)

Who knew that bricks could be so decorative! By turning these bricks on end and stacking them in unexpected patterns, this otherwise utilitarian building has a style all its own.
The facade of this building comes alive!

Cristiana Pena, LW! Dir. of Community Outreach

Monday, February 8, 2010

Love Your Landmark #1 - Public School 165

Public School 165 (on the LW! Wish List!)

I LOVE P.S. 165! Nestled midblock on West 109th Street, it's a gothic-style treasure.
What an inspiring atmosphere for learning!


Debi Germann, LW! Director of Education

Starting this month, LOVE your landmarks!

Secure your angel wings. Ready your quiver and arrows. Grab your camera. This is your chance to tell everyone "I Love this Landmark!"

Starting today, February 8, LW! is inviting you to join us in playing cupid as we identify the landmarks that make the Upper West Side so lovable! All it takes is a camera and your own inspiration.

So what's a "landmark"?

"Landmark" can mean different things to different people. For LW!, it might mean the West-Park Presbyterian Church, designated an official NYC Individual Landmark just one month ago (on January 12, 2010). For others, it's something more personal: your family's favorite restaurant, the street corner where you pick up your paper every morning, your child's playground in the park, or the elementary school you attended (perhaps the same school your kids attend now!).

All February long, come back to the LW! blog to see photos from LW! interns and staff and from our fellow West Siders, as they share with us the landmarks they love!

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Public Joy Over West-Park Designation!

"After battling for years over the fate of the 116 year-old church, today we have saved a great building.  But we've also preserved a spiritual and everyday landmark for our neighborhood, protecting not only architecture, but history, heritage, and quality of life."  ~ City Council Member Gale A. Brewer.

Remarks by the Landmarks Preservation Commissioners: 

"This church is a sculpture given to us."

"It stops you in your tracks."

"We will work with anyone and everyone to find a new use as we cannot afford to let this church go." 

(Click here to listen to more comments.)

A Sampling of Community Responses to LW!:
"Hallelujah!  Congratulations all around--and Excelsior"
"It was a long, hard fight, and I hope the next steps of repair and restoration turn out as well."
"Your grassroots persistent insistence triumphs again"
"Congratulations...for sticking to it."
"What an achievement!"
"Well done!"

West-Park Designated!

"We cannot afford to let it will be saved and it will be preserved."
Robert B. Tierney, Chair, Landmarks Preservation Commission, January 12, 2010.

More than twenty years of community advocacy, a public hearing last July, and then...VICTORY! By unanimous vote of the NYC Landmarks Preservation Commission (LPC), West-Park Presbyterian Church

is finally an official Landmark.

This day would never have come without the determination and steadfast support of preservationists - like YOU! - and key leadership from people like those listed below. Your continued attention and encouragement are important since the designation will go before both the City Planning Commission and the City Council in coming months. So, give yourself a hearty clap on the back and take a few moments to send enthusiastic emails of congratulations (contact info below).

The LPC's decision marks a new beginning for West-Park, a time for renewed hope and opportunity to make this building lively once more. Long live West-Park!

Friends who wrote letters, signed petitions and came to public meetings and hearings, including (but not limited to!) Daniel J. Allen, architect; (former) City Council Member Tony Avella; Barry Bergdoll, Chief Curator of Architecture and Design, The Museum of Modern Art; The Rev. Darrell Berger, First Unitarian Universalist Church; Francoise Bollack, architect; Herbert Broderick, III, Associate Professor of Art, Lehman College; Mosette Broderick, Director, Urban Design and Architecture Studies, NYU; Lauren Jacobi, architectural historian; Robert Cane, architect; Page Cowley, architect; Former City Council Member and current Public Advocate Bill de Blasio; Andrew Scott Dolkart, James Marston Fitch Associate Professor of Historic Preservation, Columbia University; Charles DiSanto, architect; The Rev. Stephen Garmey; Historic Districts Council; Sarah Bradford Landau, former LPC Commissioner and Professor of Art History, NYU; Katherine R. McKee, conservator; Walter B. Melvin, architect; The Metropolitan Chapter of the Victorian Society in America; The Very Reverend James Parks Morton, The Interfaith Center of New York; Municipal Art Society; New York Landmarks Conservancy; Susan Nial, Esq.; Gene A. Norman, former Landmarks Preservation Commission Chair; New York State Senator Bill Perkins; The Rev. Dr. Thomas Pike, former NYC Landmarks Commissioner; Lee Harris Pomeroy, architect; Preservation League of New York State; Assemblymember Linda Rosenthal; Fred Seidler, The Fred Seidler Group; Olga Statz, JD, LLM; Robert A.M. Stern, architect; Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer; The Rev. Joseph M. Zorawick, former Rector of Christ & St. Stephen's Church (copies of their letters and more are available at