Friday, May 27, 2011

Thursday, May 26, 2011

LW! Social Media Goes Mobile!

On Tuesday, May 17th, LANDMARK WEST! ventured where no Upper West Side preservation organization has ever gone before ... into the realm of live Tweeting!

Via iPad, the live Tweeting begins!
The reason?  To share up-to-the-minute musings and news as we came together with Friends of Roosevelt Park to announce the kick-off of Landmark Feast.  Coming this fall to the Arthur Ross Terrace at the American Museum of Natural History, Landmark Feast will be a totally unprecedented dining experience, celebrating our unique neighborhood and support the efforts of to preserve everything that makes the Upper West Side so special!

Cristiana and Melissa use the #LandmarkFeast hashtag
to share updates via iPad and Smartphone.
Throughout the arrival of our special guests (Chefs Bill Telepan of Telepan Restaurant, John Fraser of Dovetail Restaurant, and Damian Sansonetti of Bar Boulud; Katy Oursler of Outstanding in the Field; and of course our Honorary Event Chair Ruth Reichl), on into welcoming remarks by LW's own Kate Wood, and as our guests continued to make merry, LW's Cristiana Peña kept the Twitter-verse updated via iPad. 

Thanks to the newly minted #LandmarkFeast hashtag
(that is, the quick way by which Twitter users can seek out and follow topics that interest them most), party attendees could share the revelry with their social media friends ... or just talk to each other, as Cristiana and 67 Wine's Melissa Sutherland opted to do (see photo above)!

For more photos from the kick-off party, visit our Flickr photostream.  But more importantly, visit the Landmark Feast blog, learn more about the concept, meet the participating chefs and restaurants and reserve your tickets for the September 25th feast!

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

The Social Web, Community Orgs, and YOU!

You follow our tweets, you check in with our Facebook profile and fan pages, you subscribe to our blog ... Now, LANDMARK WEST! invites you to meet the folks behind the social media messaging!

On Thursday, June 9th, LANDMARK WEST! is partnering with and a host of other social web innovators on a roundtable discussion:

WHAT: A round table discussion and Q&A, putting you face-to-face with the local organizations who are making themselves known by blogging, Facebooking, tweeting, and engaging with the their neighborhoods in innovative ways. 

With tiny staffs and often tinier budgets, the round table participants will offer insight on the importance of a social web presence and how they've capitalized on it as a tool to broadcast their organizational message far and wide ... without stretching their resources!  Learn from their hits and misses (and share yours as well) as the panelists touch upon their adventures on the social web. 

Following the Q&A, stay for a free happy hour and connect with the community organizations and others in attendance.

WHO: - Trevor Sumner, co-founder & CMO. Roundtable moderator.
            (Trevor on Twitter: @trevorsumner;  
             NearSay on Twitter: @NearSayNY and @NSayUpperWest

            LANDMARK WEST!
- Cristiana Pena, Senior Director of Preservation

    (Cristiana on NearSay; LW! on Twitter: @landmarkwest

            Bryant Park Corporation, Katie Kritzalis "The Bryant Park Blogger"
            (Katie on Twitter: @bryantparknyc; @fashionherald) 

            Fourth Arts Block-  Tamara Greenfield, Executive Director
            (Tamara on Twitter: @fourthartsblock

            34th St. Partnership - Tricia Lewis, Director of Digital Media
            (Tricia on Twitter: @34thStNYC

            Flatiron BID - Jennifer Brown, Executive Director
            (Jennifer on Twitter: @FlatironBID

WHEN:  Thursday, June 9th, 6PM to 8PM

WHERE:  Steelcase WorkLife Center, 4 Columbus Circle (8th Avenue b/w 57th & 58th Streets)

SPACE IS LIMITED, RSVP encouraged.  Click here to reserve your spot via MeetUp.

See you on June 9th!

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Spotlight on an Unsung Hero :: CTA Architects interviewed for Brazilian TV feature

2011 Unsung Heroes of the Upper West Side Awardee
Cutsogeorge Tooman & Allen Architects

Architecture is an international language.  No extensive lessons are necessary to understand how the individual pieces of our neighborhood's built environment--demure sandstone facade, punctuated by a stoop, accentuated with an oriel window, emphasized by a dormer window--come together and speak to our history in a way that we can all understand and appreciate!

One of the Upper West Side's most whimsical and diminutive hideaways, Pomander Walk, is a perfect case-in-point!  This past Monday, a Brazilian-language television network, TV Globo, filmed a featurette of Pomander Walk (air date TBD).  It seems that a member of their news team was so intrigued by the anomaly of these rows of cottages nestled amid high-rise residences that they wanted to share the architecture (and the story behind it) with their viewers!  

Reporter Jane Caffrey speaks with architect Dan Allen about Pomander Walk.

Who better to share the tale of Pomander Walk than architect Dan Allen of Cutsogeorge Tooman & Allen Architects.  CTA Architects, along with RCD Restoration, teamed up with the committed residents of Pomander Walk to restore these amazing buildings just a few years ago.  And wouldn't you know it, their admirable efforts were acknowledged with one of LW!'s Unsung Heroes of the Upper West Side 2008 preservation awards, the Building Rehabilitation Award.  Stay tuned for an update on when the TV Globo interview with Dan Allen will be available online.

Pomander Walk sets the stage for Dan Allen's TV Globo interview.  How fitting!

A mini-history of Pomander Walk (from LW!'s 2008 awards ceremony program):

Described by New York Times architectural historian Christopher Gray as a "village-in-a-city," Pomander Walk offers a seredipitous respite in the densely-developed cityscape just off Broadway.  Following a style that can only be described as Theatrical Tudor Revival, this utterly unique enclave of 27 tiny houses arranged along a mid-block garden path owes its name and old-world charm to a popular 1911 play.  Indeed, its recent rehabilitation was so conscientiously conceived, so meticulously directed and so deftly performed as to be a work of theatrical art in itself.  Original materials--including the houses' wood doors and galvanized metal "half-timbering"--were retained, treated and restored rather than replaced with replicas.  Historic colors were carefully matched.  Pomander Walk's board of directors, preservation committee and residents worked in concert with Cutsogeorge Tooman & Allen Architects and RCD Restoration to do the right thing by this once-folly, now beloved, landmark.

Interest in Pomander Walk and the impeccable restorative work by CTA Architects couldn't be more perfectly timed!  In less than one month (on Tuesday, June 7th) we will again celebrate CTA's excellence in building restoration for their transformative work at the American Youth Hostel.  We hope you'll join us!

Thursday, May 5, 2011

UPDATE from the FIELD :: Elegant 1980s at Cherry Hill, Central Park

As reported by Cristiana P.

In 1980, with the founding of the Central Park Conservancy, our City's first Scenic Landmark--Central Park, designated in 1974--began a miraculous transformation.  Decades of neglect were slowly and carefully reversed and, after 30+ years, Central Park is the entrancing destination many of us know it to be today.

Cherry Hill concourse photographed in 1982, following restoration.
And the work continues!  The Central Park Conservancy and the Parks Department, the two bodies who administer the Park, regularly undertake park improvement projects.  But they are not alone in their vision to sensitively restore and preserve Central Park.  Advocates such as LANDMARK WEST! and our colleagues celebrate the Park not only for its English Romantics origins, but for the incredible changes it has experienced over the decades.  At times, administrators and preservation advocates don't see eye to eye on "what's best" for the Park today, for its users, and for the Park's future.  The proposal to reconstruct the Cherry Hill concourse is a perfect example ... and it happens to be an advocacy "win" as well!

Cherry Hill concourse today (May 2011).
The LPC at public hearing on Tuesday (May 3rd) unanimously disapproved the Central Park Conservancy's proposal to reconstruct Cherry Hill concourse.  LW! stood strong on the issue of preserving Cherry Hill's layered history; we illustrated it's effective design and good condition; we spoke to the proposed design's degradation of the space to a parking lot (read LW!'s statement here).  And the Landmarks Preservation Commission (LPC) stood strong as well!

Said one commissioner: "There is no way I could support this".  Another concurred, adding: "If it ain't broke, don't fix it!"

Cherry Hill
concourse, as designed and revitalized by landscape architect Philip N. Winslow in the 1980s, is beautiful, both in terms of aesthetics and performance.  It sets the stage, as many remarked at yesterday's hearing, for pedestrians to take in the views of The Lake.  Cherry Hill as a "room" was an allusion heard more than once.  And in terms of managing the traffic of horse-drawn carriages and pedicabs alongside pedestrians and other park users, it successfully accommodates them all!
Brick pavers laid in a herringbone pattern at Cherry Hill.
Cherry Hill is no longer for livery boys and carriages, but for pedestrians and cyclists and park users of all kinds!  Cherry Hill has evolved over time and the historical layer added by Winslow in the 1980s continues to meet the needs of park users while harmonizing with the larger design history of Central Park.  The Commissioners saw the proposal as flat-out unnecessary.  Nothing in the documents provided (by the Conservancy or the public) indicated to them that there was a pressing need for this invasive work.  In fact, the Conservancy itself noted that the brick and granite were in reasonable shape!  The singular concession the LPC seemed open to was using a new resin bound aggregate paving system (never before tested in Central Park) as a replacement for the existing asphalt ring.  In that way, they might identify a new material for use in the park without seriously compromising this significant and well-used (and loved!) design.

The LPC will issue an Advisory Report to the Design Commission, which has final say.  But with an unfavorable report from the LPC, one hopes the Design Commission will think hard before they consider endorsing the project.

LW! isn't done! 
We'll continue to bulk up on Cherry Hill knowledge and enhance our testimony for the Design Commission (date TBD).  And we don't expect to be alone: We'll continue to encourage the groups and individuals who've already spoken out on this issue: Historic Districts Council, Defenders of the UES Historic Districts, New York City Park Advocates, Friends of the UES Historic Districts, and more!  Stay tuned ...