Monday, July 30, 2012

Sign on to Help Save the Landmarks Law!

Preservation and protection of our architectural, historical, and cultural assets is one of the most important factors in assuring that New York remains a livable city. Preserving the best of our city's past and adapting it for reuse in the 21st century greatly enhances the quality of life for all citizens. Individual Landmarks and historic districts continue to offer substantial opportunities for economic development, the revitalization of neighborhoods, the stabilization of property values, and the enhancement of the tourism industry.

Last month, LANDMARK WEST! alerted our members, friends and neighbors to efforts by the Real Estate Board of New York (REBNY) and others to challenge the City's
1965 Landmarks Law. Since our last email, our colleagues at the Historic Districts Council
(HDC) have formed a coalition to support the Landmarks Law. Read their message below, then sign on to the coalition -- we did!


Original message dated Thursday, July 26, 2012 

... Following on the heels of the contentious designation hearings regarding the Downtown Brooklyn Skyscraper Historic District, the real estate lobby organized into the deceptively-named Responsible Landmarks Coalition and began proposing "reforms" to the Landmarks Law. These amendments were revealed at a City Council public in the beginning of May, where 11 bills were discussed that would, if adopted, mire the Landmarks Preservation Commission in complete bureaucratic status and encourage the City Council to reject landmarks designations on the basis of over-exaggerated and groundless financial concerns. 

... HDC monitors landmark issues throughout New York and we can unfortunately report that the environment for preservation activity has definitely turned cold. We are losing properties which should be preserved and even protected sites are getting hammered by damaging and potentially destructive proposals. Think about the proposal for a residential tower 15 feet away from St. John the Divine, a 9-story hotel development possibly undermining the Merchant's House or the demolition of the Corn Exchange on 125th Street.

How You Can Help:
  • Sign Up! Join the coalition of those opposing these changes to the Landmarks Law (for individual listing, please fill out the form on the HDC website). This growing list will be used to show City Councilmembers that these "reforms" are not supported by the people in the community. Even if you testified at the hearing on May 2, please affirm that your group wishes to be listed -- we would rather be too solicitous than list an organization incorrectly.
  • Save The Date! This Wednesday, HDC will be hosting a rally to commemorate the 50th Anniversary of the Legendary Rally to Save Pennsylvania Station. We will be gathering in the afternoon on Wednesday, August 1, by Madison Square Garden to draw attention to the continued threat to New York City's fantastic and imperiled historic buildings and neighborhoods. Stay tuned for more details (or contact HDC at or 212-614-9107).

We need you. Your community needs you. Stay tuned for updates via email, and visit to share your thoughts, sign up for the coalition and learn more.

Friday, July 27, 2012

West End Avenue, Then and Now #1 - Calhoun School

GUEST BLOG by LW! Interns Zack Bunin & Jason Crowley

Calhoun School 2012- Photograph by Zack Bunin
NOW ... The Calhoun School is an eight-story glass, travertine, and concrete building located on the south-west corner of West 81st Street and West End Avenue. 

Built between 1973 and 1975 and designed by architect Costas Machlouzarides, the original five-story building's most distinguishing feature was the second to fifth floors. Brown tinted glass curtain walls bow outwards and are framed by travertine cladding that arches on all four sides, giving the building the appearance of a giant television. 

In 2000, the Calhoun School hired FX Fowle, an architecture and planning firm, to design a four-story addition. Completed in 2004, it is sometimes called the “VCR” or “cable box”, to the school's TV-like appearance. The building’s 97' by 79' footprint is adjacent to a 1880s historic group of row houses and in a neighborhood of early 1900s apartment buildings.

1898 Bromley Map - NYPL
THEN ... Prior to the construction of the Calhoun School, a group of row houses occupied the corner (see historic Bromley map at left). Both the apartment building to the south and the group of row houses to the west demark the location of the late 19th Century corner development.

Even earlier, a row of five frame houses ran along 11th Avenue, later renamed West End Avenue. A rare 1894 image, seen below, depicts the modest framed houses at the corner of a paved intersection with planted trees.

1894 Wooden Dwellings on West End Ave btw 80th & 81st Streets - MCNY
Zack, who attended the Calhoun School from Pre-K to twelfth grade notes that "classes are held in 'Little Calhoun' on 160 West 74th Street until first grade. We move to 'Big Calhoun' for second grade to graduation."

Zack continues: "This building’s atypical design reflects the school’s somewhat uninhibited education. For instance, there are no walls between classrooms. As a kid between classes, the large tinted windows separate one from the surrounding apartments like a wall. Looking from the outside, this building is like a brick in an otherwise fluid neighborhood. Its design is a product of modern momentum which contrasts strongly with the historic neighborhood."

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

GUEST BLOG :: Meet Jonathan, LW! Summer Intern

This is the second intern introduction for the summer, following our earlier post welcoming Williamsburg High School for Architect & Design student Jahmauny.  Below, get to know Jonathan.  Then, stay tuned for posts authored by our interns!

Hi, my name is Jonathan Ortiz and I am 16 years old, going into my junior year of high school. I got involved with LW! through the “I Have A Dream” Foundation (IHDF) DeHostos-Wise Program. IHDF works to ensure that every student in the program has the opportunity to pursue a higher education. They do this by providing tutors for us, bringing us on college visits, and always preparing us for anything college-related. 

IHDF also provides mentors, internships, and opportunities to participate in programs such as LW!. I have been staying busy with IHDF and LW!, so I have been having a pretty good July, if I may say so myself! 

My favorite part of the summer so far was when I visited New York University with the IHDF. My favorite subjects in school are math and science because I like how everything is tied to those two subjects and how there is not an end to how they can be applied. 

I am planning on studying architecture in college because I find it interesting how building styles change over time. I enjoy helping people, and I feel like architecture can do that. Nice buildings can help the people in the community enjoy their surroundings and maybe even brighten up their day. If I don’t go into architecture, I want be in another profession that helps communities.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Learn the Keys to "Cracking the Code"

Via the American Institute for Architects New York Chapter ...

WHAT:  A four-hour course to 
            familiarize architects and 
            engineers with the
            ECCCNYS-2010 and Energy
            Conservation Code of NYC
            (Local Law 1 - 2011).
WHEN: Friday, July 27, 8:00AM - 12:00PM

WHERE: Center for Architecture, 536 LaGuardia Place

The 2010 Energy Conservation Construction Code of New York State (ECCCNYS-2010), effective December 28, 2010, is now mandatory throughout New York State. The code regulates the design and construction of buildings for the effective use of energy.

Urban Green Council and The New York Chapter of the American Institute of Architects have developed a four-hour course to familiarize architects and engineers with the ECCCNYS-2010, the fundamentals of low energy design, and the processes available to demonstrate compliance.

The course will address commercial buildings, including residential buildings over three stories. It will also address the Energy Conservation Code of New York City (Local Law 1 - 2011), which is more stringent than the State code. ANSI/ ASHRAE/IESNA Standard 90.1 – 2007, an alternative compliance pathway for meeting the requirements of ECCCNYS - 2010, will be referenced, but not covered in detail.

This program is funded by the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA), through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA).

To register, follow this link (for best results, copy/paste into your browser): 
Registration Fee: $85.00 
Location: The Center for Architecture, 536 LaGuardia Place, New York, NY 10012 
Organized by: AIANY and Urban Green 
Credits: AIA HSW/SD: 4.0 (AIA credits may also be used by NY State Professional Engineers and Land Surveyors); GBCI: 4.0 (GBCI credits are for LEED Professionals participating in the Credential Maintenance Program.)

Monday, July 23, 2012

GUEST BLOG :: Interns explore West End Avenue

As guest blog by intern Jason Crowley

Intern Jason Crowley at the 2012 "Unsung Heroes" awards,
with LW! Dir. of Education Debi Germann
Last month -- on Tuesday June 26 -- the Landmarks Preservation Commission (LPC) voted unanimously in favor of the Riverside-West End Historic District Extension I. This is the first of three proposed historic district extensions along West End Avenue and Riverside Drive.

LANDMARK WEST! is celebrating this milestone. Join us as we rediscover the architectural treasures of the West End neighborhood with a new guest blog series co-produced by summer interns Zack Bunin and myself, Jason Crowley. 

Zack is a returning summer intern and West Sider; and I'm Jason, the office's newest graduate intern, studying Historic Preservation at Columbia University.

Intern Zack Bunin at the 2012 "Unsung Heroes" awards,
with fellow intern Kate Gilmore.
"Then and Now", a new series
by Jason and Zack :
Follow Zack and me as we wander the Avenue and its sidestreets, writing about the buildings we encounter. We'll both do a bit of historical digging and share some of our personal perspectives.  Our goal is to shine a light on the individual buildings that make the neighborhood so special -- every building will surely have an interesting story and make great conversation and lively lunch hour debate! 

Together with Zack, I'll be pealing back the layers of history along West End Avenue, which rapidly transformed from relatively high-class single-family homes to grand apartment houses in the early 20th century. This significant transformation is unique to New York's development history and it will surely be exciting to see what some of the West End's great apartment buildings replaced in this, our "Then and Now" series!

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Resources at Risk: Merchant's House Museum endangered

Preservation Advocacy Beyond the Upper West Side
GUEST BLOG by LW! intern Jason Crowley

Next Tuesday, July 24th, the Landmarks Preservation Commission (LPC) will hold a public hearing regarding a proposed 9-story building at 27 East 4th Street, located in the NoHo Historic District. This proposal raises great concern for our preservation colleagues committed to the preservation of the adjacent Merchant's House Museum (built in 1832).

The Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation (GVSHP) and the Historic Districts Council (HDC) have written to the Landmarks Preservation Commission (LPC), Department of Buildings (DOB), and the Parks Department (which owns the Merchant's House) urging them to work together to ensure that no construction takes place next door unless measures are put in place ensuring that the Merchant's House will not be damaged or undermined.

Learn more here, then be sure to

Even though this is far and away from the typical boundaries for LANDMARK WEST!, the Merchant's House Museum is New York's only 19th-century family home preserved inside and out and is a city-owned property. Significant tax dollars have been put towards the restoration and preservation of the site, so all New Yorkers have a vested interest in its protection.

The Landmarks Preservation Commission will hold a public hearing on Tuesday, July 24th (exact time to be determined; stay tuned to the LPC agenda, or contact the Merchant's House Museum). LW! will be there supporting this city-wide concern (here's our statement).

Track this project via the GVSHP Landmarks Applications database.

Love Your Landmark #4 - West 72nd Street, where preservation means business!

Beginning in 1997, LW! launched its Retail Assistance Program (RAP).  Our goal: to revitalize the historic storefronts along West 72nd Street, between Columbus Avenue and Broadway/Amsterdam Avenue.  Our partners (among many others): the commercial tenants on the block.  

One by one, shop by shop, LW! discussed with the businesses and property owners of West 72nd Street the value of preserving their storefronts' historic details.  The results speak for themselves; click here to visit our featured RAP webpage.

So, why RAP?  Why as part of our third annual Love Your Landmarks campaign?  Because during a recent walk down memory lane, we happened upon our Fall 1998 newsletter.  Featured inside is a heartfelt letter of thanks from one of our West 72nd Street RAP partners, Robert and Judith Long of Long's Bedding & Interiors.  The Longs loved and appreciated the difference preservation made to their business; LW! loves their approach to neighborhood preservation!  Read the letter for yourself, then get in on the Love Your Landmarks 2012 action for yourself!

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

GUEST BLOG :: Meet Jahmauny, LW! Summer Intern

This is the first intern introduction for the summer, following our earlier post welcoming our new team members.  Below, get to know Jahmauny.  Then, stay tuned for intros from the rest of our interns!

What is WHSAD?
I am Jahmauny Monds, and I just completed my sophomore year at the Williamsburg High School for Architecture and Design (WHSAD). With many unique aspiring architects and engineers, WHSAD has an amazing environment. Not only does this school allow me to integrate my skills such as designing and creating a 3-D model of the three main Greek columns for my English project on Greek architecture, but my school also teaches me how vital beautiful early and modern – day architecture has become.

What are some of the preservation-related courses you took this past year?
During my second year at WHSAD, I took an intricate, in-depth course in historic preservation. This class took me step-by-step through the different types of brick, brick bonds and methods to creating bricks. Then we researched the history of the infamous brick and how this invention was industrialized by the pug mill. With all of this newly developed knowledge, we then began to use Autodesk’s AutoCAD to create and plot our very own brick bonds.

What do you like best about studying architecture?
What I find the most intriguing about architecture is the amount of history that goes along with it. Architecture has power and meaning. It can show queens and kings, it can pay respect to deities of that time period, and it also shows the level of intelligence and creativity or the architects of that time. From Lady Liberty to the pyramids in Egypt, architecture is and forever will be, in my eyes, the most fascinating aspect of civilization.

What are you looking forward to doing in LW! this summer?
With my love for architecture, I have joined the LW! team this summer with the intention to preserve the history and ingenuity of New York City’s early building designs and techniques that were applied to the primary buildings of this great city. I plan to post more blogs with updates on the ongoing battle to keep these sacred buildings in their original state. I will also be a part of a specific project which is the Central Park West Skyline.

Love Your Landmark #3 - 349-357 West 84th Street

349 - 357 West 84th Street

I love the variety in window details and the curved bays of these row houses -- I especially love the Greek Cross windows on the top floor of each house!  And I think the apartment house on the corner is a great "book end" to this beautiful row!


Jason Crowley
LW! Graduate Intern, Columbia University 

Monday, July 16, 2012

The LW! Crew, Summer 2012 Edition

The number of full-time staffers at LW! can be counted on one hand (seriously, there are three of us, plus our full-time President, Arlene Simon!).  And so every year, this quartet looks forward to the summer months, when we welcome an energetic team of student interns.  Their ages range (from high school juniors to 2nd-year graduate students), but their desire to learn about the ins and outs of preservation advocacy via the LW! model is shared among them!

Throughout the summer, LW! will introduce each of our student interns.  Then, track our blog for regular guest posts by each intern.  Meet the folks behind the organization, and get to know LW! through fresh eyes!  The Summer 2012 intern roster is:

And of course you remember:

  • Kate Gilmore, 3rd year graduate student in the dual degree Urban Planning and Historic Preservation programs at Columbia University;
  • Zack Bunin, a junior at the University of Rochester, joining us for his third consecutive summer (time flies!)

Enjoy their posts, all summer long!

Thursday, July 12, 2012

At the Naumburg Bandshell, Sounds of Summer

Throughout the year, LW! is pleased to share with our fellow West Siders news of upcoming events that celebrate our city's architectural and scenic landmarks.  Every summer, that includes the free classical music series at Central Park's Naumburg Bandshell (this year marks the 107th season!).  

Image via the New York Times

Today's New York Times shared a review of the series' "house band", The Knights, and their approach to outdoor performance set lists, considered by reporter Allan Kozinn to be experimental.  He writes:

        Most ensembles, including this one, have typically built their parks 
        programs of robust works that stand up easily to the formidable 
        competition of airplane engines; bird song; the distant, dull hum of the 
        city’s traffic; passing radios; and for a while on Tuesday evening 
        someone playing a snare drum not far from the Naumburg Bandshell.

        But the Knights decided not to be cowed by all that. Among their 
        offerings on Tuesday were Wagner’s “Siegfried Idyll” — not a whispered 
        work, exactly, but its subtleties are abundant — and Debussy’s 
        “Prelude to the Afternoon of a Faun,” a work rich in delicate textural details.

Read the complete review here, then mark your calendars for the next performance by The Knights at the Naumburg Bandshell, Tuesday, July 14th!

Monday, July 9, 2012

Love Your Landmark #2 - 125 Riverside Drive

125 Riverside Drive

I love the many undulating curves of the building's facade -- it makes for such an amazing interior layout!


Kate Gilmore
LW! Graduate Intern, 
Columbia University 

Revisit some of Kate's earlier contributions to the LW! blog:

     - Ongoing study of the
       Upper West Side's
       iconic skyline

     - Shining a spotlight on the 
       Mechanic's Institute

     - Reporting on 
       streetscape concerns

     - Exploring preservation
       beyond New York City


Love Your Landmark #1 - Bashed Trumpet Bench

"Bashed Trumpet Bench"
West 100th Street

We love our "landmark" benches on West 100th Street!  Our beautiful "Bashed Trumpet" was commissioned by the Block Association over a decade ago to provide respite for the young, old and in-between who live on and visit our monumental block. Linus Coraggio, the metal sculptor who created this bench, was raised on this block and still lives in his apartment of origin.

Here are Block Association members and other bench lovers.

100th Street Block Association 

Friday, July 6, 2012

Reliving the 2012 "Unsung Heroes" awards ceremony

On June 12, 2012, LANDMARK WEST! welcomed nearly 200 of its nearest and dearest to our annual awards ceremony, a celebration of the Unsung Heroes of the Upper West Side!

"Unsung Heroes" are those individuals and institutions who -- in some way, shape or form -- help to advance the cause of preserving our neighborhood's special architecture and sense of place. In 2012, we paid homage to a band of worthy New Yorkers whose impressive works for historic preservation outlive them, continuing to shape the Upper West Side, our city and impact our quality of life for the better:
                       Robert Makla             Dorothy M. Miner
                   Norman Marcus             Nancy Spero
David F.M. Todd
(learn more about our honorees here)

LW! has been fortunate to celebrate our Unsung Heroes awards in spaces that are architectural gems, and 2012 was no exception. This year, the stunning Beacon Theatre, an Interior Landmark, set the scene. It's undeniably exotic architecture was complimented by the aromatic Turkish delicacies of Pasha Restaurant.

In the company of fa

Click here to flip through the program.
mily, colleagues, former students, and friendly admirers, LW! honored Bob, Dorothy, Norman, Nancy, and David. Because of their work, this neighborhood -- this city -- is a far better place. Because of them, the West Side is one of the most beautiful, livable, appreciated and beloved places on earth. And who better to deliver this celebratory news than our Master of Ceremonies, Pat Kiernan! Anchor of NY1 and neighborhood activist, Pat dedicated his talents to honoring those whose work shaped the West Side for the better.
LW! thanks all who supported this annual tradition, especially those who sponsored tribute pages and ads in our evening's printed program (seen at right). For our friends who were able to join us for this magical night of revelry, may the photos below (and here, in our Flickr album!) serve as a reminder of our whimsical evening. You can also watch our awardee slideshow from the evening on our YouTube channel. For those unable to attend, we hope to see you at another event in 2012. Thank you, all!

Master of Ceremonies Pat Kiernan, center, is joined by event guests
and videographers Anthony Bellov and Dayle van der Sande.

LW! Board member Ernie von Simson and President Arlene Simon

See more pictures from our 2012
Unsung Heroes of the Upper West Side Awards Ceremony
by visiting our Flickr album!

Spectacular interior of the Beacon Theatre, captured by former LW! intern and photog Andrew Kaplan.

Guests enjoy delicious food from West Side restaurant Pasha.

See more pictures from our 2012
Unsung Heroes of the Upper West Side Awards Ceremony
by visiting our Flickr album!

Guests read through the evening's printed program.
Click here to take a look for yourself!

See more pictures from our 2011
Unsung Heroes of the Upper West Side Awards Ceremony
by visiting our Flick album!

Thursday, July 5, 2012

"Love Your Landmarks" All Year Long!

For the past three years -- starting in 2010 -- LW! has spent the month of February showing our love for the Upper West Side's much-loved landmarks...
...Who's to say we can't show our love for landmarks all year long?!

With the Landmarks Preservation Commission's recent designation of the Riverside-West End Historic District Extension I (at public meeting of June 26, 2012), the family of West Side landmarks continues to grow.  That's something to celebrate; Do it with "Love Your Landmarks"!

While you're picnicking in the park, bike riding along the Hudson, or sipping a cold drink at your favorite sidewalk cafe -- take this moment to tell everyone, "I Love this Landmark!" Join us as we call out the landmarks that make the Upper West Side so lovable! All it takes is a digital camera and your own inspiration

Head to the LW! blog now to see which buildings and sites people shared in 2010 and 2011!

So what's a "landmark"?

"Landmark" can mean different things to different people.  It could mean the Dakota Apartments, an Upper West Side icon and Individual Landmark.  Or, it might be something more personal: your family's favorite restaurant, the street corner where you pick up your newspaper every morning, your child's playground or park, or even the elementary school you attended.

If it's a landmark to you, we want to know!

Join in this love-filled landmarks fest!  It's this easy: 

(1)  Download and print an "I [heart] this landmark" sign*.  Both black and white or color are 
       perfectly fine! 

(2)  Visit your landmarks and take a picture of you with your "I Love this Landmark" sign.
(3)  Email your photos to LANDMARK WEST!.  Make sure to tell us what about the building or 
       site is special to you.  Also, please include the address or location of the building when 

*If you have any trouble or aren't able to print a sign, no worries!  A photo of you and  
the object of your architectural affection is still welcomed!   

What happens to your photo?
Your photos--take as many as you can!--will be added to the LW! blog.  There, other West Siders and landmark enthusiasts will see what buildings and places have special meaning to us all. 

Get Out There And "Love Your Landmarks!"