Monday, September 24, 2012

Advocacy How-To: Writing to your elected officials

Informing your elected officials of the issues that matter to you--to your neighborhood--is critical.  Whether you send an email, mail a letter or pick up the phone and speak to a member of staff, your neighborhood needs you to take action! Consider this post your one-stop shop for contacting your elected officials.

STEP ONE: Determine who are your elected officials.
It's easy to learn who is your City Council member, State Assembly member and so on; just click here and type in your address. 

STEP TWO: Get inspired!
Visit the LW! YouTube Channel to watch video from the first public hearing of the Landmarks Preservation Commission for a refresher on each representatives' comments about the proposed West End Avenue historic district extension. Still need a little help getting started? Here's a sample letter.
STEP THREE: Draft a succinct message that shares your concerns 
and requests their support.
If the above-linked sample letter is helpful, terrific!  If you'd prefer to send in something more individualized, that's equally great.  We recommend first offering thanks for support your elected officials have offered to important community issues in the past.  West End Avenue, for example, received early support from Upper West Side elected officials in whose districts landmarking would occur, thanks to the West End Preservation Society (WEPS). Then, request their continued commitment at the public hearing on October 3rd.

STEP FOUR (option 1): Send your email!
One email is all it takes!  Copy-paste the addresses below and share your request for support with all of the West Side's elected representatives at once:

     Manhattan Borough President Scott M. Stringer:
     City Council Member Gale Brewer:
     City Council Member Inez Dickens:
     City Council Member Melissa Mark-Viverito:
     State Assembly Member Linda Rosenthal:
     State Assembly Member Daniel O'Donnell:
     State Senator Thomas K. Duane:
     State Senator Adriano Espaillat:
     State Senator Bill Perkins:
     Congressman Jerrold Nadler: form email-only available; click here
     Congressman Charles Rangel: form email-only available; click here
     And be sure add in the "cc" line!

STEP FOUR (option 2): Send your letter!
Prefer to send a letter in hardcopy?  Links to each official's contact page is below:

     Congressmen Jerrold Nadler and Charles Rangel
     State Senators Thomas K. Duane, Adriano Espaillat and Bill Perkins.
     State Assembly Members Linda Rosenthal and Daniel O'Donnell
     City Council Members Gale Brewer, Inez Dickens and Melissa Mark-Viverito.

MISSION ACCOMPLISHED! Your support is essential to ensuring that our neighborhood's priorities are shared by our elected officials.  Thank you for taking the time to reach out to them.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Ghosts of the Past: "Fading Ads" illustrated lecture, October 3rd

Fading Ads of New York City 
An illustrated lecture and book signing with author Frank Jump

Wednesday, October 3rd, 2012 at 6:00PM
New York Society for Ethical Culture, 2 West 64th Street

"[Fading Ads of New York City] showcases Mr. Jump's loving record of hand-painted 'ghost signs' that lasted long enough to go from eyesore to historical asset."
             --David Dunlap, New York Times, 12/1/2011

New York City is eternally evolving. From its iconic skyline to its side alleys, the new is perpetually being built on the debris of the past. But a movement to preserve the city's vanishing landscapes has emerged. 

For nearly twenty years, Frank Jump has been documenting the fading ads that are visible, but less often seen, all over New York. Disappearing from the sides of buildings or hidden by new construction, these signs are remnants of lost eras of New York's life.  They weave together the city's unique history, culture, environment, and society and tell the stories of the businesses, places, and people whose lives transpired among them--the story of New York itself

This photo-documentary is also a study of time and space, of mortality and living, as Jump's campaign to capture the ads mirrors his own struggle with HIV. Experience the ads--shot with vintage Kodachrome film--and the meaning they carry through acclaimed photographer and urban documentarian Frank Jump's lens. 

Mr. Jump has given talks at The New York Public Library main branch, the Brooklyn Historical Society, and many others. 

Reservations Required!
$15 for "Steward" members, $20 for non-members
2-for-1 Admission for "Partners" and above members

Thursday, September 20, 2012

A Morning at Play

The first official day of the Fall season may not be until tomorrow, but this morning's beautiful weather tempted us to celebrate a day early.  With blue skies on our side, we took a mid-morning romp through the Adventure Playground, located just a stone's throw from the LW! office, inside Central Park (at West 67th Street).

Tree houses in the Adventure Playground, Central Park.
It's no secret that the Adventure Playground, designed by Richard Dattner in 1967, has a special place in the hearts of West Siders.  We encourage you to swing by, kids in tow, and see for yourself how engaging and aesthetically this playground truly is.  Consider it your excuse to be a kid again!

Central Park is home to a collection of adventure-style playgrounds; take a tour via our Summer 2011 blog post, here. 

Hear (from Richard Dattner himself!) about the history of the Adventure Playground; just click on the image below:

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Tonight, Experience the Architecture of Cuba

"Say the word Cuba and most people think dictators, the prison at Guantánamo Bay, and Communism with palm trees. Architect Hermes Mallea believes there is so much more to the country and has the pictures to prove it." -- Architectural Digest
This evening, LANDMARK WEST! hosts the illustrated slide lecture "Great Houses of Havana", featuring architect and author Hermes Mallea. 

In his book Great Houses of Havana: A Century of Cuban Style (The Monacelli Press, November 2011) Hermes Mallea gives the first-ever insider's tour of Havana's architectural gems, bringing the reader inside never-before-published homes, presenting their fascinating personal histories alongside Havana's architectural patrimony.

Mallea presents portraits of important homes built in the city between 1860 and 1960, beginning with the extraordinary images taken by American photographer, George Barnard, who was permitted to bring his camera into the intimacy of the Palace of the Counts of Santovenia. These pictures set the standard for giving the reader access inside a famously closed world.

Read more about Hermes Mallea's book on Architectural Digest online.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Monday Meanderings Captured in Instagram

Mid-morning errands produced a mini-collection of some Broadway gems.  Have a look at our "I'm running to Staples for labels, be right back!" album:

The Apthorp Apartments, between West 78th and 79th Streets.  Known perhaps most readily
as the longtime object of the late Nora Ephron's affections.

Head to our Twitter media grid to check out more photos from today's meanderings (including those shown above: First Baptist Church, the former Central Savings Bank and the Astor Apartments).

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Countdown to City Council Sub-Committee Public Hearing: 15 DAYS

The Riverside-West End Historic District Extension I continues on the path to achieving bona fide landmark status! City Council has set a date for the public hearing (Wednesday, October 3 -- more details here).  Now they need to hear from YOU.  This is it! 
Click on the map to read
the LPC's designation report.

Your letter is absolutely essential to let the City Council members know just how important it is to preserve this incredible ensemble of buildings.  If they don't hear from you -- NOW -- it could cost the neighborhood its landmark protection.


Sending an email or writing a letter to your Council Member takes just moments with the help of our call to action blogpost.  Your letter is so important!  Please email
or write today!

To Gale Brewer,
UWS City Council Member

"Thank you for your leadership on this first of three historic district extensions on West End Avenue; I'm with you!"

To other City Council Members*:  
"Please stand by the West Side's City Council Member, Gale Brewer, and affirm the Landmarks Preservation Commission's unanimous vote to designate the Riverside-West End HD Extension I."

To Christine Quinn, City Council Speaker*:
"The West Side community supports expanded landmark protection of our neighborhood -- people want preservation!"

*Please forward a copy of your letter or email to LANDMARK WEST!

Monday, September 10, 2012

What the LW! iPhone App has in Common with Vogue Magazine

It's Fashion Week in New York City.  And, more specifically, on the Upper West Side!  Lincoln Center has transformed, for the seven days between September 6th and 13th, into a kaleidoscopic blend of avant garde people and fashions.  It's an exciting week to be on the West Side!

From Vogue's September issue, Kennedy Fraser's article "The Tented Room" chronicles
1980s movers and shakers at Jean Stein's apartment at the Langham Apartments.
In the fashion vein, September is also the month when Vogue releases its mammoth, multi-pound issue of fall trends.  Imagine our giddiness when, between ads for couturiers and jewelers, leather goods and knit wear, we read writer Kennedy Fraser's article "Social History: The Tented Room", which chronicles the social life of West Sider Jean Stein in none other than the Langham Apartments.

Located at 135 Central Park West (between 73rd and 74th Streets), the Langham is an impressive Beaux-Arts apartment building designed by architects Clinton & Russell and built in 1904-07.  In her Vogue piece, Fraser remembers the remarkable bold-face names that came together at Jean Stein's Langham abode, described by the author as "handsome but slightly shabby".  "From Tennessee Williams and Truman Capote to Diane Keaton", Stein's home was a list--constantly in formation--of "Who's Who" in 1980s New York.

With this article, the worlds of Vogue and LW! have something in common: the Langham is one of 30+ sites featured on LW's FREE walking tour app!  Sneak a preview of the app here and then download it for yourself.  It's the next best thing, twenty-some years later, to toasting with Jean Stein herself, wouldn't you say?

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Back to School Means Farewell to Interns

LW! bids farewell to our two great high school interns, Jahmauny Monds and Jonathan Ortiz. Here, they offer us some departing words. We wish them all the best on this first day of school!

Jahmauny writes ...
I loved my time here at LANDMARK WEST!. I enjoyed being introduced to people, organizations, and history. I learned about a building's primary purpose, and discovered how influential a building can be to a neighborhood. I sat in and got involved with discussions on something new I learned through LW!: transferable development rights. I jumped into conversations about potential undesired expansions of original buildings on the Upper West Side. As promised, I joined the fight for appropriate preservation and I am glad that I was able to not only have but enjoy and benefit from this experience. My LW! staff is simply divine. I thank you all for having me and making me feel welcome. You are all great. Although this is the end of my internship with LW!, I will not say goodbye. With similar interests at heart, I thank Debi, Kate G., Cristiana, and Mrs. Arlene, till next time.

We're blushing ... thanks, Jahmauny!

Jonathan writes ...

During my time here at LANDMARK WEST! I have had so many new experiences, from observing a public hearing at the Landmarks Preservation Commission, to writing about buildings, to office work. My time here at LW! just flew by, and yet I got so much out of it. I enjoyed when I would get the task of taking pictures of certain buildings, because it made me appreciate buildings that I passed by hundreds of times but never really looked at. LW! really opened by eyes and taught me to appreciate my surroundings because that's what makes up a part of you. I will remember the people I met here and the moments I had with each of them for a long time. I am also going to miss the office itself because it is the most unique space I have ever seen! You can't look anywhere without something catching your eye, whether it be a decoration, a knick-knack, or one of the several paintings or photographs just hanging around the office. Sometimes I would have to remind myself I have a job to do when I would start to look at all the cool stuff in the office. This has been a great experience and I would not have changed anything about it.

We were incredibly lucky to have two inquisitive and industrious students with us this summer.  As much as we taught them the ropes of neighborhood preservation, we learned so much from them as well!  Look back at posts from both Jahmauny and Jonathan -- and all of this summer's interns! -- by clicking here.