New York State - The Preservationist
Spring 2016
50 Years of Progress!
This year marks the 50th anniversary of the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966, which established preservation policy for the country and created a network of State Historic Preservation Offices to carry out the provisions of the act. New York has long been a preservation leader, and the 50th anniversary provides a great opportunity to celebrate its history as well as its preservation successes. The recently published New York State Historic Preservation Plan 2015-2020 commemorates the preservation movement in New York while highlighting the important role that it plays in revitalizing communities across the state. It is a plan for all New Yorkers, helping to guide preservation efforts at the local, regional and state levels. The plan aims to further preservation activities by expanding partnerships as well as engaging new audiences, It also outlines a broad set of goals that can be adapted to a wide range of people, places and circumstances.
 
New York State - The Preservationist
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Preservation50: NYS
The 2016 New York Statewide Preservation Conference will take place May 5-7 in Albany and Troy. In keeping with this year's 50th anniversary of the National Historic Preservation Act, the conference's theme is Preservation50: NYS. The conference will highlight past preservation achievements while planning for the future of historic preservation in New York State. The conference is for everyone, no matter what your level of interest and involvement is in history, preservation and/or community revitalization activities. It is an opportunity to learn, share, network and be inspired! The event is a collaborative effort among the Landmark Society of Western New York, Historic Albany Foundation, the Preservation League of New York State and the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation as well as an array of public and private partners.
Good Neighbors
T he State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO) has been working with the Crown Heights North Association to recognize and revitalize the community's historic resources. In 2014, the SHPO assisted the association with the nomination of the Crown Heights North Historic District to the State and National Registers of Historic Places, making hundreds of owners in the district eligible for preservation tax credits. More recently, the SHPO worked with the association to expand the district, which now contains over 1,600 historic properties, including a large collection of residences as well as commercial and civic buildings. Thanks to these efforts, there has been a steady increase in the number of owners applying for preservation tax credits. Through a partnership with the association and the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA), the SHPO is also encouraging owners, when possible, to incorporate solar panels into rehabilitation projects to increase energy efficiency across the area.
Before Brown V. Board of Education
Main School in Hillburn was the focus of a prominent school desegregation battle in 1943. During the late nineteenth century, the hamlet of Hillburn in Rockland County had separate schools for white and black children. In 1912, Main School was built to replace the white community's aging frame school. The large new school presented a marked contrast to the small frame school for black students. Through the years, discontent over the unequal, segregated schools grew within the local African American community. Both local action and an appeal by the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) failed in 1913, as segregated schools were legal in New York. When the law was overturned in 1938, Hillburn's school board failed to act. Thurgood Marshall, the head of the NAACP's legal department, assisted the African American community with its petition against the school board and appeal to the New York State Board of Education. Subsequently, the state education commissioner ruled that all students, regardless of race, should attend Main School. The SHPO worked with the Ramapo Central School District to list the school on the State and National Registers for its significance in the areas of law, social history and education.
Extreme Fire Fighter
For more than seventy years the fireboat Fire Fighter protected New York City's waterfront and waterways, fighting numerous shoreline and shipboard fires. Built on Staten Island and launched in 1938, the vessel was one of the world's most powerful fireboats, capable of delivering up to 20,000 gallons of water per minute to its firefighting equipment. Through the years, the boat fought more than fifty fires, including fires aboard the S.S. Normandie and the El Estero, the 1946 fire that destroyed the St. George Ferry terminal, the 1960 fire that killed fifty aboard the aircraft carrier Constellation, and the 1973 fire involving the Esso Brussels and the Sea Witch.  The fireboat also responded when disaster struck the World Trade Center on September 11, supplying water to firefighters at ground zero. Decommissioned in 2010, the fireboat was rescued by the nonprofit Fireboat Fire Fighter Museum  organization, which was recently awarded a $414,000 historic preservation grant under the state Environmental Protection Fund to restore the Fire Fighter . Docked on the waterfront in Greenport on the east end of Long Island, the boat is the centerpiece of the museum, offering programs and activities that engage visitors in the history of the fireboat and maritime firefighting.
Tax Returns
New York has one of the most active preservation tax credit programs in the country. Over the past year, the SHPO submitted $550 million worth of federal preservation tax credit projects, generating significant private investment and new jobs. The matching state commercial credit has greatly increased the use of the federal credit, especially upstate. Here are a few highlights. Built in 1923, the former Corning Free Academy has been rehabilitated for apartment use, incorporating many of its historic features into the complex. The Woolworth Building in downtown Watertown has been transformed into an affordable housing complex with commercial space on the first floor. The building was planned by Frank W. Woolworth, who began his retail career in Watertown as a dry goods merchant and later created the Woolworth's chain of department stores. In downtown Rochester, the vacant National Clothing Company Building, which was built in the 1920s as the company's flagship department store, has been revived as a Hilton Garden Inn. The former Willsboro School, which was built in 1927 and closed in 2001, has been rehabilitated as an assisted living facility for seniors. Built in 1844, Syracuse's Courier Building, which was the headquarters of the Syracuse Courier newspaper from 1856 to 1905, has been rescued and updated for commercial use on the first floor and apartments above. Built in 1904 to house the local newspaper, the Binghamton Press Building (shown here) is being rehabilitated for student housing. All of these projects and many more are utilizing preservation tax credits, helping to stimulate revitalization efforts in villages, towns, cities and counties across the state.
Fair Ride
While the 1964-1965 New York World's Fair drew more than 50 million visitors to Flushing Meadows-Corona Park in Queens for a celebration of culture, technology and global accomplishments, today only a handful of buildings and features survive from the sprawling exposition. Among them is a carousel  that was created especially for the fair. The SHPO recently worked with the New York City Department of Parks and Recreation to list the carousel on the State and National Registers for its significance as a rare surviving amusement park ride associated with the fair. The carousel incorporates two historic Coney Island carousels that were created by master carousel carver Marcus Illions and carousel builder and inventor William Mangels. As part of the fair, the carousel transported millions of visitors back to the golden age of Coney Island at the onset of the Space Age. Although moved, the carousel is sited close to its original location and remains a popular attraction as part of the Queens Zoo.
More Relief
Thanks to a second round of grants awarded under the federal Hurricane Sandy Relief Assistance for Historic Properties program, sixteen historic properties that were damaged during the 2012 storm will be stabilized, restored and protected. The grants , totaling more than $6.2 million, support a wide range of projects, from replanting trees and repairing monuments in Brooklyn's Green-Wood (shown here) and Evergreens Cemeteries, to restoring the stone cornice at the main entrance to Castle Gould, the former Guggenheim estate, now part of Nassau County's Sands Point Park Preserve. In addition to funding planning and preservation projects for properties owned by municipalities and nonprofit organizations in the thirteen counties declared eligible by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), the program is supporting the identification of thousands of historic resources on Long Island and in New York City's waterfront communities. The project goal is to update and expand the SHPO's information about historic resources in vulnerable areas to better prepare for future weather- and climate-related events. The SHPO's Cultural Resource Information System (CRIS) and new mobile survey app will allow the inventory to be accomplished with great efficiency and provide easy public access to the information.
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