Olmsted House, circa 1924
Eltingville, Staten Island
New York Community Trust Boosts Olmsted House Funding

 The New York Community Trust  has awarded the Conservancy a $40,000 grant to cover architectural and engineering expenses connected with stabilizing Frederick Law Olmsted’s home on Staten Island. Thanks to them, we have now raised $92,400 towards our $150,000 goal.

We have enough in hand now to do priority work on the house this summer. There needs to be asbestos abatement first. The Parks Department will perform that as soon as contracts for the work get final City approval.

Work this summer will include waterproofing the floor of the basement to bring down humidity in the house, re-pointing stone masonry in places where the mortar has eroded, building a temporary shed roof over the exposed ditch surrounding the house where the porch had been, removing and salvaging brick piers that had supported the porch, and removing of debris in areaways adjacent to the house.

Olmsted began experimenting with landscape design while living at the house, which is an early City landmark. When the Parks Department purchased the house and grounds in 2006, they said they intended to create a nature study center at the site.

Conservancy Asks Council to Tighten "Voids" Limit

In the latest skirmish in the fight against “supertalls,” City Planning took their own weak amendment and made it even less effective. We asked the City Council to step in and make it better.

At an April 16 City Council hearing, the Conservancy asked the Department of City Planning (DCP) and the Council to improve a proposed zoning amendment that would limit the height of mechanical rooms or “voids.” The amendment would set a cap of 30 feet on “voids.” We asked for it to be reduced even more, or at least, go back to an earlier version of the proposal that set the limit at 25 feet. The amendment would only cover residential buildings, in some parts of the City. ( read our testimony )

While all buildings require space for mechanical equipment, developers have been exploiting a loophole in the City’s Zoning Resolution. It doesn’t count these spaces against what developers are allowed to build, enabling “voids” that can be over 100 feet tall, boosting building heights.

Conservancy Opposes Plan to Dwarf East New York Landmark

The Conservancy spoke out against a plan for a new building that would cantilever over the Empire State Dairy, which is the only designated landmark within the East New York rezoning area. We opposed the proposal to build a 15-story building with sections that extend out, overshadowing the low-scale Dairy. ( read our testimony )
When the City upzoned this Brooklyn neighborhood to enable new housing construction in 2016, local advocates asked for multiple designations to protect historic resources from demolition. The Dairy, a complex of six early 20th century industrial buildings, known for its charming terra cotta murals, was the only success. 
The proposal at the Landmarks Preservation Commission (LPC) on April 16 called for restoring the Dairy and incorporating it into a new, mixed-use structure. We had no objections to those parts of the plan, but could not support the aggressive size and cantilevers that would overwhelm this neighborhood jewel. We asked the LPC to work with the owners to find a solution that would honor the landmark. The Commission did not take a vote.

Conservancy Awards $256,000 in Sacred Sites Grants

The Conservancy’s Sacred Sites Committee awarded $256,000 in matching grants to 22 historic religious institutions yesterday. These ranged from an 1833 stone Gothic-revival structure in Peru, New York, to an 1898 church on Central Park West to an 1898 synagogue in Binghamton. The $256,000 in total grants and will help leverage $3.1 million in repair and restoration projects throughout New York State.

Four sites in New York City received grants totaling $85,000. Old Broadway Synagogue received a $5,000 award to address structural damage to floor joists. Architects Meisner and Uffner designed this 1923 buff-brick tenement-style synagogue which remains as the last active Jewish congregation in West Harlem. The Fourth Universalist Society on Central Park West will complete a slate-roof installation with the assistance of a $40,000 Sacred Sites matching grant. The church, by architect William A. Potter, was completed in 1898 and reaches 3,100 people a year through numerous community activities. The Cathedral of St. John the Divine will restore its inoperable bronze entrance doors with the help of a $10,000 Sacred Sites Grant. The largest cathedral in the world, St. John the Divine was designed by architects Heins & LaFarge and Cram & Ferguson. In Brooklyn, Stuyvesant Heights Christian Church in the recently extended Crown Heights Historic District is a Gothic-revival red-brick building by architect George Hawthorne. A $30,000 matching grant will assist with the restoration of a monumental stained-glass window and the wood tracery.

Statewide - Save the Date!!!
Kick Off Lecture & Tour - May 13
Open House - May 18-19

Please join us on May 13 as we kick off the Landmarks Conservancy’s ninth annual  Sacred Sites Open House with a lecture and tour of the Louise Nevelson Chapel at  Saint Peter's Church in Midtown , one of the City's youngest landmarks (1977). The Open House is May 18-19.

Rediscovering New York's Lost Sacred Sites - An illustrated lecture by Glen Umberger, Manager of Special Projects for the Landmarks Conservancy

Saint Peter's Church - 619 Lexington Avenue (Enter on 54th Street)

Monday, May 13 - Doors open: 6:00 pm
Lecture: 6:30 pm - Tours/Reception follow

After the lecture, please join us in small groups for hard hat tours of Louise Nevelson's Chapel of the Good Shepherd which is undergoing an extensive restoration project. Tours will be led by Pastor Jared Stahler and Saint Peter's Church docents. More information about restoration .

OPEN HOUSE - MAY 18 & 19
For more information visit www.sacredsitesopenhouse.org
Metropolitan Club - June 5
Save the Date - Chairman's Award Luncheon

Eric Adams, Brooklyn Borough President - For his leadership in restoring Erasmus Hall Academy, the State’s first secondary school and an important 18th-century landmark.

Walter B. Melvin Architects  - For their dedication to the preservation of historic detail and authentic workmanship of older buildings and historic structures.

Jennifer Raab, President, Hunter College - Under Raab’s leadership, the Roosevelt Townhouses underwent an extensive renovation and are now the Roosevelt House Public Policy Institute, a state-of-the-art facility and living memorial to Eleanor and Franklin Roosevelt.

The Shubert Organization - A leader in American theater since the beginning of the 20th century, operating 17 Broadway theaters, many landmarked and lovingly restored.

WHEN: June 5, 2019
12:00 pm Reception
12:30 – 2:00 Luncheon

1 East 60th Street at Fifth Avenue
Business attire (jacket and tie for men)


The Plaza
Lucy G. Moses Preservation Awards a Success

Our 29th  Lucy G. Moses Awards attracted a record 670 persons to “the Oscars of Preservation” last Tuesday night—filling The Plaza Ballroom.

We couldn’t have been happier to see everyone. What a great turnout to see Barnett Shepherd   (pictured above) accept our  Preservation Leadership Award   and a special proclamation declaring “Barnett Shepherd Day,” from Staten Island Borough President James Oddo. Our project awards ranged from rescued houses in Crown Heights and Greenpoint, to major buildings like the Hispanic Society, Ford Foundation and Knickerbocker Club.

It was a wonderful celebration of the great range of New York’s architecture.

Preservation Project Awards
2 Park Avenue
39 Clifton Place
202 Guernsey Street
462 Broadway
George B. and Susan Elkins House
Ford Foundation Center for Social Justice
Freehand New York
George Westinghouse Career and Technical Education High School
The Hispanic Society of America
Knickerbocker Club
Lewis H. Latimer House Museum
Prospect Park Wellhouse
Starrett Lehigh Building
Tenement Museum

Mystery Landmark
Did You Identify This Mystery Landmark?

It's the former Association Residence for Respectable Aged Indigent Females, now a branch of Hostelling International–USA. Located at 891 Amsterdam Avenue and designed by Richard Morris Hunt (1881-83), this rare example of 19th-century institutional architecture was designated a City Landmark in 1983.

The Association for Respectable Aged Indigent Females was one of New York City's first charitable institutions. It was chartered in 1814 to aid those who were left poor widows by the Revolutionary War and the War of 1812.

The Association left the building in 1968 and despite a Robert Moses proposed demolition–and a fire during the '77 blackout–preservationists prevailed in saving the building. American Youth Hostels opened in 1990 after renovations and it is now the largest hostel in North America.

You can read the designation report here .

The building was correctly identified by Sheldon Schwartz and his favorite landmark is the Seagram Building , followed by the FDR Memorial on Roosevelt Island, known as Four Freedoms Park .

This month’s Landmark News is sponsored by   Stribling and Associates
This newsletter is made possible in part by the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo and the New York State Legislature.  
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