45th Anniversary Year In Review

Our 45th Anniversary year was another busy mix of projects in our signature programs, special projects and expanding efforts to protect residential neighborhoods from out-of-scale development. Here are some highlights. 
Signature Programs: Our Sacred Sites program gave out 41 grants totaling $497,500. The congregations we helped have social service and cultural programs that serve more than 150,000 persons in their communities.

Eight Historic Property Fund loans of $582,000 helped property owners in Brooklyn, Manhattan, and Staten Island with restoration work. Three Emergency Grants helped the Olmsted House, Historic Richmondtown, and the Henry Street Settlement with critical repairs.

Advocacy : We joined with colleagues and got the Landmarks Preservation Commission to re-work proposed rules changes to hopefully make them easier to understand. We also successfully pushed designation of Philip Johnson’s iconic former AT&T Building at 550 Madison Avenue.    

Special Projects: We joined preservation and civic groups determined to prevent repair of the BQE from destroying the Brooklyn Promenade and damaging the Brooklyn Heights and DUMBO Historic Districts.

We pushed for a united front with our colleagues to stop developers from manipulating zoning laws to create supersize buildings and stop the Buildings Department from interpreting rules to allow ever larger buildings.

We launched an effort to stabilize Frederick Law Olmsted’s home on Staten Island. ( read our latest update )

And we applauded restoration work that finally began on Erasmus Hall Academy in Brooklyn thanks to Borough President Eric Adams. We have advocated for this important 1787 building for years, even funding technical reports on its condition.

We couldn’t do this without you. Thank you for all your support in these efforts. Here’s to continuing to preserve and protect New York in 2019! 
Eltingville, Staten Island
Olmsted Home Receives a $25,000 Grant

Frederick Law Olmsted’s Staten Island home is another step closer to being stabilized thanks to a $25,000 grant from The Achelis and Bodman Foundation we received on December 19. Added to the $27,350 generated by a successful Kickstarter campaign and direct donations, the grant ensures that the most crucial work on this important landmark can be done this spring.

We’re thrilled The Achelis and Bodman Foundation gave our efforts a boost and grateful to the more than 200 individual contributors to our campaign to date. The Conservancy needs to raise another $97,650 to cover all the stabilization needs. All the funds raised will be used for work on the house. The ultimate goal is to have the Parks Department, which owns the house, complete the restoration and adapt the building and grounds for public use.   

While living in this house in the 1840s, Olmsted began experimenting with plantings that informed his later plans for Central and Prospect Parks, as well as parks around the country. His home could, and should be a destination for New Yorkers and visitors alike.    

Washington Heights
Conservancy Secures Grant for Morris-Jumel Interiors

Thanks to Conservancy matchmaking, two French-themed rooms at the 1765 Morris-Jumel Mansion in Washington Heights will be restored with funding from The Versailles Foundation. 

The Conservancy received a call from The Versailles Foundation in early December asking if we knew of a French-themed project in New York. We quickly called the Mansion, knowing of its French connections. We discovered they had plans for restoring the French Reception Room and the Eliza Jumel Bedroom, but no funding. These rooms feature early 19 th century French furniture, wall paper, draperies and carpeting purchased by Stephen and Eliza Jumel on a trip to France. Stephen, a French émigré, purchased the Mansion in 1810.

We sent the estimates to The Versailles Foundation and they quickly agreed to cover the $203,000 total cost. Work is expected to begin early this year. The Mansion’s Trustees are delighted—and so are we. Merci!  

The landmarked Mansion is the oldest house in Manhattan and has an incredible history. It was built by a British patriot. George Washington used it as his headquarters for two months in 1776 during the Revolutionary War. Washington held his first cabinet meeting at the Mansion as President. After Stephen Jumel died, Eliza Jumel had a short-lived marriage to Aaron Burr. The building itself is an impressive pre-Revolutionary Georgian mansion with an unusual octagonal rear wing.
Hamilton Heights/Sugar Hill
Conservancy Staff Participates in Borough President's Outreach

Landmark and historic district designation can trigger financial incentives for building owners. The Conservancy was pleased to join with Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer (center in photo), the West Harlem Community Preservation Organization and the Landmarks Preservation Commission (LPC) at a December 20th presentation on those financial benefits. 

The program, held at City College's Bernard and Anne Spitzer School of Architecture, was focused on property owners in the Hamilton Heights/Sugar Hill Historic District and Extensions. Some 25 building owners representing individuals, housing development fund corporations, block associations and religious institutions came out to hear Jim Mahoney and Blaire Walsh talk about the Conservancy's Historic Properties Fund , which provides low-interest loans for exterior restoration work, and the New York State Historic Homeowner Tax Credit . LPC staff discussed the Commission's grant programs, going in-depth on eligibility requirements

Gale Brewer made comments on the benefits of preservation and the New York State Environmental Protection Fund, which offers grants to non-profits . Afterwards there was a question and answer period where the audience asked specific questions regarding the various programs. Similar panels are being planned now for other parts of the City.
827-831 Broadway
We Love Books, Preservation, and The Strand Bookstore

The Conservancy loves books and we love the Strand Bookstore, one of New York’s most cherished institutions. At a December 4 Landmarks Preservation Commission hearing, we spoke out in support of designating the Strand’s building as an individual landmark. ( read our testimony
The building at 826 Broadway is an 11-story Renaissance Revival style structure from 1902. It has a limestone and brick façade that features rich terra cotta decorative details and a magnificent cornice. The Commission held hearings that day on seven buildings on Broadway near 12th and 13th Streets. We supported the entire group for designation.  
Books and bookstores are at the heart of what New Yorkers love about their City. The Conservancy has worked over the years to make sure that doesn’t change. We tried to save the Rizzoli Bookstore on 57th Street and we said “NO” when the New York Public Library wanted to demolish their stacks. So we were sorry to see that the Strand’s owner came out very much against the designation, claiming that it would destroy the building.
But as Peg Breen, the Conservancy’s president, noted in a December 3  New York Times  article, the Strand’s concerns are unfounded. “’No one is doing this to hurt the Strand, or add difficulties,’ she said. ‘They’re doing it to honor the building.’ Ms. Breen wants more buildings in the area to be landmarked, and hopes that designating the Strand’s building and the other six would pave the way, especially as a $250 million, 21-story tech training center is being developed near the Strand.”
We hope to hear more about the concerns the Strand has raised, and work toward a resolution that secures landmark protections for this treasured piece of New York history.
The Lucy G. Moses Awards
Call for Nominations

Deadline for submissions:
Friday, January 11, 2019, 5:00pm

The New York Landmarks Conservancy has been a leader in preserving, restoring, and reusing New York City’s architectural legacy for more than 45 years. The Moses Awards are the Conservancy’s highest honors for outstanding preservation work. Named in honor of dedicated New Yorker Lucy G. Moses, the annual Awards have recognized hundreds of leaders, architects, crafts people, and building owners for their extraordinary contributions in preserving our City.

Preservation Awards are given to projects that demonstrate excellence in the restoration, preservation, or adaptive use of historic buildings, streetscapes, and landscapes that preserve commercial, residential, institutional, religious, and public buildings. The Preservation Leadership Award is bestowed upon an outstanding individual in the field of historic preservation. 

Only projects that are substantially completed during 2018  and located within the five boroughs of New York City will be considered. Books, other publications, and films are not eligible.

For more information about the Lucy G. Moses Awards please visit our website or you can email Andrea Goldwyn at  andreagoldwyn@nylandmarks.org

Mystery Landmark
Did You Identify This Mystery Landmark?

It’s the Church of the Intercession located at 550 West 155th Street and Broadway in Upper Manhattan. The congregation was founded in 1846, and the current Gothic Revival sanctuary, built in 1912-15, was designed by Bertram Grosvenor Goodhue, who is also entombed within the church.

The Church and its Tudor Revival vicarage were designated New York City Landmarks in 1966, and the complex that includes the grounds of Trinity Church Cemetery and Mausoleum (uptown) was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1980. 

The church is known for its annual Clement Clarke Moore Festival, the oldest continuing Christmas tradition in New York. It takes place on the Sunday before Christmas where the reading of Moore's narrative poem "A Visit from Saint Nicholas" or more commonly known as 'Twas the Night Before Christmas" is given.

The building was correctly identified by Howard E. Johnson and his favorite landmark is Grand Central Terminal.
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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