Columbus Monument - 1915
Conservancy Helps Preserve a Piece of Italian-American History

The Columbus Monument is now on the National Register of Historic Places , thanks to Conservancy research and work on behalf of the Columbus Citizens Foundation .
After some calls last year to move the 76-foot monument at the center of Columbus Circle, the Conservancy was engaged by the Foundation to nominate the monument for listing on the Register. The year-long project, which involved many hours of research and produced the 69-page Registration Form, was culminated on November 20 when the 125 year old monument was officially listed on the Register by the National Park Service. It was listed on the State Register of Historic Places this past September.  

The Monument was conceived by Carlo Barsotti, owner and editor of Il Progresso , the first Italian-language daily newspaper in America and created by the sculptor Gaetano Russo. It was paid for by small donations from hundreds of working class Italian immigrants and presented as a gift to the City with the hope that posterity “will ever fondly and carefully cherish this splendid gift, and may it ever stand as a monument of lasting friendship between Italy and the United States.” It was unveiled October 12, 1892 to commemorate the 400th anniversary of Columbus’ trans-Atlantic voyage.
Upper Manhattan
Conservancy Supports Proposed Inwood Historic District

The Conservancy recently testified in favor of the proposed Park Terrace West—West 217th Street Historic District in the Inwood section of Manhattan. The proposed district is comprised of 15 single-family houses constructed in the 1920s and 30s in distinctive architecture styles that give the enclave its charm. While the Conservancy applauds the Landmarks Preservation Commission for the new historic district, we believe there is more that the Commission can and should do to protect Inwood’s character.

A Conservancy survey of the neighborhood found several buildings that meet the requirements for individual landmark status, two City parks that should be designated as scenic landmarks, and a larger, more inclusive historic district that would include the large collection of 1920s apartment buildings that so well define the neighborhood. We urged the Commission to immediately move to landmark these resources. 

The Conservancy will continue to push the Commission to ensure that there is an appropriate balance between preservation and growth now that Inwood has been upzoned by the City for new development.

A Better Way to Fix the Brooklyn Queens Expressway (BQE)

The Conservancy has joined forces with local neighborhood organizations , elected officials, and other preservation groups to stop the Department of Transportation (DOT) from tearing down the Brooklyn Heights Promenade—and likely several historic buildings—as part of repairing the Brooklyn Queens Expressway (BQE). Not since Robert Moses destroyed thriving neighborhoods for the Cross Bronx Expressway has the City threatened so much loss for a highway.

DOT’s current proposal would entail the construction of an enormous six-lane elevated highway that would “temporarily” soar over Brooklyn Heights and DUMBO. It would destroy the entire Brooklyn Promenade Park, including about one hundred mature trees, and the famous promenade that looks out over the harbor and the Manhattan skyline. Several historic buildings would likely be lost and the elevated highway would encroach on others in both landmarked neighborhoods.  

The proposal is a throwback to a time when highways could cut through neighborhoods, demolish historic resources, pave over parkland and decimate residential areas without regard to the negative impacts. Moses would be proud.

Lower Manhattan
City Forced to Reverse Course on Lefkowitz Building

The City has dropped plans to gut the Art Deco Lefkowitz Building at 80 Centre Street and build a 40-story tower combining jail cells and affordable housing units. The proposal was part of the plan to close Rikers Island and build new, smaller jail facilities in four boroughs.

The Conservancy joined neighborhood and colleague groups opposing the gutting of the 1928 Lefkowitz Building because it is landmark quality and its loss would wreck the integrity of Manhattan’s Civic Center. Residents objected to the total lack of community input. The City will now explore renovations or a new building at the current “Tombs” jail facility at 125 White Street. The Conservancy will continue its push to landmark the Lefkowitz Building, which is already deemed eligible for listing on the National Register of Historic Places.  
Conservancy Approves $241,000 in Sacred Sites Grants

The Conservancy’s Sacred Sites Committee met and approved 16 new grants totaling $241,000 helping landmark religious properties statewide implement exterior repair and restoration projects. This brings the 2018 Sacred Sites grants total to $466,000.

Grants in New York City include St. Joan of Arc Church , (photo above) a Roman Catholic Church in the locally designated Jackson Heights Historic District. A $25,000 Sacred Sites Grant will help fund a portion of an overall $1.1 million parapet, masonry, and roof drainage repair project. 

The other New York City grant awarded in this round was to Beth-El Temple, Church of God in Christ , in Rockaway, Queens. A $5,000 grant will support stained-glass restoration at this 1858 Gothic Revival-style church designed by renowned architect Richard Upjohn. 

There were 14 additional Sacred Sites grants , ranging from $3,000 to $35,000, from Southold on Long Island’s North Fork to Buffalo. Five of these grants in Suffolk County were underwritten by new Conservancy supporter the Robert David Lion Foundation. The grants went to the United Methodist Church of Patchogue ( 1890) , Bethel A.M.E. Church in Setauket ( 1909) , St. Paul’s United Methodist Church in Northport (1873), First Congregational Church in Riverhead (1836), and First Congregational Church in Southold (1803).

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
Eltingville, Staten Island
Our Kickstarter Campaign for Olmsted House is a Success!!!

WE DID IT! You helped save Olmsted! Heartfelt thanks to the 211 generous backers who pledged $22,000 to our Kickstarter Campaign to reclaim Frederick Law Olmsted’s landmark home on Staten Island. We would also like to thank our colleague organizations who shared our campaign with their followers including Friends of Olmsted-Beil House, Frederick Law Olmsted Society, The Cultural Landscape Foundation, Untapped Cities, and The Historic House Trust of New York City. Our fundraising efforts to stabilize the house are off to a great start.

We did it….TOGETHER!

This  Kickstarter Campaign  was the initial step of a $150,000 campaign to stabilize the building so that ultimately the City's Parks Department can complete the restoration and adapt the building for use as an educational center.

Mystery Landmark
Did You Identify This Mystery Landmark?

It's the ornate stained glass window within Central Synagogue , located at 652 Lexington Avenue in Midtown Manhattan. It was designed by Henry Fernbach and built 1871-72. It is the oldest building in New York State in continuous use by a single Jewish congregation. 

Central Synagogue was designated a New York City Landmark in 1966 and a National Historic Landmark in 1975.

Free tours  of the Sanctuary by Central Synagogue docents are given most every Wednesday at 12:45 pm. More info .

The building was correctly identified by John Brewer and his favorite landmark is the iconic Chrysler Building.
This month’s Landmark News is sponsored by   Stribling and Associates
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