Preservation Issues

Speaking Out for Three New Historic Districts


Bedford Historic District


Bedford Historic District


Bedford Historic District


Harrison Street Historic District


Harrison Street Historic District


East Village/Lower East Side District


East Village/Lower East Side District

January 2013

At three hearings in January, the Conservancy, along with residents, building owners, and public officials testified in support of new historic districts in Brooklyn, Staten Island, and Manhattan. In recent weeks, the Real Estate Board of New York has issued statements making it clear that challenging landmark designations is one of its top priorities. The overwhelming support from community members who initiated all three of these Districts, as well as that of elected officials at each hearing, makes it equally clear that New Yorkers recognize that preservation and designation celebrate and enhance neighborhoods and the City as a whole.

The Bedford Historic District will contain over 800 buildings. Like the neighboring Stuyvesant Heights District, it is an extraordinary collection of architecture. The groups of houses, apartments, and institutional buildings comprising the District feature a dazzling array of styles from the late 19th and early 20th century. The sense of place is heightened by a strong sense of community in a neighborhood where many families have owned their homes for generations. The Conservancy has worked with residents during the designation process, participating in several informational meetings, leading up to the January 15 hearing.

On the same day, the Landmarks Preservation Commission (LPC) heard testimony on the Harrison Street Historic District. In the Stapleton, Staten Island neighborhood, it is a much smaller district, just one block long, but it also has a strong sense of place. This rare grouping of intact 19th century wood frame and masonry houses creates a connection to Staten Island’s history. The District also contains the handsome 1894 Mt. Sinai United Christian Church – Stapleton Campus, built in the Dutch Colonial Revival style. If designated, Harrison Street would be only the fourth Historic District in the borough. Read Our Testimony.

On January 29, the City Council’s Landmarks Subcommittee voted 5 – 0 to affirm designation of the East Village/Lower East Side District, which had been approved by the LPC, with Conservancy support in 2012. The District is composed of several blocks of row houses and tenements from the 19th and 20th centuries, in typical styles, such as Italianate, Neo-Grec, Romanesque Revival, Renaissance Revival and Queen Anne, as well as historic religious properties and cultural venues. The unique character of these buildings animates a neighborhood that retains long-time residents and has been a powerful lure to generations of newcomers. In addition to architectural merit, the East Village derives a special sense of place from the vast sweep of history that has taken place on its streets, from the early days as a base for merchants, to decades of welcoming immigrant communities, to serving as the home for the social movements and artistic communities.