The 24th Lucy G. Moses Preservation Awards
Event Location and Project Award winner - Williamsburgh Savings Bank, 175 Broadway, Brooklyn - photo by Durston Saylor
Event Location and Project Award winner - Williamsburgh Savings Bank, 175 Broadway, Brooklyn - photo by Durston Saylor
Preservation Leadership Award - Charles A. Platt, FAIA
Public Leadership Award - Lola Finkelstein photo by Ann Watt
Bedford Park Congregational Church, 309 East 201st Street, Bronx - photo by Youngren Ponnuraj
Church of St. Brigid -St. Emeric, 121 Avenue B, New York - photo by Ruggero Vanni
City Hall, 1 City Hall Park, New York - photo by John Bartelstone
City Hall, Council Chambers - photo by John Bartelstone
Duffy Residence, Brooklyn Heights - photo by Chris Cooper
Engelhardt Addition, Eberhard Faber Pencil Company, Greenpoint, Brooklyn - photo by Scott Henson Architect LLC
Green-Wood Cemetery Gatehouse, 500 25th Street, Brooklyn - photo by Platt Byard Dovell White Architects
I. Miller Building, 1552 Broadway, New York - photo by Jan Hird Pokorny Associates, Inc.
The Langham, 135 Central Park West, New York - photo by Thomas A. Fenniman Architect
New York Public Library, Jefferson Market Library, 425 Avenue of the Americas, New York - photo by Superstructures Engineering + Architecture, PLLC
New York Public Library, Stapleton Library, 132 Canal St, Staten Island - photo by Naho Kubota
Park Avenue Armory, Board of Officers Room, 643 Park Avenue, New York - photo by Platt Byard Dovell White Architects and Herzog & de Meuron
Pier A, Battery Park, New York - photo by Conservancy Staff
Snug Harbor Cultural Center, Building E, 1000 Richmond Terrace, Staten Island - photo by W. Douglas Romines
Snug Harbor Cultural Center, Building E, 1000 Richmond Terrace, Staten Island - photo by W. Douglas Romines
Tuesday, May 6, 2014
Williamsburgh Savings Bank, 175 Broadway, Brooklyn
An Evening of Celebration
Conservancy Hosts 24th Lucy G. Moses Preservation Awards
More than 525 people packed the former Williamsburgh Savings Bank in Brooklyn to applaud an impressive list of Moses winners from across the City. The Moses Awards are the Conservancy’s highest honors for outstanding preservation and this year’s awards ranged from major civic building restorations to saving a Lower East Side church from demolition.
Individual honors went to Charles Platt, FAIA, with the Preservation Leadership Award and Lola Finkelstein with the Award for Public Leadership in Preservation.
This Year’s Honorees
PRESERVATION LEADERSHIP AWARD
Charles A. Platt, FAIA
Charles A. Platt, FAIA has been an integral part of New York’s preservation community for nearly 50 years. An architect and painter, he began his practice in 1960, and founded Smotrich & Platt in 1965. Throughout his career, Mr. Platt has been active in public affairs related to architecture and preservation. He has served as Vice-Chair of the Landmarks Preservation Commission. His leadership of the Municipal Arts Society’s Preservation Committee helped that organization fulfill its mandate as a watchdog of civic values.
As the founding partner of Platt Byard Dovell White, Mr. Platt’s commitment to design and design appropriateness is the underlying tenet of his career, especially in projects involving landmarks and historic districts. With designs ranging from the Chanel headquarters and New 42 Studios to the ongoing restoration of the Park Avenue Armory, he has created the best of the new while preserving the best of the past. His firm has received numerous design awards and his work has been published around the world.
Mr. Platt has been a critic at Cornell University and an adjunct associate professor at the Columbia’s Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation. He was a board member of the Gracie Mansion Conservancy, member of the American Institute of Architects, New York Chapter, Executive Committee, and is a member and past president of the board of the Augustus Saint-Gaudens Memorial. Mr. Platt is an Academician of the National Academy of Design, a graduate of Harvard College and of the Graduate School of Design at Harvard.
PUBLIC LEADERSHIP AWARD
Lola Finkelstein has been a steadfast civic advocate for over three decades, supporting preservation as a member and chair of Community Board 5 in Manhattan. In 2013, Ms. Finkelstein served as chair of the Multi-Board Task Force on East Midtown, and led a coalition of community boards, preservation groups, transportation advocates, and unions, who worked with elected officials to reject the flawed rezoning proposal for Midtown East, which would have encouraged the demolition of many landmark-quality buildings.
Community Board 5 includes some of the City’s finest historic buildings and spaces, from Union Square, to Grand Central Terminal, Times Square, and Columbus Circle. As chair, Ms. Finkelstein fostered preservation by writing and voting to approve multiple resolutions of landmark designations, including the interior of the Four Seasons Restaurant. In 1990 she encouraged the efforts of Common Ground to acquire and reuse the historic Times Square Hotel at a time when Community Board approval was critical, triggering funding for the project, which was a catalyst of Times Square’s revitalization. Her 1997 request to create a Historic District along Central Park South anticipated the supertower issue that we face today.
Ms. Finkelstein was involved in early efforts to catalogue the archives of The New York Times, committing historic documents to microfiche. She also wrote several “Talk of the Town” columns about life in the City during the 1970s for The New Yorker. She was born in Brooklyn and attended Cornell University. She has served as an Associate Trustee of NYU Langone Medical Center and as a member of the Bellevue Association.
Bedford Park Congregational Church
309 East 201st Street, Bronx
In its designation report, the Landmarks Commission states that this 1891 eclectic-style structure “survives as a rare example in New York City of a small rustic late-nineteenth-century suburban church.” By 2010, however, the church nearly closed due to severe water damage. A failing organ revealed that a roof collapse allowed water to damage the instrument and interior plaster; the tower was severely rotted. The small congregation was overwhelmed, but committed to saving the building. With a Conservancy grant, they engaged a roofing consultant. A contractor stabilized the building and patched the roof, allowing time for fundraising.
The project soon encompassed the entire building. Asbestos and wood shingle siding were removed, exposing rotted framing, sheathing and trim. Costs grew to $150,000, a daunting number to the church’s thirty members. The Conservancy provided challenge grants totaling $50,000, which the congregation met and then some, holding luncheons, cake sales, a Fun Fair, raffles, a flea market, concerts, dinners, and lawn parties.
The roof has new architectural grade shingle, copper flashing and gutters. The facades have been clad with cedar shingle and the rotted wood trim repaired. The church was painted in a historic color scheme revealed during demolition: rich brick red with forest green trim. Even with the additional costs, the project still came in on budget. Church members became so effective at fundraising that there was money left over to rebuild the front porch and paint the interior before a rededication.
Church of St. Brigid -St. Emeric
121 Avenue B, New York
St. Brigid’s Church has been an East Village anchor since 1848. The Gothic Revival building, designed by Patrick Keely, is thought to be the oldest surviving Irish immigrant-built church in New York City. A decade ago, St. Brigid’s was suffering from severe structural damage and was no longer safe to be occupied. The community joined with parishioners and prominent Irish-Americans and argued publicly for its reopening.
A major financial gift from an anonymous donor in 2008 financed a rehabilitation that reused remaining historic elements. Work started when engineers underpinned the foundation to halt the structural deterioration and stabilize the building, and a survey identified architectural features of the building that could be preserved, repaired or needed replacement.
The facades were reclad in custom cast-stone units that match brownstone, while the rear wall was encased in a concrete “liner wall” that stabilized it and protected the rebuilt plaster reredos at the interior. Damaged plaster ceiling vaults were rebuilt. New stained glass windows incorporate original window medallions. Interior decorative stenciling was based on photographs from the early 1900s. The new color palette articulated elements of the interior, conveying a sense of awe and joy.
In 2013, hundreds of worshipers, including descendants of original Irish parishioners, gathered as Cardinal Timothy Dolan consecrated and rededicated a renovated building that houses a combined congregation, and is once again a mainstay of its community.
1 City Hall Park, New York
City Hall is one of New York’s most beautiful and significant buildings, a National Historic Landmark and City Landmark. It was designed by John McComb and Joseph Francois Mangin, from 1803 to 1812, and has been in use ever since. The building houses the Mayor, City Council, and the Public Design Commission. An avalanche of plaster falling on Members’ desks in the Council Chamber triggered this interior and exterior project, the first comprehensive rehabilitation in over fifty years.
Limestone facades were cleaned and repaired, and wood windows restored, while improvements to the roof and drainage systems will prevent chronic leaking that had caused much of the interior damage. The Council Chamber was brought back to its 1903 period of significance with the plaster ceiling reconstructed, mahogany wainscot restored, and central mural conserved. A new intervention was the state-of-the-art sound system. The rotunda dome was repaired after several decorative rosettes had fallen from the ceiling, and the stability of the elegant circular stair tested and improved. Public spaces were restored, and the basement retrofitted for offices that retain exposed brownstone bearing walls.
Critical upgrades, such as new fire detection and sprinkler systems, conduit and ductwork are cleverly concealed in the historic fabric. A more efficient HVAC system was placed in a newly-excavated subcellar. Going underground led to an archaeological dig that uncovered over 20,000 Revolutionary War-era artifacts. A British bayonet, wire eyeglass frames, and numerous coins and pottery shards were catalogued and conserved for future interpretation.
In a row of six Italianate row houses in Brooklyn Heights, this corner building was once the ugly duckling, with a brick-face facade that obscured and damaged the original brownstone. It has been 100% restored, with details to match long-removed historic elements at the facade, stoop, windows, doors, and cornice, and at the distinctive wood-clad bay on the side elevation.
Almost all of the interior details had been removed in a 1940s renovation that destroyed the exterior. The stoop was removed; parlor-level front door discarded and its opening partly bricked up; the cornice was eliminated; and the bay wrapped in asphalt siding. The most damaging offense was a double-wythe brick facade that hung from the lintels, covering the brownstone completely and masking the arched windows that defined the house. The only original element remaining was a section of the wrought iron fencing.
This project meticulously recreated decorative brownstone elements, the bay window, brick chimneys, the wood cornice, and painted metalwork. The brownstone facade was applied after a custom system of 240 stainless steel rods was installed to pin back remaining historic fabric. The original window and door configuration was re-established with new arch-headed wood windows and matching wood door. A handsome cornice finishes the facade and partially conceals a minimalistic roof top addition. Dedication from the owners, architects, contractors, and craftsmen has restored an elegant brownstone to its original appearance, punctuating this historic block.
Engelhardt Addition, Eberhard Faber Pencil Company
The exterior walls were all that remained at this 19th century factory when new owners adapted the space, building offices within red-brick facades that reflect over 100 years of history.
Eberhard Faber founded the pencil company that bears his name in 1861, moving to Brooklyn in the 1870s. One section of the “Addition” was part of Faber’s original factory. The central section dates to 1895, when architect Theobald Engelhardt designed a German Renaissance-Revival style edifice. The last was constructed from 1898–1904 in the German Romanesque-Revival style. In the mid-1980s the building’s upper stories and interiors were demolished, leaving only battered brick facades, enlivened with remnants of dentil courses, header arches at the windows, and corbelling.
In 2011, the property was purchased for the development of new office space. The ruinous look of the building fascinated the new owners. The project had to address issues of water-tightness and stability, maintain the essence of the historic property, and balance the pragmatic needs of a modern intervention. Layers of history were preserved, from original brick and mortar to the contemporary graffiti, keeping anachronistic masonry repairs and spalled face-brick that reflect passing time.
The reuse of the Engelhardt Addition is a vital contribution to Greenpoint’s renaissance. As newer companies migrate to this neighborhood, projects such as this unusual restoration will encourage rehabilitations that pay attention to historical accuracy, connecting Brooklyn’s industrial heritage to its innovative future.
Green-Wood Cemetery Gatehouse
500 25th Street, Brooklyn
Green-Wood Cemetery, a National Historic Landmark, is New York’s first pastoral cemetery and its first great work of landscape design. Starting in 1838, it established the pattern of open-air movement in a planned landscape that inspired Central Park and its successors. The circa-1876 Caretaker’s Residence and Visitor’s Cottage at the Fort Hamilton Parkway entrance were designed by Richard Upjohn & Sons, the same architects as the landmark Gothic entry gate at the main entrance.
Restoration work included new pitched slate roofs and copper drainage system, woodwork restoration, and painting at dormers, porches and original wood windows. A key feature of the Residence and Visitor’s Cottage is the cast iron cresting that decorates each pitched roof ridge. Only a small portion of the original remained; using the few remaining pieces, and working with a cast iron fabricator, the configuration of each unique section of cresting was reproduced.
Another challenge was to replicate the widow’s walk atop the Residence main tower. Dating to at least the 1920s, the widow’s walk featured exuberant corner finials that echoed the ivy motif found in the cresting. Based on original photographs, the lacy design of the railing was recreated using modern laser cutting from sheets of steel.
Green-Wood has long been a model for preservation of historic cemeteries in the care of its picturesque buildings, monuments, markers, and landscape. Restoration of these gatehouse buildings continues in that fine tradition.
I. Miller Building
1552 Broadway, New York
The modern classical I. Miller Building was once a theater for selling shoes, at the intersection of Broadway and 46th Street. Israel Miller catered to professional theatrical clients and the general public, but the bronze lettering on the side of the building proudly proclaims it to be the “Show Folks Shoe Shop.”
The building features limestone facades, bronze and glass storefronts, decorative bronze cresting, and niches displaying four life-sized marble statues created by sculptor Alexander Stirling Calder of popular actresses, representing artistic disciplines: Ethel Barrymore as Ophelia (drama), Marilyn Miller as Sunny (comedy), Rosa Ponselle as Norma (opera), and Mary Pickford as Little Lord Fauntleroy (film).
Following the departure of the Shoe Salon in 1972, the building was leased and underwent several insensitive alterations and years of deterioration. Now new owners have completed a restoration that returns the glamorous, unique I. Miller Building to its place of prominence, with cleaned limestone, repaired terra cotta trim and marble cornice, new storefronts that match the historic, and best of all, reinstallation of the famous bronze lettered signs and restoration of the marble statues. The use of materials such as shimmering marble dust, custom metallic bronze paint, and Italian marble allows the building to stand out once again among sometimes flashier neighbors in the heart of Times Square.
135 Central Park West, New York
The Beaux-Arts facades of the Langham create a handsome presence along Central Park West, but the building’s distinctive terra cotta cladding was severely deteriorated. The 13-story apartment building was completed in 1907 to the designs of Clinton & Russell Architects. Early tenants included the Bloomingdale and Saks families. Along with neighbors the Dakota and San Remo, the Langham is part of an iconic image along the Park’s edge.
A previous project to restore the slate mansard roof received a Lucy in 2000. In the years since, inspections revealed that the original terra cotta ashlar blocks of the facades were failing at a rapid rate. Over 10,000 terra cotta units in 300 shapes were replaced in a custom color scheme that recaptured the historic variations which older manufacturing techniques created. The terra cotta decorative cornice and faux balustrade detailing were also replaced.
Taking the opportunity to complete a comprehensive restoration, the scope was expanded to include paint removal and repair of the limestone facades, restoration of cast iron, and the reconstruction of the top two floors of the distinctive round terra cotta chimneys. The metal and glass entrance canopy was dismantled and restored with new gold leaf and new glazing similar to the original reeded glass, based on a long-concealed fragment. The canopy was completed with the reintroduction of a lost egg-and-dart decoration, based on historic photographs. This grand building has been made even better than before.
New York Public Library
Jefferson Market Library, 425 Avenue of the Americas, New York
The Jefferson Market Branch of the New York Public Library is significant not only for its design and use of vibrant polychrome materials, but as one of the country’s earliest adaptive re-use projects—a transformative event in the preservation movement. The High Victorian Gothic structure opened as the Third Judicial District Courthouse in 1877. When the closed courthouse was slated for demolition in 1958, preservationists orchestrated a successful campaign to convert it into a library. Architect Giorgio Cavaglieri restored the exterior and redesigned the interior. The library opened in 1967 but facing budget cutbacks in 1974, it nearly closed. Once again there was a public outcry and the decision was rescinded one month later.
Following several years of delay with a gloomy sidewalk bridge in place, this restoration improved many failing building elements. Crumbling sandstone ornamentation was re-carved in place by artisans, and replacement pieces were sculpted from the original Ohio sandstone. Ashlar stones were cleaned and repaired; the deep-red Philadelphia brick was repointed. The main tower’s finial was secured and tied back to the tower substructure, using an elaborate pipe scaffolding erected around the top of the tower. Missing and broken slates were replaced at the slate roof and a new copper drainage system installed. And elements of the 1960s adaptation, such as the aluminum frame windows were preserved to represent that significant phase of the building’s history.
Stapleton Library, 132 Canal St, Staten Island
Carrère and Hastings’ one-room Carnegie Library was a charmer, but the Stapleton neighborhood had long outgrown this Neo-Classical Revival cottage. Now residents have the best of the old and new, with a restored historic library and a glass-and-wood addition that respects the original building’s character and more than triples the usable space.
The red-brick facades and limestone trim of the 1907 library were restored. The tall, arched, triple-sash wood windows rebuilt and re-glazed with laminated, UV inhibiting glass. The projecting pediment, once covered in frayed painted canvas, was rebuilt. Historic photographs guided a brighter color scheme for the exterior, more in keeping with the original design.
The new structure expands the library from 2,225 square feet to a total of 12,700 square feet. It appears to be a discrete and complete entity but allows for internal circulation between the two sections. The Carnegie Library is now the Children’s Reading Room. Its oak bookcases, trim, and casing were stripped and refinished and a new oak floor matches the original, long hidden under layers of flooring and carpet.
While the two buildings are visually distinct, they form a balanced union that follows the New York Public Library’s goals: to be a center for the community, and to balance a respect for preservation with the incorporation of new technologies and resources into its collections.
Park Avenue Armory, Board of Officers Room
643 Park Avenue, New York
The Board of Officers Room is the most recently restored interior within the National Historic Landmark Armory. The 1861 Armory was built by the National Guard’s Seventh Regiment. Called the “Silk Stocking” regiment, it included prominent New York families such as the Vanderbilts, Van Rensselaers, Roosevelts, Livingstons and Harrimans. Built as both a military facility and a social club, the Armory’s reception rooms were designed by well-known designers and artists, including Louis Comfort Tiffany, Stanford White, and the Herter Brothers.
After a long period of neglect and decay, the Park Avenue Armory Conservancy began to revitalize the building in 2006, securing and restoring the red-brick facade, and re-imagining the space as a cultural and performance venue. The Herter Brothers Board of Officers Room had suffered extensive water damage, with altered woodwork, inoperable doors and windows, and beautiful decoration obscured beneath layers of paint and unsympathetic repairs.
Now the rich colors and exquisite woodwork shimmer again, but the room does not replicate the original. Deferring to a history steeped in alterations, layers of change were carefully considered, and some retained. Delicate wall and ceiling finishes have subtle markers showing where original fabric meets rehabilitated elements, while later lighting fixtures have been refitted with new glass globes. Upgraded systems—lighting, acoustics, A.V. and theatrical installations—were carefully installed within the prized Aesthetic Movement interiors. The result is an intervention that balances the long-term preservation of the room and its vibrant reuse.
Battery Park, New York
Pier A was a bastion of New York’s bustling 19th century harbor that is now fit for 21st century uses. The former fireboat station was built in 1886 to serve the Department of Docks and Harbor Police. From the northern edge of historic Battery Park, overlooking the Hudson River, it provided a key vantage point to oversee development along shoreline and chaotic traffic in the harbor. Unoccupied since the departure of the FDNY Marine Division in 1970, Pier A became an eyesore that frustrated developers and residents, who saw the underutilized potential of this picturesque waterfront resource.
This comprehensive restoration has stabilized the building’s internal structure, rehabilitated its exterior envelope, and installed all new systems. Historical elements, including wood stair railings, iron structural brackets, doors and door hardware, and ornamental metal sheeting were salvaged for re-use, as were materials left from a failed restoration campaign in the 1990s. Pier A’s spaces have been modernized throughout with improved egress that allows for public assembly on all levels, respecting the original interior wall layouts. A new restaurant is expected to open in 2014.
The project has benefits beyond the building itself: it has created better pedestrian access to the water, established a sense of place connecting adjacent parkland, and maximized potential of the southern end of Battery Park City. The stunning result will return this charming building to active use, engaging New Yorkers and tourists along the Hudson shore.
Snug Harbor Cultural Center, Building E
1000 Richmond Terrace, Staten Island
The row of five stately Greek Revival structures at the Snug Harbor Cultural Center was one of the Landmarks Commission’s first designations in 1965. Sailors’ Snug Harbor, an 83‑acre site was built as a retirement community for sailors. Now a cultural complex housing multiple institutions, the site is composed of Greek Revival, Italianate, Victorian and Beaux Arts buildings set among a range of landscapes. However, the landmark row nearly lost its eastern end, as severe deterioration threatened Building E’s viability.
In the late 1990s, a fire damaged several rooms and destroyed wood windows. A failed roofing and drainage system led to deterioration of the cornice, brickwork, wood windows and interior finishes. By 2007, the situation was dire. The City engaged a team of specialists to examine the building and develop a restoration plan. Research, a conditions evaluation, and paint analysis determined that although the deterioration was significant, much of Building E’s historic fabric was intact and could be restored.
Construction included new copper roofing and decorative rooftop ventilators. The portico ceiling was re-plastered and granite portico steps reset. The marble, granite, and brick facades were cleaned, repaired, and repointed. Cast iron window pediments, the sheet metal and wood cornice, and wood doors and windows were restored. At the interior, water- and fire-damaged wood floor joists and flooring were replaced. Building E’s transformation was completed with exterior painting that matches the historic yellow and white color scheme.
Williamsburgh Savings Bank
175 Broadway, Brooklyn
Completed in 1875, the Williamsburgh Savings Bank is an icon of an early New York neighborhood in its prime. The Beaux Arts Classical building by architect George B. Post, with Aesthetic-styled interiors by Peter B. Wight, shaped architectural trends throughout the nation.
After decades of banking use, the WSB suffered from neglect and inappropriate alterations. This project restored the structure and its stunning decorative elements, while transforming it for new uses. Work began with research to determine original finishes and materials, and missing details. Non-historic modifications were removed and unsympathetic repairs corrected.
The granite facade was cleaned and repointed, and the historic palette guided new painting at the dome, where the monumental clock works again. The original oculus, discovered in the cellar, replaced skylight covers from World War II. Wooden double-hung sash replicating the original replaced inappropriate WWII-era steel hopper windows. At the interior, 1980s-era partitions were removed. The original polychrome mural fresco was conserved. Etched-glass dome drum windows, wooden doors and cabinetry, mosaic marble and encaustic tile floors were all restored or recreated. Fluorescent lighting was replaced by period-appropriate gaslight sconces and chandeliers.
Systems were updated to meet modern codes without compromising historic features and spaces. Now an events and meeting space, the Williamsburgh Savings Bank dazzles with color, light, and beauty, its historic features ready for discovery by a new audience.
Brooklyn Daily Eagle
ABOUT THE AWARDS:
The New York Landmarks Conservancy has been a leader in preserving, restoring, and reusing New York City’s architectural legacy for over 40 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, organizations, 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 Conservancy is grateful for the generous support of the Henry and Lucy Moses Fund.
The Preservation Leadership Award is bestowed upon an outstanding individual in the field of historic preservation. Past honorees include Ruth Abram, Wint Aldrich, Tony Avella, Kent Barwick, John Belle, Simon Breines, Giorgio Cavaglieri, Kenneth Cobb, Stanley Cogan, Joan K. Davidson, Franny Eberhart, Kenneth K. Fisher, James Marston Fitch, Margot Gayle, Anne Van Ingen, Judith Kaye, Sarah Bradford Landau, Helen M. Marshall, Joan Maynard, Evelyn and Everett Ortner, Nancy and Otis Pratt Pearsall, Adolf K. Placzek, Jan Hird Pokorny, Henry Hope Reed, Elizabeth Barlow Rogers, Vincent Scully and Robert Silman.