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AWARENESS

Wherever we go, our city is being taken from us.
–Josette Bailey

 

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The National Trust for Historic Preservation, through its African American Cultural Heritage Action Fund, announced $3.8 million in grant funding to 40 sites and organizations representing African American history. 

New to this year’s list is a targeted focus on conserving Modernist structures designed by Black architects.

 

Eight historic structures will receive $1.2M to help advance long-term preservation planning. This funding is part of the Conserving Black Modernism partnership led by the Action Fund with support from the Getty Foundation. 

The preservation of Historically Black Colleges & Universities (HBCUs) across the country is also a focus of this year’s grant announcement. Through the Action Fund’s HBCU Cultural Heritage Stewardship Initiative, six HBCUs will receive nearly $700,000 in funding to ensure the protection of their cultural assets. 

These often-overlooked places hold aspects of history that must be protected—and used to draw inspiration and wisdom for the benefit of all Americans. 

As our nation honors Emancipation and Juneteenth, the Action Fund asks the public to learn more about these sites, and read how they will use the funds to make certain the full American story is told.

 

FIND OUT THE 2023 GRANTEES

 

The Action Fund is the largest U.S. resource dedicated to the preservation of African American historic places. Since its inception in 2017, the Action Fund has supported 242 places through its National Grant Program and invested more than $20 million to help preserve landscapes and buildings imbued with Black life, humanity, and cultural heritage. 

The Upper Riverside
Residents Alliance
Congratulates
Michael Henry Adams
on being awarded the
Columbia University
Preservation Alumni's
2023 Preservation
Leadership Award.

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Individually and as an organization, we are delighted that the Columbia University Preservation Alumni have recognized his many years of work as a preservationist and tireless advocate for Harlem's rich architectural treasures and cultural history.

 

We are grateful to him for his continued support in our efforts in northern Manhattan, particularly in the ongoing struggle to preserve 857 Riverside Drive, the only surviving structure associated with a group of abolitionists active in northern Manhattan in the decade before the Civil War.

Thursday, December 15, 2022
at 2pm on the steps of
City Hall to Protest Demolitions of Landmarked Buildings

Please join us tomorrow, Thursday, December 15, at 2pm on the steps of City Hall for a press conference decrying the ever-increasing number of landmark buildings being demolished on the city’s watch. We’ll be joined by elected officials, preservationists, and community leaders from across New York City, including advocates from Village Preservation, Save Harlem Now!, Mount Morris Park Community Improvement Association, FRIENDS of the Upper East Side, and Justice for 441 Willoughby. 

 

Together, we’ll call attention to recent demolitions of landmarked and soon-to-be-landmarked buildings from Greenwich Village to Harlem, Bedford-Stuyvesant to the Upper East Side, offer policy proposals for legislative changes to stop this trend in its tracks, and demand the City do more to enforce the law and protect historic landmarks. 

 

From the Dangler Mansion in Bed-Stuy to 14 Gay Street in Greenwich Village; 186 Malcolm X Boulevard in Harlem to 351-55 West 14th Street in the Meatpacking District, landmarked buildings and buildings under consideration for landmark designation across the five boroughs have been ordered demolished by the City, or have been allowed to be demolished. Communities across New York have lost iconic and beloved structures, as neighborhoods watch their historic fabric destroyed by bulldozers. 

 

Take a stand against intentional negligence and illegal work. Stand up for history, community and accountability. 

 

Please join us, and our fellow preservationists and community activists as we hold the city accountable at 2pm, Thursday, December 15, on the steps of City Hall. We’ll demand action from the city and stand up for protecting our historic landmarks.

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Clockwise from top left: 14 Gay Street; the former Dangler Mansion in Bedford-Stuyvesant; 351-55 West 14th Street/44-54 Ninth Avenue in the Meatpacking District

WE ARE OPPOSED
to the HARDSHIP APPLICATION to demolish & redevelop
WEST PARK Presbyterian Church,
a designated NYC landmark

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We believe that taking the terminal step of permitting this landmark to be demolished before every option is exhausted should not be allowed.

We further believe that this decision risks setting a damaging precedent for landmarks owned by nonprofits citywide.

For updates and to sign the petition visit:
https://www.centeratwestpark.org/save-west-park

ARTIMUS VARIANCE APPLICATION IN INWOOD

TELL THE BOARD OF STANDARDS AND APPEALS TO REJECT THIS REQUEST

UPPER RIVERSIDE RESIDENTS ALLIANCE's Testimony Against the Artimus BSA Variance Application in Inwood

CB12 Meeting: November 23, 2021

The UPPER RIVERSIDE RESIDENTS ALLIANCE, a grassroots organization dedicated to preserving our architectural and cultural heritage in Washington Heights and Inwood, opposes the Artimus (former Holy Trinity Church site) 22- 38 Cumming Street / Seaman Avenue BSA variance application.

 

We stand firm with our neighbors in Inwood in opposing new construction that greatly exceeds the height of the existing built landscape, that strains existing community services, and that increases the potential number of vehicles in a neighborhood without providing additional parking facilities. These are quality of life issues that we are battling in lower Washington Heights and that are of concern to all northern Manhattan.

 

The proposed building will be out of place and proportion in a neighborhood of low to mid-rise buildings. It will also increase pressure to tear down older, affordable buildings in what is currently an ethnically and economically diverse neighborhood—with higher rents and prices following. Approving this variance would add profits for the developer, but nothing for the neighborhood.

 

We ask Community Board 12 to reject this variance application unless, and until the developer has produced plans for a building that will enhance the existing neighborhood fabric, rather than destroy it.

 

Thank you.

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WHAT YOU CAN DO

Sign the petition opposing the CB12 Resolution on change.org

There you will learn why The Lower Seaman Avenue Tenants' Association opposes the CB12 Land Use Committee Resolution to support Artimus (former Holy Trinity Church site) 22- 38 Cumming Street / Seaman Avenue BSA variance application.

128 WEST SEVENTEENTH
STREET

This unassuming Chelsea building was a decades-long Black community pillar spanning the years of the Civil War, the postbellum Reconstruction Era and New York’s gritty-bordered Gilded Age.

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The Legacy of Colored School No. 4

with Eric K. Washington on view here:

https://youtu.be/yuvFGkh3RFM

 

Tap the logo to subscribe to NYC Department of Records and Information Services:

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Designate Chelsea’s Former Colored School No. 4
as a New York City Landmark

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You can read more
and sign the petition here:
 
https://chng.it/qN8P2SLfhf

Eric K. Washington

Manhattan's historic
Former Colored School No. 4,
at 128 West 17th Street
is the topic of Streetscapes
in The New York Times.

LINK TO ARTICLE.

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See petition for overview: 
https://chng.it/ZWn5bqh7

On February 14, 2023, the NYC Landmarks Preservation Commission voted unanimously to calendar a public hearing in the coming months for Manhattan's former "Colored" School No. 4 on West 17th Street.

 

Calendaring is the first step in the designation process; how apropos that yesterday was both Valentine's Day and Frederick Douglass's birthday!

 

Thank you all for your outflow of support through letters, petition signatures, reportage and general encouragement up to this juncture.

 

The last hoorah will be the schoolhouse's official landmark designation.

 

If you'd like to watch yesterday's LPC proceeding (approx. 15 mins), here's the link:
Cue [00:00 - 17:12] – https://www.youtube.com/live/H4yg4A2i99o?feature=share.

Eric K. Washington

AUTHOR

SLAVERS OF NEW YORK USES STICKERS TO UNVEIL NYC’S HIDDEN HISTORY OF SLAVERY

To expose the legacy of slavery in New York City, independent artists, educators, and researchers Elsa Eli Waithe, Maria Robles, and Ada Reso formed Slavers of New York. Using historical data and public art, Slavers of New York aims to educate New Yorkers about the city’s history of slavery to encourage public atonement through knowledge.

 

As the American novelist Ralph Ellison once stated, “perhaps more than any other people, Americans have been locked in a deadly struggle with time, with history. We’ve fled the past and trained ourselves to suppress, if not forget, troublesome details of the national memories.”

Read the full article at untappedcities.com

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Mayor Adams Proposes to Slash Staff and Budget for Landmarks Preservation Commission

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Photo: Ed Reed/Mayoral Photography Office

Mayor Adams’ recently released draft proposed budget includes a steep cut to the funding and staffing of the Landmarks Preservation Commission (LPC). The LPC is already the smallest city agency, charged with overseeing tens of thousands of landmarked properties across New York City, and surveying hundreds of thousands more to ensure that historically significant sites are protected. The Mayor’s proposed budget would slash the tiny agency’s staffing of approximately 80 positions by six.

The LPC is arguably under-resourced now, as it has slowed considerably its rate of designations and failed to adequately oversee and protect historic properties already within its portfolio. Further cuts to the agency will only diminish its ability to proactively protect endangered historic properties, and ensure that the varied and diverse histories of New York City are honored and recognized, and that existing designated properties receive the careful attention they deserve.

The Mayor’s budget for the city must ultimately be negotiated and approved by the City Council. 


TO HELP:

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ONE45
DEVELOPMENT 
IN HARLEM

THIS PROJECT IS NON-FEASIBLE, UNREALISTIC, AND INAPPROPRIATE FOR THIS COMMUNITY

WHAT IS HAPPENING

Community Board 10 Rejects One45 Development, a project that will include two 363-foot-tall towers at the corner of 145th Street and Lenox Avenue.

According to Patch, newly elected Councilmember Kristin Richardson Jordan has come out strongly against this development, arguing it would displace Black residents and contribute to Harlem's gentrification.

Community Board 10 unanimously voted down the two-tower project, which now heads to Borough President Mark Levine.

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The "One45" development is proposed for the corner of Lenox Avenue and West 145th Street.

 

The project by developer Bruce Teitelbaum will include two 363-foot-tall towers, a civil rights museum and a headquarters for the National Action Network. (NYC Planning/SHoP Architects)

TO LEARN MORE

Read the Article by Nick Garber

The current plan needs to be reformatted.

The “affordable units” need to be 2-3 bedrooms (not the current studio and 1 bedroom) so that families can live there, and more units need to be allocated.

The height of the towers should be reduced from the proposed 22 floors, and environmental factors need to be considered as well as the impact on local infrastructure like the nearby 3 Train station at 145th Street, whose small platform fits only six subway cars.

Also, intervention and mediation needs to occur so that this project doesn’t cause the displacement of existing residents.

SAVE HISTORIC MIDTOWN

TELL ALBANY LEGISLATORS TO STOP THE HOCHUL-VORNADO PENN STATION SKYSCRAPER PROJECT

WHAT IS HAPPENING

There is a plan to declare the area around Penn Station “blighted” and impose ten new skyscrapers around New York City’s Penn Station neighborhood.

The project - called the Empire Station Complex - merely grants Vornado the right to break the zoning code and build to excessive height with unneeded supertalls.

 

Vornado is one of the country’s largest real estate investment trusts and was former Governor Cuomo's single largest donor.

WHAT IS IN DANGER OF BEING LOST

7 Penn Plaza, St. John the Baptist Church, Fairmont Building, Penn Station Service Building, The Stewart Hotel, Hotel Pennsylvania, Gimbels Department Store, and Gimbels Skybridge.

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Hotel Pennsylvania and Gimbels Skybridge. Credit: David Holowka

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WHAT YOU CAN DO

SIGN THE PETITION at ALLIANCE FOR A HUMAN-SCALE CITY

INQUIRE

Visit constituent organization websites and learn more about what they are doing to shape a better citizen-centric future for New York.

DONATE

Give to whichever Coalition organization best fits your beliefs as to stopping this project. Public awareness campaigns cost money.

The Empire Station Coalition is comprised of the 29th Street Association, City Club of NY, CNU NYC, Council of Chelsea Block Associations, Environmental Simulation Center, Historic Districts Council, Human-Scale NYC, RethinkNYC, Limited Equity and Affordability at Penn South (LEAPS), Midtown South Community Council, Penn-Area Residents Committee, Save Chelsea, TakeBackNYC, and the Victorian Society of New York.

TO LEARN MORE

The Empire Station Coalition sponsored a walking tour led by Brad Vogel and Justin Rivers of endangered sites in the Penn Station Neighborhood.

 

Brad is a respected member of the New York City Preservation Community.

Justin Rivers of Untapped New York is a tour guide for many New York City sites with a particular focus on Penn Station. Justin authored the play “The Eternal Space” about the once-great Penn Station. 

To learn about some of the endangered sites, read Past & Future of the Penn District, the guide from the walking tour:

Village Preservation Reports: Plan to Lift Limit on Size of Residential Development in NYC Is Rejected

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Assembly and Senate Reject Governor's Proposal to Eliminate Residential FAR Cap and Allow for Supersized Development, But Final Outcome For Budget Proposal Still To Be Determined

Village Preservation reports that thanks to the advocacy of thousands of you, both the State Assembly and Senate rejected Governor Hochul’s proposal to include in the new state budget an elimination of the cap on the size of new residential development. 

This proposal would have allowed NYC to lift the current limit of 12 FAR (floor area ratio) on the size of new residential developments (for context, the 1000+-ft.-tall supertalls of Billionaire’s Row in Midtown were built with zoning allowing a residential FAR of 10). 

 

This is a major victory in our efforts to prevent adoption of this measure, which would have allowed NYC to upzone areas to well above currently allowable levels, overwhelming infrastructure and creating vastly oversized development.

But the battle is not over. While the Assembly and Senate’s refusal to include the measure in their budget proposals makes the chances of its adoption through the budget process much less likely, it is still possible.

 

The Governor, Assembly, and Senate must still work out a final budget deal by April 1, which involves each side compromising on their current proposals.

 

Eleventh-hour horse trades and back-room deals will be made, and real estate interests have been pushing for this change for years.

 

Proponents have falsely claimed this measure is necessary to allow conversions of underutilized office buildings or hotels to residences and to create affordable housing. 

 

It is not; such conversions can take place regardless, and this measure does not require or guarantee a single unit of affordable housing being created.

If this measure is approved, we will likely see upzonings to above 12 FAR for residential neighborhoods that developers have long eyed.

 

The recent developer giveaway SoHo/NoHo/Chinatown rezoning included allowances for up to 12 FAR in all three neighborhoods; if the cap were lifted, no doubt the allowance would have gone even higher.

TO HELP:

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