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MARCH 26, 2021


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March 26TH 2021 BY Gus Saltonstal

"Expand Upper Manhattan Historic District, Elected Officials Say"


Effort Continues to Save 857 Riverside Drive



"Effort to Save Underground Railroad Related House - New York City"

MARCH 11TH thru MARCH 24th 2021 

A Major press conference was held Friday morning, March 26th, to call on the Landmarks Preservation Commission to expand the Audubon Park Historic District and save 857 Riverside Drive.

The Public Advocate Jumaane Williams (photo, bottom right) called for the presser, and was joined by many notable fellow politicians and including:

(above photo, top, Left to Right ) Senator Robert Jackson, Democratic District Leader Maria Luna, URRA member Mitch Mondello, Historian Henry Michael Adams, City Council Candidate Corey Ortega, State Senator Al Taylor, City Council Candidate Dan Cohen, Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer and City Council Member (7th District) Mark Levine.

(bottom left) CB 12's Wayne Benjamin, Cordell Cleare, Valerie Jo Bradley

(bottom right) New York CIty Public Advocate Jumaane WIlliams with Congressman Adriano Espaillat (13th District) on his left.


JANUARY 22, 2021


John Friia | All About NYC

TikTok (90K Followers) Instagram (990 Followers)

Posted with permission ©2021 John Friia

On January 22nd, 2021, MBP Gale Brewer held a major press conferences (see press release below) in front of 857 Riverside Drive, to draw attention to the efforts of local activists and residents to prevent this building from being demolished as it was built and used by abolitionist Dennis Harris, and may have strong links to the 19th Century Underground Railroad.


The Landmarks Preservation Commission is being asked to reconsider its earlier decision to not pursue landmark status for the structure.

Links to Press Coverage January 22, 2021 Presser

MBP Gale Brewer Logo.png

Friday, January 22, 2021, 10AM

Advisory: Elected officials fight to protect Upper Manhattan house linked to Underground Railroad

Aries Dela Cruz | | 917.960.1187

Historic home once owned by abolitionists in Washington Heights is in danger of being demolished

NEW YORK -- On Friday, January 22, 2021 at 10AM outside of 857 Riverside Drive (159th Street) Manhattan Borough President Gale A. Brewer, State Senator Robert Jackson, Assembly Member Al Taylor, Council Member Mark Levine, other elected officials and the Upper Riverside Residents Alliance will call on the city to reverse their decision to reject landmark status for 857 Riverside Drive, and to stay the demolition permit for the property until the status is clear.

Upper Manhattan already suffers from a lack of representation in the city's historic landmark designations, and sites linked to the Underground Railroad and the abolition movement are rare in the city. As the New York Times reported last week, "Of more than 37,000 city properties with landmark protection, just 17 sites are related to abolitionism or the Underground Railroad, the network of Black and white activists who helped enslaved African-Americans flee north to freedom before the Civil War. Only two such protected sites are in Manhattan, none above 29th Street." 

857 Riverside Drive is the last link to Underground Railroad conductor and abolitionist minister Dennis Harris and is in danger of being demolished as the owner filed for a demolition permit to construct a 13-story residential building on the property. The Landmarks Preservation Commission insists that 857 Riverside Drive lacks historical architectural integrity because of changes to the building even though architectural significance has been overlooked in the past for other sites.
Elected officials want to draw attention to the city's systemic bias when it comes to designating landmark status in communities and neighborhoods of color. Many historic buildings in Harlem and Washington Heights have fallen into ruin because property owners often lack the significant funds needed to restore or maintain them, whereas other sites have more funds to maintain expensive repairs and preserve architectural details.

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WABC - 7 -TV

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WCBS News Radio 880

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Forgotten New York Jan 22


NY Post Jan 23  Neighborhood fights to Save Underground Railroad Site from Wrecking Ball. (video and print)

by Melanie Gray

Daily News, Jan 22Historians, politicians rally to save Washington Heights stop on the Underground Railroad from Demolition. by Larry McShane

Patch - Washington Heights-Inwood, NY  Jan 22 

Politicians joined local organizations Friday in the fight to preserve a Washington Heights building with ties to the Underground Railroad.  by Gus Saltonstall

Tap Into Jan 22  ( 

Rally Held to Save House Linked to Underground Railroad

By Marc Bussanich

6sqft Jan 25  Preservationists, Pols, Fight to Save Washington Heights Home with Underground Railroad Ties 

by Devin Gannon

The Jewish Voice NYC Neighborhood Fighting to Save Site Connected with Underground Railroad  By Hellen Zaboulani

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