Tag Archives: Historic Districts Council

Group’s ‘Sham Attack on Landmarking’ Denounced

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10536731623_f7b3f327a7Affordable housing, historic preservation, and neighborhood organizations representing a cross-section of New Yorkers joined forces today to hold a press conference in front of the Real Estate Board of NY (REBNY) headquarters slamming what they say is the board’s recent campaign to paint landmarking as undermining New York City’s affordability, and the cause of a reduction in the economic and racial diversity of New York’s residents. Continue reading

The Battle of Brooklyn Scavenger Hunt Saturday

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Battle of Brooklyn MapOne of the first battles of the American Revolution, the Battle of Brooklyn (a.k.a. the Battle of Long Island) took place on August 27, 1776 in what is now Western Brooklyn around Prospect Park and Greenwood Cemetery.

This Saturday the historic Districts Council of New York City is hosting a Battle of Brooklyn Scavenger Hunt, co-sponsored by the urban archaeology firm Chrysalis and Green-Wood Cemetery. Continue reading

The NY Real Estate Board’s 50-Year War on Landmarks

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New-York-US-Open-533_thumbYou may have noticed that the Real Estate Board of New York (REBNY) have been making some noise lately about how much of Lower Manhattan has landmark protection. This is really no surprise to anyone who has been paying any attention for the past 50 years – Lower Manhattan includes some of New York City’s oldest concentrations of historic architecture and strong communities who have invested a lot of time, energy and money in maintaining, protecting and revitalizing them.

What’s strange is that the folks at REBNY think this is a bad thing: “We think the city’s future is tied to growth. We think we need to generate new housing, generate new jobs, that generates new tax dollars. If we start landmarking more and more of the city, we are landmarking away the city’s future economic growth” REBNY President Steven Spinola recently told NY1. Continue reading

Roberta Brandes Gratz Recieving Landmarks Lion Award

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The Historic Districts Council, the citywide advocate for New York’s historic neighborhoods, buildings and open spaces, will present its annual Landmarks Lion Award on November 5 to advocate, author, journalist and urban critic Roberta Brandes Gratz.

Participating in the ceremony will be Ronald Shiffman, co-founder of the Pratt Institute Center for Community and Environmental Development, Richard Rabinowitz, president of the American History Workshop, and Stephen Goldsmith, Director of the Center for the Living City. Since 1990 the Landmarks Lion Award has honored those who have shown outstanding devotion in protecting New York City’s historic buildings and neighborhoods. Continue reading

NYC Documentary Film Screenings Set

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The Historic Districts Council (HDC) of New York City will host a film series, “Across New York”, that highlights stories from across the City’s five boroughs on how the city came to be and the people who helped shape it.

All screenings will be held at the TRIBECA Film Center at 375 Greenwich Street, NYC; tickets can be purchased online. The cost is $5 per program for Friends of HDC, Seniors and Students, and $10 for the general public.

Thursday, November 1, 6PM
The acclaimed documentary At Home in Utopia. was written and directed by Michal Goldman. This film tells the story of the Eastern European, Russian and Polish garment workers who joined together to create a “Bronx Bohemia” known as the Coops. This cooperative apartment complex was built in 1925 on the corner of Allerton Avenue across from Bronx Park. The Coops were what some would consider the ideal community; based on the philosophies of communal living and designed with the ideas of a bucolic setting in mind, the Coops were a “dream home” to many. The residents wanted a design aesthetic that was uncommon in New York at the time; bright, airy and spacious, which was representative of the change that was sought to promote public health, safety and a sense of community. The residents of the Coops were also politically active as advocates for racial equality during a time of severe distress, violence and social injustice. Join us for this special screening and panel discussion of At Home in Utopia, where several of the former residents will discuss their lives in the Bronx. Directed by Michal Goldman, 2008, 133 minutes.

Thursday, November 8, 6PM
Join the Historic Districts Council for a night of nostalgia as we view the documentary film Florent: Queen of the Meat Market. Florent, a 24-hour diner located in the Meatpacking District, was once the place to be. This legendary spot attracted artists, club-kids and the blue-collar workers who sought decent French-American cuisine at the wee hours of the morning, but who mostly flocked to
this space because of the energy the owner, Florent Morellet, exuded and brought to the establishment. Florent was also one of the leaders of the movement which successfully got the Gansevoort Market neighborhood landmarked in 2003. Florent was unfortunatelyforced to close down in 2008 due to rent increases and development in the area that would not allow for the business to sustain itself. Following the screening, Florent, will discuss his time owning his successful namesake business in an area that has drastically changed over the past twenty-five years as well as how he has remained an activist and leader within his community and beyond. Directed by David Sigal, 2009, 1 hour 29 minutes. This film is not rated.

Wednesday, November 14, 6PM
“Coney Island” is an award-winning documentary that delves into the extensive history of this seaside community, from its discovery in the 17th century to its ongoing and sometimes heartbreaking evolution. The film illustrates the affinity that the public had for Coney Island as a summer getaway, as evidenced by the 250,000 people that once populated its shores
on any given summer weekend. Also covered in the film is the development of the three major amusement parks (Steeplechase Park, Luna Park and Dreamland) that once inhabited Coney Island, along with the sometimes bizarre and fascinating stories that go with them. There will be a discussion following the film. Directed by Ric Burns, 1991, 1 hour.

This series is supported, in part, by public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council and by the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature. Additional support is provided by Council members Margaret Chin, Inez Dickens, Daniel Garodnick, Vincent Gentile,
Stephen Levin and Rosie Mendez.

Secret Lives Tour: One Wall Street, Manhattan

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The Historic Districts Council is presenting a series of tours highlighting some of the most original and rarely-seen spaces in New York. The Secret Lives Tours take attendees inside some of the most unique and spectacular landmarked spaces in the city, both big and small, to learn about their history and

On September 19, at 5 pm, the group will tour three spaces in the Art Deco tower at One Wall Street.  Built across from Trinity Church as the Irving Trust Building, the limestone skyscraper is a private wonder occupied today by The Bank of New York Mellon. 

Visitors will explore the bank’s museum, 49th floor reception room, and The Red Room,
with its red and gold mosaics. The museum’s artifacts illustrate the architectural and institutional history of Bank of New York Mellon in Lower Manhattan. On the top floor, gilded shells from the Philippines decorate the angular ceiling of the three-story reception room. The adjacent observation decks provide splendid views in four directions. 
The Red Room next to the New York Stock Exchange greets the bank’s clients. Named for an intricate mosaic design glittering along the walls and ceiling, the room was designed by artist Hildreth Meière (1892-1961) with architect Ralph Walker of Vorhees, Gmelin and Walker. She is regarded as the foremost muralist of the Art Deco style in the 1930s. Her daughter Louise Meière Dunn and granddaughter Hildreth Meière Dunn will join the tour as special guests and speak about the International Hildreth Meiere Association, the group they lead to preserve her artistic legacy.
Louise Meière Dunn is the only child of a remarkable woman – Hildreth Meière, an artist who forged a successful career in architectural art, a field then dominated by men. Louise is President of the International Hildreth Meière Association, founded to conduct activities to promote and perpetuate the
legacy of Hildreth Meière. She has been speaking on the work of her mother since 2003 at venues in New York and internationally.

Hildreth Meière Dunn, granddaughter of the artist, is the official photographer for the International Hildreth Meière Association. She was the principal photographer and photography editor for both the exhibition and catalogue Walls Speak: The Narrative Art of Hildreth Meière. She is strongly committed to the permanence of the artistic legacy of Hildreth Meière, in the preservation and re-location of decommissioned works and in maintaining the quality and accessibility of the visual record of the artist’s entire body of work through the dissemination of photographs to numerous publications.

Christine McKay, historian of BNY Mellon, will guide visitors through the historic building. Price: $100 Friends of HDC, $125 for Guests Location and directions for this tour will be provided upon registration. Business or business casual attire is requested. To purchase tickets, call 212-614-9107, ext. 14 or e-mail ashedd@hdc.org. Advance reservations are required and space is limited to 25.

Odetta, Richard Wright Being Honored Today in NYC

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Today, Tuesday, July 17, 2012 the Historic Districts Council and the Historic Landmarks Preservation Center in New York City will unveil new cultural medallions for two pioneers in the fields of literature and music.

First at 11:00am, in collaboration with the Fort Greene Association, author Richard Wright will be celebrated with a medallion unveiling at 175 Carlton Avenue in Fort Greene, Brooklyn. Then at 2:00 pm their will be an unveiling of a medallion commemorating the life of Odetta, the legendary singer, songwriter and political activist, at her longtime residence, 1270 Fifth Avenue, in East Harlem. The public is invited to both events.

Odetta: The Voice of the Civil-Rights Movement, 1930-2008

Odetta Holmes, born on December 31, 1930 in Birmingham, Alabama was a true activist, performance artist and musician. Her powerful image and robust voice was and continues to represent the politically driven folk-music of the 1950’s and 1960’s. As an African-American female performance artist during a time of political and racial upheaval, Odetta was a leader and voice for the civil rights movement; marching with Martin Luther King Jr. and performing a show for John F. Kennedy. The ability she had to convey meaning and life into her music inspired others to follow in her pursuit of fairness, equality and justice.

Author Richard Wright, 1908- 1960

Born in Mississippi, Richard Wright spent the majority of his childhood living in poverty in the oppressive racial and social atmosphere of the south. Wright escaped familial and social constraints by immersing himself in the world of literature, and became one of the first great African American writer’s of his time. Richard Wright relocated to Brooklyn’s Fort Greene neighborhood and was living here in 1938 when he drafted his first novel, Native Son. He wrote several controversial novels, short-stories and semi-autobiographical accounts that reflected the brutalities often inflicted on the African American people of the south during this period. Wright eventually left New York City for Paris. His grave is located in the Père Lachaise Cemetery.

About the Ceremony and Cultural Medallion Program

Distinguished scholars, artists and elected officials will be participating in both of the cultural medallion ceremonies. The Richard Wright program will include Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz, celebrated playwright Lynn Nottage, Paul Palazzo of the Fort Greene Association, musician and author Carl Hancock Rux, and Howard Pitsch will read a message from Wright’s daughter, Julia Wright, who currently resides in Paris. Pianist Dave Keyes will perform Odetta’s signature piece, This Little Light of Mine, at the Odetta ceremony.

The Cultural Medallions are a program of the Historic Landmarks Preservation Center. Barbaralee Diamonstein-Spielvogel, Chair of the HLPC, created the Cultural Medallions program, and will lead the ceremony. The HLPC has installed almost 100 medallions around the city to heighten public awareness of the cultural and social history of New York City.

Bungalows of Rockaway: Film Screening, Discussion

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The Historic Districts Council (HDC) will show the 2010 documentary film, “The Bungalows of Rockaway,” produced by Jennifer Callahan and Elizabeth Logan Harris follwed by a panel discussion.

The film highlights the rich history of the Rockaway bungalows. Although of the more than 7,000 bungalows dotting the peninsula in 1933, fewer than 500 remain today. 
The documentary, narrated by Estelle Parsons, features rare archival footage, maps, and interviews with historians, prominent New Yorkers, and several of the longtime residents and vacationers.

In 2012, HDC named the Far Rockaway Beach Bungalows to its Six to Celebrate list, six historic New York City neighborhoods that merit preservation as priorities for HDC’s advocacy and consultation over a yearlong period. HDC is working with the Beachside Bungalow Preservation Association to get the remaining bungalows of Beach 24th, 25th and 26th Streets on the State and National Registers of Historic Places and to raise awareness about this irreplaceable part of New York City’s history.

The screening will be followed by a “Q & A” session and discussion with Richard George, executive director of the Beachside Bungalow Preservation Association; Nancy Solomon, director of Long Island Traditions and author of the National Register nomination; David Selig, owner of Rockaway Taco; Jeanne DuPont of Rockaway Waterfront Alliance, andthe filmmakers. The program will be moderated by journalist Eve M. Kahn.

The event will be held on Monday, June 11, at 6:30 pm at Anthology Film Archives, 32 Second Avenue at East 2nd Street, Manhattan.  Fees: $10 for the general public, $5 for Friends of HDC, seniors and students. Advance reservations are required. Tickets can beordered via Paypal through hdc.org or by calling 212-614-9107. A limited number of complimentary tickets will be available to Far Rockaway residents. Please contact ftolbert@hdc.org for more information.

Photo courtesy Historic Districts Council.