Tag Archives: Historic Preservation

Art and Preservation at the Park Avenue Armory


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Armory Armoire. Carol Hepper

Architectural white elephants are a specialty of large urban areas, and armories form a particular subset of these: rife with possible new uses, dauntingly expensive to reclaim. In recent years New York City’s Park Avenue Armory Conservancy has refurbished its 1881 building and turned it into an exciting new space.

Its theatre programs have featured amazing performances with audiences moving on rails for Die Soldaten, or viewing the vast Peter Greenaway multimedia interpretation of Leonardo’s Last Supper. Dance companies, concerts and artistic programs are flourishing and a partnership with the Williamsburg, Brooklyn Art and Design High School gives high school students access to a historic preservation program. Continue reading

Bridges And New York History


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New York State has approximately 17,000 highway bridges. They are essential for traveling around our state and connecting our communities. About 37% are “functionally obsolete” or “structurally deficient,” according to DOT, a reminder of the need for continuing investment to maintain valuable resources.

Bridges – old and new – are part of community and state history. The story of three historically significant bridges shows various connections to history. Continue reading

Peter Feinman: Bowling Alone in 2012


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“Harlem Loses Its Bowling Alley” was part of the headline for an article in the New York Times on August 6, 2012. The article told the story, not of some hallowed bowling alley from the time when life was simpler, but from 2006 when with great fanfare and former President Clinton in attendance, Harlem once again had a bowling alley decades after its last one closed in the 1980s. Continue reading

Lake Placid Olympics 1932 Rink Renovation Underway


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Renovation to the facade of the Lake Placid Olympic Center’s 1932 rink is underway. The contractors, J.T. Erectors, are restoring the structure to its original appearance in the 1930’s. Some of the work includes the installation of windows that have been enclosed by brink since prior to the 1980 Olympic Winter Games.

The revitalization project is being financed through the remaining funds from a grant through Empire State Development, which funded the construction of the newly completed Conference Center at Lake Placid.

 When complete the 1932 facility, along with its conventional use for skating and hockey and akin to the 1980 Herb Brooks Arena, will join the conference center to provide nearly 100,000 square feet of convention space. The fresh look will complement the conference center, which opened for business May 2011.

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
preservation.  

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.

Peter Feinman: The Legend of Sleepy Hollow (2012)


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Once upon a time, as all good stories begin, in the fair village of North Tarrytown (later to be renamed Sleepy Hollow), there was a beacon of light in the river that ran two ways.

Located a quarter mile from the shore of village on the river, this lighthouse had been built in 1882-1883 by strong and sturdy men back in the day when strong and sturdy men built and made things along the Hudson River and before it became a valley of ruins with a book of a similar name. Continue reading

Annual Fulton Chain of Lakes House Tour by Boat


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Whether a historic site or a spectacular new design, individuals with noteworthy homes will host tours during the Annual Fulton Chain of Lakes House Tour by Boat to benefit View, the former Old Forge Arts Center.

Beginning in Old Forge, participants will ride party barges from house to house as they explore local waterways and get the rare chance to view inside the beautiful homes along them. The House Tour will be held on Saturday August 18. Departure will be from the Old Forge Town Docks, at Lake View Ave, in Old Forge, NY promptly at 10am and will return in the middle of the afternoon. To ensure a smooth departure, guests should arrive early, beginning at 9am.
This year’s House Tour By Boat will feature six great camps and homes including Berkeley Lodge, which was once President Benjamin Harrison’s Adirondack Residence. What appears to be just a boathouse from the lake is actually just the beginning of Berkeley Lodge. Former President Benjamin Harrison (of Indianapolis) purchased the 20 acre peninsula between First and Second Lakes in 1895 from Dr. William Sweard Webb.

Berkeley Lodge was designed by a Herkimer architect, Charles E. Cronk, and built in time for Harrison’s return in the summer of 1896 after his 2nd marriage to Mrs. Mary Lord Dimmick. The Lodge living room is flanked by twin octagonal towers at either end. The exterior of Berkeley was sheathed with spruce logs at the bottom and shingles below the eaves. Attached to Berkeley was a cottage containing a kitchen, dining room, and office. The camp also had a house for guides and a boathouse.

In 1910 the property was sold to a New Yorker and then later in 1915, it was purchased by Horace S. deCamp. Horace owned the Harrison property until his death in 1954 and the property was sold at auction and purchased by the Cohen family. The Cohen family sub-divided the property into several parcels before selling Berkeley Lodge. The Lodge, and several other buildings survive to this day. The great camp is owned by Bob and Diane Wallingford, who have renovated a portion of the lodge that was added on in the 1950’s by the Cohens, made the icehouse/carriage house into a bunkhouse, added a garage and renovated the boathouse keeping all of the same flooring and beams.

Tickets must be purchased in advance. Tickets are $65/$50 for View members. This is a rain or shine event which typically sells out, so call View to reserve your ticket at 315-369-6411. For further questions email Info@ViewArts.org, or visit www.ViewArts.org.



Photos: Above, Berkely Lodge today, and below, at the time Harrison owned it.

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.

A Bronx Preservation Volunteer Opportunity


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The Bartow-Pell Mansion Museum is looking for people who are up for an adventure – an adventure in preservation. For the past four years, the museum has partnered with Adventures in Preservation to recruit volunteers to spend a week doing hands-on restoration work at the National Historic Landmark in the Bronx. This year, volunteers will be restoring interior wood shutters. The adventure begins Monday, July 30 and lasts through Friday, August 3.

During five days of work, the two groups hope to complete as much work as possible and move the project one step closer to completion. Volunteers of all ages are welcome; no experience is necessary, just a willingness to work. A conservation expert will teach and guide the volunteers as they work.

The week also includes behind-the-scenes tours of the museum and lunchtime lectures on local history. The $295 fee covers lunches and snacks, materials, insurance and instruction. Full details and registration information are available at online.

Volunteers have contributed significantly to restoration projects at Bartow-Pell since 2008. They restored the walkways in the historic terrace garden, learning the traditional art of galleting as they reversed decades of inappropriate repairs. In 2011, they turned to the interior and began work on the shutter project that continues this year.

Bartow-Pell, an 1840s Greek Revival mansion, is owned by the New York City Department of Parks & Recreation, operated by the Bartow-Pell Conservancy, and is a member of the Historic House Trust of New York City. It is located at 895 Shore Road, Pelham Bay Park, Bronx, New York. For more information, see www.bpmm.org.

Adventures in Preservation is a non-profit organization connecting people and preservation through enriching experiential programs. Participants have the opportunity to travel, experience their destination, and learn hands-on skills while preserving a valuable community resource. Learn more about how AiP volunteers combine their power with the strength of local communities to make a difference at www.adventuresinpreservation.org.

Photo: Volunteers remove layers of paint as part of the shutter restoration process (courtesy Bartow-Pell Mansion Museum).