17th Annual
Preservation Conference

Preservation in New York:
The Next Generation

Preservation conference 2010Thanks to everyone who joined us for our Conference, Preservation in New York: The Next Generation. More than 400 people attended the free pre-conference lectures, opening night reception, keynote, panels, break-out sessions and walking tours throughout the city. The 2010 Annual Preservation Conference examined the future of preservation in New York City as a movement, both in terms of the types of buildings we should be preserving and the audiences we must engage in order to be successful. The Conference focused on specific types of architecture, including modern, cultural and vernacular, that have been less appreciated in the past but are now increasingly seen as significant. It also examined the reasons these buildings are important and the future of their preservation.

Pre-Conference Lecture- February 8th, 2010

As a lead-in to the HDC Conference in March, HDC co-sponsored a lecture at the Museum of the City of New York: The Row House Reborn, book talk with author Andrew Dolkart

In the decades just before and after World War I, a group of architects, homeowners, and developers pioneered innovative and affordable housing alternatives. They converted the deteriorated and bleak row houses of old New York neighborhoods into modern and stylish dwellings. Andrew S. Dolkart, author of The Row House Reborn (Johns Hopkins University Press, 2009) traced this aesthetic movement from its inception in 1908 to a wave of projects for the wealthy on the East Side to the faux artists’ studios for young professionals in Greenwich Village.

Friday, March 5, 2010

The LGBT Community Center
208 West 13th Street

For the second year in a row, HDC’s Opening Night Reception took the form of a preservation “meet and greet,” providing attendees the oportunity to learn about the latest neighborhood campaigns. More than 30 community groups presented their current advocacy efforts with petitions, postcards, maps and research. The event took place at the LGBT Center, housed in an historic 19th-century public school. It helped communities from the top of The Bronx to the bottom of Staten Island get a boost in their advocacy battles.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

St. Francis College
180 Remsen Street
between Court and Clinton Streets
Brooklyn Heights

Fran Leadon, assistant professor, Bernard and Anne Spitzer School of Architecture, City College of New York, and co-author of the forthcoming AIA Guide to New York City, fifth edition gave the Keynote address.

The preservation movement is at a crossroads in New York City. In order to remain successful, both preservationists and the buildings they seek to protect must be diversified and expanded to be as inclusive as possible. Mr. Leadon brought his unique perspective as co-author of the upcoming edition of the AIA Guide to New York City as a launching point to talk about the importance of this big-screen preservation methodology. As part of Mr. Leadon’s efforts in revising and expanding the seminal guidebook, he involved students to identify and photograph new architecture around New York City, utilizing new technology to draw attention to previously overlooked sites and areas.


New Landmarks: Modern, Vernacular and Cultural Sites

The general public has a set notion that a “landmark” must be a Neo-Classical building and preferably made of marble. The 1965 New York City Landmarks Law, however, broadly defines a landmark as a site that has architectural, cultural or historical significance and possesses a distinctive sense of place. Critical thinking on preservation continues to expand and explore “new” ideas of significance and types of built structures. Experts discussed the evolving question of what should be preserved and why. They also highlighted some of the most significant examples of under-appreciated types of buildings.

photo:Jesse A. Ward

Panelst: Andrew Scott Dolkart, director, Historic Preservation Program and James Marston Fitch Associate Professor of Historic Preservation at Columbia University, addressed 20th-century urban vernacular architecture; Mariana Mogilevich, of Place Matters, addressed cultural landmarks; and John Kriskiewicz, architectural historian and professor at Parsons The New School for Design, Manhattan College and Yeshiva University, addressed modern architecture.

New Audiences: Identifying and Partnering with Diverse Population

Despite its popular origins, the preservation movement is sometimes seen as the exclusive concern of a limited audience. Though progress has been made to make preservation activities more accessible, there is still much to be done to make the preservation movement as diverse and inclusive as possible. Speakers addressed ways to ways to involve new audiences.

This panel featured presentations by Jane Cowan, architectural historian and educator; Byron Saunders, executive director of the Wyckoff Farmhouse Museum; and Valery Jean, executive director of Families United for Racial and Economic Equality.


photo:Jesse A. Ward

 Sunday, March 7, 2010



Ain’t it Grand!:The Grand Concourse SOLD OUT!!
The Grand Concourse, the Bronx boulevard modeled on Paris’s Champs-Elysées, celebrated its 100th anniversary in 2009. Lined with grand Art Deco apartment houses and public parks, the Concourse is a source of pride for its residents. But it’s been only recently that serious discussion about the importance of the Concourse and how it should best be preserved for the future have begun. Tour attendees joined William Casari, archivist and instructional librarian at Hostos Community College, to explore this incredibly vibrant avenue from 158th Street to 167th Street and learn about its past glory and its future possibilities.



A Walk Through Norwegian Brooklyn: Lapskaus Boulevard
Today when you walk along Eighth Avenue in Sunset Park, the smells, sights and language reflect a mini- Chinatown. It is hard to believe that not so long ago this area was the heart of the third largest Norwegian community in the world, colloquially known as Lapskaus Boulevard (a Norwegian stew). Preservationist Victoria Hofmo focused on things that are still Norwegian, were once Norwegian, and those things that have become a hybrid of cultures.





Lamartine Place and Chelsea’s Cultural History
Justin Ferate illumated the rich history of Manhattan’s Chelsea neighborhood. In 2008 several areas were landmarked to help preserve their character, including the industrial section of West Chelsea and one small stretch of West 29th Street known as Lamartine Place for its significant Underground Railroad history. Tour attendees also learned about the renowned High Line Park project, which will eventually wind its way through Chelsea and is already seen by some as a landmark of the future.



Modern in Midtown: Landmarks of the Recent Past
Led by architectural historian Matthew Postal, attendees learned about New York’s future landmarks. While the importance of “modern” buildings is still being debated by some preservationists, a significant group of mid-20th century buildings have already achieved iconic status. The tour focused on a wide range of modern works, from pioneering minimalist townhouses to skyscrapers commissioned by major corporations.







Parkchester: City Within a City
Developed by the same company that created Stuyvesant Town and Peter Cooper Village, Parkchester is the epitome of affordable living in a parklike setting. This “city within a city” in The Bronx was created in 1939 and consists of more than 100 buildings, as well as its own post office, shops, subway station, parks and playing fields. The buildings, while restrained in design like their Manhattan counterparts, contain an astonishing wealth of terra-cotta ornament in the form of animals and human figures. This tour was led by architectural historian John Kriskiewicz.








Way Out West (on West End Avenue)
There are many areas of New York City that retain a unique sense of place but have not yet been designated as landmarks. One such neighborhood, West End Avenue on the Upper West Side, remains the longest, virtually unbroken spine of pre-World War II architecture and ambiance in Manhattan, with an enormous cache of grand apartment houses by some of the city’s best-known architects. In 2008, in order to preserve the character of the community, the West End Preservation Society submitted a survey of the neighborhood to the Landmarks Preservation Commission for consideration. Architectural historian Andrew Scott Dolkart, the author of the survey, lead the tour, focusing on the development and significance of this grand thoroughfare.




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