Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Deck Your Halls with Gifts from LANDMARK WEST!

For gift giving inspiration this holiday season, you need look no further than LANDMARK WEST's booth at this weekend's GreenFlea Market (entrance to the yard is free)! Come with your pocket book at the ready and leave with the perfect gifts for your nearest and dearest.

    WHEN: This Sunday, December 4th
                 10AM to 5:30PM
  WHERE: Schoolyard on Columbus Ave.
                  between 76th and 77th Streets

                       Click here view the location on Google maps
What's for sale, you ask? The items below, and so much more!

"Vintage" prints, photos and postcards galore! We've dug deep into our archives and will be bringing some wonderful treasures that are sure to bring joy to whomever receives them. Most items are "one of a kind", so come early and have your pick from our collection, featuring fantastic historic maps of Manhattan, whimsical articles and illustrations from Harper's Weekly, stunning turn-of-the-century panoramas of Fifth Avenue, and so much more!

We last opened our print and photograph vault in September for the Columbus Avenue Street Festival. With almost each purchase we were told "These maps are terrific! You should really consider selling them at the GreenFlea market." You shared your suggestion; we listened! 

We hope you'll stop by this Sunday!

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

GUEST BLOG :: Buffalo's Central Terminal rides the rails to restoration

As reported by LW! graduate intern Kate Gilmore 

Thanksgiving is one of the busiest travel holidays. We all move to and fro at a frenzied pace and rarely do we stop to appreciate the fantastic structures that facilitate such rapid transportation.

This past Wednesday, as I waited for my train in New York's Penn Station, every corner was bustling with activity. Alas, present-day Penn Station is depressing and dark -- a far cry from the illuminated, soaring space of McKim, Mead and White's original building.

Original Penn Station Interior

However, magnificent train stations still exist!  One in particular that has fallen into disuse and is not well-known is Buffalo Central Terminal located in East Buffalo.  Luckily, I was able to visit this amazing train station during the National Trust for Historic Preservation Conference in October.  Buffalo Central Terminal is an impressive -- both visually and physically! -- art deco masterpiece designed by architects Fellheimer and Wagner.  Fellheimer had worked on the architectural team that built Grand Central Station, and together with Wagner was best known for Buffalo Central Terminal and Cincinati's Union Terminal.

Exterior of Buffalo Central Terminal, c. 1930s.
Source: Buffalo History Works
The Buffalo terminal's construction began in 1927, and BCT opened to the public on June 22, 1929. Just fifty years later, on October 28, 1979, the last train left BCT. The building then went through a series of different owners. Throughout the 1980s and early 1990s, the building was used as a salvage site. Nothing was done in order to try and revitalize the structure with activities that would make use of the space itself.

Main Terminal in Disrepair.
Source: Buffalo History Works
In 1997, the Central Terminal Restoration Corporation purchased the building and began the painstaking process of restoration. Through weekend volunteer sessions and public activities, CTRC has brought people back into the magnificent terminal space. The BCT is an amazing tribute to the former dominance of rail transportation, and CTRC had committed to work with the structure to ensure its re-use. Visit their website to see the current master plan for the structure and learn more about public events.

So the next time your train pulls into the station, remember that the history of rail travel has produced some excellent architecture -- to be celebrated and used by current generations.


For more from Kate Gilmore, check out:

The Future of Development on the Upper West Side, July 7, 2011 

From East Side to West Side, newsracks making headlines, July 18, 2011

"Honor the Past, Celebrate the Future" with West-Park

West-Park Presbyterian Church
165 West 86th Street

West-Park Presbyterian Church has achieved some major milestones in the last few years.  Certainly one would be the Individual Landmark designation by the NYC Landmarks Preservation Commission in early 2010 (affirmed by the City Council later that May!). 

Next Monday, December 5th, the church is celebrating another major (and we mean major!) moment: its 100th Anniversary! 

To mark the occasion, the leadership and congregation at West-Park are hosting "100+", a benefit event that will honor West-Park’s history of social justice advocacy, inclusivity, and support for culture and the arts, and will offer an exciting glimpse—and celebration—of the future. 

Projected on the horizon for West-Park is the revitalization of the landmark building (which has received a terrific boon this fall thanks to handfuls of generous supporters of West-Park), and the founding and development of The Center at West-Park.

To learn more about the 100+ Benefit Event, click on the graphic below!

If you're unable to attend but would like to learn more about how you can support West-Park's rejuvenation, email us at

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Return of the Urns

Thank you, David Dunlap and The New York Times for drawing attention to the demon that plagues historic neighborhoods under active consideration for landmark protection.  Too many heedless owners rush to destroy the very fabric that makes buildings in these neighborhoods architecturally significant, but more importantly, fabric that is integral to the quality of life of the people who live here.

“It was one of the most traumatic days of my life,”said Kennedy Fraser, a 35-year resident of 333 West 86th Street, a building located in a proposed extension of the Riverside-West End Historic District (PDF).  Fraser described her feelings as she watched contractors remove 16 magnificent masonry urns from the building's facade last May.

Read Dunlap's article to find out how neighbors succeeded in bringing the urns back (albeit in fiberglass because the originals had been too badly damaged through removal).

It's a crying shame--and an expensive mistake.  Property owners, hear this message:

“Everybody responds to beauty,” Ms. Fraser said. “People think it doesn’t matter, that nobody will see them, that they’re just a poetic detail. But somehow, it’s important to have those things that not everybody notices.”

...but that they will fight for.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Alpha-Branches and Number-Limbs: Fun in Central Park!

We couldn't have asked for nicer weather on Sunday, November 13th for LW's family program, The ABCs of Central Park, led by author and artist Gerald Lynas (visit to see his work). The air was crisp and the leaves were crunching as families searched for and photographed the alphabet -- in the trees! Keep scrolling to see photos from the walk!

We even found our own initials in the trees!

Friday, November 11, 2011

A Toast: To the future of preservation! To the young professionals!

Upon arrival at the Hi-Life Restaurant. Cristiana and Sarah's Twitter storm begins!
The distinct neon signage* pulled us in like a tractor beam ...

Thank you to all the young professionals out there -- the recent graduates, the "payin' your dues" AutoCad specialists, the Lorax-like advocates, the alternative transportation enthusiasts, the current students, and more! -- who joined us last night for our first ever happy hour.

The event was an indisputable success, with NYC's future preservation and planning movers and shakers rubbing shoulders and networking up a storm.  We got the message loud and clear: more young professionals events, please!  If you have a specific idea of an event, don't hesitate to contact Sarah Sher, LW's Program Coordinator. 

Former LW! graduate intern and Pratt HP alum Will Vogel (far left) with
fellow Pratt HP students and alums.
For scenes and musings from the event, which took place at the Upper West Side's own Hi-Life Bar & Grill (a supporter of LW's 2011 Unsung Heroes Awards!), check out the Twitter feed featuring #YoungLW.

We leave you with the tweet of former LW! intern and Pratt HP grad Will Vogel: 

"As we students say, 'Raze a toast. Not our buildings!' #YoungLW "


*Consider yourself a neon signage enthusiast? Save the date for December 5th, when LW! will host a slide lecture with Kirsten Hivley of Project Neon.  More here ...

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Central Park Was Made for Fall

Photo, taken with Instagram, via @jamiezoob
This picture of fall in Central Park is so stunning; had to share it.  Happy fall, everyone! 

Get out there and enjoy the City's first Scenic Landmark: Central Park!

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Celebrating 200 Years of Life on the Grid

Preservation largely documents the history of our built environment and cultural heritage.  But who documents the history of preservation itself?  That'd be the New York Preservation Archive Project (NYPAP)! 

For over a decade, NYPAP, under the leadership of Anthony C. Wood, has carefully kept tabs on the historic preservation movement in New York City -- the movers and shakers whose activism and and decision-making has shaped the City's Landmarks Law, the projects and legal cases that have defined the fight to preserve New York's historic resources.

One such hero of preservation celebrated by NYPAP is Andrew H. Green (more on him below!).  And this Saturday, November 12th,
we (that means you!) are all invited to join the office of Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer to honor his contributions to the City.

The Andrew Haswell Green Bench in Central Park, via Wikipedia.


Join Manhattan Borough Historian Michael Miscione as we raise a toast of non-alcoholic cider to the memory of Andrew H. Green. Though Green’s name is unfamiliar to most New Yorkers his legacy is everywhere: Central Park, Riverside Park, and Morningside Park; the American Museum of Natural History, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and the New York Public Library; and indeed, the very five-borough city that exists today. Green, who is sometimes described as a 19th-century Robert Moses, was a pioneering city planner and preservationist, and the driving force behind the movement to consolidate the municipalities around New York Harbor into a single metropolis.

In honor of the 200th anniversary of the Manhattan street grid plan, this year’s ceremony will focus on Green’s substantial modifications to that plan’s original design.

Saturday, November 12th
Andrew H. Green Memorial Bench, inside Central Park 
(see below for a map and directions)
FREE and open to the general public

The Green Memorial Bench is located inside Central Park at about 105th Street. It is extremely difficult to find and is not marked on most park maps. For a printable/downloadable map with detailed directions click here.  

From the East Side: At Fifth Avenue and E. 102 Street, enter the park via the pedestrian entrance. Make your way onto the main auto drive. Walk north on the drive for about two blocks. When you come to the standing three-sided map on your left (the composting operation will be on your right), turn left on to the wide, well-paved crossover road that heads to the West Side. Take an immediate right onto the blacktop footpath that heads uphill. Bear right as you walk along the footpath. The bench is at the top of the hill.

From the West Side: At Central Park West and W. 100 Street, enter the park via the automobile entrance road. Bear left, merging on to the main drive. Continue walking north on the drive for about two blocks. Before the drive crosses a stone bridge, turn right onto the wide, well-paved crossover road that heads to the East Side. This road will be marked with an "Authorized Vehicles Only" sign. Continue down this road, passing a little police kiosk on your right. Just before the road intersects with the main east drive, turn left onto the blacktop footpath that heads uphill. Bear right as you walk along the footpath. The bench is at the top of the hill.

Note: There is a lot of construction taking place at the north end of the park right now which might make some of these directions unworkable. Be prepared to improvise!

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Things are Warming Up at West-Park Presbyterian Church

West-Park Presbyterian Church
165 West 86th Street
Since its induction into the West Side landmark family in 2010, the community has filled West-Park Presbyterian Church with helping hands; we've seen it filled with intrigue and theatrical flair and with heavenly voices and inspirational instrumentsNow, let's fill West-Park with one of the basic essentials: heat!

Join the leadership and congregation of West-Park, Council Member Gale Brewer, members of the city-wide preservation community, and neighbors and supporters of West-Park next Thursday, November 10th, from 6-8PM for a fundraiser to benefit the church's boiler repair/replacement fund. 

Repairing or replacing the existing boiler is a major priority since, without heat, the congregation will be unable to use the church this winter, stalling efforts to revitalize the building.  Attend this upcoming fundraiser to contribute to this project and to hear updates as to "next steps" in the ongoing rejuvenation of this captivating red sandstone landmark.

             WHAT : Fundraiser to benefit 
                           West-Park Presbyterian Church
             WHEN : Thursday, Nov. 10th, 6-8PM
           WHERE : The Belnord Apartments
                           225 West 86th Street
                                 RSVP required; please email

Community Members Help LW! Meet the Challenge!
In the month of October, the congregation at West-Park received a challenge grant that would match up to $25,000 of monies raised toward the much needed repair/replacement of the church's insufficient boiler.  LW! reached out to its network of West-Park supporters and neighbors to inspire them to make a modest contribution -- $100, $50, whatever worked for each individual or family! -- and help toward the church's $25,000 goal.  We set forth a challenge: to raise $2,500 towards the total $25,000 needed.  In less than two weeks ... done!

The New York Landmarks Conservancy, who is administering the boiler fund, reported that indeed, the $25,000 goal was met (a total of $50,000 with matching funds).  The boiler project is estimated at $84,000 total -- help us go the distance.  Attend the November 10th fundraiser; be a part of the renewal of this community resource!

Preserving West-Park: Looking back to move forward
A 20-year community effort was thankfully rewarded on May 12, 2010, when the New York City Council affirmed the designation of the West-Park Presbyterian Church as a NYC Individual Landmark (click here to read the designation report).  The victory kickstarted a new chapter in the life of West-Park. 

Here's just a snapshot at some of the recent activity of LW!, the West-Park congregants, our local elected officials, and preservation colleagues, including the New York Landmarks Conservancy, Friends of West-Park, and Preservation Alumni:  

  • Long-time West-Park congregant and West Sider Jim Wadsworth secured a generous $5,000 donation from the Lois G. Roy Dickerman Fund as seed money towards replacing West-Park's failing boiler.  "The boiler must be in place in order to secure the development partners and renters necessary to fulfill our emerging business plan," Rev. Brashear shared.  The Dickerman Fund gift--made in honor of Mr. Wadsworth's late wife, Carol--is the first dedicated donation to the boiler project.

  • City Council Member Gale Brewer organized a fundraiser to collect starter funds for bricks-and-mortar restoration of West-Park.  The fund, managed by the New York Landmarks Conservancy, was recently put to work with roof repairs to West-Park's sanctuary and chapel.  At the same time, the Conservancy spent $10,000 from a special Rockefeller Foundation grant to initiate architectural services to establish a phased exterior restoration plan.  The plan will be completed this month, with a priority to facade work that will allow the removal of the sidewalk bridge at long last.  A significant step in the long process of West-Park's physical rejuvenation!

    The West-Park restoration fund remains open for contributions!  Checks can be made payable to "New York Landmarks Conservancy," with "WPPC" as the memo, and mailed to:

                     New York Landmarks Conservancy
                     ATTN: Peg Breen, President
                     1 Whitehall Street
                     New York, NY  10004

  • Members of the West-Park congregation teamed with Preservation Alumni, the alumni organization for graduates of Columbia University's Historic Preservation Masters Program, LW!, Friends of West-Park, and the generous team of Jack Pontes Brownstone Restorations for a day-long interior clean up of the church's sanctuary.  Dusting, vacuuming, buffing, scrubbing ... you name it!  Dozens of volunteers turned out to put their muscles to work for the preservation of West-Park.   

  • LW! worked with architects and an electrician to upgrade the church's wiring and emergency exit lighting to help make it possible for the congregation to open its doors for public events, such as a holiday craft fair in December and this summer's Bridge Concert Series.  
The all-volunteer crew celebrates the successful clean-up of West-Park in December 2010.

Designation was only the beginning of what must continue to be a robust, sustained, community-wide effort.  Full restoration of West-Park Presbyterian Church will be a major undertaking, but we must begin with manageable goals, such as the ongoing development of a strategic plan.

See you at the fundraiser!