Friday, March 30, 2012

Preservation Across the Globe: Inspired reuse in Holland

Since LW's Program Coordinator Sarah Sher brought this to our attention, the ladies at LW! haven't been able to stop scrolling through the pictures and marveling in awe at this inspired adaptive reuse of a 13th-century church for a new bookstore.

Landmark-protected buildings are not frozen in amber, and the church-turned-bookstore, below, is a case in point.

From the blog My Modern Metropolis ...

Photo via
We've seen some breathtaking libraries in the past and this bookstore is no exception when it comes to innovative design.

Click here to read My Modern Metropolis' full post.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

It Started as a Silly Tweet ...

... but the idea of architecture inspiring other modes of creativity is a fascinating one, worthy of more than 140 characters!

Earlier today, our friends and colleagues at the Historic Districts Council and the Historic Landmarks Preservation Center commemorated an architect dear to our LW! hearts: Edward Durell Stone.  

Stone designed the iconic mid-century masterpiece that was 2 Columbus Circle (for a refresher on the long saga of how we fought for, but lost, this would-be landmark, click here); he is responsible, of course, for another iconic Modernist edifice in New York City: the Museum of Modern Art.

So when HDC tweeted this to their followers ...

Edward Durell Stone House, 130 East 64th Street
(between Park and Lexington Avenues)
We couldn't help but respond in kind ...

In our office, the same open concrete block used by Stone is translated
into an interesting paper screen.
The newly-installed cultural medallion on Stone's personal residence will serve as a reminder to all who pass by "that history is about more than bricks and mortar, but what people accomplished under the city's roofs that truly matters".  Barbaralee Diamonstein-Spielvogel, founder of the HLPC continues:

Not only do they help bring history alive, they're meant to remind people of how New York became as rich and vital, as energetic and dynamic as it is.  They're also meant to inspire you in your own life.

Stone's cement block clearly inspired an industrious LW! intern of years past, who made the screen that livens up our office.  What other examples do you know of architecture translating into another medium? We want to know!  Send us an email at

*LW! also covered the installation of a cultural medallion at 14 West 23rd Street in October, honoring the legacy of author Edith Wharton.

A Glimpse of Winters Past on the Upper West Side

With the first day of Spring less than a week away, we took a moment to remark on the utter lack of Winter to be had in New York this year.  Unlike "Snowmageddon" of years past, with days on end of snow boots, down jackets and gloves, we've had it pretty easy this year *knock on wood*.  So this post (an oldie but a goodie) from Ephemeral New York seemed like a fun -- and historically appropriate! -- way to remind ourselves of our weather luck this winter.

From Ephemeral New York: Huddling by the stove at the 72nd Street El ...

Berenice Abbott took this February 6th, 1936, photograph of subway riders warming up in the El station at 72nd Street and Columbus Avenue. El tracks lined Columbus from 1879 to 1940.

The paneled windows, wooden turnstiles, and decorative border along the interior wall are some rather old-fashioned touches for a public train station. And when was the last time you saw a pot-bellied stove in the subway? Gives the photo quite a homey feel.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Reliving "The Battle for Bryant Park"

Last week, the Historic Districts Council hosted its Annual Conference.  This year's theme was "The Great Outside", asking preservationists and architectural enthusiasts to consider the open space around our much-loved brick-and-mortar treasures.

LW! was there, tracking all the conference action via Twitter (#GreatOutsideConf -- our thumbs are still aching from all the documentation via iPhone!).  

The "The Great Outside" conference themes live on, in upcoming programming from our friends at HDC ... 

From the LW! archives, an R.O. Blechman-designed invitation
to honor Anthony M. Tung in 1988
The Battle of Bryant Park, 25 Years On
A Discussion with Anthony Tung
Thursday, March 8, 6:00pm 
Neighborhood Preservation Center
232 East 11th Street. Free!
Reservations required; please call (212) 614-9107 or contact

Co-sponsored with the New York Preservation Archive Project 
and the Neighborhood Preservation Center 

On January 8, 1987, The New York Times reported: "A four-year-old plan to build a restaurant behind the New York Public Library has been dealt a surprising setback, with the city’s Landmarks Preservation Commission warning that it would consider 'absolutely untenable' any structure that would make it difficult to view the library’s west facade." The author of the motion was Commissioner Anthony Tung.
Five days later, on Sunday, in "A Landmark of Misfeasance" the Times editorial board called for the replacement of every member of the Commission.
By Monday, Tony Tung had been sacked. But it took 18 turbulent months for the mayor to finally unseat him.

Marking the 25-year anniversary of this battle, which energized the entire preservation community, Anthony Tung will join Anthony C. Wood and Jeffrey Kroessler to re-examine the controversy of 25 years ago.  The discussion will examine how this episode affected the independence of the Landmarks Preservation Commission and relations between the preservation community and the commission, as well as the implications for the present.

Anthony Max Tung lectures internationally on historic preservation and has taught historic preservation at MIT and Columbia. He is the author of Preserving the World’s Great Cities: The Destruction and Renewal of the Historic Metropolis.

Anthony C. Wood is the founder of the New York Preservation Archives Project, Chair Emeritus of the Historic Districts Council, member of the Citizens Emergency Committee to Preserve Preservation, and advisor to preservationists across the city and state. He is the author of Preserving New York: Winning the Right to Protect a City’s Landmarks.

Jeffrey A. Kroessler is a longtime board member of HDC and member of the Citizens Emergency Committee to Preserve Preservation. He is the author of New York, Year by Year and The Greater New York Sports Chronology. He is an associate professor in the library at John Jay College of Criminal Justice.

Special thanks to Arlene Simon and LANDMARK WEST! for the invitation to the 1988 party honoring Anthony Tung  – at St. Mark’s Church in-the-Bowery (art by R.O. Blechman)