Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Old, Massive, Illustrious and Somehow Overlooked

"Its delicate Renaissance-style exterior could just as well have clothed an opera house, although the five colossal stacks gave it away." 

Photo: New York City Municipal Archives, via NY Times
Preservation groups are circling the deliciously decorated Con Ed powerhouse at 11th Avenue and 59th Street, as the 1904 structure, designed by Stanford White, nudges up for a third time to landmark designation. At the same time, a similar grand structure sits alone without fuss or bother, just working hard in elegant industrial simplicity ...

Click here to read the full article by Christopher Gray, in which he looks both at the West Side's IRT Powerhouse and, across the island, at an East River contemporary.

A Stroll in the Park with Andrew Dolkart

Central Park Walking Tour with Andrew S. Dolkart
Wednesday, June 20, 2012, at 6 p.m.
$25, $15 for LW! Members
Meeting Location TBA

**SPACE IS LIMITED** Tickets must be purchased in advance

Central Park
Central Park is the pleasure-ground of the chief city in a great republic. It has not been set aside by any privileged class for its own use and entertainment, but it is the creation of the whole people of the City of New York for their own enjoyment.
~ Clarence Cook, art critic, 1869*
Join LW! for a walking tour of the People's Park with Professor Andrew S. Dolkart, Director of the Historic Preservation Program at Columbia University's Graduate School of Architecture, Planning & Preservation.

*As quoted in Central Park's Scenic Landmark designation report.

If you have any questions, call us at 212-496-8110.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

At the Dakota Apartments, Hands-On Learning for First Graders

Education is central to LANDMARK WEST's mission, especially our award-winning youth education program, Keeping the Past for the Future (KPF), and its accompanying student workbook, "My Preservation Journal".

KPF teaches students to look at their surroundings and learn about architecture, history and community.  First-grade students from the Anderson School did just that as Dir. of Education Debi Germann led them to the famed Dakota Apartments (1 West 72nd Street at Central Park West).  Students sketched the building's detailing, such as the fantastical ironwork by Samuel Yellin, who also designed the intricate metal work at the Central Savings Bank (now Apple Bank for Savings, an Individual Landmark designated in 1975).

Students from the Anderson School sketching
the Samuel Yellin-designed ironwork at the Dakota Apartments.
If you're a parent with children who attend school on the Upper West Side and want to help introduce KPF into your child's classroom and school, let us know!  Call our Dir. of Education, Debi Germann, at (212) 496-8110 or email her at debigermann@landmarkwest.orgGet page-by-page interactive preview of "My Preservation Journal" here.

Stay tuned to the LW! blog for updates on KPF in West Side classrooms and other education activities (follow the "Education" label, linked here!).

For more information and photographs of the Dakota Apartments, the Central Savings Bank, and many more of the West Side's architectural treasures, download our FREE iPhone walking tour app!

Monday, May 14, 2012

LW's First-Ever Bicycling Tour!

Guest post by LW! Intern Ali K.

LW's Sarah S. and Guide Josef Szende
at Columbus Circle
What better way to celebrate Bike Month and welcome the summer weather than with a bike tour? This past Saturday, LANDMARK WEST! cruised the Upper West Side with bicycle enthusiast Josef Szende, exploring historic railway, subway and greenway sites and structures.

Beginning at the McKim, Mead and White IRT Powerhouse, we rolled through Riverside Park and along the Hudson River Railroad to 96th Street IRT Substation. From here, we enjoyed Central Park, the currently car-free haven for cyclists, jogger and leisurely wanderers. Along the way, Szende shared his knowledge of the recent updates to cycling infrastructure in the Upper West Side, making it easier and safer for everyone to enjoy our beautiful parks, streetscapes and historic architecture!
Szende discussing the development of the Route 9A Reconstruction Project,
making Manhattan's west side accessible to cyclists and pedestrians. 
Josef Szende earned his master's degree in urban planning (with a focus on transportation) at Columbia University's Graduate School of Architecture, Planning & Preservation and his B.A. in geography from the University of Toronto. He is currently the Executive Director of the Atlantic Avenue Business Improvement District, and is also an avid Transportation Alternatives volunteer. 

Learning about the Hudson River Railroad, hidden behind the background's stone structure
Stay tuned for upcoming events and tours with LANDMARK WEST! over the summer on our blog, website and Twitter.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Lesson in Color and Light with Farrow & Ball


... that the English paint company, Farrow & Ball, was founded by two chemists?

... that the Farrow & Ball paint palette is kept to a strict 132 color run? As new colors are developed, older colors are archived.

... that the names of Farrow & Ball paints are often derived from historic locations which inspired the colors?  For example, Ballroom Blue No. 24 finds its roots in the ballroom of the Bath Assembly Rooms in Somerset, England.

These were the lessons learned at last night's in-store color talk with Farrow & Ball's paint and wallpaper experts.  Couldn't join us?  Check out the photos below!  Have paint questions of your own?  Swing by the Farrow & Ball showroom (322 Columbus Avenue at 75th Street) -- their friendly and informed consultants can help you explore colors rich in history (and pigment!) for your own home.

Friends of LW! fill the F&B showroom.

Christine Klotz, F&B's Regional Tri-State Manager, shares with our group
the history of the company's paint development.

A view of cool colors offered by F&B, such as Folly Green No. 76 and Teresa's Green No. 236.

Samples of trough-dragged F&B wallpaper.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Let's Connect; Let's Tweet!

In addition to checking in with LANDMARK WEST! on our website (and, of course, here on our blog!), you can get even more up-to-date notices and musings from us via Twitter.  If you don't already, follow us! 

Jump into the conversation!  Our tweets cover special events like our #UnsungHeroes2012, our "reports from the field" (#advocacy in action!), and all things #UpperWestSide / #UWS.
Click on the icon to access our Twitter page.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

History on Wheels: RSVP for first ever LW! bike tour!

A Bicycling Tour of Historic Railway, Subway & Greenway Sites and Structures on the Upper West Side 
Saturday, May 12, 2012 at 3 p.m.
$15, $10 for LW! and American Planning Association Members 
Josef Szende
From railway to subway to greenway, the Upper West Side is the keeper of key infrastructural components that help New Yorkers stay in motion. Join transportation planner and Upper West Sider Josef Szende for a tour of sites and structures that are part of the history of the Hudson River Railroad and the IRT subway.  Also learn about the history of some of New York City's most advanced bicycling infrastructure, including the Hudson River Greenway and the Columbus Avenue bike lane.

Josef Szende earned his master's degree in urban planning (with a focus on transportation) at Columbia University's Graduate School of Architecture, Planning & Preservation and his B.A. in geography from the University of Toronto.  He is currently the Executive Director of the Atlantic Avenue Business Improvement District, and is also an avid Transportation Alternatives volunteer.  

Bicycle tour will be approximately 10 miles in length and will in part take place in NYC streets.  Bicycle rentals will be available prior to the tour.  For more information, please call us at 212-496-8110 or email us at  

(Lead image is 2012 US Bicycling Forever Stamps)