Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Thank YOU for speaking out against Bloomberg's Midtown East Rezoning!

On September 6, the New York Times published a letter to the editor written by LW! President Arlene Simon responding to Professor Kenneth T. Jackson's op-ed "Gotham's ToweringAmbitions" published on August 30th. Arlene's letter to the New York Times calls out Jackson's offense in mixing "the zoning issues at stake in East Midtown with a different set of issues involved in landmark preservation." The next day, LW! invited your reactions to Jackson's response to the Midtown East rezoning, and your letters gave emphasis to our disappointment in his commentary and his calling out LW! for seeking to designate additional landmark buildings and historic districts. As one of the world's leading historians, Professor Jackson's opposition to historic preservation is inapt and his support for rezoning the area around Grand Central Terminal is perplexing.

Yesterday, November 12th, it was announced that Councilman DanGarodnick and Council speaker Christine Quinn would not vote for Mayor MichaelBloomberg's rezoning plan, leading to the administration's withdrawal of a proposal that would have allowed for taller buildings on approximately 73 blocks throughout Midtown East. For the past two years, the contentious proposal endured an extensive public review process that began when the real estate industry and the Bloomberg administration argued that the office space in the area "is outdated and increasingly unappealing to modern tenants." Proponents believe rezoning for more modern office skyscrapers is the answer to preserving New York City's rank as a world-class city.

In a statement sent to reporters, councilmembers Garodnick and Quinn said, "a good idea alone is not enough to justify action today. We should rezone East Midtown, but only when we can do so properly." They will set out to "achieve all of the goals set out by the Bloomberg Administration and do so in a way that respects the interests and perspectives of all the stakeholders - the community; the workers who will populate and serve the new and expanded buildings in East Midtown; the landmarks in the area and the developers who support the current proposal."

Mayor-elect Bill de Blasio commended the councilmembers, "for pressing the pause button in order to ensure these concerns are adequately addressed." He stated that he is committing to "presenting a revised rezoning plan for the area by the end of 2014.                                                                                       

Shortly after the news was publicized, Mayor Bloomberg stated his administration would withdraw its application to rezone Midtown East. After frantically attempting to collect votes for support in the Council and to persuade opponents of the proposal's value, efforts ultimately came up short, marking an indefinite pause for elevating New York City's skyline.

We thank you for sending in your letters to your Council members and working hard to preserve the landmarks of Midtown East. You can be sure LANDMARK WEST! will continue to fiercely advocate for the preservation of the Upper West Side and the City of New York as the new administration unfolds.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Celebrate the UNSUNG HEROES on December 5th!


Thursday, Dec. 5th 2013

With an admittedly contrarian mind-set, LANDMARK WEST's honorees tend not to be media stars or mega-bankers, but real-life landmark heroes in the trenches. Usually, no one you have ever heard of (maybe). This year's crop of unsung heroes are no exception.

WHERE: Loi Restaurant - 208 W. 70th Street
WHEN:   Thursday, December 5th, 2013
TIME:     6:00 - 8:00pm

Join LANDMARK WEST! to celebrate the efforts of every day Unsung Heroes of the Upper West Side who go above and beyond to preserve our neighborhood's special architectural character, the sense of place and so much more.

Unsung Heroes for 2013:

Lucia Alexeyev, 9-year-old advocate for Park 89 and student of PS 166

Cynthia Copeland, Edu. Curator & Pres. of the Inst. for the Exploration of Seneca Village

Richard Emery, Civil Rights Lawyer and Co-Founder of West End Preservation Society

Michael Gotkin, Landscape Architect

Kate Wood, Preservationist Par Excellence!

We thank chef-owner Maria Loi for hosting this year's Unsung Heroes Awards as well as her generosity and classy addition to the Upper West Side. Loi's Greek cuisine has been raved as "incredible genuineness" and described as dining in your mother's kitchen.


      $500   Hit a High C  (2 tickets, acknowledgement in all event literature)

       $250   Belt it Out  (2 tickets, acknowledgement in the evening's program)

     $75   Sing a Solo  (1 ticket)

    $50 Join the Chorus (1 ticket, limited number)

Click here to purchase tickets or make a donation.

Celebration Committee

Lisa Ackerman
Sally Bloostein
Françoise Bollack & Tom Killian
Daniel & Estrellita Brodsky
Albert K. Butzel
Cutsogeorge Tooman & Allen Architects
Michèle de Milly
Andrew S. Dolkart 
Stephen & Arie Finkel
Stephen Glascock 
Roberta Brandes Gratz
Gail Gregg
Mary Anne Hunting 
Joseph Kizner
Sarah & Sidney Landau
Lilly Langotsky & Stuart Uram
Judith & Victor Linn
Diane & Walt Looney
Jeanne & David Martowski
Metropolitan National Bank
Arthur & Barbara L. Michaels
Amy Newman & Bud Shulman
Susan Nial
Lee Harris Pomeroy
J. Pontes Corp. Brownstone Restorations
Steve Robinson & Connie Kaiserman Robinson
Linda & Andrew Safran
Andrea Raab Sherman
Arlene & Bruce Simon
Mike & Janet Slosberg
David & Patrick Sprouls 
Olga Statz
Robert N. Swartz
Ernest von Simson & Naomi Seligman
Jack Taylor
Ethel Wood
Judith & Stanley Zabar
Lori Zabar & Mark Mariscal
                     (List in formation)                        

Monday, September 30, 2013

Empire State Building: The Making of a Landmark

Empire State Building: 
The Making of a Landmark
An illustrated talk & book signing by John Tauranac
Thursday, October 17th, 2013 at 6 p.m.
Macaulay Honors College, 35 West 67th Street
$15, $10 for LW! members
  or email for more information  

"Although the Empire State Building is no longer the tallest building in the world (or even in New York City), it remains mythical, iconic. This entrancing book is at once an appreciation of the structure as a practical work of art and an exploration of the building's role in the city and the world." --The New Yorker 

Join author John Tauranac as he takes us through the development of the skyscraper as a form, and discusses the real estate boom of the 1920s New York City in his book Empire State Building: The Making of a Landmark. 

The New York Chronicle describes Tauranac's book as "A masterpiece of architectural and city history. Like a great novel, The Empire State Building: The Making of a Landmark is a complex and fascinating tale of men inspired by titanic visions of planning, financing, designing, and erecting this icon of New York."    
John Tauranac writes on New York's architectural history, teaches the subject, gives tours of the city, and designs maps. He also teaches New York history and architecture at NYU's School of Continuing & Professional Studies, where he is an adjunct associate professor. He was named a Centennial Historian of the City of New York by the Mayor's Office for his work in history in 1999, and he was awarded a Commendation for Design Excellence by the U. S. Department of Transportation and the National Endowment of the Arts in 1980 for his role as the design chief of the 1979 subway map.

Friday, September 27, 2013

October 2013 Programs and Events

To mark your calendars, visit our Upcoming Events page here.

(OHNY) Weekend 2013 

Saturday and Sunday October 12th and 13th
from 11:00AM at 4:00PM
Center for Architecture
536 LaGuardia Pl New York, NY

Join OHNY, the Center for Architecture Foundation, and LW! for a full weekend of family fun! Drop by the Center for Architecture with the family and try your hand at designing your own customized brownstone -- we'll have professionals on hand to assist you!

Farmhouse to Townhouse Walking Tour
Saturday October 12th, 11:00AM 
West 89th Street (*location confirmed with reservation)
On this 45-minute LW! walking tour of West 89th Street, discover how the Upper West Side evolved from serene countryside to a bustling urban neighborhood. We'll look at historic photos of mansions, row houses, the subway, and more! Note: Appropriate ages 6 and up. Advance reservations are required. The tour is presented in conjunction with OHNY Weekend.
FREE; Reservations must be made here. For more information visit OHNY

LANDMARK WEST! Book Talk Series
John Tauranac's Empire State Building:
The Making of a Landmark

Thursday October 17th, 6:00PM to 8:00PM 
Macaulay Honors College, 35 W 67th Street
John Tauranac, author of Empire State Building: The Making of a Landmark will present an illustrated lecture about the iconic New York City building. The New Yorker describes his work as "an appreciation of the structure as a practical work of art and an exploration of the building's role in the city and the world." 
Q&A will follow the lecture. 

Empire State Building: The Making of a Landmark will be available for purchase at the lecture.  
Tickets are $10 for LW! members, $15 for non-members. 
Limited seating. Purchase tickets here or send a check made out to LANDMARK WEST! to 45 W 67th Street, New York, NY 10023
Not sure if you're a member? Please call LW! 212.496.8110.

Quarterly Young Preservationist Happy Hour
Dublin House Bar

Monday October 21st, 6:00PM to 8:00PM 
Dublin House Bar, 225 West 79th Street
Grab a pint from the bar and join us in the Dublin House's back room to mix and mingle with young preservationists. Whether you're a grad student, or recent preservation or planning professional, this is a great opportunity to talk shop and more! And what better place than this landmark, The Dublin House -- a 1921 Prohibition speakeasy which later, in 1933 affixed its iconic neon harp to the façade. The sign's glow guided sailors arriving to Manhattan via the 79th Street Boat Basin who often made Dublin House their first stop in the city.  

FREE to the public, drinks can be purchased at the bar. Join us on TwitterFacebook, or email


LANDMARK WEST! Book Talk Series
Constance Rosenblum's Habitats: 
Private Lives in the Big City

Thursday October 24th, 6:00PM to 8:00PM 
Macaulay Honors College, 35 W 67th Street
Author Constance Rosenblum will present an illustrated lecture about every New Yorker's favorite topic -- New York City real estate! As a writer for the New York Times Real Estate section, Rosenblum's new book Habitats: Private Lives in the Big City is a compilation of articles tracing her journeys through the brownstones, mansions, co-ops and lofts of all five boroughs -- a true insider's view of the homes of the 21st-century metropolis. Four West Side homeowners whose stories are told in the book  will discuss the restoration of their houses and how the neighborhood has been transformed over the decades. Q&A will follow the lecture.

Habitats: Private Lives in the Big City will be available for purchase at the lecture. 
 Tickets are $10 for LW! members, $15 for non-members. 
Limited seating. Purchase tickets here or send a check made out to LANDMARK WEST! to 45 W 67th Street, New York, NY 10023
Not sure if you're a member? Please call LW! 212.496.8110.

The Master Series: R. O. Blechman Reception and Exhibition

In 2010, LANDMARK WEST! honored Bob Blechman at our 25th Anniversary party, which celebrated 25 years of vigorous advocacy to protect the past and the shape the future of the Upper West Side and our great city.
This "vigorous advocacy" could not have happened without Bob's illustrations, which packaged our advocacy in beauty and wit. Join the LW! team on Thursday, October 3rd in celebrating Bob, and to view some of the pieces created for LW! in the exhibition. We couldn't be more proud.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Ken Jackson's Towering Oversights - Thanks for Your Comments!

On Friday, September 6, the New York Times published a letter to the editor written by LW! President Arlene Simon responding to Professor Kenneth T. Jackson’s August 30 op-ed titled “Gotham’s Towering Ambitions.”  On Saturday, September 7, we invited you to join us in responding to Professor Jackson.  Here are a few of your comments, along with Arlene’s original letter below.  Thank you for your responses – keep them coming!  

Arlene’s original letter to the New York Times, published Sept. 6, 2013

Re: “Gotham’s Towering Ambitions,” by Kenneth T. Jackson (NYT, Aug. 30):

To the Editor:

Kenneth T. Jackson knows better than to mix the zoning issues at stake in East Midtown with a different set of issues involved in landmark preservation.

As a city planning tool, zoning is used to manage sustainable growth for the future, while landmark preservation seeks to protect our architectural and cultural resources that give our cities character, identity and historical context. These two tools are complementary, not conflicting.

Preservationists do not seek to block all change. Rather, we work to accommodate and reconcile growth and change to the existing built environment so that our neighborhoods remain livable and attractive to residents, business owners and visitors alike. 

President, Landmark West!
New York, Aug. 30, 2013

Your letters to LANDMARK WEST!


Arlene Simon's responses to Kenneth Jackson's are excellent.  I am delighted to be a member of Landmark West!'s board, and I completely support Arlene's letters.

Board Member, LANDMARK WEST!
New York, Sept. 7, 2013


Who, indeed, would have thought that Jackson turns out to be, at this crucial moment in the history of the metropolis of which he is one of the leading historians -- of all things -- in the proverbial pay of the robber barons of the Real Estate Board of New York (REBNY)?

For shame.

New York, Sept. 7, 2013


Thanks for succinct letter reply in the New York Times; well written.

New York, Sept. 7, 2013


Right on, Arlene!

New York, Sept. 7, 2013


Any further development of Midtown East is only in the interest of rich developers trying to get richer--not in the interest of New Yorkers trying to enjoy and appreciate their rich history. These developers die and we're left with their junk.

We need to landmark Broadway between 79th and 96th before it's too late. Northern historic Broadway is disappearing--let's stop it.

New York, Sept. 7, 2013


This is another example of bringing in a so-called expert to legitimize a corporate agenda by trumpeting one argument and ignoring the other many excellent arguments that disprove the first. Unfortunately, it is standard practice and we should see it for what it is.

The bottom line for any discussion about how to develop or not develop in a city should be quality of life -- not change, not being a wonder city. It should be about how its residents live and work in the city to enhance both. This is the healthy future, and to the extent that quality of life is pursued will be the extent to which the people will love the city. Quality of life makes the wonder city.

A core example is the greatness and importance of Central Park to New York City.  Remember when we fought a high rise adjacent to the park because of what its shadow would do to the viability of the living infrastructure of the park itself? In large part, it is Central Park that makes the city livable. Another part is the beauty of the visible environment itself, namely, the varied array of great architecture.  In a walking city, which is especially New York City, the details of the architecture of its past is exactly what gives richness to every day walking. Preservation conveys quality of life. If we had done much more of it, New York would have indeed been a wonder city. We can't stop now with what is left.

The ancient Greeks, whom we revere, believed in two other fundamentals as a formula for creating quality in life, and after 2500 years they are still rock solid. They are "proportion" and "nothing in excess". This is why overgrowth must be a part of the discussion. It involves the robbery from the people of sunlight and the clogging of the urban arteries of movement.  Excess itself is never sustainable.

There is another important thought: what is the normal habitat for a human being? We study animal habitats as a way of understanding their requirements for survival. We too are animals. How far can a city depart from normal human habitat and expect normal human behavior, or even sanity?  This is why the core policy of a city must be to guide change toward quality of life for all citizens and visitors. Architectural preservation is critical to that goal.


New York, Sept. 8, 2013


It is truly perplexing and disappointing that Kenneth T. Jackson, one of the world's foremost New York City historians continues to balk at the cause of historic preservation at every turn.
I'm surprised Jackson cannot recognize the inherent historic and cultural value and distinction that preservation brings (as one respondent to his article mentioned, preservation is a wonderful way to experience history first-hand), not to mention economically-stimulated neighborhoods and improved property values. Can anyone honestly say that the SoHo Historic District is devoid of the density and excitement about which Mr. Jackson loves to wax poetic? The DUMBO Historic District has one of the lowest vacancy rates in the whole city.

Also, Jackson seems to forget that New York's identity was forged not just by wild speculative development, but by sensible building regulations such as the Tenement House Act of 1901 and the 1916 Zoning Law, which provided for light, air, health and safety.

Lastly, like Edward Glaeser, Jackson falls into the trap of thinking that just because there is more historic preservation in NYC than in 1965, preservation is going to somehow "freeze" the whole city (which is something no preservationists want). As of March 2012, only 3% of the total amount of buildings in NYC have landmark status. That leaves approximately 966,600 plots in which developers may alter and/or demolish to their hearts' content!
All this is in addition to the fact that Jackson brushes aside the plethora of issues besides historic preservation that will be potentially affected by this rezoning - affordable housing, lack of hotel construction, piling more office space on top of the 4/5/6 line that's already at 116% capacity, not to mention on top of the new Long Island Rail Road Grand Central connection, and there is just no way the 2nd Avenue line will be able to wave a magic wand and alleviate most of the congestion.  Maybe Jackson should ride the 6 train every once and a while.

New York, Sept. 9, 2013

The writer is a candidate for M.S. in Historic Preservation and Urban Planning at the Graduate School for Architecture, Planning and Preservation at Columbia University.


When I read Professor Jackson's "op-ed", I was sitting in Knightsbridge, London.  I had just visited some of the most beautiful buildings in the world, many of which are hundreds of years old.  Many are still serving their initial purpose but many others have been refurbished and repurposed as elegant homes, beautiful offices and shops and high end embassies and consulates.  I had to wonder what on earth Professor Jackson is suggesting.  Would he demolish the center of London?  Would he tear down the beautiful townhouses?  People come from all over the world to see the ancient and not so ancient buildings but nevertheless landmark buildings that line the streets of London.  

Are there new buildings in London?  Of course there are but building them hasn't required the wholesale demolition of the City's architectural and cultural gems. The beautiful human scale in the historic neighborhoods has been maintained and green spaces and squares dot the City.   Each spot of open space is not re-zoned at the drop of a developer's hat. 

New York isn't loosing its luster, if it is, because of preservation.  It is suffering from the Mayor's lack of respect for neighborhoods and the residents who live in them. It is suffering from the Mayor's lack of attention to basic City services like street cleaning. Professor Jackson's article makes it clear that those who reside in of the City don't matter and neither do their opinions about how their City will be developed.  The only "people" that matter are billionaire developers who take the tax money that should be going to schools, streets, drainage and infrastructure to build high rises for other billionaires. That is not the way it is supposed to work. 

Landmarking and preservation isn't about stopping change – it’s about managing it, giving the public a voice and protecting the City's cultural and architectural heritage. It’s about protecting small business and the fabric of the City.  Landmarking and preservation improves quality of life for the people who live in the City and those who come and visit here and work here.  It is a win-win for everyone.  This isn't just my opinion--there are plenty of statistics to prove it!

Professor Jackson's specific attack on LW! should be worn as a badge of honor.  FDR said it best:  "I welcome their hate."  He knew he was doing the right thing for the people and so do we at LW!

As to the East midtown rezoning, we all know that it is nothing more than a parting gift from the Mayor to his developer friends. It has to be rushed through.  It must be done NOW.  Considering the urgency with which the Mayor is pressing it one would think that only by doing this rezoning just as the developers want it will we save the world or, at least, the City of New York!  But of course that isn't true.  It  is just that the Mayor sees public opinion and input from neighborhoods and residents as obstacles, something to be demeaned and avoided at all costs whether it involves development, zoning, land use or education policy.   

I am sure that Professor Jackson has his reasons for such a muddled attack on preservation, but I won't speculate on what they are.   

Board Member, LANDMARK WEST!
New York, Sept. 9, 2013


As I drive through my adopted state of New Jersey looking at cookie cutter suburbs and soulless office parks, I hope that Landmark West! keeps on doing what it does best -- saving the character, personality, and history of New York's Upper West Side. New York will grow and change -- but it still needs to appreciate and protect what makes it special: the row houses, houses of worship, apartment buildings, shops, tenements, brownstones, and parks from past centuries.  Keep on keepin' on!

New Jersey, Sept. 10, 2013

Kenneth Jackson is in bad company. The real estate industry has raised $10 Million to buy a City Council that will support its “Build uber alles” campaign.  No surprise there.  The real estate developers have always opposed landmarking vociferously, and have always bought and paid for zoning preferences and loop-holes that permit obscene towers to the sky.  But for Professor Jackson, normally a thoughtful observer, to join the Neanderthals to bring us Hong Kong on the Hudson?  Pity.

Board Member, LANDMARK WEST!

Monday, September 9, 2013

New York is Not Hong Kong!

 On Friday, August 30, 2013, the New York Times ran an op-ed by Professor Kenneth T. Jackson endorsing Mayor Bloomberg's crusade to gain approval for the rezoning of East Midtown prior to December 31, 2013 -- the last day of Bloomberg's third term.
On Friday, September 6, the NYT published our response letter to Professor Jackson in both its print and online editions. You can read the LW! letter here, along with six other featured letters to the editor compiled as "More Glass Towers for New York?"
LW! proudly stands by our record not only as champions for the buildings and many people of the Upper West Side, but also as stewards of responsible growth and economic development within our vibrant, diverse, and yes, historic community.

We know that Professor Jackson does not speak for all of us when he claims that New York must make an either/or decision if it wants to remain "the wonder city" or if it should "follow the paths of Boston, Philadelphia, Charleston and Savannah in emphasizing its human scale, its gracious streets and its fine, historic houses." In fact, LW! believes that New York should be proud to be included in the same sentence as these remarkable world-class cities.

The Times stopped accepting online comments in reply to Jackson's op-ed at 2:41pm after posting 89 comments -- the majority of which called the professor to task for his dubious argument to turn East Midtown into an exclusive playground for real estate developers.
LW! was shut out of the online comments section, but you shouldn't be. Please take this opportunity to publicly respond to Professor Jackson's op-ed by emailing us at and we will include your comments here on the LW! blog in our next post.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Meet the new Director of Education: Adam Rubin

Hello! My name is Adam Rubin and I am very excited to be joining the LANDMARK WEST! staff as Director of Education. For those that I've already met, thanks for the warm welcome, and I look forward to meeting more members of the LW! community over the next several months.
Before coming to New York, I worked on the west coast as Youth Outreach Coordinator at the Los Angeles Conservancy from 2007 to 2010.  As a native Angeleno, I really fell in love with my hometown through teaching kids, families, and the general public about the city’s incredibly vibrant and eclectic historic built environment.  I enjoyed my experience at the Conservancy so much that I decided to pursue my Master’s Degree in American Studies and Historic Preservation at the George Washington University in Washington D.C., which I completed in 2012.  I relocated to New York City after graduating and have worked at the Center for Architecture Foundation and at the Brooklyn Historical Society before starting at LANDMARK WEST! last week.
As summer winds down and a new school year begins, I look forward to engaging Upper West Siders (and fans of Upper West Side buildings) of all ages with their architectural heritage in new and inspiring ways.  I believe that the study of buildings and urban spaces not only helps kids and adults understand and appreciate the beauty and context of local architecture, but can also provide a unique lens through which we can begin to look at deeper issues of cultural identity, civic responsibility, and how to grow a healthy and engaged community over time.  Please come up and say hello the next time you see me at a LW! event!

Friday, August 9, 2013

Illegal Rooftop Addition still standing after three years of the demolition decision!

By Jennifer Perez

With the proposed rooftop addition at The Evelyn (101 West 78th Street) being the talk at LW! recently, I've been inspired to do a little rooftop addition research myself, and I came upon the case of 12-14 West 68th Street. As you may have seen from earlier posts from March 17, 2010 and May 4, 2010, this case involves an illegal rooftop addition that was constructed by the owners of the building. 14 West 68th St. is a Queen Anne-style house that was built in 1895 with a studio building (12 West 68th St.) attached to it: built in 1925. This illegal addition was discovered by a resident living in West 67th Street who wondered if the addition was ever approved by the Landmarks Preservation Commission (LPC). After public hearings and meetings, the LPC declared that the new addition was built on this landmark illegally. It seemed as though the original owners knew they lived in a historic district (the Upper West Side- Central Park West H.D. designated in 1990) but believed the addition was approved when they received the permit from the Department of Buildings (DOB). "How can a building owner get an addition past the Landmarks Preservation Commission? Easy: just don't tell them!" as Curbed NY once stated.
After constructing the addition, the property was sold to a new owner. The new owner proposed modifications that were to feature windows replicating those found on the studios building's lower floors, new brick, and masonry matching the studio. A parapet was to be also removed and reduce the illegal addition height by seven feet. The LPC denied the legalization as declared that the illegal addition must be taken down.
However, this illegal addition is still standing today, three years after the LPC determined that it should be demolished. The addition is still standing strong and tall without a fright. Many are demanding that the decision of the demolition of the illegal addition should be enforced. We need to have our landmarks protected and the rules enforced!   

Thursday, July 18, 2013

SoundProof Apartments?!

By Jennifer Perez

Have you ever imagined a neighborhood or building designed for a particular artistic community? This became a reality in the early 1900s with the development of West 67th street. West 67th Street Artists' Colony Historic District is a small architecturally significant enclave on the Upper West Side. On this block between Central Park West and Columbus Avenue is Hotel Des Artistes, Central Park Studios, Atelier building, Swiss House, Colonial Studios, The Musician's Building and so on. This block consists primarily of buildings constructed for artists and those who wished to live in an artistic environment. Six of the buildings (Nos. 1, 15, 27, 35, 39, and 50) were planned and financed by artists. Seven to eight buildings have facades detailed with subtle Gothic forms such as pointed arches, crenelated parapets, and multi-paned windows. The one building on this block that interested me the most was the Musician's Building.
Two 8-story high buildings connected by a central entrance

Located at 50 West 67th Street, the Musician's Building was designed in 1917 by Shape and Bready. The Musician's Building has a very unique characteristic: the apartments are soundproof! This allows musicians to practice and work on their pieces without disturbing the neighbors around them. The idea of creating a building with soundproof apartments just for musicians is amazing, not only does it help the musicians practice without worrying about making too much noise, they are comforted being surrounded by people that share the same interests.
Elizabethan manor house look alike made out of brick terra-cotta

The exterior of the building is brick terra-cotta that has a look of an Elizabethan manor house expanded to apartment house scale, being two 8-story high buildings that are connected by a central entrance. The building's interior contains apartments with 10-foot ceilings, windowed eat-in kitchens, fire storages, and private storages. This building was listed in the National Register of Historic Places (the official list of the nation's historic places worthy of preservation) in 1985, which recognized its special character. "The home should be the treasure chest of living," Le Corbusier once stated. The Musician's Building creates a community for musicians and artists. They are around people they could relate to and share ideas with. They are basically in the treasure chest of living meaning their home, where they belong.


Thursday, July 11, 2013

Lincoln Center: Philharmonic Hall!

By Jennifer Perez     

When one thinks of dancing, singing, music, and so on, many New Yorkers automatically think of Lincoln Center; for it is a world-famous center for performing arts. Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts, (between Columbus and Amsterdam Avenues, West 62nd and West 66th Streets) was announced as a project on April 21,1955. It was designed and created by architects Max Abramovitz, Pietro Belluschi, and Eero Saarinen. Lincoln Center consists of many components: the New York State Theater, Metropolitan Opera House, Philharmonic Hall and many more. From my walk around the area, the building that stood out to me more than any other was the Philharmonic Hall. It stood out to me due to the large windows and amazing piers surrounding the building.
The Original Design of Philharmonic Hall (1959) [From New York 1960 by Robert A.M. Stern et al]

The Philharmonic Hall also known as Avery Fisher Hall, was the first building at Lincoln Center to be completed. It opened to the public on September 23, 1962 and was designed by Max Abramovitz of Harrison & Abramovitz. Something I found interesting when researching this building was the original, unbuilt plan for the site. The original design for the Philharmonic Hall was to be a five-story, glass-walled building surrounded by a travertine-coated concrete arcade consisting of nine spaced piers that reminded me of ladders. These nine piers were designed to be 60 feet tall and finished off with 22-foot wide pointed arches. They were suppose to run along the north and south facades while eleven piers ran along the adjacent sides. This design was eventually overthrown with a new design that is today's structure. The new design consists of an arcade only on the plaza side with solid piers 70 feet tall tapered at both ends and finished off with shallow, rounded arcs.

Current status of Philharmonic Hall

The 70 ft tall Piers that surround the building!
The way the building looks just catches my attention for it looks like long multiple columns attached to each other running along the side of the building while the building is within these structures, almost like a hostage, as if it's a box within a box. Another reason why I find the Philharmonic building so interesting is because it has layers and layers of piers that at times create illusions when walking by it or in photographs. When I was reviewing the newsletters from LW! I came across Lincoln Center and couldn't get it out of my head. It popped out from the other buildings and/or areas on the Upper West Side. Mainly because it's the center of the neighborhood and it includes three well-structured buildings that have similar designs but are also distinctive. Many people may not find this building or any other one so interesting but to me it stood out and that's the reason why I like it. 

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Meet the Intern: Jennifer

My name is Jennifer Perez and I recently completed my junior year at the Williamsburg High School for Architecture & Design (WHSAD). This school has developed my passion for architecture and interior design even more than I thought possible. I've learned how to design buildings, playgrounds, neighborhoods, etc in AutoCAD, what damages buildings and what you can do to restore it without ruining the character of the building. Since I was a kid, the thought of having an idea and bringing it to life by designing it on paper and having it built over time fascinated me. The way buildings look both the exterior and the interior have always caught my attention.When I hear about buildings that have significant histories being demolished or changed; it gets me thinking," Why would they want to get rid of something so meaningful that makes New York City so special?" We should appreciate all the buildings, rather than just the flashy ones. 
When I came upon the opportunity to intern with an organization that preserves historic buildings and fights to protect them as Landmarks, I right away took the chance. I am excited to be able to experience the process to fight for the landmarks and what occurs during the process. What I hope to experience on this internship with Landmark West! is to be able to learn from the people I'll be working with and learn more about significant buildings on the Upper West Side, what has been happening to them over time, and what LW! does to keep these buildings landmarked and protected from being destroyed. I intend to help save buildings that should be landmarks during this internship and hope to pass down my ideas or views of certain things to my fellow co-workers that may help them in the future.
Just like Ezra Pound said," A real building is one on which the eye can light and stay lit," meaning real architecture is buildings or structures that catch one's attention and still catch it no matter how old it is. The building or structure should last a long period of time and eventually become significant to its neighborhood. This is what LW! is well known for: protecting buildings that catch one's attention and fighting for their right to become landmarks.Architecture is something people should value more, they're not just buildings we live in or work in, they have history and meaning.One may only notice this if they actually sit down and read and realize what architecture does for us and what it has to offer but yet many are too busy to even do that. That's why people like us who are interested should help others who are not aware to join the fight to help preserve buildings and make them into landmarks rather than an empty space or dust of history.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

City Council Candidates Discuss Land Use & Development at LW! Forum

Moderator Bruce Simon leads the conversation.
Lively discussion ensued at LW!'s forum with the City Council candidates for the Upper West Side's District 6 last week, covered in the New York Observer. Graciously hosted by our neighbors, the New York Society for Ethical Culture in their individually landmarked building, the roundtable discussion provided an opportunity for the public to hear the candidates' views on land use issues, especially overdevelopment, historic preservation, parks, and open space.

Mel Wymore speaks to the crowd.
All seven of the candidates running for Gale Brewer's City Council seat attended: Ken Biberaj, Debra Cooper, Noah Gotbaum, Marc Landis, Helen Rosenthal, Tom Siracuse, and Mel Wymore. The starting point for the discussion came from a New York Times article (5/30/13) which reported that the real estate community has established a $10 million PAC to elect candidates to the 21 open City Council seats who would further their pro-development, anti-neighborhood, and anti-small business agenda.

Over 100 neighbors attended the meeting to hear the candidates' views and educate themselves prior to the September 10th primary election. LW! was happy to once again provide a free forum for the community to learn about the candidates, as we have done for elections in the past. Check out our Events Archive to read about our 2005 and 2009 events with mayoral candidates. For details about the upcoming election and how to find your polling site, click here.