Thursday, June 4, 2015

Upper West End Avenue, A Walking Tour with Andrew Scott Dolkart*

Cornice detail of The Cornwall (90th Street), a Broadway building
that could be "carved out" of the proposed historic district extension

Tuesday, June 23rd, 6:00 to 800pm
Meeting Location TBA 
Space is limited - reservations and advance payment required
RSVP to, (212) 496-8110
Tickets are $15 for LW! "Steward" Members, 
2-for-$25 for "Partners" and above
$25 for non-members (please call us to check your membership status!)

West End Avenue, a tapestry of grand residences, houses of worship and educational institutions, offers a cohesive picture of the development of the Upper West Side. A strikingly consistent streetwall of uniform cornice heights, harmonious materials and creative interpretations of historical styles showcases the work of many of the city's most prolific, if less recognized, architects such as Schwartz and Gross, Neville and Bagge, and George & Edward Blum.  Professor Andrew Scott Dolkart will lead us through the upper section of West End Avenue and side streets between Broadway and Riverside Drive - the area heard by the NYC Landmarks Preservation Commission (LPC) in 2011 for designation as the Riverside-West End Historic District Extension II (see map further down). 

*Professor Dolkart is the Director of the Historic Preservation Program at Columbia University's School of Architecture, Planning, and Preservation

Earlier in the day on Tuesday, June 23, the NYC Landmarks Preservation Commission will hold a public meeting and likely VOTE on the Riverside-West End Historic District Extension II.  This extension was heard by the LPC in 2011, along with two other extensions of existing historic districts between Broadway and Riverside Drive - the Riverside-West End Historic District Extension I and the West End Collegiate Historic District Extension (click here for maps and background information). Those extensions were designated in June 2012 and June 2013.

711 West End Avenue, planned 8-story addition.
Now it's June 2015.  While the LPC delayed its vote on the Riverside-West End Historic District Extension II, these northern blocks remained vulnerable to development without the benefit of LPC review (see example above, a planned 8-story luxury addition to 711 West End Avenue).  And now the LPC has announced that the boundaries of the proposed extension will be changed to carve out buildings along Broadway, 109th Street, and the block including P.S. 75, the Emily Dickinson School and playground - a whole city block would be available for development, right in the middle of the historic district without LPC review.

Recall the Real Estate Board of New York's staunch opposition to the protection of this area during the LPC public hearings.  It wouldn't be the first time their lobbying has knocked the legs out from under a landmark or historic district designation.  In fact, it's becoming all too frequent.

Will this Broadway building be left out
of the new historic district?

Tell Chair Meenakshi Srinivasan that you support the designation of the Riverside-West End Historic District Extension II in its entirety, as presented at the 2011 public hearing (see map below).  Ask why beautiful Broadway buildings designed by the same architects and built at the same time as those on West End Avenue and Riverside Drive would be cut out of the new district.  If the LPC believes boundary changes are necessary - on the merits - then a new public hearing should be scheduled!

Email, and 
Council Member Helen Rosenthal:

Proposed Riverside-West End Historic District Extension II
(Graphic: Landmarks Preservation Commission, October 25, 2011)

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