How Did Tribeca Get Its Historic Districts?
Why Do They Matter?
Are They Protected Enough?
A Public Conversation with Celebrated Authors
Andrew Dolkart and Anthony Tung
Moderator: Hal Bromm
Date: Sunday February 24, 2013 from 4-6 p.m.
Venue: New York Law School, entrance at Leonard and West Broadway
Cost: Pay as you wish, no reservation necessary. There will be time for questions and to mingle afterwards.
Professor Andrew Dolkart is well known to Tribecans for drawing the first map of a proposed historic district for our neighborhood. He is now Director of the Historic Preservation Program at Columbia University. He is also the author of The Texture of Tribeca: An Illustrated History, (1989), the Guide to New York City Landmarks (2009), and the award winning, The Row House Reborn.
Anthony Tung was a New York City Landmarks Preservation Commissioner, famous for his principled defense of the New York Public Library under the Koch administration. He has been an instructor on architectural history at the Metropolitan Museum of Art and a visiting professor on international urban preservation at MIT. His book, Preserving the World’s Cities: Destruction and Renewal of the Historic Metropolis (2001) has been hailed as “vivid” and “nuanced” and a “landmark of creative urbanism” written with a “breadth of vision and rapid-fire insight that recalls Lewis Mumford at his best”. His talk will focus on the problem of in-fill construction in an historic district, comparing Amsterdam to Tribeca.
Hal Bromm is a Tribeca gallery owner. In 1984, he formed the committee for the Washington Market Historic District to push for Historic District Designation for Tribeca. He organized the publication of the award-winning book The Texture of Tribeca to use as a lobbying tool in the successful designation effort. He has served as President of New York’s Historic Districts Council and was one of the founders of the Citizen’s Emergency Committee to Preserve Preservation.
19th Annual Preservation Conference: Preservation Now! Conference Tours
March 3, 2013
Meeting times, locations and directions for tours will be provided upon registration. Tours generally start between 10:00am and 1:00pm and last approximately two and a half hours.
Grand Central Terminal and Midtown East, Manhattan
Borough Hall Skyscraper Historic District and Environs, Brooklyn
Further Along the Grand Concourse, The Bronx
New York University and Greenwich Village, Manhattan
Flushing Meadows-Corona Park, Queens
all tours $15
Hearing for proposed bills affecting the Landmarks Preservation Commission:
HDC Looks Beyond The Building Envelope for the proposed Zone Green zoning text
On February 22, the City Planning Commission held a public hearing to consider the citywide Zone Green zoning text amendments. As this proposal has the potential to affect all existing and new buildings within historic neighborhoods across the city, HDC carefully reviewed it and after study, testified in opposition.
HDC’s chief concern about this proposal is the potential loss of historic fabric in the many buildings and neighborhoods that should be preserved but are not protected by landmark designation or otherwise. We support sustainability and believe that the greenest building is the one that is already built. Existing historic buildings often have lower-carbon-cost climate control systems – such as operable windows and masonry walls – which, when properly maintained, lower the environmental costs of the building.
To look at “green” only from the perspective of zoning is not helpful to homeowners who want to do the right thing, but don’t know where to begin. It leaves them vulnerable to sales pitches for exterior-insulation-finish systems and photo-voltaic panels, when those products are unlikely to produce significant energy savings, yet are likely to have a great and negative visual impact on neighborhood character. The City of New York should instead be suggesting that they start with an energy audit, and begin with the lowest impact/ highest benefit projects (caulking, storm windows, attic insulation). There are also numerous traditional climate-mediating solutions which are both easier and more appropriate (i.e. awnings or planting trees and vines instead of sunscreens) that should be given precedence.
HDC is especially concerned that the provisions regarding retrofitting of existing buildings with external insulation creates the potential for massive alterations of building exteriors in a manner that could negatively alter the essential nature of such buildings in their neighborhood context. Applying exterior insulation is probably the MOST expensive and inefficient way to improve thermal performance. Imagine re-siding an ornate wood-clad Victorian home in a foam “fat suit” or examine how little positive energy impact coating the front and back facades of an attached rowhouse would be. This proposal does not seem to relate to the present built environment of the five boroughs and certainly pays no heed to the very real concerns which citizens have about the appearance of their neighborhoods.
For our full statement, see our website.
New Manhattan Landmarks!
DNAinfo A neo-Tudor Gothic style townhouse in Turtle Bay, a terra cotta-clad loft building in the West Village and a Federal style house on the Bowery are among Manhattan’s newest landmarks.
The Lo-Down: The Bowery Alliance of Neighbors (BAN) is sending around a news release in celebration of the Landmarks Preservation Commission voting to protect 135 Bowery, a federal style row house, located between Grand and Broome streets.
“After a process of two years, we are pleased by today’s vote of the Commission, which we anticipate will protect this almost 200 year-old dwelling from demolition or inappropriate alterations,” said BAN’s Mitchell Grubler.
In the Beginning: The Creation of the Historic Districts Council
HDC Founders Party:
Tuesday, June 21, 2011, 6-8pm: The Players Club;16 Gramercy Park
Cocktail Reception, followed by Discussion
The event will feature a conversation with some of the influential founders and early leaders of the Historic Districts Council, including Kent Barwick, Bronson Binger, Michael Gruen and Lorna Nowve. The discussion, moderated by HDC Chairman Emeritus Anthony C. Wood, will focus on the beginnings of HDC and the preservation movement of the 1970s.