As we begin a new year, I reflect on how our work this past year has measured against the agency’s mission and responsibilities. I am proud to say that we are busy on all fronts. We have been active identifying opportunities to designate the most significant representations of the historic development of our great city and to recognize the people and places that have contributed to that history. We also continue to refine how we regulate to further improve the efficiency and transparency of our regulatory process, and are out in communities educating and promoting preservation as a vital part of what makes this city so special.
Over the past year, we designated 501 buildings and sites, including 12 individual landmarks, 3 historic districts, and 1 scenic landmark. I am especially proud of designations such as the postmodern AT&T Building, which marked a turning point in the history of 20th century architecture; the iconic Coney Island Boardwalk, as much a part of our culture as it is a part of our city’s history, and the Central Harlem-West 130th-132nd Streets Historic District, which reflects the rich social, cultural and political history of Harlem’s African-American community. In 2019, we are already looking at other diverse areas with rich cultural and social history and areas less represented by landmarks. On January 22, 2019, the Commission calendared four historic districts in Sunset Park, Brooklyn: Sunset Park North, Central Sunset Park, Sunset Park 50th Street, and Sunset Park South (Read more about it below). These districts represent the diverse history, culture and development of this neighborhood in Brooklyn. We expect to bring forward other proposed designations this year.
I am also delighted that, after a year of public engagement and ultimate support from almost all stakeholders, the Commission unanimously approved amendments to its rules in December (Read more about it below). The updated rules will increase ease of use, transparency and efficiency for all members of the public, from homeowners and small businesses who file for permits with LPC, to community boards and preservation groups, who weigh in on these projects. They will also help encourage support for landmark designation, as we often find regulatory concerns are the most common reasons people object to designation.
Over the past couple of months, we have been working to significantly increase outreach and raise awareness about preservation and our work. We have worked in partnership with the New York Landmarks Conservancy, elected officials and community organizations, and have met with owners from Addisleigh Park in Queens to the Hamilton Heights/Sugar Hill, the Central Harlem, Mount Morris, and St. Nicholas Historic Districts in Harlem (Read more about this below).
Preservation works best when we have a productive relationship with all stakeholders involved. I look forward to working in partnership with property owners, preservation groups, community boards and elected officials to promote preservation as a norm and ensure that the buildings and places that make this city so special and reflect its history are preserved and remain a vital part of New York’s future.
Wishing you all the best,