Winter Newsletter 2020-2021

Inside This Issue


Greetings from the Chair

Sarah Carroll

While this year has been full of unprecedented challenges, the Commission was able to adapt and despite the challenges, have many accomplishments. LPC responded quickly to social distancing measures, to ensure equitable access and continued operations in every department. From introducing e-filing and holding virtual public hearings and meetings to prioritizing the designation of buildings and sites that reflect the diversity of the City, LPC has been able to continue fulfilling its mission to protect and preserve New York City’s architecturally, historically and culturally significant buildings and sites. We couldn’t have done it without the dedication of our Executive Director, Lisa Kersavage, and our hard-working staff, who all exhibited resiliency, innovation and renewed spirit to make a difference through our work.

LPC’s various departments had to quickly adapt and develop new processes in order to maintain social distancing, and they all accomplished a great deal. LPC was one of the first city agencies to enact virtual hearings, and the agency has been able to efficiently review and approve a substantial number of applications. The Preservation Department processed more than 6,600 applications through e-filing and teleconferencing and staff presented over 228 applications at 24 virtual public hearings and meetings. The Research Department has continued its survey and research work, despite library and archive closures, advancing owner meetings and designations in a largely virtual environment. As you’ll read in this issue, the Commission has advanced three designations that represent “firsts” in their communities: the East 25th Street Historic District in East Flatbush, the former Angel Guardian Home in Dyker Heights and Public School 48 in South Jamaica, Queens. I’m particularly proud of Brooklyn’s East 25th Street Historic District, which reflects Flatbush’s increasing diversity and the growth of its African American and Caribbean American communities, and their stewardship and commitment to their historic homes and their block. It is also the first district to go through the entire process virtually, from owner meetings and calendaring through to designation.

Like many of you, I am happy to put 2020 behind me, and I look forward to the new year. We will continue to address equity in every aspect of our work, including enhancing accessibility to our processes and prioritizing designations that represent the diverse communities that have played a role in the history of this great City.

Wishing you all the best,

Sarah Carroll

Designation Firsts!

A block view of the East 25th Street Historic District is a remarkably cohesive and intact group of 56 Renaissance Revival style row houses

First Historic District in East Flatbush Designated

On November 17, 2020, the Commission voted to designate the East 25th Street Historic District, the first in the neighborhood of East Flatbush, Brooklyn. The East 25th Street Historic District is a remarkably intact and cohesive group of 56 Renaissance Revival style row houses that reflects the dedication of its community. This is also the first historic district to go through the entire process from owner meetings and calendaring through to designation in a largely virtual environment.  Read more about it here.

A front view of the Angel Guardian Home in Dyker Heights that consist of a Renaissance Revival and Beaux-Arts-style architect

Former Orphanage Designated in Dyker Heights

On November 10, 2020, the Commission voted to designate the Angel Guardian Home at 6301 12th Avenue in Dyker Heights, Brooklyn as an individual landmark. This architecturally distinctive building, the first landmark in this neighborhood, serves as a reminder of the important role played by religious social service organizations in Brooklyn's early 20th century history. Read more about it here.

A view of the grey Art Deco-Style School in South Jamaica

Art Deco-Style School in South Jamaica is Designated as an Individual Landmark

On September 22, 2020, the Commission voted to designate Public School 48 at 155-02 108th Avenue as an individual landmark. This is the first landmark in in South Jamaica, Queens and only the second Art Deco style school to be designated. Its successful blend of Art Deco design elements and massing was novel for elementary schools at the time it was proposed, and it represents a significant early application of the style for New York City schools. Read more about it here.

Learn More about Financial Benefits in our Webinar

A screenshot of the financial benefits webinar website

On October 28, 2020, LPC partnered with the New York State Historic Preservation Office and the New York Conservancy to offer a financial benefits webinar to discuss the incentives available for work on historic properties. This was the first event that we have organized to bring together the three groups to share with the financial benefits available to owners of historic properties. Over 100 people joined the webinar and learned about LPC’s Historic Preservation Grant Program, the New York State Historic Preservation Office’s  tax credit program and the New York Landmark Conservancy’s  Historic Properties Fund.  Check out the video here.

Meet Our New Chief Diversity Officer

Portrait image of Gardea Caphart

On September 24, 2020, Chair Carroll announced the appointment of Gardea Caphart as the agency’s Chief Diversity Officer (CDO). The CDO is a key member of the Agency's Leadership Team and is the primary designee to direct and implement policy and programs which impacts and improves the Agency’s Minority and Women Owned Business Enterprises (MWBE) participation and all other applicable civil rights statutes. Under his current leadership as Director of Finance and Operations, the agency has consistently scored higher than the City's average in its use of MWBEs and currently 40 percent of the agency’s spending on contracts has been to MWBEs, well above the City target of 30 percent.  Here’s a short Q&A with our new Chief Diversity Officer.

Q: Why were you interested in the position of Chief Diversity Officer?
A: As someone who recognizes that there are racial and ethnic disparities in so many areas of our lives – health, education, housing, economic, etc. – I’ve been very conscious about doing my part to help eliminate those disparities. With my financial background, ensuring that government funds (our tax dollars) are spent in an equitable and efficient manner has become a passion of mine. That’s why in July 2015, a few months after becoming LPC’s Budget Director, I volunteered to be the agency’s M/WBE Officer when Mayor de Blasio issued a directive requiring all City agencies to appoint M/WBE Officers who would ensure agencies increase their spending with M/WBE firms. At the time, my primary responsibility was managing the agency’s budget, but in that role I already worked closely with the Agency Chief Contracting Officer (ACCO), so that partnership allowed us to work well together to increase our M/WBE spending.

In 2020, a few months after I became LPC’s Director of Finance and Operations, overseeing budget, procurement, human resources, and payroll, the Mayor issued an Executive Order requiring all agencies to appoint Chief Diversity Officers (CDOs). I enthusiastically volunteered for the role because it fit naturally with the work I was already doing, and I saw it as an opportunity to continue to support and help implement the LPC Chair’s equity agenda to ensure diversity and inclusion in all areas of the agency’s work.

Q: What does the Chief Diversity Officer do?
A: In this role, it is my job to ensure that all agency contracts and procedures meet our MWBE and other diversity and inclusion goals. That includes, among other things, working with internal departments and external partners to find ways to help M/WBE firms get access to contracts and purchase orders; developing strategies to address systemic barriers faced by M/WBE firms; and ensuring that teams responsible for making procurement decisions are diverse, inclusive and fair.

Q: What do you want to accomplish as Chief Diversity Officer within the next year?
A: Our goal for the next year is to increase our spending with African American firms – especially African American women-owned firms. While the City as a whole and LPC in particular continue to increase our spending with M/WBE firms, we have realized that there’s what we call a “disparity within a disparity” when it comes to spending with African American firms. What that means is that when you dive deeper into the M/WBE spending data, you see that African American firms are getting the smallest slice of the pie. That’s something we want to improve within the next year.

Census Data Added to Discover NYC Landmarks Map

 screenshot of NYC Landmarks map website

The Discover NYC Landmarks map now has a Census tract layer, helpful if you're considering applying for LPC’s Historic Preservation Grant Program. With the Census Tract layer, users can look up their address and see if they are within an income-eligible census tract. Here's a quick video tutorial.

Earlier this year, LPC released a “beta” version of the Discover map at that offers additional search and filter functions, allowing users to search buildings by combinations of style, architect/builder and building type or era of construction.

Follow us on Instagram

A front view of 1 Centre street framed by a green backgroud with a dark green silhouette. Wishing you a happy holidays from LPC. Joing our Holiday Photo Contents. #MERRYNYCLANDMARKS

On November 12, 2020, the LPC joined the Instagram community. With Instagram, LPC aims to connect with a new, younger audience to raise awareness about New York City’s designated landmarks and promote a sense of pride through photos, videos and engaging content. To kick off the holiday season, LPC launched a Holiday Photo Contest. Follow us on Instagram @nyc.landmarks and upload a photo of a NYC landmark decked out in holiday cheer. #MerryNYCLandmarks.

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