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April 2016

This has been an exceptional year thus far – and I am thrilled that the fruits of the Commission's labor can now be enjoyed by New Yorkers throughout the city. April marked the end of the 50th Anniversary year of the Landmarks Law and the creation of the Landmarks Preservation Commission. We celebrated this banner year with our partners in the preservation community and landmark sites throughout the city. The Commission also launched a dedicated website and held an informative, robust and spirited law conference, co-sponsored by Harvard University, the New York City Bar Association, and the Landmarks Preservation Foundation, that explored the possibilities for the next fifty years of New York City Landmarks.

The enthusiasm generated by the 50th anniversary left no doubt that New Yorkers love their landmarks and historic buildings as much today as they did in 1965, when in response to the mounting losses of historic properties, the preservation community and concerned citizens came together to create the Landmarks Preservation Commission.

Saving buildings remains our focus, and today more than 35,000 properties in New York City are protected by LPC. So far in FY2016, the agency has designated 1,421 buildings and sites throughout the five boroughs.

As you know, last year we embarked on an initiative to address the backlog of 95 calendared properties within 18 months. After a fair and transparent hearing process, on February 23rd the Commission prioritized 30 of the backlog properties for designation, and on April 12th voted to designate as individual landmarks eight of those properties, including the Pepsi-Cola sign in Queens, St. Michael’s Episcopal Church in Manhattan, Van Sicklen House in Brooklyn, Vanderbilt Mausoleum in Staten Island, and 65 Schofield House in the Bronx. The Commission will vote on the next group of sites prioritized for designation on June 28th. We are committed to addressing the backlog sites remaining on the calendar by the end of this year.

Last month, the Commission also launched Discover NYC Landmarks, an interactive map that, for the first time, allows users to find landmarked and calendared properties, as well as designation reports and photos through one convenient public access tool. Do check it out. People love it!

The agency has also been working on identifying historic sites in areas undergoing change, including East Midtown and East New York. We recently calendared the Empire Dairy buildings along Atlantic Avenue and we intend to bring our recommendations on East Midtown to the Commission this spring.

We’ve also reached important milestones in our regulatory work. The agency received 1,336 permit applications during March 2016 for work on landmark buildings— a record number in a single month.

It’s a very exciting time at the Commission, and we look forward to continuing to work with the preservation community to meet our common goals in the coming months.


Meenakshi Srinivasan


Curious about NYC Landmarks in your neighborhood? Last month, the Commission launched Discover NYC Landmarks, an interactive map that allows individuals to easily search, navigate, and explore designated landmarks in their neighborhoods and throughout the five boroughs.

The map, which can be found at, is part of LPC Chair Srinivasan’s ongoing commitment to transparency and accessibility in the Commission’s processes.

Utilizing a simple responsive interface, New Yorkers and visitors can use any device to find individual, interior, and scenic landmarks, as well as historic districts around the city and near their current location. Users can also freely explore by clicking on landmark points on the map. The Discover NYC is the first time that New Yorkers can interactively search for designated landmarks with corresponding photos and designation reports. Designation reports are published at the time of a property’s landmark designation, and provide an in-depth analysis of the building’s history and significant architectural features. Search results on the map also include important landmark information such as architect, style, and construction date. In addition to designated landmarks, the map displays “calendared” sites, which are not designated and currently under consideration by the Commission.


On February 23rd the Commission held a public meeting to make determinations on 95 properties that were calendared prior to 2010 and were not acted upon, marking a significant milestone in LPC's Backlog Initiative. The decisions were based upon extensive outreach and research by the agency. Thirty sites that had gone decades without action were prioritized for landmark status, including structures in Brooklyn's Greenwood Cemetery, the Pepsi Cola sign in Long Island City, Staten Island's Prince's Bay Lighthouse, Schofield House in Bronx, and Manhattan's Bergdorf Goodman store. The remaining sites were removed from the calendar.

On Tuesday, April 12th, the Commission brought eight of the backlog properties forward for a vote, and unanimously designated the 65 Schofield Street House in the Bronx, structures in Greenwood Cemetery and Van Sicklen House in Brooklyn, St. Michaels Episcopal Church and 57 Sullivan Street in Manhattan, and Lydia Ann Bell and J. Williams Ahles House and the Pepsi Cola Sign in Queens. The designated properties are from all five boroughs and represent a diverse array of building typologies, including early residences, institutional buildings and sites, a church complex, and an iconic sign.

The Commission anticipates that it will address the remaining 22 properties on the backlog by the end of 2016.

In 2015, after considering feedback from a wide cross-section of stakeholders, including preservationists, architects, developers, community boards, property owners and elected officials, including Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer, LPC established a plan to address the backlog efficiently and allow for input from the public. The plan included a Public Review Period with more than 15,000 pages of material on the backlog properties available online, Public Hearings, and Commission Actions.


In addition to the eight properties designated through the Backlog Initiative, the Commission also recently voted to designate the Park Slope Historic District Extension II and the East New York Savings Bank in Brooklyn.

The Park Slope Historic District Extension II consists of 292 buildings surrounding the northern part of the existing Park Slope Historic District, and shares many of its characteristics. The extension includes mainly single-family row houses and flats buildings, mostly constructed between the mid-19th century and the early 20th century. The designation brings to 139 the total number of historic districts and extensions in all five boroughs, and to 2,853 the total number of protected buildings in Park Slope, including the 1948 buildings in the Park Slope Historic District and 613 buildings in the Park Slope Historic District Extension. 

The East New York Savings Bank is an impressive neo-Romanesque-style building with Art Deco details, located on a prominent corner at the juncture of Weeksville and Brownsville. It was designed by Holmes & Winslow, New York City architects who specialized in bank design. The structure was the bank’s second and most architecturally ambitious building.� Celebrated architectural sculptor Rene Chambellan created the remarkable bronze doors that face Eastern Parkway, which incorporate stylized figures accompanied by traditional symbols of abundance. Other significant features include the building’s monumental arch with medieval details, which gives the tan sandstone structure an impenetrable, fortress-like quality despite its other classical design aspects.

The Commission also voted to calendar the Empire State Dairy Co. Buildings along Atlantic Avenue in the East New York section of Brooklyn. Chair Srinivasan noted that this action was an important step in the agency's initiative to identify preservation opportunities in East New York and other rezoning areas.

The Dairy's industrial buildings, fronting on Atlantic Avenue, were originally built as a dairy distribution center for the Empire State Dairy Company (1914-1915). The orange brick-and-masonry building at the northwest corner of the site (2840-2844 Atlantic Avenue; 181-185 Shenck Avenue) is the oldest and most architecturally distinctive structure in the complex, notable for details including round- and segmental-arched window openings. The buildings stand today as century-old reminders of this once prominent New York company and of the city’s industrial past.


Installing solar panels and related renewable energy equipment can be an important component of improving the sustainability and resiliency of buildings throughout New York City.� The Commission supports the City’s initiatives for reducing greenhouse gas emissions by addressing building energy use and operation, and in particular, expanding the utilization of solar as a clean, renewable energy source.

The Commission has a long history of approving proposals for work involving environmental and technological advancements, often finding such proposals to be appropriate or otherwise have no effect on the special architectural and historic character of the landmark or historic district.� Proposals for solar panel installations, for example, are now reviewed and approved on a regular basis at staff level.

Key considerations for typical solar panel proposals reviewed by LPC:
  • Solar panel installations should be reversible and not result in loss or damage to any significant historic fabric or architectural features of the building.
  • Solar panel installations should set back from the roof edge and/or be positioned behind existing architectural features such as parapets, dormers, and chimneys to minimize or eliminate visibility from public thoroughfares.
  • If visible, the quantity, position, slope and/or height of solar panel installations may need to be adjusted to minimize or eliminate visibility from public thoroughfares.
  • If visible, the material, color and finish of solar panels and mounting systems may need to be chosen for compatibility with existing wall and roof materials and features and/or the surrounding context.
Read more on solar panel installation

Did you know that the Swedish Cottage in Central Park was built in Sweden, after being originally commissioned by the Swedish government for the 1876 Centennial Exhibition in Philadelphia? The charming timber cottage was brought to Central Park, near 79th Street, at the request of Frederick Law Olmstead and has been used as a children’s theater since 1947. Photo credit: MCNY


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