Winter 2017

Inside This Issue


Message from the Chair

2016 was a year of unprecedented accomplishment for the Landmarks Preservation Commission. On the landmark designation front, after an efficient and transparent public process, the agency cleared a 50-year backlog of properties on the Commission's calendar within 18 months; and our Greater East Midtown Initiative was a successful example of planning and preservation working in concert to ensure that the future of our city includes the best of our past.

Our Preservation Department issued nearly 14,000 permits for work at landmark sites- a record number for a single year. The agency also launched a number of important public access tools including our Discover NYC Landmarks Map, which allows users to search for and obtain valuable information about designated sites; the Permit Application Search, which gives all New Yorkers access to the status of applications under review by LPC; and a dedicated website for our City's archaeological treasures.

2017 promises to be equally productive. On January 17th, the Commission voted to protect the United Nations Plaza First Floor Interiors, including the Ambassador Grill and Lobby. The agency also plans to hold a vote on whether to designate the interior of one of the most famous hotels in the world- the Waldorf Astoria. We also had a recent legal victory in the demolition-by-neglect-case of the Manee-Seguine House on Staten Island, which ensures that the 17th-century house will be repaired.

It is now more important than ever to ensure that the dynamism and diversity of our city is protected, and this extends to our built environment. To this end, the Commission will continue working to identify potential landmarks in areas underrepresented by designations. I welcome your feedback as we work to fulfill LPC's mission of protecting New York City's historic treasures.

Meenakshi Srinivasan

Introducing LPC's New Director of Research

LPC welcomes Kate Lemos McHale as the agency's Director of Research. Kate comes to us with over 15 years of experience in historic preservation and architectural history in New York City, including 12 years at Beyer Blinder Belle (BBB), where as a Senior Associate and Director of Architectural Research she researched and interpreted the historical, architectural and cultural context of buildings to inform the firm's design, planning and preservation projects. Additionally, Kate has taught classes in Historic Preservation at Pratt Institute's School of Continued and Professional Studies for many years, and has authored several lectures and publications, most notably the architectural monograph, Carrere & Hastings Architects, and various articles on historic preservation. She received a Bachelor of Art in Architectural Studies from Brown University and a Master of Science in Historic Preservation from Columbia University.


LPC Successfully Cuts Through Backlog

On December 13, 2016, the Landmarks Commission successfully concluded its Backlog Initiative. Decisions were based upon extensive public outreach and research by the agency during an 18-month period. The Commission held four Special Hearings on the backlog in the Fall of 2015, giving the public an opportunity to testify and submit information on the calendared properties. In addition to the documents already in LPC files and made available online, the Commissioners heard nearly 12 hours of verbal testimony from more than 300 speakers and received additional written testimony submitted by the public.

Items prioritized for designation were brought before the Commission for votes on April 12, 2016; June 28, 2016; August 9, 2016; and December 13, 2016. Commission votes resulted in 27 designated New York City Landmarks. Find out more about the sites protected through the Backlog Initiative.


Ambassador Grill and Lobby Youngest NYC Interior Landmark

On January 17, LPC unanimously voted to designate the First Floor Interiors of the United Nations Hotel, located at 1 and 2 United Nations Plaza in Manhattan. The property is the youngest Interior Landmark in New York City. The designation consists of the hotel lobby reception area, the entrance foyer and hallway, and the Ambassador Grill dining area and bar area. The newly designated interiors are important examples of Late Modern and Post-Modern design by the prominent architectural firm Kevin Roche John Dinkeloo and Associates, and bring the number of interior landmarks in New York City to 118.


12 Iconic Buildings Protected in Greater East Midtown

The Landmarks Commission unanimously voted to protect 12 Greater East Midtown Buildings as part of a comprehensive, multi-agency effort to plan for the future of one of New York City's most vibrant and dynamic districts. Among the properties designated were the Minnie E. Young Residence, The Yale Club, Pershing Square Building, The Graybar Building, Hotel Lexington, and the former Citicorp Center.

The agency undertook its comprehensive Greater East Midtown study with the goal of preserving the neighborhood's development history through individual designations. After extensive research by the agency of a study area consisting of East 39th to East 57th Streets, from Fifth Avenue to Second Avenue, the Commission identified 12 properties from three key eras central to the development of the neighborhood that complement existing designations: Pre-Grand Central Terminal (residential and institutional development through the 1910s); Grand Central/Terminal City (buildings constructed in Terminal City or that were spurred by transit improvements); and Post Grand Central (buildings constructed after 1933). Find out more about the buildings designated through the Greater East Midtown Initiative.


NYC's Newest Historic District!

On December 13, 2016, the Commission approved the Sullivan-Thompson Historic District in Manhattan as the 140th New York City Historic District. The new district consists of approximately 157 buildings, including row houses, tenements, commercial structures, and institutions. The district's streetscapes illustrate the growth of the area from a residential row house neighborhood to a vibrant, mixed-use, working-class district. The Sullivan-Thompson Historic District is significant for its rich immigrant history. Learn more about our newest district.


Court Orders Repair of Historic Staten Island Landmark

In late December 2016, after a four-day trial earlier in the year, a Court issued a 22-page decision ordering the owners of the historic Manee-Seguine Homestead on Staten Island to repair their property. The Homestead, which was built circa 1680 and landmarked by the City in 1984, is one of the six oldest surviving houses in the City and an example of New-World Dutch architecture.

The building initially served as a single family home for the Manee and Seguine families- French Huguenots who settled on Staten Island beginning in the second half of the 17th Century. Later, the home was converted to a hotel and was known as the Homestead Hotel and Purdy's Hotel. The owners of the property were aware of its landmark status at the time of purchase and face significant monetary penalties for failing to comply with landmark laws by allowing the building to deteriorate. Learn more about the decision.


New Windows Guide!

The Commission has created a guide to Repairing, Retrofitting and Replacing Windows in historic properties. In most historic buildings, the windows and their surrounding architectural details were carefully designed as integral components of the style, scale and character of the building. Windows have always played an important role in the performance of buildings in terms of providing and managing light and air, and that role has expanded to include or improve occupant comfort, accessible operation, energy-efficiency, noise control, safety and security. With that in mind, the Commission's Rules and resources are intended to accommodate a range of approaches to repairing, retrofitting and replacing windows, one of the most common work types reviewed by the Commission. View the Guide.


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