With 10 New Designations, LPC Successfully Cuts Through 50 Year Backlog, Ensuring Landmark Protection for Worthy Sites Citywide


(New York, NY)- The Landmarks Commission today successfully concluded its Backlog Initiativeby designating 10 sites in Brooklyn, Manhattan, Queens and Staten Island, bringing the number of properties designated through this effort to 27. The decisions were based upon extensive public outreach and research by the Commission during an 18-month period. Ten properties were designated today including St. Barbara’s Roman Catholic Church in Brooklyn, the Bergdorf Goodman Building in Manhattan, Bowne Street Community Church in Queens, and Brougham Cottage in Staten Island. The Commission previously designated nine properties in April, seven properties in June, and one property in August.

“I am thrilled that through this ambitious and unprecedented effort, we have granted full landmark protection to 27 outstanding properties, and cut through a 50-year backlog in a matter of 18 months,” said Commission Chair Meenakshi Srinivasan. “We’re very proud that the designated properties are from all five boroughs and represent a diverse array of building typologies, including early residences, institutional buildings, churches, a theater— even an iconic sign. This is a great day for preservation in New York City!”

“Together, we’ve proved the system works – we’ve cleared the Landmarks Preservation Commission’s backlog through a transparent, public, accountable process,” said Manhattan Borough President Gale A. Brewer. “Thanks to the Commission’s work, a raft of historical and architectural gems throughout our city will be protected, and items that have languished on the calendar for too long without decisions now have them. I thank the Commission for working with me to devise this process and congratulate them on a job well done.”

“The New York Landmarks Conservancy appreciates that the Commission listened to the public, and gave each of the backlog buildings a hearing,” said Peg Breen, President of the New York Landmarks Conservancy. “We’re glad that a significant number of these properties will be designated and protected for the future. After decades on the calendar for some of these sites, it was worth the wait.”

The Commissions three-phase plan to address the backlog included a Public Review Period, with more than 15,000 pages of material on the backlog properties made available online; four Special Hearings with approximately 12 hours of verbal testimony and more than 300 speakers; and a public meeting where, after hearing agency recommendations, the Commissioner’s prioritized 30 properties for designation.

Sites designated previously through this initiative include the Pepsi Sign in Long Island City, Prince’s Bay Lighthouse in Staten Island, the William H. Schofield House in the Bronx, and Green-Wood Cemetery in Brooklyn.

The following properties were designated at today’s meeting:

  • St. Barbara’s Roman Catholic Church, 138 Bleecker Street, Brooklyn, is an unusual and distinctive ecclesiastical building in New York City. Built 1907- 1910, it is one of the earliest churches in the Northeastern United States to incorporate the Spanish Colonial Revival style of architecture, which is fairly uncommon in the region. ​
  • 183-195 Broadway Building, Brooklyn, is one of only a small number of cast-iron buildings that were constructed in the borough, and is distinctive among cast-iron buildings in New York City for its inventive Neo-Grec design and unusual calla lily ornament, embodying aspects of the Aesthetic Movement.
  • Bergdorf Goodman, 754 Fifth Avenue, Manhattan, was built in 1927-28 on the former location of the Vanderbilt Mansion. It was designed by the preeminent designer Ely Jacques Kahn, and is an excellent example of Modern Classical design. The building is significant for its associations with Bergdorf Goodman, one of New York City’s premier retail establishments.
  • Excelsior Steam Power Company Building, 33-43 Gold Street, is one of Manhattan’s oldest extant electrical generating stations. The site is one of only two commercial electrical stations in Manhattan known to date from the 1880s, the pioneering decade for electric light and power in New York City and the United States.
  • Loew’s 175th Street Theatre, 4140 Broadway, Manhattan, is one of the “Wonder Theaters” built for the Loew’s movie chain during the late 1920s. It was designed by Thomas W. Lamb, one of the country’s premier theater architects, in anticipation of growth in this part of Manhattan spurred by the construction of the George Washington Bridge. The theater displays an exuberant, eclectic style, adapting decorative elements from both Hindu and Islamic cultural traditions in a free interpretation typical of this period of theater design.
  • 412 East 85th Street House, Manhattan, is a rare wood frame house on the Upper East Side built around 1860. The house is one of only six pre-Civil war wood frame houses to remain on the Upper East Side and serves as a reminder of the earliest period of construction in upper Manhattan.
  • Young Men's Christian Association (YMCA) Building, West 135th Street Branch (now Jackie Robinson YMCA Youth Center), 181 West 135th Street, Manhattan, was built in 1918-19 and was one of the first African-American YMCA buildings constructed in New York City. The branch became a center of intellectual, political and social activity for African Americans in the first half of the 20th century. ​ 
  • The Protestant Reformed Dutch Church of Flushing (Bowne Street Community Church), 143-11 Roosevelt Avenue, Queens, was built in 1892. The building is an excellent example of the Romanesque Revival style and one of downtown Flushing’s most prominent and significant religious structures.
  • Brougham Cottage, 47-46 Amboy Road, Staten Island, is a rare Dutch-American farmhouse dating back to the 18th century. The house is a significant as a reminder of Staten Island’s rural heritage and its vernacular architectural traditions, and is now part of the New York City Parks & Recreation Department’s Blue Heron Park.
  • ​ Lakeman-Cortelyou Taylor House, 2286 Richmond Road, Staten Island, is a Dutch Colonial style farmhouse significant both as an early Dutch Colonial building with a gambrel roof and for its associations with Staten Island history. It is particularly noteworthy as the home of Aaron Cortelyou, who was one of the founders of the Moravian Church on Staten Island, and who played an important role in the American Revolutionary War on the Island.​

The Interborough Rapid Transit Powerhouse, now Consolidated Edison Powerhouse, will remain on the Commission’s calendar. Recognizing that designating an active power plant raises unique challenges, the agency continues to work with ConEd to develop an appropriate regulatory framework to ensure both preservation of the landmark as well as efficient delivery of energy services to New York City residents.  
Two properties were removed from the calendar by “No Action,” which allows them to be placed back on the calendar at a future date: The Immaculate Conception Church in the Bronx, which received significant opposition to designation from the parish; and the Edgar J. Kaufmann Rooms in Manhattan, based on potential legal issues related to public access to the rooms, a criterion for designating the rooms as an interior landmark under the Landmarks Law.

Damaris Olivo / 212-669-7938, dolivo@lpc.nyc.gov