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City Councilmember Rosie Mendez: 2012 Village Award Winner

City Councilmember Rosie Mendez

At a time when over-development is an ever-present threat in our Village neighborhoods, City Councilmember Rosie Mendez has distinguished herself as a staunch advocate for historic preservation and zoning protections. Since 2005, Rosie has served District 2 in Manhattan, which includes the East Village as well as parts of NoHo and Greenwich Village. In recognition of her public service to our community, Rosie will be presented with a 2012 Village Award at GVSHP’s Annual Meeting tonight at The New School’s landmarked Tishman Auditorium.

Rosie Mendez protesting NYU's plans for a mega dorm on the site of the historic St. Ann's Church in the East Village

One of Rosie’s first acts as city councilmember was to join GVSHP and neighbors in protesting NYU’s plans for a 26-story dorm on the site of the historic St. Ann’s Church in the East Village. By now, our readers are aware of the NYU 2031 plan that calls for a massive expansion of their campus just south of Washington Square Park; Rosie was an early endorser of GVSHP’s efforts to advocate for the establishment of NYU satellite campuses as a way to protect from over-development in the Village.

In the East Village, in particular, Rosie has had a tremendous influence in expanding landmark protections and speaking up for endangered historic sites. With her help, GVSHP and other preservation groups were able to get the Landmarks Preservation Commission to hold an emergency hearing for the East 10th Street Historic District, which earlier this year became the first historic district in the East Village since 1969. She also successfully campaigned for the expansion of the proposed East Village/Lower East Side Historic District to include key sites, such as 101 Avenue A and the Russian Orthodox Cathedral on East 2nd Street, which GVSHP has long fought to protect. The public hearing for this proposed district will be held on June 26th at the Landmarks Preservation Commission.

(l) 101 Avenue A and (r) Russian Orthodox Cathedral on East 2nd Street, two buildings Rosie fought for inclusion in the proposed historic district.

Rosie could also be found rallying for the protection of endangered historic sites, such as 35 Cooper Square and 326 & 328 East 4th Street. She is also unafraid to stand up for preservation in City Council sessions, as she was the lone councilmember to vote against the de-landmarking of an early 19th century house at 135 Bowery.

In addition to her landmarking efforts, Rosie pushed for more appropriate zoning in nearly the entire East Village and much of the Lower East Side in 2008. In doing so, she helped GVSHP and community groups prevent out-of-scale development through rezoning that established sensible height limits for the first time in most of the neighborhood. She also worked with GVSHP to successfully campaign for rezoning along the Third and Fourth Avenue corridors, which will prevent incompatible structures, such as the 26-story NYU dorm, from ever being repeated.

Please join us tonight at 6:30 as Rosie Mendez is awarded a Village Award for her outstanding leadership on preservation issues locally and citywide, and for championing diverse needs and interest groups to foster more livable communities in the East Village, NoHo and Greenwich Village. GVSHP’s 2012 Annual Meeting will also honor seven other awardees for their contributions to the Village. Check out Off the Grid’s posts on all the 2012 Village award winners.

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