This Wednesday, we here at Off the Grid are looking forward to celebrating the 15th birthday of the Neighborhood Preservation Center. The Center will be hosting its annual birthday party fundraiser at the landmark Webster Hall, and GVSHP will be there to commend the Center for all it does for the preservation community. The Center has meant a great deal to GVSHP. Besides running the building in which our office is located, the Center helps to keep us connected to the many organizations and ideas in the preservation community. If you would like to join in the celebration, tickets are still available here.
The Center, which officially opened on November 1, 1999, is a place of engagement, where staff from many different types of organizations can talk about such diverse topics as the state of preservation today to how best to use social media to spread the word. It is home to three resident partners, including GVSHP, the Historic Districts Council, and the St. Mark’s Historic Landmark Fund. Over the years the Center has also hosted such groups as Friends of the High Line, Remember the Triangle Coalition, and Green Guerillas.
The Center was born from an idea quite central to the preservation field: adaptive reuse. Before the building opened as the Neighborhood Preservation Center in 1999, it served primarily as the home of the Rector of St. Mark’s Church In-the-Bowery. The 1901 Beaux Arts building designed by Ernest Flagg was damaged in a fire in 1988. According to the Center:
An exterior restoration was completed in 1993. The interior restoration and renovation did not begin until 1998 when, under the aegis of the St. Mark’s Historic Landmark Fund, the historic Ernest Flagg Rectory was restored and adapted to be the home of the Neighborhood Preservation Center and its three resident organizations.
While the bottom three floors are designated to the Neighborhood Preservation Center, the top floor of the building is an apartment for the Church’s use.
Through its programs, the Neighborhood Preservation Center has certainly achieved its mission to share information and facilitate exchange among those working to improve and protect neighborhoods. Last year, the Center’s meeting rooms served 6,000 outside constituents and its online resource database garnered 100,000 searches. And it’s mission to serve as an office space and resource center? Another success. The Center has incubated over 200 groups since its opening. What can’t be counted is the brain power, collegiality, and support fostered within the building for the last 15 years. GVSHP is entirely grateful.
Happy birthday, Neighborhood Preservation Center! We here at Off the Grid look forward to raising a glass in your honor this Wednesday.