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50 Years of Historic Preservation

On April 19, 1965 that the New York City Landmarks Law went into effect. GVSHP and many other organizations are celebrating this 50th anniversary all year long. Visit the website of NYC Landmarks 50 to see more.

Demolition of Penn Station 1966 source: www.nydailynews.com
Demolition of Penn Station 1966 source: www.nydailynews.com

We have written in the past here on Off the Grid about the demolition of the original Penn Station, and how that tragedy galvanized the preservation movement. So this year we are marking this milestone with some special programs.

source: LPC 1967
source: LPC 1967

Last week, we presented a program on the history of 121 Charles Street, known as the little wooden farmhouse in the Village, or as we like to call it, “the little house that could.” GVSHP’s Director of Preservation and Research, Amanda Davis, told us the story of how this quirky little house was moved from its original location uptown to its current home on Charles Street in the West Village. It’s important to note the connection between this and the 1965 Landmarks Law: because the Greenwich Village Historic District was created in 1969, and the lot at 121 Charles Street lies in this district, no changes to this property are allowed without approval of the Landmarks Preservation Commission. Recently there was a lot of confusion – and fear – generated when the property was listed for sale as a “developable” property. I’m glad Amanda was on hand to set us straight. You can see photos and video of this program on our past programs page.

preserveNext month, we continue the Landmarks 50 celebration with a program on Thursday, February 19th. Our own Karen Loew will conduct a one-on-one interview with the distinguished preservation authority, Anthony C. Wood. Mr. Wood is the author of the book Preserving New York: Winning the Right to Protect a City’s Landmarks, and he is the founder of the New York Preservation Archives Project.

They will discuss early efforts of the preservation movement, prior to the demolition of Penn Station, and the accomplishments of preservation since the enactment of the Landmarks Law, and what the future may hold.

We are planning more programs later in the year as the celebration continues, so check our upcoming programs page frequently, or sign up for our e-mail list to receive updates. In November, we’ll be teaming up with our good friends at the Merchant’s House Museum – the first building in Manhattan to be granted landmark status in 1965 – for a history of that historic site.

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