This has been a year like no other. We lost friends, loved ones, and local small businesses. We had to find new ways to reach our members, the public, and decision-makers. Education programs and fundraisers went virtual.
But COVID-19 wasn’t the only source of challenges we faced. The Mayor put forward an unprecedented upzoning plan for SoHo and NoHo that would allow massive oversized development and push out local small businesses for giant big box chain stores. City officials made clear they intend to replicate this plan for other neighborhoods like Greenwich Village and the East Village. And from the West Village to East, developers continued to put forward plans that would destroy our history and replace it with oversized, out-of-character development.
In spite of this, we accomplished a tremendous amount this year, including:
- Defeating a plan for an air rights transfer for an office tower at 3 St. Mark’s Place
- Leading opposition to the SoHo NoHo upzoning plan – formulating a community alternative neighborhood plan supported by over a dozen community groups, exposing conflicts of interest behind groups pushing for the upzoning plan, and calling out Mayoral candidates for their support for the plan
- Stopping the city’s wrongheaded South of Union Square Hotel Special Permit rezoning plan
- Forging ahead with our campaign for landmark protections for the vulnerable area of Greenwich Village and the East Village south of Union Square — creating our Virtual South of Union Square Map and Tours, and garnering more support from elected officials, civil rights groups, preservationists, and scholars
- Expanding our historic plaque program to mark the home of Jane Jacobs
- Leading opposition to the plan to demolish 14-16 Fifth Avenue in the Greenwich Village Historic District and replace it with a 244 ft. tall tower, staging rallies, gathering political support, and preparing for the plan to be reintroduced in 2021
- Conducting 80 programs, two semesters of continuing education courses, our children’s education program, our Annual Meeting and Village Awards virtually, while launching our new podcast and adding three new oral histories
- Creating our 19th Amendment Centennial StoryMap, celebrating the contributions of our neighborhoods to the successful fight for women’s suffrage
- Working to support and save local small businesses with our new video series and our “Small Business/Big History Signage” program, advocating for “Save Our Storefronts” legislation to help COVID-affected small businesses, and offering assistance to navigate pandemic-aid bureaucracies
We’ve got a lot to do in the coming year. We need to secure landmark protections for vulnerable areas of Greenwich Village and the East Village. We need to prevent approvals for inappropriate demolitions and new development in our landmark districts. And we need to ensure that upzonings and allowances for mega-retail chain stores aren’t approved in SoHo and NoHo, and the rest of our neighborhoods.
With your help, we can do it. With your help, we have secured landmark protections for over 1,250 buildings, and zoning protections for nearly 100 blocks of our neighborhood. With your help, we reach thousands of people each year with our educational programs and tens of thousands with our virtual resources that spread knowledge and appreciation of the incredible architecture and history of Greenwich Village, the East Village, and NoHo.
Make Sure Preservation Has A Future in 2021