Village Preservation: Advocacy and Accomplishments
Founded in 1980, Village Preservation works to document, celebrate, and preserve the special architectural and cultural heritage of Greenwich Village, the East Village, and NoHo. See what that has meant for the communities we have represented over the years in this storymap.
40 Years of Village Preservation
The following are some important milestones and achievements for Village Preservation since its founding in 1980.
We won landmark designation for Julius Bar after a 10-year campaign, and secured a “Seven to Save” designation for our effort to landmark the unprotected area of Greenwich Village and the East Village South of Union Square, naming it one of the seven most important and endangered historic sites in New York State by the Preservation League of NY State. We also called out city agencies for failing to adequately protect landmarked properties like 14 Gay Street, and building a coalition among groups and elected officials from across the city to demand reform, and we produced analyses refuting the argument driving public policy that increasing large-scale luxury housing development increases housing affordability. Furthermore, we led the successful fight to prevent the State from adopting a measure that would allow supertall towers in residential neighborhoods throughout NYC, and spearheaded the victorious effort to prevent proposed budget cuts to the Landmarks Preservation Commission, which would have reduced enforcement, oversight, and new designations.
Three new plaques were unveiled this past year, honoring the Beats at the former home of Allen Ginsberg and William S. Burroughs at 206 East 7th Street; the former headquarters of the NAACP and The Crisis Magazine at 70 Fifth Avenue; and Julius’ Bar at 159 West 10th Street. Village Voices 2022, our weeks-long multi-site, multi-media public exhibition celebrating historic change-makers and trailblazers of our neighborhoods, was a success.
Our Children’s Education Program grew, as we served a record-breaking number of students this year, 90% of whom were from high-needs schools and participated for free or at a reduced cost. We expanded and revised our very popular Civil Rights and Social Justice Map. To help support dozens of small businesses throughout our neighborhoods, we co-produced the Crisis and Adaptation report analyzing retail trends and challenges in the East Village, and grew our Business of the Month, Welcome to the Neighborhood, and Small Business/Big History Programs. In addition, we released three new oral histories, with West Village writer and humorist Calvin Trillin, Westbeth artist Christina Maile, and East Village photographer Alex Harsley.
We secured landmark designation of 70 Fifth Avenue, the former headquarters of the NAACP, The Crisis Magazine, and an unrivaled array of early 20th-century civil rights, human rights, and social justice organizations. The State of New York ruled that our proposed South of Union Square Historic District was eligible for the State and National Registers of Historic Places. We also won changes to the SoHo/NoHo rezoning, eliminating some of the most egregious elements of the upzoning + displacement plan.
We staged our first “Village Voices” fundraiser and exhibit, our weeks-long multi-site, multi-media public exhibition celebrating historic change-makers and trailblazers of our neighborhoods. Our newest plaques were unveiled, marking the former studio of artist Frank Stella at 128 East 13th Street and the personal printing press of Anaïs Nin at 17 East 13th Street. Three new oral histories joined our online collection, featuring playwrights John Guare and Barabara Kahn, and community activist and gardening leader Ayo Harrington.
Furthermore, we released reports exposing the inaccuracy of the city’s analyses and predictions for rezonings, and specifically showing how false and inaccurate their predictions about the impacts of the proposed SoHo/NoHo/Chinatown Upzoning was. We released our interactive Greek Revival architecture map celebrating this formative architectural style of our neighborhoods that celebrated the bicentennial of its birth. More than dozen new donated collections were added to our Historic Image Archive, including over 1,000 new images of everything from cast-iron architecture to the High Line pre-park conversion, as well as hundreds of crowdsourced images of the World Trade Center, 9/11, and its aftermath to mark the 20th anniversary of the terrors attacks. And we reached out to dozens of candidates for Mayor, City Council, and positions in between to question their positions on preservation issues, hold candidate forums, and share the results, answers, and findings with tens of thousands of New Yorkers.
We stopped an air rights transfer from a landmarked historic house at 4 St. Mark’s Place which would have allowed a new office building at St. Mark’s Place and 3rd Avenue to grow 20% larger than zoning allows. We spearheaded pushback against the Mayor’s proposed SoHo/NoHo Upzoning by formulating a community alternative plan endorsed by more than a dozen local community groups. We stopped a wrongheaded and ineffective plan to require special permits for hotels in the area south of Union Square, and instead intensified our campaign for real landmark protections for the area and its rich civil rights and social justice history, winning support from Council Speaker Corey Johnson, the NAACP, the National LGBTQ Task Force, the ACLU, and others. We staged a huge demonstration against the planned demolition of 14-16 Fifth Avenue and garnered support from the Borough President, Council Speaker, and local elected officials. To help struggling small businesses in our neighborhood, we helped lead a campaign for state legislation to provide rental assistance and launched our “Small Business/Big History” signage program to draw customers to local stores while celebrating local history.
Facing COVID-19, we launched new virtual engagement tools and converted our traditional programming and events to a safer virtual format. We launched our South of Union Square Map and Tours with nearly 40 tours of over 200 buildings. We created our 19th Amendment Centennial StoryMap to celebrate great suffragists and great moments in women’s suffrage history in our neighborhood, and our 40th Anniversary StoryMap to highlight four decades of our preservation work and educational efforts. We went virtual with nearly 80 new programs (lectures, tours, panels, etc.) serving more people than ever before, conducted a virtual version of our Continuing Education program and introduced new online Children’s Education materials. We added another of our historic plaques marking the home of Jane Jacobs, released oral histories with Mimi Sheraton, Ralph Lee, and Rick Kelly, and added a new collection of photos from the 1940s and 50s by a photographer who worked for LIFE Magazine to our historic image archive.
We rebranded ourselves as Village Preservation providing a forward-looking and easily accessible name that reflects both our core and expanding mission. We led a year-long celebration of the 50th anniversary of the designation of the Greenwich Village Historic District (GVHD), which included several highlights: a weekend-long GVHD Open House in April featuring dozens of local businesses, schools, houses of worship, cultural institutions, non-profits, and community groups opening their doors and offering special deals, tours, and discounts; a daylong celebration in Washington Square kicking off the weekend with musical salutes to the GVHD; dozens of programs throughout the year including a Town Hall on the district’s future, a theater crawl, a bike tour, and panels examining the district’s origins and impacts; creation of an online GVHD50 Map and Tours, showing 1969/2019 images of each of over 2,200 buildings in the districts and over two dozen tours of nearly 1,000 sites of historic, cultural, and architectural interest in the district. We released a 125-page report by renowned architectural historian Francis Morrone “A History of the East Village and Its Architecture” as part of the launch of our campaign to seek expanded landmark protections for the East Village. That campaign also involved the launch of our East Village Building Blocks website with the history of each of 2,500 buildings in the East Village, from date of construction to present, with then-and-now images and important figures, events, and institutions connected to each site.
We released another report by renowned architectural historian Tony Robins called “Finishing the Job: The Unprotected Architecture of Greenwich Village and the East Village South of Union Square” as part of our campaign to seek landmark protections for that vulnerable area. We continued to expose the shady deal behind the Mayor’s 14th Street Tech Hub, approved by the City Council at the behest of Councilmember Carlina Rivera. We issued a report showing that the developers chosen were major campaign donors to the Mayor and his shuttered non-profit and offered fewer public benefits and less money for this incredibly valuable public land than other bidders, and that the City had no record or criteria for choosing this developer over others whose plans offered more benefits and fewer of the negative impacts we have protested; the report received considerable media attention and drew criticism of the plan and process from good government groups. We also secured a unanimous rejection by all three affected community boards of the proposed hotel special permit plan for the area which was part of the Mayor and Rivera’s Tech Hub deal and purports to help protect the area from inappropriate development, but actually only steers hotel development to office development and continues to encourage demolition of low-scale, historic, and residential buildings in the area.
After a five year campaign, the City landmarked three LGBT historic sites we had fought to landmark — the LGBT Community Center, the Gay Activists Alliance Firehouse, and Caffe Cino.
In response to a city study contemplating zoning changes for SoHo/NoHoand organizing by real estate and institutional interests to allow for larger-scale new buildings, larger retail, and increased allowances for university facilities, we helped form the Save SoHo-NoHo Coalition to advocate for preservation of the neighborhood’s character.
We launched our “Small Businesses Thrive in Landmarked Neighborhoods” video campaign to promote local businesses and the positive synergy between them and landmarking; we performed a study showing lower retail vacancy rates in landmarked areas as compared to non-landmarked ones; and secured community board approval for a proposed special district limiting the proliferation of chain stores in the East Village.
We shared six new oral histories with local artists, activists, and merchants; our Civil Rights and Social Justice Map garnered over 100,000 views for its two hundred entries; and we enabled the public to sign up for notifications for major changes to any landmarked property on their block or on any block(s) they choose.
After first being proposed by Village Preservation in 2017, MacDougal Street below Houston Street received a secondary street naming as Lucy and Lenny Cecere Way in honor of two great Villagers. And we endorsed NYC Ballot Measure #5, which was overwhelmingly approved by voters, giving New Yorkers more time to review and information about proposed rezonings and land use changes in their neighborhoods.
Village Preservation leads a successful campaign to stop implementation of Landmarks Preservation Commission plan to change rules to keep the public from seeing, knowing about, or being able to weigh in on certain kinds of applications for changes to landmarked buildings. After we lead the campaign to demand that the Mayor name a new chair of the Landmarks Preservation Commission preservation background and experience, he chooses Sarah Carroll as the new chair, who worked for the Commission as a preservationist for over two decades. We are part of the coalition which stops the granting of a zoning change to facilitate construction of a hotel next door to the Merchant’s House Museum, which the museum says would have endangered their fragile historic building. GVSHP helps lead a coalition of groups which stops the State Legislature from enacting a measure that would allow “supersized” buildings in residential neighborhoods of New York City. We add a new mapping tool to our website showing where every one of over 600 applications for changes to landmarked buildings in our neighborhoods over the last ten years are located, linking you to the application and the outcome. GVSHP begins adding historic images of buildings in our neighborhoods from landmarks applications to our online historic image archive, allowing the public to access hundreds of images of buildings, many as much as 150 years old. In January we were sued by a notorious developer seeking to prevent us from working to protect our neighborhoods. We unveil historic plaques honoring Elizabeth Blackwell, the first woman doctor in the United State and the first hospital run by and for women, and honoring Westbeth, the pioneering “home of the arts.”
After a year and a half campaign Village Preservation saves 827-831 Broadway from the wrecking ball, two 1866 cast-iron loft buildings which once housed Willem de Kooning and a raft of important artists and art world figures. The Trump Organization pulls out of the Trump SoHo, which is renamed the Dominick Hotel, in part because of GVSHP’s dogged efforts to enforce zoning restrictions for the site and prevent profiting from illegal residential uses. GVSHP successfully leads campaign to block East Village zoning variance that would have resulted in a building 50% larger and 25% taller than zoning allows. GVSHP releases its Civil Rights and Social Justice Map, showcasing over one hundred historically significant sites in the neighborhood, which receives over 70,000 views in its first year. GVSHP adds several hundred new images from more than ten collections to its Historic Image Archive, mostly donated by members of the public, and issues three reports: New Buildings Approved Within the Greenwich Village Historic District, 1969 to the Present; Expanding Boundaries, Preserving History, Celebrating All; and Twenty Years of Preserving Federal Era Rowhouses, 1997-2017. We also add two new historic plaques, marking the home of Lorraine Hansberry and on 27 Cooper Square, home of the Black Arts Movement.
After a ten year effort, Village Preservation finally secures landmark designation of the third and final phase of our proposed South Village Historic District, known as the Sullivan Thompson Historic District. Village Preservation also secures protections for the entire Greenwich Village waterfront from air rights transfers from the Hudson River Park, which had been made possible by 2013 state legislation, thus preventing as much as a million and a half feet of additional development in the Village’s westernmost blocks. The Society also succeeds in getting massive planned “big box” stores and “destination retail,” which would generate huge amounts of traffic, eliminated from a proposed development on the St. John’s Terminal site at Houston and West Street. Plans for 80-90 ft. tall glass and concrete towers to be added to 85-89 Jane Street in the Greenwich Village Historic District are disapproved after staunch opposition led by Village Preservation. The Society helps get the beloved Mosaic Lamposts returned to Astor Place after they were removed as part of a renovation of that intersection. After a fourteen-year effort, Village Preservation secures landmark designation of 1819 federal house at 57 Sullivan Street, and issues report documenting the nearly one hundred fifty federal-era (1790-1835) houses the Society has been able to help get landmarked. GVSHP also helped lead the opposition against the Mayor’s plans to roll back neighborhood zoning protections, successfully blocking most of the plan and leaving the majority of our zoning protections untouched. The Society also helped lead the opposition to the City Council’s anti-landmarking, pro-demolition Intro. 775, getting the most onerous parts of the bill removed. Village Preservation and partner Two Boots unveiled historic plaques marking the former homes and studios of artists Jean-Michel Basquiat and Chaim Gross.
In January Village Preservation released its proposal for a contextual rezoning of the University Place and Broadway corridors to prevent developments like the 300 ft. tall tower planned for University Place and 12th Street. The proposal quickly garnered strong support from the local community board and every city, state, and federal local elected official, though the City resisted. In November Village Preservation staged a demonstration calling for the city to finally move on the rezoning, joined by hundreds of local residents, elected officials, and actor and neighbor Edward Norton. Village Preservation spent much of the year educating the public about and organizing the charge against the Mayor’s citywide rezoning plans, which would gut neighborhood zoning protections GVSHP and others fought years to achieve. The plan was scaled back by the City, but still moved through the public review and approval process. Village Preservation continued to take on the Real Estate Board of NY’s (REBNY) false contentions that preservation undermined affordability, first issuing a report in April showing how REBNY is a key player in blocking the affordable housing agenda in Albany and New York City, and in September, GVSHP teamed up with a researcher whose work REBNY appropriated for a report purporting to show that landmarking hurt affordability to refute REBNY and the report’s claims. Village Preservation’s historic plaque program was expanded to mark the former Horatio Street home of James Baldwin and the former Fifth Avenue dance studio of Martha Graham. In June, after a year-and-a-half campaign, GVSHP succeeded in getting the Stonewall Inn landmarked, the first site to ever be landmarked in New York City based upon LGBT history. Village Preservation led the charge against the anti-preservation, pro-demolition Intro. 775, helping to turnout hundreds to the City Council hearing at which several of the bill’s sponsors dropped their support for the bill and the bill’s authors agreed to amend the legislation. In the fall Village Preservation pushed for designation of four “last chance” landmarks – historic sites under consideration for landmark designation for between five and nearly fifty years which the City had previously proposed to simply remove from the list but which now, thanks to pushback from Village Preservation and other preservationists, were getting public hearings and a vote on the merits from the Commission. Village Preservation helped lead the charge against a proposal for demolition and oversized development on Gansevoort Street in the Gansevoort Market Historic District which GVSHP proposed and got landmarked in 2003. In September Village Preservation made its historic image archive available to the public on-line for the first time, with a mapping tool, and in November released twenty new oral histories, largely focused on the East and South Village, to add to our oral history collection.
In January, GVSHP and co-plaintiffs won in court against NYU’s 20 year expansion plan; the ruling was overturned at the appellate division, and at year’s end was awaiting appeal in the State’s highest court. After a huge outcry, in December, the Landmarks Preservation Commission withdrew a plan adamantly opposed by GVSHP and other preservationists to “de-calendar” ninety-four individual sites and historic districts currently under consideration for landmark designation throughout the city. In July, GVSHP released a report showing how the Landmarks Preservation Commission’s early pre-notification of property owners and developers that they are considering landmarking their sites has led to the loss of many important potential landmarks, and recommended changes to the Commission’s procedures. After nearly fifty years in “landmarks limbo,” in October the 1866 Tifereth Israel Synagogue at 334 East 14th Street was finally landmarked, following a campaign by GVSHP to get the building reconsidered for landmark designation after first being calendared in 1966. In March GVSHP’s book Greenwich Village Stories was released, a love letter to the Village and East Village consisting of sixty-six reminiscences and memories by artists, writers, actors, and performers connected to the neighborhood, including Lou Reed, Wynton Marsalis, Karen Finlay, and Mario Batali, with illustrations and photographs by Berenice Abbott, Allen Ginsberg, Rudy Burckhardt, Saul Leiter, Ruth Orkin, and Weegee, among many others. In September, GVSHP and our allies get the City to overturn Buildings Department approvals for a ‘dorm-for-hire’ in the old landmarked P.S. 64 at 605 East 9th Street, an approval which would have gutted hard fought for restrictions governing permits for dormitories. In June Governor Cuomo withdrew a plan adamantly opposed by GVSHP for the transfer of air rights from Pier 40 to the St. John’s Building across West Street without any public review or approval. Community groups from Tribeca to Hell’s Kitchen support restrictions upon and alternatives to the transfer of air rights from the Hudson River Park put forward by GVSHP. In June, GVSHP and partners Two Boots place a historic plaque on the former home of poet Frank O’Hara on East 9th Street and in October on the former home of the Fillmore East on 2nd Avenue. In November, GVSHP launched its ‘Business of the Month’ program, celebrating, promoting, and supporting local independent small businesses. In May we defeated a zoning variance which would have allowed a 34% increase in the allowable size of a planned new glass office tower at 10th Avenue and 13th Street. In December the City Planning Commission approved a rezoning advocated by GVSHP of much of the block bounded by 14th and 15th Streets, 9th and 10th Avenues, limiting the allowable height of new development and preventing the transfer in of air rights from the Hudson River Park which 2013 State legislation would have allowed. During the summer, work finally began upon the restoration of 43 MacDougal Street, a landmarked 1846 house which had been allowed to decay and deteriorate for years, and for which GVSHP had long sought the restoration. In June, GVSHP co-sponsored the Stonewall 45 Exhibit in storefronts along Christopher Street, designed to attract foot traffic to local merchants and highlight the street’s unique role in advancing the cause of LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender) civil rights. GVSHP began making video recordings of all of our public programs, as well as of Landmarks Preservation Commission hearings on items in our neighborhoods, available via our YouTube page.
In December, GVSHP secured landmark designation of the new South Village Historic District, Phase II of our proposed South Village Historic District, a 250-building, 13-block district between Washington Square and Houston Street. This was the largest expansion of landmark protections in Greenwich Village since 1969 and the brought to over 1,100 the number of buildings GVSHP helped get landmarked in the Village, East Village, and NoHo over the last ten years. In December, New York State also approved GVSHP’s nomination of the entire South Village for listing on the State and National Registers of Historic Places. In November, GVSHP convened a Town Hall co-sponsored by twenty other West Side groups and attended by several hundred people about newly enacted state legislation which allows the transfer of air rights from the Hudson River Park for increased development inland; GVSHP made it a priority to mobilize and educate the public about this provision and its potential dangers, as well as to seek solutions for how to support the park without allowing overdevelopment of areas of our neighborhood adjacent to our waterfront. In October, GVSHP organized a demonstration in front of the headquarters of the Real Estate Board of NY with affordable housing advocates to refute REBNY’s recently published reports claiming that landmarking negatively affected the affordability of neighborhoods in New York. In October, GVSHP published its report “Ten Years – A Thousand Buildings Landmarked – A Hundred Blocks Rezoned” outlining the progress made during the Bloomberg Administration, as well as preservation priorities for the next several years. In September, GVSHP exposed that City officials had completely ignored their commitments regarding the Trump SoHo and had never asked the developer to supply legally required independent audits to prove that zoning regulations were not being violated in the occupancy of the building. In June, GVSHP Executive Director Andrew Berman was named to the Vanity Fair “Hall of Fame” for his work protecting and preserving the Village. In February, after months of investigation, GVSHP revealed that community “givebacks” touted by the City Council in its approval of the upzoning of Chelsea Market, such as requiring that 75% of the ground floor market remain for food-related uses, and excluding chain stores, were neither permanent nor guaranteed, as there was absolutely no enforcement mechanism attached requiring adherence to the agreement, although the rezoning granted for Chelsea Market was irreversible.
GVSHP helped secure designation of the East Village/Lower East Side and East 10th Street Historic Districts, covering more than three-hundred fifty buildings on sixteen blocks. These were the first new historic district designations in the East Village since 1969 and increased the historic district protections in the East Village tenfold – from forty buildings on three blocks to four hundred on nearly twenty. GVSHP had helped get the districts expanded to include several key historic sites, including the Russian Orthodox Cathedral at 59 East 2nd Street, the former Magistrates Court at 32 2nd Avenue (now Anthology Film Archives) and 101 Avenue A; the district also included notable sites such as the Congregation Mezritch Synagogue and the Community Synagogue (both of which GVSHP had fought to landmark) and the former Fillmore East. We secured a “Seven To Save” designation for the South Village, naming it one of the seven most important and endangered historic sites in New York State by the Preservation League of NY State, and launched a video campaign by notable actors, businesspeople, and community leaders to call for landmarking the area. GVSHP launched a historic plaque program along with the Two Boots Foundation. After a six-year campaign, we finally secured landmark status for 128 East 13th Street, the former studio of artist Frank Stella housed in the last surviving horse auction mart building in New York City, which served as a women’s assembly-line training center during World War II. GVSHP secured groundbreaking determinations of eligibility for the State and National Registers of Historic Places for sites of significance to the LGBT civil rights movement, Julius’ Bar in the West Village, and 186 Spring Street in the South Village. The New School’s new main building topped out at 14th Street and 5th Avenue at roughly half the size and height originally proposed, and without the all-glass, multi-colored projecting lights originally planned, thanks in part to GVSHP’s efforts. NYU’s massive twenty-year expansion plan was approved by the Borough President, City Planning Commission, and City Council, but advocacy by GVSHP and others got the plan reduced by about 20% and eliminated elements like a planned 400 ft tall tower on Bleecker Street, the tallest ever in Greenwich Village. GVSHP, NYU faculty and a coalition of neighborhood and preservation groups filed a lawsuit to overturn the approvals.
GVSHP celebrated the 20th anniversary of its groundbreaking Children’s Education Program; The Westbeth Artists Center was landmarked by the City, capping a seven-year advocacy campaign; GVSHP helped convince the City to expand proposed landmark protections in the East Village to include critical endangered cultural and religious sites; We completed a comprehensive historic resource survey of the East Village which will lead to broad-based landmarking proposals in addition to what the LPC is considering; GVSHP helped lead the public response to NYU’s massive expansion plans which were released at the end of the year; GVSHP helped pressure the City to reject an out-of-scale proposal for rooftop additions on the Puck Building; GVSHP launched its blog, Off the Grid, updated daily with fascinating facts, insight, and perspectives about the Village, East Village, NoHo, and the Meatpacking District, and their history; Our “Much Ado About Noshing” Benefit featuring Calvin Trillin and the Russ & Daughters family was a huge success.
GVSHP celebrates its 30th anniversary. The first third of GVSHP’s proposed South Village Historic District was landmarked by the city—the largest expansion of landmark protections downtown since 1969 and making the Greenwich Village Historic District by far the largest in New York City. GVSHP led the response to NYU’s proposed massive 20-year expansion plan, holding town halls and rallies and helping to form a coalition of more than thirty community groups. Following this, NYU dropped its proposal for the tallest tower ever in the Village. After strong initial resistance, GVSHP got the city to rezone outdated districts in the Far West Village and along the 3rd and 4th Avenue corridors in the East Village which encouraged oversized, out-of-character commercial development. GVSHP held a first-of-its-kind artists loft tour of Westbeth to celebrate the 40th anniversary of complex’s adaptive reuse as artists’ housing. GVSHP also got the East Village’s last operating tenement synagogue and the Village’s last remaining fire patrol house ruled eligible for the State and National Registers of Historic Places. GVSHP launched a first-of-its-kind webpage allowing the public to review and track all major applications for changes to landmarked properties in Greenwich Village, NoHo, and the East Village, and provide feedback to community boards and the Landmarks Preservation Commission before decisions on applications are made.
Landmarks Preservation Commission (LPC) holds hearing on the first phase of GVSHP’s proposed South Village Historic District. GVSHP discovers and exposes that NYU violated its promise and demolished part of the Provincetown Playhouse theater walls. City agrees to zoning changes GVSHP fought for in Far West Village and along 3rd and 4th Avenue corridors. GVSHP’s nomination of Westbeth to the State and National Register of Historic Places approved. New School announces plan for the reduced and redesigned building at 14th Street and 5th Avenue, eliminating many elements from original 350 ft. tall plan to which GVSHP objected. GVSHP’s opposition leads to 64% reduction in the variances for planned glass office tower at 437 West 13th Street in Meatpacking District. Three more federal houses proposed for designation by GVSHP landmarked or under consideration. LPC agrees to consider East Village’s Russian Orthodox Cathedral of the Holy Virgin Martyr, proposed for landmark designation by GVSHP. Attendance at GVSHP’s public programs increases by 60%, while participation in children’s education program’s fall session increases by 85%.
GVSHP secures a commitment from the Landmarks Preservation Commission (LPC) to begin consideration of our proposed 38-block South Village Historic District, starting west of 6th Avenue. After a five-year campaign by GVSHP, Silver Towers receives landmark designation by LPC, putting a crimp in NYU’s plan for a 40-story tower — the Village’s tallest ever — on their open space on Bleecker Street. Webster Hall, a 120-year old gathering hall and theater in the East Village GVSHP had long sought to protect, is landmarked. Community groups including GVSHP and Community Board #3 secure passage of long-overdue East Village rezoning. “Bleecker Street: Rural Beginnings,” the third curriculum for GVSHP’s children’s education program, History and Historic Preservation, is developed. NoHo Historic District extended, long a goal of GVSHP; developer-requested carve-out blocked. Demolition of the Mezritch Synagogue, the East Village’s last operating “tenement synagogue,” is prevented and plan for condo-tower atop the historic Russian Orthodox Cathedral of the Holy Virgin Protection at 59 E. 2nd St is blocked. GVSHP pushes NYU to seek remote locations for new facilities, helping lead to two new dorms being located outside of the Village. GVSHP nearly doubles the number of programs and events it sponsors and attendance rises nearly 30%.
We were honored with the Preservation League of New York State Excellence in Historic Preservation Award. We submited our proposal for a South Village Historic District to the Landmarks Preservation Committee, based on research undertaken in 2003 funded by the Preservation League of New York State. We release The Italians of the South Village, a report written by historian Mary Elizabeth Brown and funded by the J.M. Kaplan Fund, at a public meeting at Father Demo Square on Columbus Day.
After years of rour esearch and advocacy work, the Greenwich Village Historic District is extended for the first time in its history to include three blocks in the Far West Village, and the Weehawken Street Historic District is designated the first new district in the West Village since 1969. We received the New York Landmarks Conservancy’s Lucy G. Moses Preservation Award, in recognition of the organization’s work to save the Greenwich Village waterfront, and are named “Best of New York City” by the Village Voice.
Spurred by our campaign, the City votes to downzone (impose stricter building height and size caps) the Far West Village, the first such downzoning in Manhattan in recent memory. The City also commits to extend landmark protections to several dozen buildings on ten blocks in the Far West Village. We begin research for a study on the history of Italian American immigrants in the South Village with a grant from the J.M. Kaplan Fund. Another Federal style house, 67 Greenwich Street, is designated a New York City individual landmark.
We begin our “Campaign to Save the Far West Village,” a proposal for historic district designation and zoning protections for much of the area. The campaign scores a quick victory by defeating a new version of the plan for a 500-foot building in the Gansevoort Market Historic District, which would have included luxury condos. The Landmarks Preservation Commission designates four early 19th century Federal style houses at 127, 129, and 131 MacDougal Street and 4 St. Mark’s Place as individual landmarks which we proposed for designation.
The Gansevoort Market Historic District, which we proposed and led the campaign to protect, is landmarked in a unanimous vote by the Landmarks Preservation Commission, the first new historic district in Greenwich Village since 1969. Also in the Meatpacking District, a coalition we lead defeats a zoning variance for 500-foot tower. We and the New York Landmarks Conservancy call upon the city to protect thirteen outstanding Federal-style row houses in Lower Manhattan by designating them as landmarks. The Preservation League of New York State awards us a grant to conduct a historical, architectural, and cultural survey of the South Village. We begin a partnership with the GO (Grace Opportunity) Project, offering our children’s education program, History and Historic Preservation, free of charge to over 150 at-risk students enrolled in the program.
At our invitation, the entire Gansevoort Market is determined eligible for listing on the State and National Registers of Historic Places and is named one of 2002’s “Seven to Save” by the Preservation League of New York State. This is the first time a site in the Village makes this list of New York State’s most important endangered historic sites and the first new area of the Village determined eligible for the State and National Registers in thirty years.
Our Gansevoort Market Task Force submits a completed architectural and historical report to the Landmarks Preservation Commission.
We form the Save Gansevoort Market Task Force to research, advocate, and garner support for the historic designation for the Meatpacking District. Architectural historian Thomas Mellins begins a report for submission to the Landmarks Preservation Commission.
We move into the new Neighborhood Preservation Center in the East Village. After a successful proposal written by architectural historian Andrew S. Dolkart and sponsored by us and the Organization of Lesbian and Gay Architects and Designers, Stonewall (the area includes the Stonewall Inn and adjacent public space) is added to the National Register of Historic Places. This is the first site listed on the National Register for its association with gay and lesbian history. We host our first house tour benefit, Adaptive Re-use, from Stable to Studio, to benefit the preservation our work.
With a generous grant from the Vincent Astor Foundation, we and the Village Committee for the Jefferson Market Area install a new wrought iron and steel fence around the Jefferson Market Garden.
We design and publish a 12-page children’s workbook, “Discovering Greenwich Village,” for distribution to children in the school program. With funding from Preserve NY, a grant program of the Preservation League of New York State and the New York State Council on the Arts, we begin the process of documenting all of the surviving Federal style houses in Lower Manhattan, with an eye toward seeing them designated and preserved.
The Greenwich Village Historic District is twenty-five years old. Our new Preservation Committee begins to focus on preservation issues in the Village and expands our relations with other preservation organizations and committees city-wide.
We and the Merchant’s House Museum launch an elementary school program, “Greenwich Village: History and Historic Preservation.” We presents its First Annual Village Awards.
We present a comprehensive report on the architecture of the Greenwich Village waterfront area to the Landmarks Preservation Commission. The Architecture of the Greenwich Village Waterfront, published by NYU Press and an exhibition on the cultural and architectural history of the waterfront at the Municipal Art Society both help advance the goal of creating a waterfront historic district.
We conduct building research on Bleecker Street from the Bowery to 7th Avenue, and Broadway from Houston to 14th Street.
We change our name from the Greenwich Village Trust to the Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation (GVSHP).
We sponsor a study of the history and architecture of the Gansevoort Meat Market in collaboration with Columbia University’s graduate program in historic preservation.
Regina Kellerman is named our first executive director, and the office moves to the Salmagundi Club on 5th Avenue. We begin sponsoring lectures on Greenwich Village history.
The organization is founded as the Greenwich Village Trust for Historic Preservation (GVT).