Highlighting Landmarking Effort for 50 West 13th Street’s African American Voting Rights Crusader on MLK Day

Village Preservation is redoubling our efforts to seek landmark designation for the endangered 50 West 13th Street, an 1846 rowhouse that has served as the home of the 13th Street Repertory Theatre since 1971, and for decades in the late 19th century was the home and place of business of Jacob Day, one of New York’s most prominent and wealthiest African American citizens, and a crusader for abolition, equality, and voting rights for African Americans.

Mayor de Blasio refused to support landmark designation of the site. With the building having been recently sold, we’ve reached out to the new Mayor to urge support for the landmarking effort (read our letter here), and are calling new attention to the need to protect this precious landmark, especially as we focus on the issue of voting rights in this country. Read the story in the Daily News covering our efforts here.

New City Councilmember Erik Bottcher has joined in calling for landmark designation of 50 West 13th Street). When Edith O’Hara, the beloved longtime operator of the 13th Street Repertory Theatre, died in 2020, a longstanding agreement by the majority owner of the building to maintain it and the theater also expired. Without landmark designation, the nearly 200-year-old building’s future remains in doubt.


January 18, 2022