Greenwich Village Historic District Past Campaign Updates

Remembering the Greek War for Independence and Our Greek Revival Legacy It Inspired

From left: Washington Square North, the Hopper Gibbons House, and Colonnade Row.

On March 25, 1821, the Greek War for Independence began, leading to the establishment of the modern nation of Greece after centuries of subjugation and outside rule.

This event, among other factors, inspired the advent of the “Greek Revival” architectural style, which came to in many ways define Greenwich Village, the East Village, and NoHo, which were growing rapidly in the style’s heyday of the 1830s and ’40s. Iconic neighborhood landmarks, from “The Row” on Washington Square North, to “La Grange Terrace” or Colonnade Row on Lafayette Street, to the East Village’s Community Synagogue and Hopper Gibbons House, exemplify the style.

Two years ago, to celebrate the Bicentennial of this important moment in history, we launched our Guide to the Greek Revival Style StoryMap, exploring the beloved landmarks and hidden gems and details of the style found throughout our neighborhoods and elsewhere in NYC, including those now gone. It’s a great way to explore some of our city’s most charming historic landmarks from home, or in real life. 

March 24, 2023

Preservation Organizations from Across New York Demand the City Take Action to Prevent Demolitions of Historic Buildings

We’ve seen a disturbing, growing, and preventable rash of landmarked buildings being endangered or demolished on the city’s watch, with the city’s Landmarks Preservation Commission and Department of Buildings failing to protect these historic structures as the law requires. Lives, homes, and history are being destroyed again and again as the city does too little or nothing at all. Recent damage to the landmarked 10 Fifth Avenue from city-approved work (the ultimate fate of which is still to be determined), the destruction of 14 Gay Street, and the partial demolition of 351-55 West 14th Street/44-54 Ninth Avenue, are part of a broader citywide trend.

Village Preservation has been calling for the city to take action and reform its failing system of oversight to ensure more such tragedies don’t occur. Last week we and citywide and neighborhood preservation organizations also jointly called upon the city to make real changes to address this growing problem, highlighting two key components: fragile structures, and bad actors. When either are involved, much stricter oversight is needed by city agencies to ensure that serious or irreparable harm is not done.


March 7, 2023

Another Landmarked Building in Greenwich Village Endangered Due to City-Approved Work at 10 Fifth Avenue

10, 12, and 14-16 Fifth Avenue (left to right) prior to demolition

On Saturday, city-approved work for the construction of a condo-tower at 14-16 Fifth Avenue caused serious damage to 10 Fifth Avenue, an incredibly historically significant 1848 former townhouse built by the Brevoort family which was part of a row that once included 14-16 Fifth Avenue. All sites in question are located within the Greenwich Village Historic District, and therefore landmarked and supposed to be protected from demolition. However, in 2021 over our vociferous protests, the Landmarks Preservation Commission (LPC) in a split vote approved demolition of the building, claiming it was not historically or architecturally significant, and approving the replacement tower (though the tower was reduced in height by 42% from the original proposal). 

10 Fifth Avenue Saturday after cracks appeared in its facade

Saturday morning, visible cracks began to appear on the facade of 10 Fifth Avenue, and small pieces of that facade fell to the sidewalk. The Department of Buildings (DOB) and FDNY were called in, and work was halted at 14-16 Fifth when it became clear the construction was causing the cracks. No. 10 Fifth Avenue was evacuated of its 30 residents in 14 apartments. Village Preservation was quickly on the scene to inspect the building and reached out to LPC, DOB, and elected officials to urge that this and neighboring 12 Fifth Avenue be kept safe and intact. Over the course of the weekend, conditions were examined and whether or not the buildings would be found structurally unsound and in need of demolition was considered. As we go to press, we have been told is that 10 Fifth Avenue requires shoring; the party wall shared by 10 and 12 Fifth Avenue will need to be shored as well; and the stop work order remains in effect for 14-16 Fifth Avenue. So neither building has been deemed irreparable, for now. Village Preservation has been in touch with building tenants and Councilmember Erik Bottcher about conditions there. See coverage here and here.

The situation is outrageous, and part of a deeply disturbing pattern of landmarked historic buildings being damaged or destroyed on the city’s watch, including 10 in our neighborhood over the last year or so. Village Preservation has been calling for reforms to the city’s system of oversight to ensure this type of damage and destruction doesn’t take place, but the city has yet to implement such reforms. This case is especially troubling because the LPC should NEVER have allowed demolition of 14-16 Fifth Avenue, which along with the now-damaged and endangered 10 Fifth Avenue is the sole remnant of one of New York’s earliest and most important developments. Village Preservation is carefully monitoring the situation and advocating for the buildings’ repair and restoration, so residents’ homes and our history can be preserved.


February 21, 2023

Facing Broad Opposition, Landmarks Balks at Plan for Massive Excavation and Alterations at 131 and 131 1/2 Charles Street

Exterior of 131 Charles Street (left), and proposed alterations to the site

We’re happy to report that at today’s Landmarks Preservation Commission hearing on the troubling and potentially dangerous proposed changes to the individually landmarked 131 and 131 1/2 Charles Street, the Commission refused to approve the plan. Village Preservation led off testimony from the public, slamming the plan and pointing out concerns about the danger of the proposed excavation — especially in light of recent destruction of the landmarked 14 Gay Street and 351-55 West 14th Street/44-54 Ninth Avenue — and the inappropriateness of many of the planned alterations. We were joined by fellow preservationists from across the city, neighbors, and scholars who all opposed the plan. Councilmember Erik Bottcher, Assemblymember Deborah Glick, and State Senator Brian Kavanagh submitted joint testimony objecting to some elements of the plan. The hundreds of letters received by Village Preservation members opposing the plan were also cited. Watch the hearing here.

The Commissioners cited many of the concerns we raised, some indicating they originally planned to approve the application, but had changed their minds. Some said they were entirely opposed to all elements of the application, while others said significant elements of it needed to be removed or changed for them to consider approval. In the end, the Commission sent the applicant back to the drawing board.

Thank YOU to everyone who sent letters and submitted testimony, and especially those who testified. It’s critical that we fight to protect our history and our landmarks like these, and YOUR support and assistance made a BIG difference.

We’ll be monitoring this application closely if and when it returns to the Landmarks Preservation Commission. 

January 10, 2023

Troubling Plan for Iconic Landmarked 1834 House at 131 Charles Street Comes Before Landmarks Tuesday — Join Us to Oppose!

Next Tuesday, the NYC Landmarks Preservation will hold a public hearing on an application to alter the iconic, individually landmarked 1834 house and rear house at 131 and 131½ Charles Street, and to dig deeply below the two structures in a manner we fear could compromise both these and neighboring landmarked historic buildings. No. 131 Charles Street is one of the most intact examples in New York City of a modest Federal-style house — the first architectural style to reflect our newly independent nation — and was one of our city’s very first individually designated landmarks in 1966. (In 2006 Village Preservation got the house doubly landmarked, along with dozens of surrounding buildings, as part of the Far West Village extension of the Greenwich Village Historic District.) The rear house at 131½ Charles Street was home to groundbreaking photographer Diane Arbus from 1959 to 1968 — a critical phase of her career.

A new owner is seeking to build on to the rear roof and rear facade of the main structure, eliminate the historic rear “horse walk” that connected the rear building to the street, and expand and significantly alter the rear structure, as well as dig deeply below both buildings to create a subterranean space connecting them — see application here. The proposed changes are completely inappropriate for such an intact iconic example of a structure so near to the heart of Greenwich Village, New York, and American history. And the proposed excavation and digging opens up the danger of even greater damage being done to these and other adjacent structures.

Village Preservation will be strongly opposing this application at the LPC hearing on Tuesday, January 10, and we urge you to as well.


January 6, 2023

Preservationists and Elected Officials Slam City Agencies and Administration for Allowing Demolition of Landmarks at City Hall Press Conference

Village Preservation was joined by preservation organizations and elected officials from across the city yesterday for a press conference at City Hall, condemning the administration for a growing rash of approved demolitions of landmarked buildings throughout the city, and calling for reform.

Watch NY1 News coverage here:

Watch video of the press conference here, and see images here.

Co-organized by Village Preservation and the Historic Districts Council, we were joined by Save Harlem Now!, the Mount Morris Park Community Improvement Association, Justice for 441 Willoughby (Bedford-Stuyvesant), and Friends of the Upper East Side Historic Districts. Each of these neighborhoods, like ours, has recently seen landmarked buildings (or buildings under consideration for landmarking) demolished on the City’s watch and with its approval, in spite of the legal protections these buildings are supposed to enjoy. We were also very pleased to be joined by City Councilmembers Chi Ossé (Bedford Stuyvesant), Erik Bottcher (Greenwich Village/Chelsea/Hell’s Kitchen), and Christopher Marte (Lower Manhattan).  

We’ve called out the city for allowing the demolition of 14 Gay Street and 351-55 West 14th Street/44-54 Ninth Avenue (also here) in our neighborhood, and have called for reform to the system that allows these situations to occur all too frequently. 


December 16, 2022

Join Us for Press Conference December 15 at 2 PM on the Steps of City Hall To Protest the Growing Rash of Demolitions of Landmarked Buildings Across NYC

Clockwise from top left: 14 Gay Street; the former Dangler Mansion in Bedford-Stuyvesant; 351-55 West 14th Street/44-54 Ninth Avenue in the Meatpacking District

Please join us tomorrow at 2 PM on the steps of City Hall for a press conference decrying the ever-increasing number of landmark buildings being demolished on the city’s watch. We’ll be joined by elected officials, preservationists, and community leaders from across New York City, to call attention to recent demolitions of landmarked and soon-to-be-landmarked buildings from Greenwich Village to Harlem, Bedford-Stuyvesant to the Upper East Side, and demand the City do more to enforce the law, protect historic landmarks, and reverse this trend.

Last month, we protested the order to demolish the nearly 200-year-old landmarked house at 14 Gay Street, which was compromised due to illegal work. Several months earlier, we protested the city’s order to demolish nine early 19th-century landmarked houses at 351-55 West 14th Street/44-54 Ninth Avenue in the Meatpacking District due to “unsafe conditions.” In recent weeks, several other landmarked buildings and buildings under consideration for landmark designation across the five boroughs have been ordered demolished by the City or allowed to be demolished by the City.

Please join Village Preservation and our allied elected officials and community groups tomorrow at 2 PM on the steps of City Hall to call for urgent action from the city, and to stand up for protecting our historic landmarks.

December 14, 2022

After 10-Year Campaign, Julius’ Bar Is Landmarked! Fight for More Needed Landmark Designations

Sip-In at Julius’, © Estate of Fred W. McDarrah (Our special thanks to the Estate of Fred W. McDarrah for their support of Village Preservation)

We’re thrilled to announce that after a decade-long campaign led by Village Preservation, the New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission voted this morning to landmark 159 West 10th Street, a circa 1825 structure home to Julius’ Bar. Julius’ is the city’s oldest gay bar and one of the city’s oldest continuously operating bars; in 1966, it was also the scene of a “Sip-In” protesting discriminatory laws and regulations that criminalized gay bars and other spaces which catered to or served LGBTQ+ patrons. Three years before the Stonewall Riots (which occurred around the corner) and based upon the “sit-ins” against segregation at Southern lunch counters, the Julius’ Sip-In was one of the very first planned actions of civil disobedience for LGBTQ+ rights.

Village Preservation has been waging a campaign for 10 years to have the history of Julius’ Bar honored and recognized. Exactly 10 years ago this week, we filed a request for the State of New York to find Julius’ Bar eligible for the State and National Registers of Historic Places, which the State subsequently found. This was one of less than a handful of sites across the country that had at the time been determined eligible for the State and National Registers of Historic Places based upon LGBTQ+ history. A year later, we formally proposed Julius’ along with the Stonewall Inn, the LGBT Community Center, and the former Gay Activists Alliance Firehouse as the city’s very first designated LGBTQ+ landmarks. The Stonewall Inn was landmarked in 2015, becoming the city’s first designated LGBTQ+ landmark, and the LGBT Center and GAA Firehouse were designated in 2019. As part of our ongoing campaign to get the City to also landmark Julius’, in 2016 we partnered with the Estate of Fred W. McDarrah, the Village Voice photographer who took the iconic photo of the 1966 Sip-In, to raise funds and awareness for landmark designation. And earlier this year, we unveiled a historic plaque for the building commemorating the Sip-In, which original Sip-In participants and organizers, as well as the journalist who originally reported on the story, attended.

From left: Andrew Berman of Village Preservation; Julius’s owner Helen Buford; Randy Wicker, a key participant in the Sip-In; and writer/director/activist John Cameron Mitchell

Honoring and protecting LGBTQ+ and all civil rights history in our neighborhoods has been a special part of Village Preservation’s mission, and the organization has proposed and secured landmark designation for sites connected to LGBTQ+, African American, women’s, immigrant, Latinx, and social justice history. Village Preservation helped secure National Register of Historic Places listing and NYC landmark designation of the Stonewall Inn in 1999 and 2015, respectively (the first such LGBTQ+ designation of either type), and last year secured landmark designation of 70 Fifth Avenue, the former headquarters of the NAACP and The Crisis Magazine, and home to an unrivaled array of women’s, peace, labor, civil rights, humanitarian, and social justice organizations.

But there’s much more work to be done. Within feet of Julius’ are multiple other endangered historic civil rights sites we’ve been campaigning to get the Landmarks Preservation Commission to protect, including the former headquarters of the first national gay rights organization at 80 Fifth Avenue and the former headquarters of the NYC Woman Suffrage League at 10 West 14th Street (both within our proposed South of Union Square Historic District), the home of one of 19th-century New York’s leading crusaders for voting rights and freedom for African Americans at 50 West 13th Street, and the New York Eye and Ear Infirmary at 218 Second Avenue, where groundbreaking care and services has been provided for the visually and hearing impaired for over 150 years. The City is yet to act on these and other endangered sites in our neighborhoods we’ve been campaigning to protect.


Learn more about Village Preservation’s efforts to preserve LGBTQ+ history here.

Learn more about Village Preservation’s efforts to preserve civil rights and diverse histories here.

December 6, 2022

Continuing to Fight for 14 Gay Street and Adjoining Endangered Buildings

Photo of Exective Director Andrew Berman speaking, surrounded by many people holding signs of protest in very narrow street

At our November 14 demonstration and directly following, Village Preservation and State Senator Brad Hoylman, City Councilmember Erik Bottcher, and Assemblymember Deborah Glick urgently demanded that city agencies take swift action to punish the owner who undermined the landmarked 200-year-old house at 14 Gay Street, prevent harm from befalling his five other adjoining properties, ensure 14 Gay is completely preserved as it is dismantled to be faithfully rebuilt in its original form, and the system is reformed to ensure this type of debacle never happens again — read our letter here.

We received a speedy response from city agencies (here) agreeing to much of what we demanded, but in many cases the responses were short on specifics, and the commitments are far from guaranteed to be kept. Read our joint response to city agencies here, demanding more information and meaningful details and commitments regarding how they plan to punish the owner and others responsible, ensure the accurate reconstruction of the building, protect other nearby buildings, and guarantee that our historic buildings receive the oversight and protection they need and currently lack.

We will continue to stay on city agencies about this tragic situation, and push for fair, necessary, and appropriate outcomes from this case.


November 30, 2022

Hundreds Join Protest at 14 Gay Street, Demand Reforms from City

Andrew Berman at microphone, crowd behind holding signs demanding change in landmarks oversight

On Monday, Village Preservation was joined by hundreds, including State Senator Brad Hoylman, City Councilmember Erik Bottcher, Assemblymember Deborah Glick, Community Board 2, and the Historic Districts Council, for a press conference outside the 200-year-old landmarked house at 14 Gay Street. According to the city, illegal work removing a supporting wall has compromised the structural integrity of the building and neighboring 16 Gay Street, and to protect public safety, 14 Gay Street must be dismantled. Village Preservation condemned the city’s lack of oversight and the owner and his contractors’ illegal, damaging work, and called for reforms to prevent this from ever happening again. We also demanded the maximum penalties allowable under the law for those responsible, strict oversight of all six adjoining properties owned by the same entity as 14 Gay to ensure they are kept safe and restored, and that the owner be required to save every brick and piece of historic material possible from the building to rebuild it exactly as it was. Read more details in our letter with elected officials to the Mayor and agency heads and in our press release.

Watch video of the press conference here and see photos here; see coverage in The Village Sun, AMNY, 6sqft, and on ABC7News and PIX11News.

Village Preservation is committed to ensuring these buildings are stabilized and restored, that those responsible are penalized to the maximum extent possible and can’t profit from their misdeeds, and that the city changes its way of handling these situations to ensure demolitions of landmarked historic houses never happen again.


November 17, 2022

Unanimous Support for Julius’ Bar Landmarking at Hearing

left, photo of two people walking in front of beige building with Julius’ bar on ground floor; right, blavk-and-white photo of several men being refused service by a baretnder
Julius’ Bar (left); Sip-In at Julius’, © Estate of Fred W. McDarrah (Our special thanks to the Estate of Fred W. McDarrah for their support of Village Preservation)

We’re pleased to report that at Tuesday’s Landmarks Preservation Commission hearing, there was unanimous support for the proposal to landmark Julius’ Bar at 159 West 10th Street/188 Waverly Place, including from longtime bar owner Helen Budford and local elected officials. Village Preservation first proposed Julius’ for landmark designation nine years ago and has consistently urged the Commission through several chairs to designate the site, waging a campaign that has generated thousands of letters in support to city officials, and has included getting the site determined eligible for the State and National Register of Historic Places and honoring it with a historic plaque and a Village Award.

The Landmarks Preservation Commission is expected to take a final vote on designation of the site in the weeks ahead.

Learn more about LGBTQ+ history in our neighborhoods here and civil rights history here.

Learn more about our historic plaque program, which includes Julius’ Bar, here.

Learn more about our efforts to help preserve and promote small businesses, including Julius’ Bar, here and here.

And support Julius’ Bar, and keep a great historic local independent business in our neighborhood going! 

November 17, 2022

This Monday, Nov. 14: Join Our Press Conference and Protest over Demolition of 200-Year-Old Landmark at 14 Gay Street

Two three-story white row houses on narrow tree-lined block
14 Gay Street (at left) before the damaging work

Village Preservation was shocked and disturbed to discover that the City has given the order to demolish a nearly 200-year-old landmarked house at 14 Gay Street, following what we have been told is dangerous, unpermitted work on the site that compromised its structural integrity. The house at 14 Gay Street was built around 1827. In the 1930s, writer Ruth McKenney lived there and wrote of her time there in The New Yorker short stories My Sister Eileen, which was turned into a book, play, radio and television series, and two films, and became the basis for the musical Wonderful Town, which has in turn been produced many times for the stage, film, and TV. The iconic building, immortalized in photographs by Berenice Abbott, survived riots, fires, and 200 years of wear and tear — but under a new owner and the watch of the NYC Department of Buildings and Landmarks Preservation Commission, it is being torn down to avoid imminent danger to neighboring structures and passersby.

While not all the facts are known here, and we are not questioning the need to take immediate action to protect public safety, something is very wrong with this situation. This is the 10th landmarked early 19th-century house in Greenwich Village the City has ordered demolished based upon work or conditions that have compromised its safety or integrity. Public records show this fragile house has had violations for years. Clearly the city agencies in charge of monitoring and protecting historic buildings are not doing enough.

Sign reading Save New York's History

Please join us, elected officials, and neighbors for a press conference and demonstration on Monday, November 14 at 4:30 PM in front of the house, to demand accountability and call for reform in the city’s system for monitoring and protecting historic structures. 

November 11, 2022