Category Archives: Historic Preservation

Campaign to Preserve NYC Carnegie Libraries Launched

Closed LibraryThis year the Historic Districts Council launched a new campaign to combat the potential loss of historic community libraries. The campaign is expected to lead to the nomination of all the New York City Carnegie Libraries to the New York State and National Register of Historic Places.

Listing on the Registers would both provide a variety of incentives for the libraries: they would be eligible for special funding of capital needs, appropriate alterations, renovations or restorations would have the added benefit of guidance from the New York State Office of Historic Preservation (SHPO) and protections: demolitions or serious alterations would be reviewed and discouraged by SHPO, and communities would be given a clear path to weigh in their concerns.

Several of the Carnegies, including Brooklyn’s Macon and Bedford branches, Manhattan’s St. Agnes and 67th Street branches, and the Bronx’s Hunt’s Point and Mott Haven branches have been renovated in recent years, adding state of the art technology while restoring period details and providing improved public access.

The Historic Districts Council is hoping to raise $15,000 to complete the National Register nominations. To Make a donation to the Campaign to Preserve the Carnegie Libraries click here.

Photo: An Elmhurst Carnegie Library opened in 1906 and demolished in 2012.

State To Consider Removing Historic Adirondack RR

NYC Railroad from Lake Clear LodgeThe state has announced that it intends to revisit the management plan for a controversial historic rail corridor that traverses the Adirondacks, but don’t expect a quick decision.

The Department of Environmental Conservation and Department of Transportation have only just begun to prepare for a lengthy review that will include plenty of opportunity for public input.

A decision on the best use of the 119-mile corridor, previously operated by the New York Central Railroad but now operated as by the Adirondack Scenic Railroad, will take at least a year, according to DOT spokesman Beau Duffy. Continue reading

When The City Celebrated The Queensboro Bridge

936full-manhattan-posterOn June 12, 1909, New York City began an eight-day celebration of the connection of the East Side of Manhattan with Long Island City in Queens with the Queensboro Bridge, designed by Henry Hornbostel.

Though it officially opened to traffic on March 30, 1909, the June festivities drew over 300,000 people (larger than the population of Queens at the time) to see the bridge lit up with electricity, and hear 1,500 children sing the “Star-Spangled Banner” in its honor. It meant that crossing the East River was no longer an obstacle to the development of the borough of Queens. Continue reading

Great Camp Santanoni Historic Restoration Tour June 28

SantononiGreat Camp Santanoni in Newcomb was built for Robert and Anna Pruyn of Albany beginning in 1892. The estate eventually included 12,900 acres and nearly four-dozen buildings. Adirondack Architectural Heritage (AARCH) director Steven Engelhart and 2012 intern Charlotte Barrett will lead a tour of the site on Friday, June 28, 2013 that will feature the launch of a new guide to Santanoni, authored by Barrett. Continue reading

Long Islands List of Endangered Historic Places for 2013

ehp_2013_announcement_home_bannerThe Society for the Preservation of Long Island Antiquities (SPLIA) has issued its Endangered Historic Places List for 2013. The list includes six endangered properties that exemplify the vast diversity and character of Long Island’s historic resources. Continue reading

Erie Canalway Heritage Excellence Recognized

MACEDON-LOCK60_TrailsGroup2013The Erie Canalway National Heritage Corridor Commission has announced the recipient of the 2013 Erie Canalway Heritage Award of Excellence: Enlarged Erie Lock 60 and Gallup’s Change Bridge #39 in Macedon, Monroe County. Honorable Mentions were awarded to Bushnell’s Basin Boat Dock and Canal Amenity Center in the Town of Perinton and the Trail of Hope in Lyons.

The Heritage Award honors significant places of the Erie Canalway National Heritage Corridor and recognizes excellence in advancing the goals of the Erie Canalway Preservation and Management Plan. A five-person independent jury selected award recipients based on a written application and site visit, which included meetings with officials at each site, as well as community leaders, municipal representatives, and other stakeholders. Continue reading

Adaptive Reuse in Rochester: Bread and Water Theatre

6a01157088010c970b017c387a3014970bWhat follows is a guest essay by J.R. Teeter, the founding artistic director of Bread &amp- Water Theatre. Since 2000 Bread &amp- Water Theatre has had as its purpose the development of new dramatic works and affordable arts programming for the public. This essay first appeared on the site Preservation News.

Rochester, New York has fallen on hard times, not unlike many of the cities across the nation. The Erie Canal, once a major shipping route, is now considered obsolete. The city’s biggest employer, Kodak, is now bankrupt. Major businesses have either downsized, moved out of town, or both. When a new company takes an interest in the city, the red carpet is rolled out and tax breaks are doled out, sometimes at the cost of the city’s legacy. Continue reading

New Yorks Historic Bridges Over Troubled Waters

546px-High_Bridge_jehThe High Bridge is scheduled to reopen. This bridge is not to be confused with the High Line in Manhattan which is not a bridge. The High Bridge is a closed pedestrian crossing connecting the Bronx and Manhattan. The 1200 foot span was built in 1848 and is the oldest bridge in the city. It was constructed as part of the Croton Aqueduct system which carried water from Westchester to New York City.

The Croton Aqueduct still functions in Westchester not as a water-carrying system but as an elongated trail somewhat paralleling the Hudson River from Croton to Yonkers. The Aqueduct has devoted followers and a friends group and always is being used by hikers, strollers, runners, and families. It forms a living thread uniting the communities of the county. Continue reading

Peter Feinman: Destroy New York’s Historic Sites

wrecking ballThe time has come to destroy the historic sites of New York. These sites occupy valuable space, are of no value, and waste the energy of decent people in an useless effort to preserve the past. Why bother?

Why should anyone assist in this folly. There is no constructive purpose to the continued existence of historic sites.

Schools don’t have field trips to them.
Families don’t visit them.
Adults don’t join the friends groups.
Tourists don’t care about them. Continue reading

An Ossining Castle: David Abercrombies Elda

Elda in 1928 Photo by Douglas LeenSince the days of the Dutch to more recent times, Ossining and its neighboring areas has been the site of magnificent homes, estates and other properties that are or once were owned by prominent New Yorkers. Many of these people were attracted to Ossining for the relatively inexpensive cost of land, the commanding views of the Hudson River and the easy commute to nearby to New York City. However, because of reduced personal circumstances, as well as changing tastes and life styles, many of these homes and estates are just memories. Continue reading