The Historic Districts Council, the citywide advocate for New York’s historic districts and for neighborhoods meriting preservation, will present its annual LANDMARKS LION AWARD on October 26 to renowned preservationist Barbaralee Diamonstein-Spielvogel. Participating in the award ceremony will be architect and 2010 Landmarks Lion Award recipient Robert A. M. Stern, former governor Mario M. Cuomo and architect Hugh Hardy. Since 1990 the Landmarks Lion Award has honored those who have shown unusual devotion and aggressiveness in protecting the historic buildings and neighborhoods of New York City.
Throughout her 40-year career Barbaralee Diamonstein-Spielvogel has been a leading voice on some of the defining urban issues of our time, including the preservation of the historic built environment of our country. She was the first Director of Cultural Affairs in New York City and was the longest-serving Commissioner on the Landmarks Preservation Commission, under four New York mayors. She currently serves as the Chair of the Historic Landmarks Preservation Center and the Vice Chair of the New York State Council on the Arts. She is a founding Director of the High Line, a repurposed, elevated train line turned into a successful park on Manhattan’s west side.
Says Simeon Bankoff, HDC’s executive director, “Barbaralee’s vision of a city is one where not only do the people make the buildings, the buildings help make the people. Thanks to Barbaralee, we learn to look at New York as a continuum- a place where ideals flow from the past, defining our present and shaping our future.”
In regards to her work outside of New York City, she was appointed to the United States Commission of Fine Arts by President Clinton, and was the first woman Vice Chair of the C.F.A. in its 100-year history. Most recently, President Obama named her a Commissioner of the American Battle Monuments Commission, which has responsibilities related to the design, construction, and maintenance of military memorials throughout the world. In 2010, Barbaralee was appointed a trustee of the Trust for the National Mall in Washington, D.C.
As part of her activism, Barbaralee has broadened public awareness of the arts and culture through many media. She has used her rich experience with civic involvement as an interviewer/producer for seven television series about the arts, architecture, design, and public policy for Arts & Entertainment Network, and many programs for other networks. Over a hundred of her interviews are now available online, digitized by the Diamonstein-Spielvogel Video Archive at Duke University.
The author of 20 books on art, architecture, design, and public policy, Barbaralee’s encyclopedic work, “The Landmarks of New York, V” will be published in September 2011 and is being accompanied by an 11-city traveling museum tour throughout New York State.
The Landmarks Lion Award dinner and ceremony will take place on Wednesday, October 26, 2011, at 6:30pm, at the Four Seasons Restaurant at 99 East 52nd Street, between Park and Lexington Avenues, Manhattan.
The Landmarks Lion Award is HDC’s major fundraising event and provides critical support for the broad range of educational and outreach programs that are crucial to HDC’s constituency which includes more than 500 neighborhood organizations. The Council is dedicated to preserving the integrity of New York City’s Landmarks Law and to furthering the preservation ethic. 2011 marks HDC’s 40th year of preserving the City’s historic neighborhoods.