Just a few years after the demolition of the original Penn Station, the city founded the Landmarks Preservation Commission, in part, to make sure beautiful historic buildings were never destroyed again. When Mayor Robert Wagner signed the Landmarks Law on April 19, 1965, the commission was officially tasked with protecting sites that represent New York’s history and culture. During its 55 years in existence, the LPC has designated more than 37,000 buildings and sites. In honor of this anniversary, the commission this week released an interactive story map highlighting its work over the last five decades, from its first individual landmark, the Claesen Wyckoff House, to its first LGBT designation, the Stonewall Inn.
The preservation movement sparked the need for the commission; Screenshot via LPC
“New York City is a vibrant, dynamic city, whose very essence comes from the layers of history embodied in its built environment, and this story map highlights the important role the Commission has played to help preserve this history,” LPC Chair Sarah Carroll said in a press release.
“Today, we are in the midst of an unprecedented crisis, with a global pandemic changing the way people live, work and experience the city. We hope this story map, showing the places that New Yorkers cherish and the vibrant new designs that have been built in the city over the last 55 years, will engage New Yorkers in a joyful discourse about the city’s history and culture from the safety of their home during these difficult times,” Carroll said.
The story map features designations made by the LPC in every decade starting in the 1960s, during which major landmarks were designated including the New York Public Library, City Hall, Grand Central Terminal, and the Metropolitan Museum of Art.
Each decade brought more protections for historic buildings and sites, from the first scenic landmark (Central Park), the first interior landmark (NYPL), and the first commercial district( the SoHo-Cast Iron Historic District). The commission also approved major restoration projects, like the expansion of the Met and the restoration of St. Patrick’s Cathedral.
To learn more about the LPC’s history and the city landmarks it has designated over the last five decades, check out the story map here.
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