Historic places in the UWS, Harlem and Sunset Park are recommended for state and national designation

Posted On Mon, June 17, 2019 By

Posted On Mon, June 17, 2019 By In History, Policy

Dorrance Brooks Square Historic District, St. Marks United Methodist Church. Image courtesy of NY State Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation.

Gov. Andrew  Cuomo announced on Friday that the New York State Board for Historic Preservation has recommended adding 18 properties, resources, and districts to the State and National Registers of Historic Places. The new nominations include the Upper West Side home of author and civil rights activist James Baldwin, the Dorrance Brooks Square Historic District and the former 32nd Precinct Station House complex in Harlem, and the Fourth Avenue Methodist Episcopal Church in Sunset Park, Brooklyn in addition to 14 other nominated places throughout the state.

register of historic places, dorrance brooks square, 32nd precinct, fourth avenue methodist church, james baldwin residence, upper west side, harlem, sunset park, historic places
Former 32nd Precinct. Image via Wikimedia cc.

The State and National Registers are the official lists of buildings, structures, districts, landscapes, objects, and sites significant in the history, architecture, archeology and culture of New York State and the nation. There are over 120,000 historic buildings, structures and sites throughout the state listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Property owners, municipalities and organizations statewide have sponsored the nominations. Once the recommendations are approved, the properties are listed on the New York State Register of Historic Places and then nominated to the National Register of Historic Places, where they are reviewed and, once approved, entered on the National Register.

register of historic places, dorrance brooks square, 32nd precinct, fourth avenue methodist church, james baldwin residence, upper west side, harlem, sunset park, historic places
Former 32nd Precinct. Image courtesy of NY State Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation.

The 32nd Precinct Station House complex later known as the 40th Precinct and the 30th Precinct, was built in 1871-1872. The French Second Empire station house building reflects the city’s investment in erecting handsome and well-equipped police stations that would serve the needs of the precinct’s police officers while symbolizing civic focus in the neighborhood.

register of historic places, dorrance brooks square, 32nd precinct, fourth avenue methodist church, james baldwin residence, upper west side, harlem, sunset park, historic places
James Baldwin residence.Image courtesy of NY State Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation.

The James Baldwin Residence at 137 West 71st Street on the Upper West Side is significant in literature and social history for its association with prominent American author and civil rights activist James Baldwin; he owned the home during the final period of his life, 1965 to 1987 when it served as his primary American residence. The gay black author, civil rights activist and social commentator had–and continues to have–a profound impact on discussions about race and sexuality in America and abroad.

register of historic places, dorrance brooks square, 32nd precinct, fourth avenue methodist church, james baldwin residence, upper west side, harlem, sunset park, historic places
Dorrance Brooks Square Historic District. Image courtesy of NY State Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation.

The Dorrance Brooks Square Historic District is significant in social and ethnic history for its associations with the Harlem Renaissance (the late 1910s to early 1930s), when extraordinary artistic and intellectual output by black writers, artists, performers, sociologists, civil rights activists, and others brought the uptown neighborhood global recognition. It is also significant as an important gathering place for social and political demonstrations and speeches and for its notable row house architecture.

register of historic places, dorrance brooks square, 32nd precinct, fourth avenue methodist church, james baldwin residence, upper west side, harlem, sunset park, historic places
Fourth Avenue Methodist Church. Image courtesy of NY State Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation.

The Fourth Avenue Methodist Episcopal Church was constructed in 1893-1894, a time when Sunset Park was experiencing rapid population growth, speculative housing construction, and urbanization. The congregation had 300 members by the time the church was complete; that number grew to nearly 3,000 by the mid-20th century. The church’s architecture is an example of an Akron Plan Combination Church designed by the design form’s preeminent architect, George W. Kramer.

Of the new recommendations, Governor Cuomo said, “These historic locations highlight so much of what it is exceptional and exciting about New York’s history and honor the legacy of some of the state’s most distinguished leaders. By placing these landmarks on the State and National Registers of Historic Places, we are helping to ensure these places and their caretakers have the funding needed to preserve, improve and promote the best of the Empire State.”

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Neighborhoods : Harlem,Sunset Park,Upper West Side

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