Photo credit: Lynn Farrell on behalf of the Art Deco Society of New York
An effort to preserve one of New York City’s best examples of Art Deco design is underway. The owner of the McGraw-Hill Building at 330 West 42nd Street has tapped MdeAS Architects to redesign and modernize the structure’s exterior, including new doors and signage. But after renderings from the architects surfaced on Twitter this month that showed what looked to be the 1931 lobby of the Hell’s Kitchen building devoid of its iconic alternation blue-green steel bands and other signature elements designed by Raymond Hood, preservationists and architectural groups sprung into action.
Photo: TWA Hotel/David Mitchell
The state last week awarded ten projects with historic preservation awards, and nominated a dozen other sites to be nominated for the state and national historic places registers. Gov. Andrew Cuomo and the Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation recognized the TWA Hotel at JFK Airport for its preservation of Eero Saarinen’s Trans World Airlines terminal, which serves as the lobby for a new 512-room hotel.
Gershwin medallion on Riverside Drive, photos courtesy of Melissa Stutts for the Historic Landmarks Preservation Center
What do Jimmy Cagney, the actor Alfred M. Butts, the man who invented Scrabble, and feminist champion Bella Abzug all have in common? They, along with over 100 other hometown greats, are all Notable New Yorkers. Since 1995, the Historic Landmarks Preservation Center has been installing cultural medallions throughout the five boroughs to celebrate New Yorkers whose contributions to our collective cultural life have enriched the city, the nation, and the world. Now, in addition to their interactive map HLPC has launched a new book, Notable New Yorkers: The HLPC Cultural Medallion Program, that collects all those plaques in one place.
Photo via Wally Gobetz on Flickr
The Historic Districts Council this month will present six organizations and individuals with “Grassroots Preservation Awards” during its annual event. And 6sqft is one of the lucky winners! Help celebrate us, as well as the rest of the awardees, who will be honored for their work preserving New York City’s historic neighborhoods. The event takes place on Tuesday, April 24 at the Saint Mark’s Church-In-The-Bowery, located at 131 East 10th Street.
Rendering of 321 East 96th Street via Perkins Eastman Architect
Located on Second Avenue between East 96th Street and East 97th Street, the Marx Brothers Playground boasts a jungle gym and ball fields spread out over 1.5 acres. The East Harlem green space, which first opened in 1947 on land formerly occupied by the car barn of the Second Avenue Railway, has found itself at the center of a debate between preservationists and developers. As the New York Times reported, park advocates and city officials disagree on whether the parcel is considered a park or a playground. If it’s a park, any plans to modify it require the approval from the State Legislature and the governor; playgrounds do not. While it seems irrelevant, the categorization of the land will determine whether a 68-story mixed-use tower will rise on its site, a project backed by city officials and affordable housing advocates.
More this way
Michael Hiller is a zoning and land-use attorney who has represented community groups in seemingly impossible quests for about 20 years. His high-profile cases have often been against the Landmarks Preservation Commission, notably Tribeca’s iconic Clock Tower Building and new construction along historic Gansevoort Street, both of which are pending appeal by the defendants.
As one legal observer commented, “He has become an expert in the nuances of the Landmarks Law from a legal perspective. In court, he is very talented on his feet before a very hot bench, before judges who ask a lot of tough questions.” His successes have won him designation as a Super Lawyer every year since 2009 as well as the 2017 Grassroots Award from the Historic Districts Council. 6sqft recently visited Michael at his office to learn more about his work.
Ahead, hear from Michael and learn more about his current cases
When Evelyn and Everett Ortner bought their Park Slope brownstone at 272 Berkeley Place in 1963 for $32,000 they probably never imaged it would sell 50 years later for over $3 million. But it was their own historically sensitive and forward-looking vision that helped revitalize the area and make it a much-sought-after Brooklyn neighborhood.
The Ortners moved to Park Slope when brownstones were unfashionable and the rich turned their noses down at the area. They convinced their friends to also buy brownstones in the neighborhood. Evelyn was an interior designer specializing in period interiors, and the couple meticulously restored their home down to every last historic detail. After a 25th anniversary trip to France, where they were inspired by local preservationists working to conserve a crumbling castle in Normandy, Mr. and Mrs. Ortner dedicated themselves to historic preservation efforts in Park Slope until their deaths in 2006 and 2012.
See the results of the couple’s tireless passion