This is truly a crucial time for Village Preservation, and for anyone who cares about our neighborhoods' history and livability.
The past two years have been challenging like no other. As we are emerging from a pandemic in fits and starts, we are also charting a steady course for our future. We’ll soon have a new Mayor, City Council, and leaders of city agencies. Big real estate and government leaders are seizing opportunities to strip away rules and regulations that protect our neighborhoods from overdevelopment and unmitigated land grabs.
And so now more than ever before, we need a strong voice for preservation, and for protecting the qualities that make our neighborhoods great — a human scale, beauty, and sense of history, and a tradition of openness, cultural innovation, and social progress. YOUR voice, your dedication, and your support are the fuel that keeps us going.
Thanks to supporters like you, we have come so far. Just take a look at all we’ve accomplished together this year alone:
Individual landmark designation for 70 5th Avenue, a 1912 Beaux Arts-style building within our proposed South of Union Square Historic District that served as the headquarters for the NAACP, the nation’s oldest and largest civil rights organization. Landmark designation prevents construction of a supertall tower on that site, one of the few in our neighborhoods where zoning would allow such a structure.
Our proposed South of Union Square Historic District was determined eligible for listing on the New York State and National Register of Historic Places.
Stopping approval for an air rights transfer for an office tower on St. Mark's Place which would have made it 20% lager than zoning allows.
Leading the opposition to the disastrous SoHo/NoHo/Chinatown Upzoning + Displacement plan, winning important concessions that blunted or eliminated some of its worst elements.
We have hosted more than 80 free public programs serving over 10,000 people from all over the globe.
We have released oral histories with activist and advocate Ayo Harrington, and playwrights Barbara Kahn and John Guare.
We have added over 1,000 new photographs to our Historic Image Archive.
We have placed historic plaques on the home of author Anaïs Nin at 17 East 13th Street, and at the studio of painter, printmaker, and sculptor Frank Stella at 128 East 13th Street — a building we saved from demolition and got landmarked.
And on top of all that, in the fall we rounded out the year with our inaugural public art exhibition, VILLAGE VOICES, an interactive outdoor walking tour of 21 shadowboxes and exhibits displayed throughout Greenwich Village, the East Village, and NoHo, celebrating people, places, and moments from our neighborhoods' cultural history featuring photographs, artifacts, and soundscapes, as well as two exhibits in augmented reality. The exhibition was free to the public and made possible by our very generous donors.
We have so much more to do. We monitor every one of 6,500 buildings in our neighborhoods every day for applications for demolition, new construction, or major alterations, and review and notify the public about every application for changes to any of the landmarked properties in our area. We fight to ensure our landmark protections are enforced, and to extend them to areas that deserve but lack them. We educate thousands of adults and children every year about the unique architectural and cultural heritage of our neighborhoods and their contributions to history, through programming, classes, and online resources. And we are a powerful voice for preserving that history, to decision-makers at City Hall, in Albany, and in Washington, D.C.
On behalf of all of us at Village Preservation, our Board of Trustees, and our small but mighty staff, I am profoundly grateful for your support, encouragement, and friendship through these unprecedented times. As we tackle the most challenging real estate environment we have faced in decades, we are made stronger than ever with your dedication and support. We look forward to continuing our critically important work together in order to preserve our neighborhoods for generations to come.