Historic Districts Council

The Historic Districts Council is a New York City-based 501-3 nonprofit organization that serves as the advocate for New York City’s historic buildings, neighborhoods, and public spaces. Its founders are Kent Barwick, Lorna Nowve, Michael Gruen, and Bronson Binger.

The Historic Districts Council (HDC) is the advocate for all of New York City’s historic neighborhoods. Its mission is to ensure the preservation of significant historic neighborhoods, structures, and public spaces in New York City, uphold the integrity of New York City’s Landmarks Law, and further the preservation ethic. HDC has been involved in the creation of almost all of the over 100 officially designated historic districts in New York, which encompass almost 30,000 individual buildings.

Below are a few of the more noteworthy additions to the Historic District Council. See how many you may recognize.

  • The Prince’s Bay Lighthouse Complex, historically known as the Red Bank Lighthouse, is located near the southern tip of Staten Island and stands on one of the highest bluffs on the southern shoreline. The Lighthouse Complex was built as part of the federal government’s efforts to provide an integrated system of navigational aids throughout the United States in the early 19th through 20th It is one of eight extant lighthouses in Staten Island and the second oldest in the borough. The Lighthouse served as the primary navigational aide for the local maritime traffic, fisherman, and oysterman working for the oyster beds along Arthur Kill and Raritan Bay.
  • The Port Richmond Branch of the New York Public Library opened on March 18, 1905, and is one of the four Carnegie branch libraries on Staten Island and one of sixty-seven in New York City, built with Andrew Carnegie’s 1901 donation of 5.2 million dollars which established a city-wide branch library system. The distinguished architectural firm of Carrere & Hastings designed the branch as well as thirteen other Carnegie branch libraries as well as the Main Building of the New York Public Library.
  • The Academy of Mount Saint Vincent is a building complex of the College of Mount Saint Vincent and is dramatically situated on a high hill commanding a sweeping view of the Hudson River and the unspoiled Palisades. Surrounded by a rolling seventy-five-acre campus in the Riverdale section of the Bronx, the buildings present a picturesque profile in keeping with their romantic setting. Construction of the first building, designed by Henry Englebert in the early Romanesque Revival style began in May 1857 and took 2 years to complete.
  • The Rufus King Manor is one of the few 18th-century American colonial manor houses remaining in Queens. It is a two-and-a-half-story, single-frame house with a gambrel roof. The cottage in the rear portion of the property dates from 1730 and contains the original kitchen. It is the home of founding father, Rufus King, diplomat, and framer of the United States Constitution. The interior reflects the several periods of construction of the house representing both Georgian and Federal Styles.  
  • The Unisphere was the centerpiece and visual logo of the 12964-65 New York World’s Fair. The theme of the fair was “Peace through Understanding.” The Unisphere was constructed and donated to the park by the United States Steel Corporation. It is a steel cage 120 feet in diameter composed mainly of curving structural members and remains one of the most prominent structural and landscape features of Flushing Meadows Corona Park.
  • Lefferts Homestead is a charming 18th-century Dutch Colonial farmhouse replaced the earlier homestead burned by the Americans while they were engaging the British in the battle of Flatbush in 1776. Built of wood, some of it salvaged from the Seventeenth Century house, it is a good example of post-Revolutionary war construction. Built by Lieutenant Peter Lefferts between 1777 and 1783, the house was presented by his descendants to the city in 1918 when it was moved to Prospect Park from its original location at 563 Flatbush Avenue.
  • Parachute Jump was created for the 12939 World’s Fair. In Flushing Meadow Queens. It was constructed to teach the military the correct parachuting techniques. The 170-ton tower stands 262 feet tall. After the closing of the fair, the Parachute Jump was purchased by the Tilyou brothers and moved to their Coney Island Park. Still a prominent feature of the Brooklyn skyline, today the tower stands unused, but in fundamentally sound structural condition.

The integrity of preserved structures is of vital importance to the Historic District Council. With their due diligence, we are able to visit and examine historic structures around the city and learn about them.  We at Scarano Architects hold similar beliefs as the Historic District

Council and we acknowledge their preservations. Take a day to visit one of these remarkable attractions. It will surely be enlightening and interesting.

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