New York Architecture Images- Building Types


What Makes an NYC Landmark?

Many of the city's older buildings had been destroyed in the building booms of the '20s and post-WW II years, but the biggest brouhaha started in the 1963 with the demolition of the old Pennsylvania Railroad Station to make way for the new, combined Madison Square Garden-Penn Station project. Citizen outrage led to the creation of The Landmarks Preservation Commission in 1965. The Commission's activities were fairly quiet the first couple of years then, in 1968, there were proposals to demolish Grand Central Terminal and erect a large joint-use office complex and new railroad station. This time people acted before another major New York City asset was destroyed. Pressure from prominent citizens such as Jacqueline Onassis stopped the project and pointed the Landmarks Commission to a more activist role

The Great Theater Massacre of 1982' was another rallying point for historic preservationists. To make way for the now Marriott Marquis Hotel the Astor Theater, the Bijou Theater, the Gaiety Theater, the Helen Hayes Theater and the Morosco Theater were demolished. The resulting outcry, far too late and ineffective, led to the designation of virtually every surviving Broadway theater built prior to 1930 as a landmark, whether deserving or not

The Landmark Commission can designate landmarks in four categories. All must fit have basic criteria written into the landmarks law, A special character or special historical or aesthetic interest or value as part of the development, heritage or cultural characteristics of the city, state or nation.

  • An individual or exterior landmark is a building, other structure or fixture that fits these requirements. Grand Central Terminal, the Brooklyn Bridge and the Sidewalk Clock at 522 5th Avenue (at 44th Street) are examples of individual landmarks

  • Interior landmarks are publicly accessible interior spaces that meet the basic criteria. Examples of interior landmarks include the interior of the Embassy Theater (now the Times Square Visitor Information Center), the lobby of the Chrysler Building, the auditorium of the Imperial Theater and the dining rooms and other interior spaces of the Four Seasons Restaurant

  • Scenic landmarks are places on city-owned property that of themselves are visually impressive. Central Park in Manhattan and Prospect Park in Brooklyn are two of the better known scenic landmarks

  • Historic Districts may or may not contain individual landmarks but they must embody a distinct sense of space and time. Sections of the city representing one period or style of architecture are eligible to be designated historic district. The SoHo-Cast Iron Historic District in Manhattan and the St George-New Brighton Historic District on Staten Island are examples

Since its inception in 1965 the New York City Landmarks Commission has designated about 1,100 landmarks and 70 historic districts

he New York Landmarks Conservancy is dedicated to preserving, enhancing, revitalizing, and reusing architecturally significant buildings in New York City and State. Since 1973, the Conservancy has advocated for preservation in Washington, Albany, and at City Hall. In addition, it is the only preservation organization in New York City – and one of the few in the country – with the financial and technical resources to actually make preservation happen.

Over 30 years, its programs have provided more than $24 million in grants and low-interest loans, accompanied by countless hours of hands-on technical consulting, to owners of historic homes, businesses, schools, houses of worship, theaters, cultural institutions, affordable housing units, and community centers. This work revitalizes neighborhoods and preserves the character of our City for future generations.

The Conservancy makes valuable information available to the public through the Preservation Hotline, lectures, books, and the technical journal Common Bond. Its exclusive tours offer a behind-the-scenes look at some of the City's great historic places. It recognizes leaders and outstanding restorations with the Chairman's Award and Lucy G. Moses Preservation Awards, and it creates new ambassadors for preservation through its signature Living Landmarks gala.

The Landmarks Conservancy has not achieved success alone. It partners with other preservation organizations, public agencies, the real estate community, construction and design professionals, and a long list of faithful corporate, foundation, and individual supporters.