Founded in New York City in 1966, one year after the NYC Landmarks Law was passed, the Victorian Society in America is dedicated to fostering the appreciation and preservation of our nineteenth-century heritage as well as that of the early twentieth century (1837-1917). Advocacy and preservation education, set in motion by Margot Gayle and her colleagues a half century ago, has continued to be at the forefront of the organization’s mission.
Over the years, the Metropolitan Chapter actively promotes preservation of the incomparable wealth of nineteenth- and early twentieth-century historic districts, individual landmarks, interiors and civic art in the New York City area. Past campaigns we have supported include the Jefferson Market Library, Tweed Courthouse, Sailors Snug Harbor, St. Bartholomew’s Church, The Sherman Monument, Soho-Cast Iron and Ladies’ Mile Historic Districts, and the Seventh Regiment Armory interiors. The Chapter also sponsors an annual awards program to recognize outstanding preservation and scholarly projects.
Following its mission, the Metropolitan Chapter’s Preservation has frequently testified at the NYC Landmarks Preservation Commission, perhaps most notably throughout the LPC’s Backlog Initiative hearings during the fall of 2015. The Committee attended all four lengthy Backlog hearings and endorsed the designation of 46 properties located throughout the city. In preparation, members of the Preservation Committee and Executive Board, feverishly researched, wrote and presented nearly 30 pages of testimony! All of the endorsements and testimony, providing historical and cultural background as well as architectural details can be found on in the Preservation Archive section of tour new website.
Recently, the Chapter has become a sponsor of Alliance for a Human Scale City, and has testified in opposition to Intro 775, a Bill sponsored by the New York City Council, imposing unrealistic timeframes on LPC decisions regarding designation of both individual Landmarks and Historic Districts, as well as recent citywide re-zonings jeopardizing large swaths of the NYC’s unprotected historic fabric and affordable house stock.
The Victorian Society continued its many preservation projects in 2016, such as advocacy for threatened properties within Historic Districts including the Gansevoort Market and Ladies Mile Historic Districts, the Hopper-Gibbons Underground Railroad Site within the Lamartine Historic District, and is joining with other concerned groups to help save the unprotected section of west 28th Street where original buildings comprising Tin Pan Alley still stand – but for how long?
Links with more information about the Victorian Society New York’s preservation work: