Update on the National Trust’s Sandy Recovery Efforts in NYC

Posted on: December 21st, 2012 by National Trust for Historic Preservation

Damage at Liberty Island. Credit: NPS/Daley
National Park Service staff walking along Liberty Island after Hurricane Sandy.

Nearly two months after Hurricane Sandy made landfall in the mid-Atlantic states, we wanted to share an update on affected sites in the New York metro area and the National Trust’s efforts to support recovery.

On December 13, Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar and Director of the National Park Service Jonathan Jarvis, along with a small group of journalists and other stakeholders, toured damaged places in the New York City region. Of the 70 national parks and dozens of wildlife refuges that sustained damage from the storm, the 15 parks located in and around NYC were among the hardest hit, including Liberty Island and Ellis Island. (Ellis Island is one of our National Treasures, a portfolio of endangered places the National Trust is working to protect.)

The National Trust’s representative on the tour, Alicia Leuba, reports that the impacts are wide-ranging: Not only have the National Parks of New York Harbor suffered damage to their natural and built environments, but they’re experiencing an economic setback at tourist sites such as Gateway, Fire Island, and the Statue of Liberty, which contributed more than half a billion dollars to the local economy last year and support nearly 4,400 jobs.

Both Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty are now closed indefinitely. Salazar and Jarvis have requested $59 million in emergency supplemental funding to help repair and reopen the islands as quickly as possible.

“Our commitment to Ellis Island began when we named its south-side buildings a National Treasure earlier this year, and it has only deepened in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy,” says Stephanie K. Meeks, president of the National Trust, noting that the organization is fully supporting the National Park Service’s request for emergency federal funding and has also offered the volunteer service of professional engineers, architects, and preservationists who can help conduct assessments of damaged historic resources, if needed. “We plan to bring even more resources to the Hurricane Sandy relief effort in 2013 and anchor the Trust’s long-term commitment to saving and restoring the region’s irreplaceable cultural heritage.”

Debris from Ellis Island. Credit: NPS/Everitt
Mid-19th century furnishing found on the shores of Liberty State Park, likely blown in from Ellis Island National Monument, as seen in the background.

Our work with Hurricane Sandy recovery efforts is the latest example of the National Trust’s ongoing commitment to preservation in and around New York City. Partners in Preservation -- an annual program in which American Express and the National Trust award preservation grants to historic places -- celebrated NYC in 2012, with 40 sites receiving awards.

In addition to Ellis Island, several other National Treasures are in the greater New York metro area, including Lyndhurst, the Princeton Battlefield, and Hinchcliffe Stadium.

Currently, the National Trust is working to collect information and assess where our intervention is most needed. We’re also regularly communicating with our nonprofit and government partners to connect them with the latest resources.

We’ll bring you more progress reports over the next few months. In the meantime, check out the National Park Service’s comprehensive Facebook page, NPS Hurricane Sandy Response, for on-the-ground updates.

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National Trust and This Old House Ventures to Partner


The National Trust for Historic Preservation is opening a new field office in New York City, thanks to a generous partnership with This Old House Ventures (publisher of This Old House magazine and website, a division of Time, Inc.).

Senior field officer and attorney Roberta Lane will relocate to the new office from the National Trust’s Boston field office to work in closer proximity with New York partners on legal and advocacy issues. In addition, Alec Raday, Director of Development, Midwest Region, will relocate from Chicago to New York to further cultivate our donor portfolio.

“Having Roberta and Alec in New York will help us provide stronger support for our 2012 Partners in Preservation grantees, advance our goals for the Ellis Island National Treasure campaign, and deliver more direct technical assistance as part of our Hurricane Sandy response,” says National Trust President Stephanie K. Meeks. “The Trust is very grateful to This Old House Ventures for enabling us to establish a permanent presence in New York City and engage even more people in the work of preservation.”

This Old House magazine, which provides inspiration and information for homeowners, has a circulation of 950,000 and reaches an audience of almost six million. This Old House Ventures nets 50 million multimedia impressions monthly through its television, print, and web properties.

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The National Trust for Historic Preservation, a privately funded non-profit organization, works to save America's historic places.

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