Brooklyn’s view (Municipal Art Society of New York)"To get a true feeling of New York's industrial, 19th-century waterfront, you really have to go out to Brooklyn —specifically, Red Hook. … One is privileged to see the little canal, the fishing boats, the warehouses, all as it must have been forever, or at least the past hundred years. The factories and warehouses on the canal have that brilliantly additive, piece-by-piece, higgledy-piggledy look of tropical green stucco alongside corrugated aluminum that Frank Gehry works so hard to achieve." —Phillip Lopate, Waterfront

 

It wasn't long ago that Brooklyn's East River coastline, from the Newtown Creek on the Queens border to Red Hook, was considered no-man's land, with aging infrastructure and unsightly power stations marring its shores. After their heyday during the early 20th century as the nucleus of the manufacturing and shipping industries in New York City, these riverside areas were largely ignored by developers and city officials. The seven-mile sliver, just a stone's throw from Manhattan, became home to artists and a handful of intrepid, out-of-the-box thinkers.

 

Then, in the 1990s, real-estate prices in the borough climbed to mesmerizing heights and a debate ensued, no longer over whether the area had potential, but how to extract the most bang for the buck. All along the waterfront, it now feels as if a ship is setting sail and no one wants to be left behind.

 

"We're headed toward a rapid takeover by everyone who wants a piece [of land] for themselves," says David Sharps, owner of the Waterfront Museum since 1994, housed on a historic barge docked in Red Hook.

 

Should the historic warehouses and docks, many of which date back to the Civil War, make way for big-box stores (a relatively new trend in Brooklyn), high-rise housing or parks? Should they be repurposed or preserved? The city's answer is a complicated balancing act between the needs for jobs, housing, and preservation.

 

"There has been a failure to protect the maritime infrastructure," says Lisa Kersavage, historic preservation fellow at the Municipal Art Society of New York. "So much development is happening; historic resources need to be considered." Because of these changes, the National Trust for Historic Preservation in June named Brooklyn's industrial waterfront one of the 11 Most Endangered Historic Places in America.... Read More →

The National Trust for Historic Preservation works to save America's historic places. Join us today to help protect the places that matter to you.

Beyond Green Building: Morning Round-Up

Posted on: September 14th, 2007 by Patrice Frey

 

The Untapped Green Within Graying Buildings GreenerBuildings.com. An excellent article highlighting the greening of the 80 year old Joseph Vance Building in Seattle by Jonathan Rose Companies LLC. The company launched a $100 million smart growth investment fund in 2006 to green existing buildings. The company explains the impetus behind the fund: “In terms of the building stock, only 1 percent is new construction annually, so it is critical to focus on the existing 99 percent, which are huge consumers of energy.”

The article discusses the company’s climate sensitive approach to heating and cooling, and extensive lighting improvements. The developer’s approach to historic windows is particularly noteworthy. The company “weighed installing new windows against restoring existing windows. Since operability was key for tenant comfort, the company chose to restore the existing wood windows because the sashes of many had been nailed shut. Weather stripping was added, as well as mecco shades and light shelves to the south and west facades for proper interior shading.”

... Read More →

The National Trust for Historic Preservation works to save America's historic places. Join us today to help protect the places that matter to you.

Volunteers Help Restore 18th-Century House

Posted on: September 13th, 2007 by Margaret Foster

 

The Hasbrouck House, built by Huguenots in 1721.The bulging wall of a 1721 house in New Paltz, N.Y., has been repaired with the help of preservation-minded volunteers.

Last month, volunteers from a French group and two U.S. nonprofits re-plastered the repaired wall of the Jean Hasbrouck House, which has been open as a public museum since 1899.

The wall repair project won a $250,000 matching grant from Save America's Treasures, a partnership between the National Park Service and the National Trust, in 2003. Two years later, workers began shoring up the wall as part of a complete restoration.

The Hasbrouck House is one of a collection of stone houses built by 12 French Huguenot families who founded New Paltz in 1678, now part of a National Historic Landmark district.

The seven volunteers found their way to the house through the Heritage Conservation Network, based in Boulder, Colo., New York-based Preservation Volunteers and the 100-year-old French organization REMPART.

The National Trust for Historic Preservation works to save America's historic places. Join us today to help protect the places that matter to you.

A Replacement Tomb?

Posted on: September 13th, 2007 by Sarah Heffern 3 Comments

 

What happens to memorials of national significance when their marble starts to crack? In the cases of monuments like the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, DC, any cracks are repaired by re-grouting. But instead of going down this well-known preservation road, officials at Arlington National Cemetery want to replace the authentic Tomb of the Unknown Soldier with a replica -- in spite of the fact that experts say the replacement stone is likely to crack in the same way.

Here at the National Trust for Historic Preservation, we naturally favor fixing the tomb rather than constructing a new one. Click here to learn more and to find out how to contact the superintendent of the cemetery to share your views.

The National Trust for Historic Preservation works to save America's historic places. Join us today to help protect the places that matter to you.

Sarah Heffern

Sarah Heffern

Sarah Heffern is the social media strategist for the National Trust’s Public Affairs team. While she embraces all things online and pixel-centric, she’s also a hard-core building hugger, having fallen for preservation in a fifth grade “Built Environment” class. Follow her on Twitter at @smheffern.

Volunteer Opportunity in New Orleans

Posted on: September 13th, 2007 by Walter Gallas 6 Comments

 

Two years after Hurricane Katrina, the need for volunteer help in New Orleans remains strong, and one of our local partners, Rebuilding Together, is seeking assistance to rebuild houses for low-income elderly and disabled residents.

Volunteers may be performing tasks such as painting, scraping, landscaping, dry-walling, taping, cleaning, installing appliances, and tiling. Instruction is given for unfamiliar tasks, and no volunteers are expected to do any job they are uncomfortable performing. All work is supervised by skilled Rebuilding Together staff members and water, refreshments and first aid kits are always onsite.

All volunteers must be 18 or older. Click here to see a schedule, which includes dates and participation costs. If you are able to help out, please contact Sean Vissar by email at svissar [at] prcno [dot] org or by phone at (504) 636-3076. Click here for information for low-cost volunteer accommodations.

Updated to add the schedule link.

The National Trust for Historic Preservation works to save America's historic places. Join us today to help protect the places that matter to you.