MORNINGSIDE HEIGHTS HISTORIC DISTRICT PROGRESSES

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By Dan Rivoli

The spoke with property owners in about a potential historic district in the area Monday, Sept. 20, at Riverside Church

This is a crucial but informal part of the landmark designation process, similar to a recent meeting of property owners about preserving buildings.

Walter South, who heads the Morningside Heights Historic District Committee, was miffed that the Landmarks Commission never notified the local community board on which he serves. Still, South was nonetheless pleased the commission was moving forward on a proposal he has pursued since 1996.

“We have a number of institutions in the area that have been expanding and insisting they need more space for so-called academic purposes,” South said, making a thinly veiled swipe at Columbia University.

Columbia already demolished brownstones on West 115th Street between Amsterdam Avenue and Morningside Drive.

Another threat to the unique architecture of Morningside Heights buildings are owners that strip off ornamentation rather than make repairs, South argued.

“The area is losing a lot of its architectural distinction,” South said. “Cornices have been removed from buildings.”

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