West End Ave. Historic District Progresses

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By Dan Rivoli

The Landmarks Preservation Commission voted Nov. 16 to give West End Avenue historic district a public hearing.

“Calendaring” a landmark proposal, which schedules a public meeting, is a crucial step toward full designation.

In September, the Landmark Preservation Commission released a draft of their plan to protect buildings on West End Avenue between West 70th Street and West 107th Street, from Broadway to Riverside Drive. That plan has been revised and expanded to cover 790 buildings in three existing landmark district extensions.

The district will be extensions of West End-Collegiate District, and Riverside-West End Historic District I and II.

The planned coverage area is much more than Richard Emery, who heads the West End Preservation Society, first anticipated.

“Originally, we were trying to be conservative,” Emery said, proposing to protect apartment buildings on the avenue. But Landmarks Preservation Commission’s plan will cover brownstones and townhouses as well.

“They obviously view the whole district as something necessary to preserve—the feeling of the community and the architecture on the Upper West Side,” Emery said.

Kate Wood, executive director of local preservation group Landmark West, said the new historic district will protect important, architecturally-distinct buildings.

The potentially landmarked buildings include First Baptist Church on West 79th and Broadway, the Broadway Fashion Building on West 84th Street and the Cliff Dwelling on Riverside Drive and West 96th Street.

Wood was pleased that the district will include parts of Broadway and Riverside Drive.

“It really does tell a comprehensive story of the neighborhood,” Wood said.

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