East Harlem’s First Historic District

Landmarks East Harlem has been working for 8 years on designating an area around the East River Plaza to be designated a Historic District.

With the support of the Municipal Art Society’s (MAS) Livable Neighborhoods program and SHPO, LEH organized public information meetings for property owners to explain the implications of State and National Register listing and to highlight that listing does not place burdens on property owners. In fact, listing on the State and National Registers of Historic Places can make property owners eligible for federal and state Historic Tax Credits for improvements in their properties. The vast majority of property owners in the proposed district supported its listing, allowing SHPO to bring the nomination to the New York State Board for Historic Preservation for approval.

To be listed on the State and National Register, a district must possess a significant concentration, linkage, or continuity of sites, buildings, structures, or objects united historically or aesthetically by a plan or physical development. The National Park Service (NPS) works in conjunction with the NY State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO) to determine eligibility. These criteria are similar to those for historic districts designated by the New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission (LPC). The difference is that listing on the State and National Registers is honorary and does not impose any burdens on property owners. LPC designation, on the other hand, does require property owners to meet LPC standards when making additions or renovations and does not allow property owners to demolish their buildings except under rare circumstances.

Landmarks East Harlem is currently looking at two more areas in East Harlem.

The East-Central Harlem Historic District is fairly defined and ready for nomination this year.

The East Harlem South district is much more amorphous and subject to a closer survey to further define what should be designated.

To learn more, see the Landmarks East Harlem website.

The Curve

This is a great photo from 1895 showing 110th Street and Frederick Douglass Blvd. You can see that the train has come down from Morningside Heights on 110th Street and is about to turn up FDB.

Note the early scaffolding of the cathedral of St. John The Devine, under the tracks (an arched, inverted “u” shape). To the right is St. Lukes Hospital and Columbia University.

CB11 Meeting Tomorrow at 6 PM

Please register for CB11’s Health and Human Services meeting on Monday, March 7th here:


The committee will be discussing Community Board 11’s resolution requesting a moratorium on the siting of any new drug rehabilitation, chemical dependency, or treatment centers within Community District 11 that they crafted last year, and proposing an extension before this moratorium expires.

This is a very important meeting and you are urged to join and note how the oversaturation in our community leads to poor outcomes for the existing programs when patients need to run gauntlets of dealers who tempt patients to reengage with street drugs.  

Oversaturating is directly responsible for the surge in overdose deaths we’ve seen over the last few years in our community.  We need this.

Thank Black Women


The oldest minority/women-owned professional design and construction firm in the United States – McKissack – has just completed the amazing renovations to LaGuardia and is moving on to work on JFK.

This family-owned business for more than 115 years, has worked in planning, design, and construction of more than 6,000 projects nationwide, but locally may be best known for their work on Harlem Hospital and the preservation of the amazing Harlem Renaissance murals.

McKissack provided construction management services in support of the Patient Pavilion project, which was part of Harlem Hospital’s Major Modernization Program that added 150,000 sq. ft. and the new Emergency Department, state-of-the-art critical care and diagnostic units, and operating rooms.

The historic murals created during the Harlem Renaissance in the WPA-era 1930s at Harlem Hospital were preserved and permanently reinstalled into the patient pavilion.

Now moving on to work on JFK, McKissack has a major role in the 7 billion dollar project.

Dorrance Brooks Square Historic District Gets New Signage

Nick Garber at Patch.com is reporting that the Dorrance Brooks Square Historic District is getting new street signs to inform passersby that they are walking through a historic district.

The six markers have been installed on street poles around the district, which runs along both sides of Frederick Douglass Boulevard between West 135th and 140th streets, bounded by St. Nicholas Avenue and Adam Clayton Powell, Jr. Boulevard.