Historic preservation societies are the advocates, guardians, and staunch defenders of the historic built environment. They keep long-standing buildings and neighborhoods safe through advocacy for landmark designation and zoning changes that monitor and regulate new development. These organizations provide not only leadership and education, but resources, support, and expertise to the architects and builders who preserve historic structures for the next generation to use and enjoy.
These societies often provide source material such as photo archives, blueprints, and historical records that are critical to developing a restoration project that is true to the spirit of the original while incorporating changes that modern living demands. The rigorous work of balancing the desires of owners, developers, and the community with the goals of historic preservation societies is a feat that requires a unique architectural disposition and a specialized skill set.
In New York City, the NYC Landmarks Preservation Commission is the government body that designates buildings or neighborhoods as historic, culturally significant, or part of the heritage of New York City that need preservation and protection. The Commission also approves all requests for renovation, repair, or retrofit of such structures.
Privately operated preservation and historical societies work with the NYC Landmarks Preservation Commission to provide expertise, and, in many cases, advocate for historically significant buildings through the lengthy and detailed process of landmark designation. Private societies also manage and administer funding for restoration and repair work through a system of loans and grants. Through their work, these societies directly impact community revitalization and the economic health of their neighborhoods.
The Greenwich Village Society for Historical Preservation , for example, not only works directly on the designation and restoration of historic buildings in i neighborhood, but is also active in the community’s economic development. It supports small business and retail diversity and offers a number of educational and outreach programs.
The following references are links to some of NYC's historical preservation groups.
For more information on New York City building restoration, please contact us.