The latest news on New York architecture.

  • AMERICA’S GREAT OUTDOORS: Secretary Salazar Announces $47 million in Historic Preservation Grants to States


    Contact: Adam Fetcher, (DOI) 202-208-6416 David Barna, (NPS) 202-208-6843 Hampton Tucker, (NPS) 202- 354-2067
      WASHINGTON -- Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar today announced $46.9 million in historic preservation grants to the 50 States, the District of Columbia, the U.S. Territories, and three affiliated Pacific island states. The grants will enable the states to preserve and protect our nation’s historic sites without expending tax dollars. “National Preservation Grants invest revenue from oil and gas development into telling the story of America by enabling the people of each state and territory the opportunity to preserve the places that are unique to their heritage,” Secretary Salazar said. “These grants leverage private investments in historic preservation activities and help spur tourism, create jobs, and build pride in communities across the nation.” The Historic Preservation Fund is supported by revenue from federal oil leases on the Outer Continental Shelf. The National Park Service administers the fund and uses the majority of appropriated funds to distribute matching grants to State and Tribal Historic Preservation Officers. “Throughout the country, historic preservation fund grants and other federal historic preservation programs help sustain and revitalize communities,” Director of the National Park Service Jonathan B. Jarvis said. “Historic preservation promotes heritage tourism and can transform under-utilized and often-vacant historic buildings into revenue-generators for local economies. The National Park Service is honored to be invited into so many communities and is proud to assist in saving and sharing history.” States officials use the grants to fund preservation projects, such as survey and inventory, National Register nominations, preservation education, architectural planning, historic structure reports, community preservation plans, and bricks-and-mortar repair to buildings. Grants and programs funded by the HPF encourage private and nonfederal investment in historic preservation efforts nationwide. Recent achievements of the HPF can be found in its annual report at For more information on the Historic Preservation Fund, please visit: Amounts made available to each jurisdiction are listed below.


    ALABAMA $822,991   MONTANA $785,522
    ALASKA $1,012,985   NEBRASKA $785,932
    AMERICAN SAMOA $396,261   NEVADA $746,194
    ARIZONA  $857,460   NEW HAMPSHIRE $620,598
    ARKANSAS $753,650   NEW JERSEY $924,707
    CALIFORNIA $1,494,229   NEW MEXICO $788,226
    COLORADO $885,222   NEW YORK $1,361,060
    CONNECTICUT $735,325   NORTH CAROLINA $926,187
    DELAWARE $528,258   NORTH DAKOTA $681,157
    DIST. OF COLUMBIA $525,361   CNMI $410,831
    FLORIDA $1,031,826   OHIO $1,105,786
    FSM $412,161   OKLAHOMA $830,447
    GEORGIA $911,695   OREGON $865,309
    GUAM $409,123   PALAU $238,866
    HAWAII $574,945   PENNSYLVANIA $1,180,736
    IDAHO $732,243   PUERTO RICO $645,071
    ILLINOIS $1,143,960   RHODE ISLAND $578,929
    INDIANA $916,252   SOUTH CAROLINA $760,507
    IOWA $847,320   SOUTH DAKOTA $704,651
    KANSAS $840,849   TENNESSEE $850,118
    KENTUCKY $814,083   TEXAS $1,334,882
    LOUISIANA $828,743   UTAH $772,697
    MAINE $709,070   VERMONT $574,034
    MARSHALLS $238,866   VIRGINIA $895,405
    MARYLAND $797,793   VIRGIN ISLANDS $415,115
    MASSACHUSETTS $917,262   WASHINGTON $923,154
    MICHIGAN $1,113,476   WEST VIRGINIA $706,619
    MINNESOTA $942,010   WISCONSIN $950,369
    MISSISSIPPI $744,073   WYOMING $688,885
    MISSOURI $935,314       
          TOTAL $46,924,800

  • Ornate Cornices Disappearing in Washington Heights

    The lion's heads that once graced the cornice of 4195 Broadway. (Courtesy Trish Mayo) The lion's heads that once graced the cornice of 4195 Broadway, now in a dumpster. (Courtesy Trish Mayo) When the attention of real estate speculators diverts, sometimes old neighborhoods have time to acquire a majestic patina. The Washington Heights section of northern Manhattan has been neglected for some time, but is now getting a fair share of spillover interest from Columbia’s Manhattanville project and the university’s nearby hospital campus. In 2009, the Audubon Park Historic District was created to protect the area just behind Audubon Terrace, home to the Hispanic Society and the Academy of Arts and Letters. But just north of the district, years of landlord neglect has unwittingly preserved row after row of early 20th century apartment buildings festooned with ornate cornices. But the cornices are now in danger of disappearing.  

    The decorative cornices of Washington Heights are dissapearing. Most of the decorative cornice at 4181 Broadway (right) was replaced with concrete, and the cornice at 4195 was replaced entirely with corrugated metal.
    Provided you look up, there are still vistas in Washington Heights that recall the area’s heyday. In the early part of the last century a striving middle class made up of German Jews, Irish, and Greeks walked beneath striped fabric awnings perched at apartment windows, all topped with fanciful cornices.
    More dumpster lions.
    Most know that when Robert Moses plowed through the Bronx to build the Cross Bronx Expressway, neighborhoods were severed and died a slow death. But little attention is paid to the Cross Bronx’s connection to the George Washington Bridge, which severed Washington Heights too, providing easy access for suburbanites to swoop in and out of the neighborhood to buy drugs. Eventually, like the South Bronx, the area regained its footing. Now, the Pier Luigi Nervi-designed Port Authority Bus Terminal at the base of the bridge is set to undergo a $285 million restoration. And Starbucks, the ever present harbinger of gentrification, is just a few blocks north.
    Planned renovation of the Nevi-designed GW Bridge Bus Terminal. (Courtesy STV Inc.)Planned renovation of the Nervi-designed GW Bridge Bus Terminal. (Courtesy STV Inc.)
    But just as Washington Heights begins its reemergence, several building owners are stripping away the architectural features that make the area unique. Just next door to the bus terminal sits 4195 Broadway at the corner of 178th Street. Two weeks ago, the decorative lion heads that once reigned atop the 1920 edifice were stripped, thrown into a dumpster and replaced with corrugated metal. It’s indicative of a neighborhood trend. Over the past several years the cornices of Washington Heights are finally getting much needed maintenance attention. But instead of restoring them, many building owners are ripping them off and replacing them with steel, aluminum, and concrete.
    The metal replacement. The metal replacement.
    Photographer Trish Mayo noticed the latest affront on a bus ride home from the library. The shapes in a dumpster registered as something familiar to her. She got off the bus to investigate. Mayo said the dumpster was almost full with terracotta lion heads taken from 4195. The dumpster has since been carted away. “I think that after so many years of neglect the decorative details have become a safety hazarded and it’s just cheaper to destroy all the beauty that’s in these buildings,” she said.