Riverside Drive-West End Historic District Extension I Designated

Boundary map for new district. Credit: LPC

Approximately 194 properties added to existing 264-building historic district in the Upper West Side. On June 26, 2012, Landmarks voted unanimously to create the Riverside Drive-West End Historic District Extension I in Manhattan’s Upper West Side. The district extension comprises approximately 194 buildings between West 87th Street, West 79th Street, Broadway, and Riverside Drive. The area’s first wave of development started in the late 1880s and primarily consisted of three- and four-story rowhouses. The early 1900s saw the construction of larger apartment buildings and French Flat residences as the Broadway subway line increased access to the neighborhood. Significant non-residential structures in the district include the St. Agatha’s School for Girls (now the St. Agnes Boys High School) at 555 West End Avenue, and the individually-landmarked St. Paul’s Methodist Episcopal Church (now the Church of St. Paul and St. Andrew) at 540 West End Avenue. Landmark’s designation report for the new district notes that the architecture of the district’s buildings was “designed by some of the City’s most prominent architects and executed in the dominant styles of their eras.”

At the proposed district’s well-attended public hearing in March 2011, proponents of designation included local elected officials, preservationists, and some residents. However, several property owners and a representative of the Real Estate Board of New York testified in opposition, expressing concerns about the negative economic impacts of designation.

At Landmarks’ June 2012 meeting, Chair Robert B. Tierney praised the district, finding that it possessed “a sweeping sense of architecture,” and he recognized the community’s commitment toward preservation. Tierney, however, acknowledged that not everyone would agree with the designation, but stated that designation would not be “a freezing operation.”  The other commissioners agreed, unanimously endorsing the district extension.

LPC: Riverside-West End Historic District Extension I, Manhattan (LP-2463) (June 26, 2012).

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