The Preservation League of New York State will award two neighborhood organizations — CIVITAS Citizens, Inc. and Landmark East Harlem — with a $10,000 grant to preserve a section of East Harlem, according to a press release.
The Pleasant Avenue section of East Harlem was once known as the United States’ first “Little Italy,” and by the 1930s was home to the largest concentration of Italian immigrants in the United States, according to the release.
New York City’s Italian-American community has since moved out of the neighborhood, Italian influence is still visible in the neighborhood’s architecture, said a preservation league press release. That influence is now under threat, as the Second Avenue Subway project pushes uptown and the neighborhood has been targeted for rezoning, said the preservation league.
Using the $10,000 grant, CIVITAS and Landmark East Harlem will hire Anthony W. Robins to conduct a cultural resource survey. The survey could help earn Pleasant Avenue a historic district nomination from the city Landmarks Preservation Commission or the National Register of Historic Places, according to the press release.
“CIVITAS and Landmark East Harlem are thrilled to receive this Preserve New York grant from the Preservation League of New York State and the New York State Council on the Arts,” said Jameson Mitchell, Executive Director of CIVITAS, in a statement. “This funding will go a long way in helping to ensure that historic East Harlem is preserved for future generations. We look forward to sharing the results of the cultural resource survey in the coming months.”
At an August meeting this year the Preservation League of New York State decided to allocate $202,000 in funding to 26 organizations in 18 different counties.
“As always, the competition for these funds was intense,” Erin Tobin, the league’s director of preservation said in a statement. “We are delighted to help advance the preservation efforts in East Harlem with timely funding from Preserve New York.”