Following a decades long fight to designate the Morningside Heights Historic District, today New York City Council Member Mark Levine declared victory for the community as he voted to approve the designation in the City Council with the unanimous support of his colleagues.
Earlier this year, the Landmarks Preservation Commission (LPC) unanimously approved the 115-building MHHD in Manhattan, citing their architectural, historic and cultural significance. In conjunction with the designation, the agency launched a 3-D webmap providing users with detailed information about the buildings comprising New York City’s newest landmark.
The new district consists of 115 residential and institutional buildings in an area stretching from West 109th Street to West 119th Street, Riverside Drive to Amsterdam Avenue. Like much of the Upper West Side, the earliest residential development in the proposed district includes private town houses such as 625-627 West 113th Street (1897-98) and speculative rows such as 604-616 West 114th Street (1896) that were built in the 1890s. However, it was the arrival of the IRT subway in 1904 with stops at 110th and 116th Streets that spurred development and rapidly transformed the area into a neighborhood of apartment buildings marketed to the middle class.
“More so than almost any other neighborhood in New York City, Morningside Heights is defined by its history,” said Council Member Mark Levine, who represents the area. “We are incredibly lucky that its unique architectural identity has survived remarkably intact into the 21st Century. As part of Morningside Heights’ new historic landmark designation, over 115 historic buildings essential to the identity and heritage of our community will now be preserved for decades to come. I am incredibly grateful to have worked with the Morningside Heights Historic District Committee, and the countless residents who overwhelmingly supported this proposal, to shepherd this designation through the City Council.”
“If you ask most residents if Morningside Heights should be a Historic District, they would probably tell you that we already have one! At long last they will be correct,” said Laura Friedman, President of the Morningside Heights Historic District Committee. “We thank Council Member Levine for his invaluable leadership in bringing a Historic District to Morningside Heights, and look forward to working with him in the second phase of this important project. Our community, in all its historic splendor, will finally achieve the recognition it deserves.”
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On December 6th, 2016, Council Member Levine offered testimony in support of the MHHD before the LPC, which can be read in full here.
See more Harlem History here.