Seven to Save: 2003
The 2003 Seven to Save list spotlights historic properties that exemplify challenges facing historic places across the state. Sites listed this year draw attention to the importance of preserving modern architecture, the need for Legislative passage of a historic home tax credit, and the threat to New York's historic resource and scenic vistas from inappropriately-sited wind farms. These seven valued historic resources are in danger of disappearing because of insufficient funding and financial incentives, insensitive public policies, general neglect, disinvestment, and in some cases, demolition.
Buffalo Central Terminal | Erie County, Buffalo
Landmark status: Listed as local landmark and on National Register, 1984.
Threat: Deterioration, vacancy.
The Buffalo Central Terminal is a monumental Art Deco style railroad station complex built in 1929 by Fellheimer & Wagner as the passenger station for the New York Central Railroad and later, Amtrak. The steel and brick station is dominated by an imposing 271-foot tall office tower. Deterioration and vandalism have resulted in the decline of the complex which has been vacant since 1979. “Saving” the former station at this stage will mean the stabilization of the structure and finding a suitable adaptive use that not only results in the rehabilitation of the landmark station, but serves as a catalyst for the revitalization of Buffalo’s East Side neighborhood.
St. Paul’s School | Garden City, Nassau County
Landmark status: Listed on the National Register, 1978.
Threat: Neglect, possible demolition, vacancy.
Active as a school for 90 years, the property (including the school and 48 acres) was sold by the Episcopal Diocese to the village in 1993. While the village uses the land as playing fields, the school itself has been in danger of being demolished due to a lack of local commitment to developing a viable reuse plan. To save the building, it will be necessary to convince a broad array of community stakeholders that it is architecturally and economically feasible to reuse St. Paul’s School in ways that respect its outstanding High Victorian Gothic design.
Lower Manhattan Neighborhoods: Proposed John Street / Maiden Lane Historic District and Proposed Greenwich Street South Historic District | New York City, New York County
Landmark status: Some individual sites are listed as local landmarks; eligibility determination for National Register status has been requested for districts.
Threat: Demolition and inappropriate redevelopment.
The area is a 3-D record of the city’s birth and growth into the financial capital of the world and includes Federal era residences, “Old Law” tenements, former stables and early 20th century commercial buildings. Plans for revitalization following the attack on the World Trade Center include a new MTA transportation hub and commercial and residential developments which could threaten the preservation of historic resources. The League will continue its substantial involvement in the area by working with local groups to secure landmark district designation at the local, state and national levels, as well as with the Lower Manhattan Development Corp. to assure that preservation is part of the redevelopment plan.
Two Columbus Circle | New York City, New York County
Landmark status: None; full Landmarks Preservation Commission hearing denied.
Threat: Inappropriate alterations.
Two Columbus Circle represents a milestone in the Modern Architecture movement. Edward Durell Stone’s 1964 museum for Huntington Hartford's art collection broke ground as arguably one of the first post-modern building designs. Current plans for adaptive use would significantly reconfigure the interior and completely replace the building's marble facade. A “save” would result in a modified design that would have less impact on the exterior of the building and respect its historic integrity.
Washington Place | Troy, Rensselaer County
Landmark status: Listed locally and included in a National Register district, 1973.
Threat: Further deterioration and disinvestment.
Washington Park is the second oldest private square (1838) in the United States, the first being Gramercy Park in New York City. Years of advocacy on the part of the local neighborhood association has brought new owners to the park neighborhood. However, several of the original, ten Greek Revival-style townhouses located at the south end of the park suffer from abandonment and neglect; one building is only a stabilized façade. Passage of a state historic home tax credit would aid reinvestment in Washington Place and other urban and rural historic neighborhoods across New York State by offering an incentive for economic reinvestment in residential properties and neighborhood renewal.
Seneca County Courthouse Complex “The Three Bears” | Village of Ovid, Seneca County
Landmark status: Listed on the National Register, 1976.
Threat: Underutilization and/or vacancy of historic public buildings.
The three adjacent Greek Revival style buildings, with their distinctive porticos, have served as courthouse, municipal offices and museum in this half-shire county (the other seat is Waterloo, 17 miles to the north). Consolidation and reduction in municipal services have resulted in excess office space and the buildings face deterioration without new uses. Affectionately known as the “Three Bears,” all are in need of rehabilitation. A “save” requires a realistic reuse and management plan that preserves the buildings and enhances their downtown setting in this small Finger Lakes village.
Visual Impacts on Cultural and Scenic Resources from Commercial Scale Wind Energy Development in NYS | Statewide
Threat: Considered an essential component of New York State’s efforts to develop and promote renewable energy resources, commercial-scale wind energy projects, if not carefully sited, will have significant visual intrusions on historic, cultural and scenic resources in New York State. To counter the threat of poorly sited facilities, the League will be developing wind energy siting criteria that will protect historic, cultural and scenic resources from inappropriately-sited wind projects.