Thursday, April 24, 2014


Some of Harlem's great buildings big and small are disappearing even more quickly these days because of the deep pockets of new investors and a lack of landmark protection. Some folks have asked what could be done to help save the architectural history of Harlem and the answer would be that an organization like GVSHP (Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation) or Landmark West (on the Upper West Side) would have to be formed. These groups organize meetings, email blast, make phone calls and rally at local community boards along with sending letters to the Landmarks Preservation Commission of New York City.  GVSHP has thousands of members including some local celebrities and they have a political clout that is missing in many of smaller committees of the local community boards.

So if anyone out there is great at social media and wants to start up a non-profit for preservation in Harlem, then this is the way to go.  Set up a website and Facebook presence, have email updates to members about endangered buildings, have local friends and families join, start showing up at community board meetings in large numbers, write letters to local politicians and procure a strong relationship with LPC.  Strength in numbers is more effective working on these types of community issues and an organization such as this will have more political muscle than a random letter from a concerned citizen (notable or otherwise)  Anyone up for the challenge?


  1. New homeowner in the neighborhood here, and I have been wondering about this issue precisely. Honestly, Harlem Bespoke has been the best news source for Harlem and I appreciate you keeping us informed cause that is the best way to alert the people who call it home about undesirable "developments"... pun intended.

    If I wasn't trying to get my own biz off the ground I'd give it a go, but i'll be one of the first in line to support the creation of a preservation society. Please Please let's make this happen!

  2. The wheel need not be reinvented here. Carnegie Hill Neighbors (our location prior to Harlem) did a fine job on all of these fronts:

    Harlem Neighbors?

  3. A few months ago I stumbled onto this organization "The Hamilton Heights-West Harlem Community Preservation Organization" online. I have yet to visit any meetings or functions but I am interested in getting plugged in:

  4. I'd be happy to get something going. 125th Street has become an architectural nightmare. I'm thinking "Central Harlem Preservation Society." Anyone interested in working on this, email me at I'll probably get a website going right away, but only have so much time to devote to this.

    1. It would probably be better to just call it Harlem Preservation Society or something similar and not indicate central, east or west.

  5. Interesting. I just read a couple days ago the old red brick building on the corner of 125th and St. Nick is coming down to give way to a new building. As I walked past the building this evening I lamented the loss as compared to the unattractive metallic box building that currently houses the Chucky Cheese franchise adjacent the site. I would be happy to participate in preservation efforts.

  6. My husband and I will also participate. Please let us know if anything is happening. I know our next door neighbors are also unhappy about that building being demolished.

  7. For what it's worth, there is a facebook discussion group here that I created yesterday:

    I know there are people out there that know how to make it possible, or would help the group learn what needs to be done. We'll see if anything comes of it...

  8. Any of the bigger organization like GVSHP would help out a Harlem Preservation Society but someone needs to set it up as a real entity that is familiar with the local landmark laws and who is willing to put in several hours a week to maintain a website, procure members, do research, write emails, make important connections, organize meeting to show up at community boards, etc...