This week we are celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Landmarks Preservation Law protecting the heritage of our city. Neighborhoods are constantly changing, but landmarks help us keep the past alive and strengthen our communities. Here's the first of the protected landmarks that mean the most to me and my family. Share yours! Prospect Park has nurtured my family since day one. @chirlane and I got married here under a tree over 20 years ago, and Dante and Chiara both played in Little League on the fields. The Olmstead and Vaux masterpiece has always felt like our community's backyard.
On April 19, 1965, the Landmarks Preservation Commission was officially formed. Half a century of protection for the city's designated historic buildings and districts, while at times tedious and filled with debate, is certainly worth celebrating, so Mayor Bill de Blasio has taken to Instagram to name his favorite landmarks. First up, Prospect Park. (Yes, because, the LPC "granted Prospect Park scenic landmark status" in 1980.) See the mayor's other favorites below, and feel free to leave your favorite New York City landmark in the comments section.
Snug Harbor, by the way, was one of New York's very first landmarks. The 19th-century complex, initially built as a place of respite for "aged, decrepit, and worn-out sailors," is beautiful, and almost got demolished, but the creation of the LPC saved it.
One of our priorities at the Landmarks Preservation Commission today is seeking out landmarks in communities that haven't gotten the attention they deserve. And one of the first we're protecting on our watch is the Stone Avenue Library in Brownsville. The beautiful branch opened in 1914, becoming the first free-standing children's library anywhere in the world—and every family in Brownsville knows what a treasure it is. Every community deserves to have heritage like this recognized and protected.
Louis Armstrong's house in Queens is now a museum, and it's open for tours.
Our music is part of our heritage. And one of the greatest musicians of all time, Louis Armstrong, lived in Corona, Queens and built a life with his wife Lucille. When Lucille passed away, she left the home and its contents to New York City so that we could all remember Louis' contributions to jazz and American culture. The Louis Armstrong House is an off-the-beaten-path gem.
UPDATE: On Sunday, de Blasio added another one.
Grand Central Terminal is one of the most evocative and special places in New York City for me. It reminds me of holiday trips to family back when I was younger. I'll use any excuse to walk across the main concourse, and every time I do, I think of how this extraordinary place was saved from the march of 'progress' during the first days of the movement to protect our city's landmarks. It's an achievement we can still marvel at today.
· Bill de Blasio [Instagram]
· Mapping New York City's First 38 Landmarks [Curbed]
· Inside 6 Lovely New York Landmarks That Almost Got Razed [Curbed]
· Landmarks at 50 coverage [Curbed]