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Morningside Heights historic district is closer to becoming a reality

After a 20-year push, the neighborhood may finally receive landmark status

It’s been two decades since the idea of landmarking Morningside Heights was introduced and after all of this time, it might just become a reality. According to DNAinfo, the Landmarks Preservation Commission voted today to hold a public hearing on the possibility of a Morningside Heights Historic District, which would then lead to a final vote on the area's fate.

The quest to gain landmark status has had its share of difficulties. The Morningside Heights Historic District Committee was formed in 1996 and has been fighting ever since to get the area landmarked. In 2010, the Landmarks Preservation Commission wanted to essentially just landmark the Columbia University campus, leaving the many historic brownstones, buildings, and the iconic Cathedral Church of St. John the Divine (which remains un-landmarked) out in the cold.

Today, the proposed district would include 115 buildings primarily built between the late 19th and early 20th centuries, with the majority of them residential. Though the church still isn’t included, it is currently being considered separately by the LPC.

"Today’s achievement was made possible by the cohesiveness of the Morningside Heights community-from its buildings to its people," declared Assemblyman Daniel O’Donnell who also is a founding member of the Morningside Heights Historic District Committee. He and the committee each penned petitions that called for the neighborhood’s designation.

The public hearing will be held sometime in November. If approved, the district will begin around West 108th Street and end at West 119th Street, with some portions of Amsterdam Avenue, Broadway, and Riverside Drive included.