New-York Historical Society to change facade

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The New-York Historical Society’s application to make alterations to its Central Park West building has received unanimous approval by the Landmarks Preservation Commission of the City of New York.

Endorsement of the new design, developed by architectural firm Platt Byard Dovell White, came yesterday with a vote by the Landmarks Preservation Commissioners at a meeting led by Chair Robert Tierney. The vote came after a year-long conversation between N-YHS, its neighbors, elected officials and Manhattan Community Board 7 that resulted in modifications to the plan to alter the Central Park West and 77 th Street façades of the Roman Eclectic style building, designed by York and Sawyer and built in 1903-1908, with wings added in 1937-1938 by Walker and Gillette.

The modifications will result in improved access and egress, a Grand Entry Staircase at Central Park West, extended windows on West 77th Street--as envisioned by the building's original architects--and restoration or replacement of deteriorating windows. These changes will enable an internal renovation designed to make the Historical Society into a modern and accessible community, education and cultural facility for children, scholars and the general public.
“This approval is very significant for our Society because the renovations will allow us to change fundamentally. Great museums are more than their collections; they’re institutions with the rare ability to tell stories with those collections – stories that resonate in the lives of the people who encounter them. Our renovated building will allow us to fulfill this bold mission,” said Roger Hertog, Chairman of the New-York Historical Society Board of Trustees.

“We thank the Landmark Preservation Commission for its support of the Society's important public service. It is, first and foremost, our desire to enable the broadest possible public to enjoy learning about the history of New York and the nation that has led to our design,” said Louise Mirrer, president and CEO of the New-York Historical Society. “We have listened carefully to our many constituents and have responded with designs that fully respect the architecture of our landmark, but that also convey the evolution of one of the city’s greatest cultural treasures.”

"The New-York Historical Society headquarters at 77th Street and Central Park West was built to preserve the legacy of old, rich, white families. The institution now considers itself to be a home for citizens of every race, ethnicity, and religion, and this more inclusive mission requires a structure that can support big crowds and big events," said Kenneth T. Jackson, Barzun Professor of History, Columbia University and N-YHS trustee.

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