2014-01-15 / Features

Forest Close In Forest Hills Named Historic Priority Area

The Historic Districts Council (HDC), New York’s citywide advocate for historic buildings and neighborhoods, announced its 2014 Six to Celebrate, an annual listing of historic New York City neighborhoods and institutions that merit preservation attention. This is New York’s only citywide list of preservation priorities coming directly from the neighborhoods. Launching in conjunction with the 2014 list is also a Web site for the Six to Celebrate program, detailing all of the preservation work done in the chosen neighborhoods since the program’s inception in 2011. The Web site can be viewed at www.6tocelebrate.org.
The 2014 groups will be formally introduced at the Six to Celebrate Launch Party on Wednesday, January 29, 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. at the LGBT Community Center, 208 West 13th Street. For tickets, visit hdc.org.
The six priority areas were chosen from applications submitted by neighborhood groups around the city on the basis of the architectural and historic merit of the area, the level of threat to the neighborhood, strength and willingness of the local advocates, and where HDC’s citywide preservation perspective and assistance could be the most meaningful. Throughout 2014, HDC will work with these neighborhood partners to set and reach preservation goals through strategic planning, advocacy, outreach, programs and building public awareness.
Starting off the year strong, on Tuesday, February 11, the proposed Park Avenue Historic District will have a Public Hearing at the Landmarks Preservation Commission. The proposed district encompasses the large sections of the iconic boulevard which are unprotected and under threat of inappropriate development. The coalition of local advocates has gathered widespread community and political support and will continue their work to ensure the designation of this historic neighborhood. HDC Executive Director, Simeon Bankoff said, “We are very excited to take such a major step for one of our Six to Celebrate groups so early in the year. We look forward to using this momentum to achieve preservation victories on Park Avenue and with our other priority groups.”
One development in the program is this year’s inclusion of Public Libraries as a thematic priority. In recent years, as preservation issues surrounding libraries have become part of the public dialogue, including the Central Library Plan and the fight to save New York’s beautiful Carnegie branch libraries, the Historic Districts Council has recognized the need to call explicit attention to these institutions. This choice is not limited to a specific geographic neighborhood, era, or local advocacy group; as HDC will engage communities citywide. Local libraries serve as community anchors and are sometimes a neighborhoods’ oldest and only surviving architecturally significant building. They serve as landmarks in the truest sense of the word. Throughout 2014, HDC will seek to connect with new audiences and local library lovers in this effort to recognize and preserve these architecturally beautiful and culturally vital institutions.
Founded in 1971 as a coalition of community groups from New York City’s designated historic districts, the Historic Districts Council has grown to become one of the foremost citywide voices for historic preservation. Serving a network of over 500 neighborhood-based community groups in all five boroughs, HDC strives to protect, preserve and enhance New York City’s historic buildings and neighborhoods through ongoing advocacy, community development and education programs. The Queens site selected as part of the 2014 Six to Celebrate is:
Forest Close - Designed in 1927 in the spirit of the garden city movement, Forest Close is a charming nook of 38 neo-Tudor houses surrounding a shared communal garden. While the Forest Close Association maintains covenants that regulate design and open space elements of the community and advises residents on design guidelines for building projects, they are now exploring other tools to better protect the area’s special character. The association is working to engage residents and local stakeholders to promote the preservation of this lush neighborhood in Forest Hills.

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