The Landmarks of New York

Brooklyn Bridge, 1867-83. East River from City Hall Park, Manhattan, to Cadman Plaza, Brooklyn. Architects: John A. Roebling, Washington A. and Emily Roebling. Designated: August 24, 1967. Photo Credit: Laura Napier.
The Landmarks of New York
June 24, 2012 to September 4, 2012

The Landmarks of New York is an exhibition of 90 photographs of some of New York’s more than 1200 landmarks. The exhibition accompanies The Landmarks of New York, Fifth Edition: An Illustrated Record of the City’s Historic Buildings, published in September 2011 by State University of New York Press/Excelsior Editions. Both the book and the exhibition have been created and organized by Barbaralee Diamonstein-Spielvogel, author, television host and producer, preservationist, and civic activist. Dr. Spielvogel is chairperson of the Historic Landmarks Preservation Center, vice-chair of the New York State Council on the Arts, and director of the Trust for the National Mall. She was he first director of the Office of Cultural Affairs of New York City and the longest-serving commissioner of the New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission.

The 90 buildings featured in the exhibition include such architectural icons as the Woolworth Building, Rockefeller Center, the Plaza Hotel, the Brooklyn Bridge, and St. Patrick’s Cathedral, as well as less familiar sites such as the Pieter Claesen Wyckoff House in Brooklyn, the oldest building in New York State; the Rockefeller Guest House on East 52nd Street; the Historic Street Lamppost on Sutton Place at East 58th Street; the Charlie Parker residence at 151 Avenue B; and the Little Red Lighthouse in Fort Washington Park. At the opening reception, Saturday, June 23, at 6 pm, Diamonstein-Spielvogel will moderate a panel of award-winning architects considering “The Future of the Past.” A series of public programs addressing issues of preservation and including architects, set designers, and other notables, will be presented on Thursday evenings throughout the summer.

The Historic Landmarks Preservation Center addresses many aspects of the built environment in New York City and beyond by publishing books, articles, and pamphlets. The HLPC also creates and produces television programs, organizes lectures, symposia, and traveling exhibitions that concern historic preservation and history, as well as presenting public art exhibitions. More than 15 years ago, the HLPC, under Diamonstein-Spielvogel’s leadership, created the Cultural Medallion program, which was initiated to create a sense of pride in history and of place among New Yorkers and visitors.

Cultural Medallions are placed on buildings associated with distinguished New Yorkers involved in the arts, sciences, the law, business, education, sports, and politics. The elegant oval terra-cotta, black and white plaques recognize that history is not only about bricks and mortar, but also about what people accomplished under the city's roofs. "Not only do they help bring history alive," Diamonstein-Spielvogel says of the medallions, "they're meant to remind people of how New York became as rich and vital, as energetic and dynamic as it is. They're also meant to inspire you in your own life. This program is honoring the past and, we are, I hope, motivating people in the future."

Landmarks of New York has been touring museums, historical societies, and galleries throughout New York State since September 2011 and will continue to travel through June 2013, with ancillary exhibits and celebrations in each venue showcasing local historic preservation efforts.

The presentation of The Landmarks of New York exhibition is sponsored by J.P. Morgan.

This exhibition is organized by Barbaralee Diamonstein-Spielvogel and the Historic Landmarks Preservation Center, The New-York Historical Society and the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation.