Preservation in the City That Never Sleeps

Posted on: January 10th, 2013 by Preservation Leadership Forum Staff
Ellis Island was known as an “Island of Hope” for immigrants. Learn more about our work with Ellis Island at | Credit: Clara Daly/

Ellis Island was known as an “Island of Hope” for immigrants. Learn more about our work with Ellis Island at | Credit: Clara Daly/

Historic preservation in New York City is like the city itself--fast-paced, intensive, and challenging. And preservationists have been helping to shape the city for decades now, rising to the challenge of saving the best of the city’s richness in the face of constant and intense change.

Over the years, the National Trust has worked quite often with preservationists and partners in New York City. The city is served by the New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission, as well as some of the country’s most able preservation organizations, including the New York Landmarks Conservancy, Municipal Art Society, Historic Districts Council, and the statewide Preservation League of New York State. From Brooklyn’s industrial waterfront heritage to the recovery of Lower Manhattan landmarks after 9/11, and from the redevelopment of Governor’s Island to the conversion of the stately Farley Post Office to a grand, new train station, our teamwork with these organizations has helped New York City’s treasures endure and thrive.

In 2012 the National Trust worked in partnership with American Express on the Partners in Preservation – NYC campaign, engaging the public in our cause and awarding grants to historic places citywide. Today, we’re participating in the effort to save the vacant buildings on the south side of Ellis Island and providing assistance to historic places affected by Hurricane Sandy.

Until now, we’ve done this work from Trust offices in Boston and Washington, DC. In early 2013, the National Trust will open the New York City Field Office, made possible by a generous donation of office space by This Old House Ventures. To staff the new base of operations in New York, Senior Field Officer and Attorney Roberta Lane will relocate from the Boston Field Office, and Alec Raday, director of development, will relocate from the Chicago Field Office. As preservation issues emerge and shift in New York City, this new presence will allow the Trust to respond quickly and directly.