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The Historic Districts Council just announced its annual list of six areas of New York meriting preservation, as part of its Six to Celebrate campaign this year. Over the year, the HDC will offer hands-on assistance in a number of preservation issues, like documentation, research, zoning, landmarking, publicity, and public outreach. Here in Queens, the HDC selected the Forest Close neighborhood of Forest Hills as an area worth celebrating. Here’s what they have to say about 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.

The 2014 groups will be formally introduced at the Six to Celebrate Launch Party on Wednesday, January 29th, 6 to 8pm at the LGBT Community Center, 208 West 13th Street. You can get tickets here.

Photo by Michael Perlman

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How the Jehovah’s Witnesses Acquired Some of Brooklyn’s Most Insanely Valuable Properties
The Jehovah’s Witnesses — aka the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society — first came to Brooklyn in 1908, in hopes of having their sermons syndicated in newspapers alongside the writings of the borough’s most famous pastors. It was under the Watchtower’s autocratic second leader, Joseph F. Rutherford, that the religious group truly began practicing the art of Brooklyn real estate.

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Photo of 135 Pennsylvania Avenue by Zulmilena Then

A young junior architect who grew up in East New York is leading the fight to landmark more than two dozen of the neighborhood’s architectural icons.

Spurred into action by the destruction of the historic East New York Savings Bank and Mayor de Blasio’s controversial rezoning plan, Zulmilena Then founded Preserving East New York (PENY) last year. Now with six members, the fledgling organization has caught the attention of the preservation nonprofit Historic Districts Council, which named East New York one of its 2016 “Six to Celebrate” earlier this month.

Just to be clear, getting the recognition of the Historic Districts Council is like finding out you have a landmarks fairy godmother — HDC’s mission is to help out local groups like PENY, and they’ll work with developers, the Landmarks Commission, and community members to protect spaces that need it.

Brownstoner caught up with the 29-year-old to hear more about her plans to work with the Mayor’s rezoning plan — not against it — to revitalize the area while preserving its historic character.

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Editors note: An updated version of this post can be viewed here.

Brooklyn, one building at a time.

This Gowanus factory building once housed the successful packing-box manufacturer James Dykeman. Today, artists work and exhibit here, alongside a museum dedicated to the famous and infamous canal.

Name: National Packing Box Factory
Address: 543 Union Street
Cross Streets: Corner of Nevins Street
Neighborhood: Gowanus
Year Built: 1889
Architectural Style: Typical late-19th-century brick industrial building
Architect: Robert Dixon
Other works by architect: Factories, row houses, storefront, tenement and flats buildings in Gowanus, Park Slope, Bedford Stuyvesant, Clinton Hill/Wallabout and other brownstone communities
Landmarked: No, but part of proposed Gowanus Canal Historic District for the National Register

James H. Dykeman was a successful Brooklyn carpenter. In 1877, he decided to branch out and open up a box-factory business.

We tend to think of boxes in terms of cardboard, but back then, wooden boxes of all sizes, shapes and strengths were used to transport everything from fragile china to machine equipment. Someone had to make them — who better than a carpenter?