The Bedford Landmarks Hearing Was Packed Yesterday


Yesterday’s Landmarks Preservation Commission hearing for the proposed Bedford Historic District was well attended, and supporters outnumbered those opposed. “Thirty-six people spoke. Only eight opposed. The hearing room was packed!” said one attendee. Evelyn Collier, the Landmarks Chairperson for Community Board Three, said of the proposed district: “Its streetscapes representing the design of 45 architects have remained virtually unchanged over the past 150 years. The designation… will ensure that these structures will remain for the use and pleasure of future generations.” Claudette Brady, one of the founders of the Bedford Stuyvesant Society for Historic Preservation, read a statement from the Crown Heights North Association: “Like Crown Heights North, Bedford Stuyvesant has been a victim to bank redlining, racism, loss of city services, and lots of bad press. Like us, they keep going, and in the process preserving a neighborhood that is now beginning to experience the joys and dangers of being noticed… The blocks in the proposed designation represents some of the finest intact architecture in the entire city. The people of the community… who have discovered the treasures of this neighborhood have worked tirelessly for this moment.” Brady also read a statement by Suzanne Spellen, our very own Montrose Morris: “I feel like a favorite aunt at a wedding, about to see the bride go down the aisle. I am very proud to be here today, testifying for the Bedford Historic District.” Local homeowners and local architects also spoke in support of the designation, while others expressed concern about the costs of repairs in a landmarked neighborhood and obtaining grants from the LPC. Pastor Johnny Ray Youngblood, who got some press last week for speaking out against landmarking, said the “unnecessary” rules and regulations of landmarking would work against longtime homeowners. He said that the “LPC assumed they could ramrod this designation down our throats” without enough community outreach for the proposal. Many community members who have worked years doing just that disagree. From the Facebook page of the Historic Districts Council, an advocate for historic neighborhoods in New York City: “Hearing today went well but LONG and unnecessarily stressful. Full report tomorrow but the short version is that our local partners in Bed-Stuy and Stapleton really got out the troops with articulate supporters of the two historic districts. The opposition also brought in some people but they were not nearly as well prepared. Still, accusations of exclusivity when the community advocates have spent the last four years talking to everyone that would listen were hard to take.” Regardless, landmarking seems in the near future for this deserving district. The LPC calendared the proposed historic district this summer.
Mark Your Calendars for the Bedford HD Public Hearing [Brownstoner]

14 Comment

  • stuyheightsarch

    So true I was really happy with the people that went to testify yesterday. All people that spoke for landmarking sounded educated and informed. The people the spoke against seemed angry and ignorant. Most of the people against such as Youngblood do not even live in the district. Two people against live in Queens… Also a much love to architect George Chappell’s family!

  • nalusurf

    This is really great news! Congratulations!! I believe there is also a proposed expansion of the Stuyvesant Height District on the table, is that correct? If so, does anyone know the status of it? I would also like to know if anyone has heard of whether the LPC is considering moving east of Malcolm X Blvd. I live in the area east of Malcolm X and would appreciate any guidance homeowners may have as to how to rally the expansion of these areas.

  • hancock1

    Was great to see such a turnout yesterday. Strong support for designation from many quarters. Yes, the opponents turned out at the last moment, after 4 years of community outreach and community informational meetings, to complain that the process was flawed. Also, many of the opponents seem to have connections to the Real Estate Board of NY (REBNY). Hmm, is that a coincidence? Many moving statements from long-time residents, including one very charming 96-year old grandmother. Long meeting but very good overall tenor.

  • stuyheightsarch

    “From commodorestephendecatur, who is precluded from posting here by an ongoing technical glitch in the site’s discussion board system:
    @Nalusurf, howdy neighbor. Eastern BedStuy has an active organization devoted to achieving historic district designation for the area, to which LPC has given the phase name ‘Stuyvesant East’. The organization is SEPAL, the Stuyvesant East Preservation Action League. Please visit http://www.stuyvesanteast.org to get in touch with us.
    Thank you amzihill for posting this.”

    • nalusurf

      Thank you commodore! Really like the neighborhood and our immediate neighbors have been great. Looking forward to getting in touch with you all.

      Amzihill, thank you for the map and for all your insightful and helpful posts. You probably are not aware, but you were very helpful in our move to the area. Happy to see the area we are in included in one of the proposed districts.

    • megazoid

      @amzihill:
      In that map there are three Northern areas: Shannon’s Garden, Bedford-Stuyvesant East-Central and Cripplebush Road. I have never seen any other references to these areas (except in this map), and Google research has not helped much either. Do you happen to know more about these areas, what are they supposed to mean on the map (the exact term is “SR/NR eligible (2008) – NYLC survey”). Thanks.

      • Here is a link to a map of the proposed historic districts for NYC Landmark designation

        The google map shows just a few areas in Bedford-Stuyvesant that are eligible for SR/NR – State and Nationa Registry of Historic place.

  • Congratulations to the Bed Stuy pro- preservationists for holding the line, and making the people’s case! It is so unfortunate that Rev. Johnny Ray Youngblood, who has enjoyed a well-deserved and longstanding reputation of fearless clerical leadership in Brooklyn’s Black community, seems to have mistepped rather badly into this matter as a misinformed Johnny-come lately. And, yes, Hancockone, you might be onto something in identifying the possible influence of REBNY/ pro-development forces in attempting to stir up so-called “community opposition.” But it’s precisely because of the many years of dedicated, in-the-trenches hard work by folk like Claudette, Amzi, MM and so many others, that the true Bed Stuy community has turned out in support of landmarking. Go Bed Stuy!

  • And has anyone heard any news on the Stuyvesant North land-marking proposal?