Residents Cheer as Landmarks Commission Designates Four Historic Districts in Sunset Park

The Sunset Park South Historic District. Photo by Susan De Vries

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Four separate historic districts in Sunset Park—the first in the neighborhood—were designated this morning by the Landmarks Preservation Commission.

The vote among the commissioners was unanimous across all four districts.

“This set of districts is very personal to me,” said LPC Chair Sarah Carroll, who talked about seeing firsthand the “passion and commitment” of the community in regards to landmarking.

sunset park historic districts

Map via NY Landmarks Preservation Commission

The four historic districts this morning were: Sunset Park North, Central Sunset Park, Sunset Park 50th Street and Sunset Park South. After years of work from local advocates, the LPC moved ahead with considering designation and calendared the districts in January.

Approximately 514 buildings make up the new districts. Many are small Renaissance Revival and Beaux-Arts-style brownstone, limestone and brick two-family row houses dating from the turn of the 20th century that were built for working class families. The Sunset Park North Historic District includes some of the earliest apartment co-operatives in New York City, modest dwellings built by associations of Finnish immigrants to house their working-class members.

At a public hearing in May, more than 40 residents and preservation advocates spoke passionately about the neighborhood. Many have lived in the same houses for multiple generations and spoke to the unique fabric of their community.

In recent years, development and in some cases illegal conversions have resulted in what some residents have said they feel are inappropriate alterations to the neighborhood’s historic buildings, spurring the push for historic designation.

sunset park

A block in the Central Sunset Park Historic District. Photo by Susan De Vries

At the end of the meeting today, when the final district was designated, the crowd of about 20 people erupted in cheers. “After 30 years!” one man shouted in the back of the room. “Finally!”

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