Committee for the Washington Market Historic District
Sometimes listed as Committee for the Extension of Tribeca's Historic Districts.
The Committee for the Washington Market Historic District was started with the purpose of protecting the integrity of the Tribeca neighborhood via the creation of a historic district.
Key Dates in Preservation Activity
1984 - Committee for the Washington Market Historic District Established
June 14, 1988 - Community Board 1 Resolution in support of creation of Washington Market Historic District
May 7, 1991 - Tribeca West designated a historic district
December 2, 1992 - Tribeca East designated a historic district
December 8, 1992 - Tribeca North and South designated historic districts
November 19, 2002 - Tribeca South Extension designated1.
"The Committee was formed in 1984 by the Tribeca Community Association in response to increasing concern in the neighborhood that some kind of protection aside from zoning regulations was needed to ward off the kind of uncontrolled development that could destroy Tribeca's special qualities"2.
Involvement with Preservation Campaigns
Formed in 1984, the Committee for the Washington Market Historic District immediately set to work toward the neighborhood's designation as a New York City historic district. Fueled by the changing character of the neighborhood, an impassioned group of residents began protesting inappropriate alterations to area buildings3. Hal Bromm, the founder of the committee stated that these alterations degraded the neighborhood4. This notion drove the fight against new development on existing structures. Following the campaigns to protect individual buildings, the committee moved to better organize neighbors in the fight for the historic district. The committee enlisted the help of well known Tribeca residents Robert De Niro, Edward Albee, and Jim Rosenquist5. Community members supported the cause by sending letters to Gene Norman, then Chairman of the New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission and speaking at public hearings.
By June 1989, the Landmarks Preservation Commission had countered the Committee's demands for one, large historic district with the proposition of four small, separate districts: Tribeca North, Tribeca South, Tribeca East, and Tribeca West6. These four small districts were not what the Committee had intended for the neighborhood, but with a fear of the issue being pushed aside, they fought in favor of these four districts7.
Over the next few years, the Committee for the Washington Market Historic District acted in support of the four Tribeca Historic Districts. The first success came in May 1991 when the Tribeca West Historic District was designated8. The battle for Tribeca did not end there as there were three more districts waiting for landmark designation. The remaining three Tribeca Historic Districts were designated in December 19929.
Members of the Committee and residents of the area still felt that the designation of the four districts excluded buildings of historic value. The neighbors reformed into the Committee for the Extension of Tribeca's Historic Districts. In November 2002, the Landmarks Preservation Commission designated an extension of the Tribeca South Historic District10.
Archives, Personal files, and Ephemura
Hal Bromm Tribeca Files
New York Preservation Archive Project
174 East 80th Street
New York, NY 10075
Hal Bromm Interview with Meryl Branch-McTiernan
October 18, 2007
The New York Preservation Archive Project Collection
- 1. "A Chronology Narrating Historic District Designation in Tribeca," The Historic Districts Council, January 2003.
- 2. "The Committee for the Washington Market Historic District: Questions and Answers," A Chronology Narrating Historic District Designation in Tribeca, The Historic Districts Council, January 2003.
- 3. "Planned Tower Atop Old Building Upsets TriBeCa," New York Times, August 21, 1986.
- 4. Branch-McTiernan, Meryl. Interview with Hal Bromm. October 18, 2007. New York Preservation Archive Project.
- 5. "Stop the Jackhammers; Send Cards and Letters," Daily News, April 4, 1989.
- 6. "Progress for Tribeca," Battery News, May 8, 1989.
- 7. Branch-McTiernan, Meryl. Interview with Hal Bromm. October 18, 2007. New York Preservation Archive Project.
- 8. "District in TriBeCa Wins Historic Designation and Elbow Room to Flaunt and Flex," New York Times, May 12, 1991.
- 9. "3 Historic Districts Are Created in TriBeCa," New York Times, December 9, 1992.
- 10. "POSTINGS: 28 Buildings Added to Historic District; City Extends TriBeCa Zone," New York Times, November 24, 2002.