Events & News

In Memoriam

In Memoriam

October 14, 2008
Article from the Fall 2008 Newsletter

This year saw the loss of many who have played important roles in the unfolding history of preservation in New York City. NYPAP mourns the loss of these great individuals, and hopes to keep their stories alive by continuing its mission to protect and celebrate the narratives of historic preservation in New York City.

Roger Lang, former director of community programs and services at the New York Landmarks Conservancy, died of lung cancer at age 64 on March 31, 2008. Lang played a crucial role in preserving the abandoned buildings on the south side of Ellis Island. An obituary is available in the April 11, 2008 issue of The New York Times.

David Todd, former chair of the New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission, passed away on March 31, 2008 at age 93. Todd focused on architectural excellence during his time as chairman of the Commission. A full obituary is published in the April 2, 2008 issue of The New York Times.

Jan Hird Pokorny, architect, passed away at age 93 on May 20, 2008. Pokorny was known for his restorations and adaptations of historic structures in New York City, and also served on both the Art Commission of NYC and the NYC Landmarks Preservation Commission. An obituary is available in the June 25, 2008 issue of the Architect’s Newspaper, as well as in the May 23, 2008 issue of The New York Times.

Norman Marcus died of cancer on June 30, 2008 at the age of 75. During his time as general counsel to the NYC Planning Commission, Marcus was a key player in the creation of special districts to preserve the character of many neighborhoods throughout NYC and was a central figure in creating the Midtown Manhattan district, which allowed for air rights above historic theaters to be transferred to nearby areas. An obituary is available in the July 7, 2008 issue of The New York Times and the July 30, 2008 issue of the Architect’s Newspaper.

Paul Byard died of cancer on July 15, 2008 at age 68. Partner at the firm Platt Byard Dovell White Architects, over his career Byard made a triple contribution to preservation, initially as a lawyer, then as an architect, and as an educator at Columbia University. A full obituary is available in the July 18, 2008 issue of The New York Times.

Stanley Michels, former city councilmember from upper Manhattan, passed away on August 1, 2008 at age 75. During his time in public office, Michels secured tens of millions of dollars for the restoration of parks in northern Manhattan, including the landmarked Highbridge Pool. A full obituary is available on Henry J. Stern’s website www.nycivic.org, as well as in the August 2, 2008 issue of The New York Times.

Verna Small passed away on August 10, 2008 at the age of 92. For over forty years, Small fought to maintain Greenwich Village’s historical character by helping create such organizations as the Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation, the Washington Square Association, and the Federation to Preserve the Greenwich Village Waterfront and Great Port. A full obituary is available in the August 20-26, 2008 issue of The Villager (Volume 78/Number 12).

Above: Jan Hird Pokorny at the 2006 Golden Jubilee of the Bard Act; Courtesy of the New York Preservation Archive Project