Our Collections

Main gate showing Richard J. Koke at Castle Clinton, August 2, 1961; Courtesy of David Hirsch

The Oral History Collection documents the experiences and perspectives of New York City preservationists.

By collecting eyewitness accounts and personal impressions of moments in preservation history, the Archive Project aims to create a verifiable record of the movement and ensure that the work of preservationists is not forgotten. These oral histories document those who were directly involved in much of the groundbreaking legislation and grassroots activism of the 20th and 21st centuries. Whenever possible, transcripts, audio recordings, video recordings, photographs, and other supporting documentation of the resulting interviews are made available on this website. If not uploaded on the website, these materials may be available upon request.

If you are interested in becoming involved with our oral history program by sharing your own preservation experiences, acting as an interviewer, or suggesting a potential figure to interview, please contact us.

The views expressed by contributors to this oral history collection do not necessarily reflect the views of the New York Preservation Archive Project. 

Use of Materials: All oral histories made available in this online collection are licensed under Creative Commons, Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International.

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Above: Main gate showing Richard J. Koke at Castle Clinton, August 2, 1961; Courtesy of David Hirsch

The Oral History Collection

Oliver Allen

Retired writer Oliver Allen shares his considerable knowledge about Tribeca’s history and his role in helping to landmark it in the 1980s and '90s.

Interviewed by Peter Reda
March 30, 2010
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Eric Allison

Discussing Eric Allison’s career in advocacy and preservation and how landmark designation can lead to revitalized cities.

Interviewed by Elin Juselius
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Laurie Beckelman

Former Chair of the Landmarks Preservation Commission, Laurie Beckelman, shares her insight into building community relations, raising public awareness of preservation, and several important cases that arose during her tenure.

Interviewed by Liz McEnaney
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John Belle & John Beyer

John Belle and John Beyer speak to their experience restoring and renovating historic buildings and districts.

Interviewed by Tony Robins
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Thom Bess

Bronx native reflects on how education and community involvement aided preservation efforts in the Bronx.

Interviewed by Inna Guzenfeld
October 28, 2008
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Bronson Binger

Preservation, for architect and former New York City Parks Commissioner Bronson Binger, is about saving significant buildings. He was involved with the campaigns to designate Carnegie Hill and the fight to save the "Old" Metropolitan Opera House.

Interviewed by Melissa Brunette
October 17, 2008
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Seymour Boyers

Seymour Boyers describes his time spent on the New York City Council and his role in passing the New York City Landmarks Law.

Interviewed by Anthony C. Wood and Dorothy Miner
October 17, 2006
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Herbert Broderick

Herbert Broderick encountered the unique challenges of preserving religious buildings while fighting to save the Church of St. Paul and St. Andrew.

Interviewed by Zach Lemle
March 26, 2010
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Hal Bromm

The founder of the Committee for the Washington Market Historic District discusses the process of rallying local residents through education and outreach to preserve the Washington Market neighborhood, which is now known as Tribeca.

Interviewed by Meryl Branch-McTiernan
October 18, 2007
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Denise Brown-Puryear & Deborah Young

Denise Brown-Puryear and Deborah Young are co-founders of the Crown Heights North Association, and leaders in Brooklyn historic preservation.

Interviewed by Liz H. Strong
August 17, 2015
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