Our Collections

Committee for the Washington Market Historic District

Committee for the Washington Market Historic District

Also know as the Committee for the Extension of Tribeca's Historic Districts

The Committee for the Washington Market Historic District was founded in 1984 to campaign for designation of a historic district in Tribeca.

Neighborhood: Tribeca
People: Edward Albee, Hal Bromm, Robert De Niro, Gene Norman, Jim Rosenquist
Organizations: Committee for the Extension of Tribeca’s Historic Districts, New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission, Tribeca Community Association
Above: No. 50 Warren Street, built c. 1857-1858, 2002; Photo by Carl Forester

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 an historic district.

1984: The Committee for the Washington Market Historic District is established

June 14, 1988: The Community Board 1 Resolution is created in support of creation of the Washington Market Historic District

May 7, 1991: Tribeca West is designated an historic district

December 2, 1992: Tribeca East is designated an historic district

December 8, 1992: Tribeca North and South are designated historic districts

November 19, 2002: Tribeca South Extension is designated an historic district1

The Committee for the Washington Market Historic District 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

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 buildings.3 Hal Bromm, the founder of the committee, stated that these alterations degraded the neighborhood.4 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 Rosenquist.5 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 West.6 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 districts.7

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 designated.8 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 1992.9

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 District.10

  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,” The New York Times, 21 August 1986.
  4. 
Meryl Branch-McTiernan, Interview with Hal Bromm. 18 October 2007, New York Preservation Archive Project Collection.
  5. 
”Stop the Jackhammers; Send Cards and Letters,” Daily News, 4 April 1989.
  6. 
”Progress for Tribeca,” Battery News, 8 May 1989.
  7. 
Meryl Branch-McTiernan, Interview with Hal Bromm. 18 October 2007, New York Preservation Archive Project Collection.
  8. 
”District in TriBeCa Wins Historic Designation and Elbow Room to Flaunt and Flex,” The New York Times, 12 May 1991.
  9. 
”3 Historic Districts Are Created in TriBeCa,” The New York Times, 9 December 1992.
  10. 
”POSTINGS: 28 Buildings Added to Historic District; City Extends TriBeCa Zone,” The New York Times, 24 November 2002.