June 14, 2013
Article from the Spring 2013 Newsletter
Executive director of the Landmarks Preservation Commission (LPC) for a decade, Lenore Norman is remembered as an important figure in the growth and professionalization of the agency. She steered the LPC through the years when the Landmarks Law was being challenged by the Penn Central Transportation Co. v. New York City Supreme Court case (which was ultimately decided in favor of the constitutionality of the law in 1978), and managed a dramatic expansion of the agency’s workload after the 1980s real estate boom. Born in Manhattan’s Washington Heights, Norman became involved in preservation while studying urban planning at Pratt Institute in the early 1970s. Beverly Moss Spatt, the Chair of the LPC in the mid-1970s, brought Norman on board at the agency in 1974 and shortly thereafter named her executive director. Norman oversaw the first comprehensive survey to identify structures and districts worthy of preservation and also established programs to salvage archaeological artifacts from construction sites. After leaving the Landmarks Preservation Commission she served as director of intergovernmental affairs at the Department of Buildings; in retirement she co-chaired the Preservation Committee of Community Board 7 on the Upper West Side. Lenore Norman died in December 2012 at the age of 83.
Ada Louise Huxtable, one of the most prominent architecture critics, virtually invented the field of architectural journalism in the early 1960s. She wrote for The New York Times until 1982, when she left to accept a MacArthur Fellowship. She later became the architecture critic at The Wall Street Journal. Huxtable aimed her critical eye and sharp wit not merely at the details of individual buildings, but at their relationship to the cityscape and society at large. This perspective led her to frequently write about preservation issues in her columns, beginning in the early 1960s when she argued the merits of preservation in numerous editorials as the New York City Landmarks Law was being debated. In 1966, she mourned the demolition of Penn Station in an elegiac column titled “A Vision of Rome Dies.” Her last published column, “Undertaking Its Destruction,” featured in The Wall Street Journal on December 3, 2012, denounces a proposal to alter the New York Public Library’s landmark-designated main building at Fifth Avenue and 42nd Street. Huxtable died at 91 in January 2013.
When he was 10 years old, Richard Anderson volunteered at the then-nascent South Street Seaport Museum, where he developed a lifelong desire to rescue the decaying ships of the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Although Anderson went on to establish a successful career in banking and the arts, his great passion for historic vessels led him to embark on a tireless effort to restore the SS Columbia. One of two remaining excursion steamships from the turn of the twentieth century, the SS Columbia is a National Historic Landmark, currently unused and deteriorating at dock in Detroit, Michigan. Anderson established the not-for-profit SS Columbia Project, which purchased the ship in 2006 and has since been raising funds to restore the vessel and relocate it to New York City. The project aims to reinstate the ship for excursions on the Hudson River, so as to serve as an educational and cultural resource for the City and the Hudson Valley. Unfortunately, Anderson passed away in January 2013 at the age of 50, before his project came to fruition. The SS Columbia Project vows to continue its mission to restore the ship and bring her to New York in honor of Richard Anderson.
A founding director of FRIENDS of the Upper East Side Historic Districts, and its president for over 20 years, Anne Millard was the spirited leader of one of New York City’s strongest neighborhood preservation not-for-profits. Taking the torch from FRIENDS’ first president, Halina Rosenthal, Millard continued efforts to preserve the architectural legacy, livability, and sense of place of the neighborhood she called home. Her warmth and cheerful disposition made her an effective advocate. An ardent preservationist, she was also a member of the Board of Trustees of the Preservation League of New York State and a member of the Board of Directors of the Park Avenue Armory. Millard, age 78, passed away on April 14, 2013.