Events & News

New Oral History Project Teaches Preservation Students Valuable Skills and Expands NYPAP’s Holdings

May 14, 2008
Article from Spring 2008 Newsletter

In the 2007 fall semester the New York Preservation Archive Project launched an oral history project in partnership with Pratt Institute’s graduate program in historic preservation. The endeavor supports a major element of NYPAP’s mission—documenting and studying preservation’s history to strengthen the field today. NYPAP Chair, Anthony C. Wood, and Administrator Vanessa Norton worked with students in the Public History class taught by Marci Reaven and Jeanne Houck to develop questions, schedule interviews, and record conversations between preservation students and preservation veterans. The series of six interviews focuses on the theme of grassroots preservation of the 1980s. Students Merrill Branch-McTiernan, Portia Dyrenforth, Shannon Haltiwanger, Keenan Hughes, Karen Mathiasen, Katie Nolan, and participated in the class. Those preservationists interviewed were Hal Bromm, on the TriBeCa historic district designation and the early days of HDC; Joe Rosenberg on the early days of HDC and the fight to protect historic Broadway theatres; Robert Kornfeld, Sr. on achieving historic district designation for Riverdale in the Bronx; publicist Joyce Matz on a variety of preservation campaigns including the City and Suburban Houses and St. Bart’s; Jack Taylor, on the subjects of the Drive to Protect the Ladies’ Mile Historic District, Luchöw’s restaurant, and the Dvořák House; and Lorna Nowve, a former staff member of the Municipal Art Society and the Historic Districts Council on the early years of the HDC. The interviews were transcribed and, after being edited, will be made available on NYPAP’s website. NYPAP is seeking support to continue this program in the fall 2008 semester.

Above: Warehouse at 16 Hudson Street, 1895; Courtesy of King's Photographic Views of New York