Events & News

NYC Landmarks50 Alliance: Planning the 50th Anniversary Celebration of the Landmarks Law

May 14, 2014
Article from the Spring 2014 Newsletter

To commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Landmarks Law in 2015, over the next two years the NYC Landmarks50 Alliance will work to broaden the appreciation of New York City’s landmarks through a series of programs held throughout the five boroughs. Each member of the Alliance is planning a special project for the upcoming anniversary, and many of these plans are already coming to fruition.

The Society of Illustrators—founded in 1901 to appreciate and promote the art of illustration—has planned a special exhibition in honor of the City’s landmarks. Illustrating our Landmarks, curated by Leslie Cober-Gentry, will take place from June 3 to August 16, 2014, with an opening reception on Wednesday, June 11th at 6:30 p.m. at 128 East 63rd Street. Members of the Society have been asked to create a visual interpretation of their favorite New York City landmark, in any media and size. A jury will select one work to receive the prestigious Stevan Dohanos Award (named after the American realist painter famed for his Saturday Evening Post illustrations), and twelve additional works that will be reproduced in the Society’s 2015 calendar. These works, and a selection of other entries, will be included in the exhibition that will run through the summer. If you are interested in participating, please visit the Society’s website at for additional information.

In April 2015 the Museum of the City of New York (MCNY) will present the major exhibition Saving Place: Fifty Years of New York City Landmarks. Co-curated by Donald Albrecht, curator of architecture and design at MCNY, and Andrew Dolkart, director of the historic preservation program at Columbia University, and assisted by Seri Worden, preservation consultant, this exhibition will explore the past, present, and future of historic preservation in New York City.

The scope will be expansive, including a look at the people and the processes involved with landmark designation; an exploration of the roles of community activists, policy makers, owners, developers, and architects; and an examination and celebration of the beauty and power of the City’s architectural heritage. Several controversial topics in the field will be addressed, including the shifting interpretation and implementation of the Landmarks Law, the complex economics of preservation, and contemporary design within historic districts. In order to successfully tell this complex story, the exhibition will feature a rich combination of architectural renderings and models; historical documents and ephemera; photographs; archival film and radio clips; interactive features and digital media, and architectural fragments from some of New York City’s greatest lost treasures.

If you have any items that are significant to the history of preservation that could be included in the exhibition, please contact our office at MCNY is especially interested in original ephemera, photos, or archival materials related to early preservation campaigns for such sites as Pennsylvania Station, the Brokaw Mansion, Grand Central Terminal, Greenwich Village, and Brooklyn Heights.

These two exhibitions are just a small sampling of the wide range of projects that are being planned for the next two years. Feeling inspired? The NYC Landmarks50 Alliance welcomes innovative ideas from individuals and organizations throughout the five boroughs. To get involved, share ideas, and volunteer your time, please email

Above: Cover of "Saving Place: 50 Years of New York City Landmarks"; Courtesy of the Museum of the City of New York