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Deirdre Stanforth

Prolific author and restoration advocate Deirdre Stanforth shares her experiences restoring and renovating her brownstone on the Upper West Side.

Interviewed by Florence Daniels
November 21, 2003
People: Arlene Simon
Organizations: Landmark West!
Places: Pennsylvania Station, Upper West Side/Central Park West Historic District
Above: Riverside Drive, Upper West Side, New York City; Courtesy of the Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division

Author Deirdre Stanforth purchased an 1870s brownstone with her husband on the Upper West Side in 1966, taking advantage of an urban renewal program that sought to restore the historic brownstones on the interior blocks of what was then considered a slum area. Stanforth describes how witnessing the loss of historic buildings such as Pennsylvania Station in the years prior to the adoption of the New York City Landmarks Law spurred her interest in preservation. She details her experience as a “pioneer” homeowner on the Upper West Side and addresses her neighborhood’s lengthy effort to achieve historic district designation under the law. When the effort to landmark the Upper West Side/Central Park West Historic District began, she rallied support from residents and local businesses in favor of the designation. She also speaks about how the perception of preservation has changed over the years and the difficulties with enforcing historic district rules.

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