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Margot Wellington

The former executive director of the Municipal Art Society, Margot Wellington, speaks about revitalizing Brooklyn and the Urban Center.

Interviewed by Seri Worden
People: Kent Barwick, Halina Rosenthal, Beverly Moss Spatt, Robert B. Tierney
Organizations: Downtown Brooklyn Development Association, Municipal Art Society
Places: Boerum Hill, Brooklyn Academy of Music Historic District, Downtown Brooklyn, Grand Central Terminal, Paris, Portman Hotel, Upper East Side Historic District, Urban Center Books
Policy: Artist in Residency
Above: 451-457 MADISON AVENUE, MAIN COURTYARD, WEST ELEVATION, ORNAMENTAL IRON ARCH - Villard Houses, 451-457 Madison Avenue & 24 East Fifty-first Street, New York County, NY, 1976; Courtesy of Steven Zane, the Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division

Margot Wellington became involved in preservation in the 1950s through her work with the Downtown Brooklyn Development Association. They were working to preserve the walkability and department stores of Downtown Brooklyn. From there she started documenting the brownstones in Boerum Hill in an attempt to save them from developers. Over the course of her long career, she was involved the fight to save Grand Central Terminal, the Broadway Theaters, and to landmark the Upper East Side. Notably, while working for the Municipal Art Society, she helped to found and run the Urban Center. She speaks about the need for old buildings to foster creativity, allowing small businesses and artists to flourish, as well as how important it is to preserve the affordability in the city.

To request a copy of this oral history, please contact info@nypap.org.