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Mimi Levitt

Longtime neighborhood advocate Mimi Levitt recounts her experiences fighting to save buildings on the Upper East Side.

Interviewed by Sylvia [phonetic]
Organizations: Neighborhood Association to Preserve Fifth Avenue Houses
Places: 1001 Fifth Avenue, 1009 Fifth Avenue House, Metropolitan Museum Historic District, Upper East Side
Above: 1001 Fifth Avenue, 2013; Courtesy of Robert Caplin for The New York Times

Mimi Levitt formed the Neighborhood Association to Preserve Fifth Avenue Houses in the 1970s to save a row of private homes from demolition. They were ultimately unsuccessful in saving the homes, but through the courts, the group won the right to choose the architect of the new building being constructed at 1001 Fifth Avenue. From there, she began advocating for the creation of a historic district. She describes the long effort to convince homeowners and businesses to support the designation of the Metropolitan Museum Historic District, and the process of hearings at the New York City Landmark Preservation Commission. She also speaks about the strategies the local neighborhood groups used to slow and prevent the demolition of buildings in the area.

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