NYCHA Housing Recommended for Landmarking

March 25, 2014 Updated: March 26, 2014

NEW YORK—In an effort to bring tourists and recognition to more of New York’s old and beautiful buildings, the New York State Board for Historic Preservation has recommended 21 new sites to the National Register of Historic Places.

“Preserving these historic sites helps promote tourism, one of New York’s fastest growing industries, especially upstate,” stated Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Monday.

According to the governor’s press office, registering as a state or federal historical site could help a property, building, or resource to become eligible for “various public preservation programs and services, such as matching state grants and state and federal historic rehabilitation tax credits.”

If this is true, it would certainly be welcome news for the mixed-use housing on West 114th between Frederick Douglas Boulevard and Adam Clayton Powell Boulevard. Most buildings in the neighborhood were constructed at the end of the 1800’s and are now under the New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA). Today, the structures show a lack of care in peeling paint, crumbling façades, and graffiti. Signs on the front read “No loitering or sitting on steps or stoops, loitering in halls or on stairs.”

Residents loitering on their steps were not shy about declaring their distrust of any new government oversight. They have been promised repairs on their residences since 1999 and are still waiting to see many of them come to fruition.

The state already has over 90,000 locations registered with the National Register of Historic Places, something the governor says homeowners and businesses are taking advantage of. In 2013, his office estimates that, thanks to tax credits, $1 billion was spent on renovating historic commercial buildings and $14.3 million on historic residences.

The historic sites that are chosen preserve certain styles true to a particular time period or location. Others are the site of a significant historical event or are associated with an important figure in history. Almost all federal historical sites are over 50 years old.

Holly Kellum is a special correspondent in New York.

Follow Holly on Twitter: @HollyGailK