Winter 2010-11

LESPI's Let's Save the East Village / Lower East Side Event a Hit

NYC Councilmember Rosie Mendez

On the cusp of another snowy winter storm 150 people braved the cold to attend LESPI's January 11th Let's Save the East Village / Lower East Side - Neighbors and Friends "Meet and Greet". Neighborhood residents, artists, preservationists and friends enjoyed composer Arthur Abrams's talents at the piano, tasted delicacies from local restaurants, and joined in lively conversations. Theater for the New City's wonderful art exhibit, "Preservation - Preserve or Forget", curated by Art Loisaida, complemented the evening's preservation theme.

NYC Councilmember Rosie Mendez and TNC Executive Director Chrystal Field spoke on the importance of preservation. LESPI members Carolyn Ratcliffe, Richard Moses, Britton Baine, Philip Van Aver and Marie Beirne discussed LESPI's efforts to help preserve the neighborhood's historic streetscapes and cultural history. If you missed our "Meet and Greet", check out You Tube for event highlights, courtesy of LESPI member Bruce Monroe.

Photo by Seth Baum

Visit us on Facebook or at www.LESPI-nyc.org for information about future events. This event was cosponsored by LESPI, TNC, and Art Loisaida.

We want to thank the following local establishments for their generous donations: Art Loisaida, De Roberti's Pasticceria, Esperanto, Palatofino, Russo's Mozzarella and Pasta, Something Sweet, and Veselka.

LESPI's Advocacy Moves Forward

In January LESPI met with NYC Landmarks Preservation Commission senior staff to discuss our goals for landmark designation in the East Village and LPC's plans for the area. During the meeting, LESPI emphasized that the "heart and spine" of the East Village is Tompkins Square Park and St. Mark's Place,and that any historic district must acknowledge the blocks surrounding the park and to the west. LESPI pointed out that this area warrants landmark designation based on its architectural, historic, and cultural significance. We look forward to follow up meetings with the Commission staff.

In February LESPI met with NY State Assembly member Deborah Glick's Chief of Staff and Community Liaison to discuss our accomplishments and objectives. We received very positive support. We look forward to working with the Assembly member's office in the future to advocate for the preservation of the East Village's historic resources.

Can 35 Cooper Square Be Saved?

Demolition started this month on 35 Cooper Square's roof, and was abruptly halted by the Buildings Department. But it appears that the owner has corrected the DOB's Stop Work Order, and as of this writing we're waiting to see if demolition begins again. The destruction of this striking and essentially intact example of early 19th century Federal style architecture would be a great loss for the architectural and cultural history of the East Village / Lower East Side. Built by direct descendants of Peter Stuyvesant, it was more recently the home of renowned Beat poet Diane di Prima and actor Joel Gray. LESPI, with Historic Districts Council, Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation and other community groups, supported Bowery Alliance of Neighbors campaign for landmark designation, but it appears that development pressures were too strong to landmark this wonderful building.

35 Cooper Square: Endangered

The next step is to try to work with the developer to save the building, and the issue will be reviewed by Community Board 3 in March. But we need to continue to band together to prevent future demolitions of our neighborhood's historic architecture, and to preserve what remains of the historic East Village / Lower East Side!

What's Your Story?

LESPI is embarking on an Oral History of the East Village to highlight the remarkable cultural history of the neighborhood. LESPI's Marie Beirne, who is producing a video documentary on a history of Stuyvesant Town, is leading the effort to gather East Village historical / cultural information and interview subjects.

Do you have strong ties to the East Village? Have you lived, worked, or simply hung out here - from the 1980s or earlier? Do you have a favorite story about your time here - something funny, sad, or memorable in some other way? We'd love to hear from you. Please contact us at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

Support LESPI!

We're looking for people to help with outreach, people with specialized skills and experience, monetary donations (which are tax deductible as allowed by law), and any other assistance that can help further our mission. We'd very much appreciate your help in our campaign to preserve the East Village / Lower East Side and hope to hear from you in the near future.

Search “Lower East Side Preservation Initiative” on Facebook and check out our site! If you click the “Like” button you’ll receive periodic preservation, history and architectural updates for the LES/EV. You’ll also be showing support for our cause!

About LESPI

LESPI was formed in 2007 to urge the LPC to designate as historic districts intact portions of the East Village / Lower East Side. Our strategy includes documenting and mapping the historic streetscapes, starting with the East Village, and rallying community residents, city officials and the LPC to effect landmark designation.

We’re looking for people to help with outreach, people with specialized skills and experience, monetary donations (which are tax deductible as allowed by law), and any other assistance that can help further our mission. We’d very much appreciate your help in our campaign to preserve the East Village / Lower East Side and hope to hear from you in the near future.

Contact us by email at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it or use the form, through our web site lespi-nyc.org, or by mail at LESPI, c/o Neighborhood Preservation Center, 232 East 11th Street, New York, NY 10003.

Photo left by Bruce Monroe
 
 
Fall 2010

LESPI'S RECENT WORK

carolyn getting signatures
Russian Orthodox Cathedral of the Holy Virgin Protection at 59 East 2nd Street. Photo courtesy of Barry Munger

LESPI Petition Drive

Sign Me Up!

The Lower East Side Preservation Initiative’s (LESPI) has been getting great public support for our drive to have the NYC Landmarks Preservation Commission (LPC) landmark architecturally and historically important areas of the East Village / Lower East Side. Over the last two months LESPI’s first three petition drives gathered nearly 400 signatures, after just a few of hours of petitioning!

135 Bowery
135 Bowery

Landmark these Sites!

LESPI has been a strong advocate for landmarking individual historic buildings as well as historic districts.

In July LESPI testified in person at and wrote a letter of support to Community Board 3 for landmarking the Orthodox Church in America Cathedral at 59 East 2nd Street (see photo). We joined other community and preservation groups seeking protection for this architecturally important East Village building. Steering Committee member Philip Van Aver’s testimony was mentioned in the newspaper East Villager, and we’ve heard that our presence had a great impact at the Board’s meeting.

We’ve also testified and/or sent letters to the LPC to support landmarking many other EV/LES sites, such as 135 Bowery, 101 Avenue A, 326 and 328 East 4th Street, and we supported the Bowery Alliance of Neighbors drive to have the NYC Department of City Planning downzone the Bowery’s east side.

Web Site Update:

Our web designer Onno de Jong of Circular Creation is updating our web site to include LESPI’s cultural data base, a map with cultural information about the East Village that connects to images of the sites. The first map delineates LESPI’s Tompkins Square study area. We expect to have it on line for viewing within the next few weeks. Check it out at www.LESPI-nyc.org.

About LESPI

LESPI was formed in 2007 to urge the LPC to designate as historic districts intact portions of the East Village / Lower East Side. Our strategy includes documenting and mapping the historic streetscapes, starting with the East Village, and rallying community residents, city officials and the LPC to effect landmark designation.

We’re looking for people to help with outreach, people with specialized skills and experience, monetary donations (which are tax deductible as allowed by law), and any other assistance that can help further our mission. We’d very much appreciate your help in our campaign to preserve the East Village / Lower East Side and hope to hear from you in the near future.

Contact us by email at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it or use the form, through our web site lespi-nyc.org, or by mail at LESPI, c/o Neighborhood Preservation Center, 232 East 11th Street, New York, NY 10003.

LESPI now on Facebook

carolyn getting signatures
Carolyn Ratcliffe and Philip Van Aver collect signatures for LESPI

Search “Lower East Side Preservation Initiative” on Facebook and check out our new site! If you click the “Like” button you’ll receive periodic LESPI updates on Facebook on topics like historic buildings in danger of demolition, NYC Landmarks Commission actions affecting the EV/LES, LESPI petition drive dates, etc. You’ll also be showing support for our cause!

 



The Lower East Side Preservation Initiative is dedicated to preserving the historic streetscapes of the Lower East Side, including the East Village, Lower East Side below Houston Street, Bowery, Chinatown and Little Italy