LESPI Newsletter Winter 2015

LESPI Newsletter Winter 2015

Winter 2015

The Lo-Down Visits LESPI

How does modern media, in its coverage of new development projects, report on what some see as growth and what others see as destruction? How can preservationists best communicate their message to news outlets to ensure coverage? These were among the questions explored in our February “LESPI Lecture,” delivered by Ed Litvak, publisher of The Lo-Down, one of the Lower East Side’s top sources for neighborhood news.

Having reported on the Lower East Side since 2009, Ed shared his observations as a journalist covering a rapidly changing neighborhood. He stressed the importance of delivering unbiased, objective coverage – even when reporting on one’s own community. When covering preservation issues, reporters seek to present

The Lo-Down’s Ed Litvak with Traven Rice to his right

the perspective of those on both sides of the debate. It is therefore important that an organized, robust preservation community exists to represent the views of those seeking to preserve their neighborhoods’ historic structures. He advised preservationists to persist, even when it appears the odds are against them.

Ed gave important advice to preservationists who seek to get their battles reported in the media: reporters are more likely to cover stories with a human element, with a historic reference point, or by relating to current events. In today’s media environment, traditional press releases are less likely to ‘break through’ and get attention. Rather, reporters are just as likely to report on ‘untold stories’ found on social media or through conversation.

The lively question and answer atmosphere – garnished with wine and cheese refreshments – was clearly enjoyed by all. LESPI thanks Ed and his partner, Traven Rice for joining us at our February meeting!

Join LESPI for 2015!

Your $20 membership dues help us work to preserve the historic East Village / Lower East Side. Or donate more: all donations are tax deductible as allowed by law. See HERE to donate. Thank you!

Support LESPI!


Please donate to LESPI to help us in our work to preserve the historic East Village / Lower East Side! To donate, see HERE.

Or you can write a check to “FCNY/LESPI” and mail it to LESPI, c/o Neighborhood Preservation Center, 232 East 11th Street, New York, NY 10003. All donations are tax deductible as allowed by law.


We’re looking for people to help with outreach, people with specialized skills and experience, monetary donations, 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 at info@lespi-nyc.orgThis e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

Stay in Touch!

Go to “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!

LESPI T-Shirts Now On Sale!

Wear a beautiful LESPI t-shirt to show your support for preservation of the historic East Village / Lower East Side! See HERE for purchase information. All proceeds go toward supporting LESPI’s work.

T-shirts are Hanes heavy duty 100% cotton.


LESPI is a grass roots, all-volunteer not-for-profit corporation in NY State formed in 2007 to urge the NYC Landmarks Preservation Commission 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 Lower East Side below Houston Street, and rallying community residents, city officials and the LPC to effect landmark designation. LESPI is a not-for-profit corporation in the State of New York. Our fiscal sponsor is Fund for the City of New York.

Photos by Bruce Monroe (events) and Richard Moses (Tompkins Square)

LESPI’s “Ship Building in the Dry Dock District of NYC”

The era of the great clippers, ironclads and steamships has been elevated to almost mythic lore in our country. Many of these great ships were built in the shipyards of Manhattan’s Lower East Side. Very few traces of these legendary yards remain.

On a frosty night in January, Laura Zelasnic provided her wonderful lecture for LESPI “Ship Building in the Dry Dock District of New York City,” on the history of these prolific shipyards. During much of the 19th century, the dry docks and yards extended along the East River waterfront roughly from E 14th Street to the Manhattan Bridge. Laura wove an intriguing story (despite technical difficulties) of a time when these manufacturers’ products – giant sailing and steam ships – led to the beginnings of full scale globalization, both in the movement of immigrants to this and other countries, and the movement of trade all around the world. These great ships included the SS Savannah, which was built at the Crocker and Fickett yard at

SS Savannah

Corlears Hook in 1818 and a year later was the first steamship to cross the Atlantic, and the sailing yacht America, which was built at the William H. Brown shipyard at mid century and for which the America’s Cup is named.

Stay tuned to LESPI’s Facebook page for invitations to future LESPI lecture events, and / or join our email list at info@LESPI-nyc.orgThis e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

Laura Zelasnic

Who We Are

LESPI Board Profiles: Eileen Kim

Too often, the public thinks of volunteer preservation organizations as mysterious entities with lives of their own. But they’re actually conglomerations of individuals. For this reason, we want to introduce you to our Board of Directors. Each LESPI quarterly newsletter highlights one of our Board members. For our Winter 2015 newsletter, we are highlighting Eileen Kim, a member of our Board of Directors since 2013.

Eileen is not a native New Yorker, but an immigrant, her family having emigrated from Seoul, her father South Korean, and her mother North Korean. Eileen was three months of age when the family moved to the USA. She holds three degrees, a BS in International Careers from Lehigh University, a MS in Arts Administration from Drexel University, and an AAS in Fashion Design from Parsons. This last degree program is what brought Eileen to New York, a city she loves.

As a resident of the East Village / Lower East Side Historic District, she feels right at home with the area’s immigrants and their stories. No longer in the fashion business, she became aware of the special architecture of the neighborhood through her work as a residential real estate salesperson. She firmly believes in the need to preserve the beautiful buildings in her community. Which is how she came to be involved with LESPI, serving initially on its Board of Advisors, then becoming a Director. She currently chairs the Landmarks50 task force, sits on the Oral History and Events committees, and helps to staff LESPI tabling and petitioning sessions.

When not working, Eileen spends time with loved ones, practices the art of Tae Kwon Do, attends the opera, travels the world, scuba dives, kiteboards, meets people, and just tries to have fun, be happy and enjoy life! Eileen is proud to be on the Board of LESPI, drawn to the need to preserve the East Village and the Lower East Side, a neighborhood caught up in rapid changes and in jeopardy of losing its historic character. We are lucky to be the recipients of her passion, knowledge and energy.

Contact us by email at info@lespi-nyc.orgThis 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.