What’s LESPI’s organizational structure?

LESPI is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit corporation registered in New York State. We are a “grass roots” volunteer organization. To steer the organization, LESPI has a Board of Directors and Board of Advisers.

LESPI’s Board of Directors

Richard Moses, President: As a preservation architect in New York City for more than 25 years, Richard has a wide variety of preservation-related experience with the city’s private, governmental, and not-for-profit sectors. He is a founding member of LESPI.

 Carolyn Ratcliffe, First Vice President: Carolyn is Artistic Director for Art Loisaida Foundation, Development Director for Downtown Music Productions, Curator for Lower East Side Festival of the Arts, President of the Lower East Side Performing Arts and served on Community Board 3’s Arts and Culture Task Force, the Parks Committee and Landmarks Subcommittee. She has been with LESPI since 2008 and has taken a leading role in the group’s growth and development.

 Deborah Wye, Second Vice President: Deborah was a long-time curator at MoMA. Upon retirement she turned her attention to New York City history and architecture. In addition to the Lower East Side, she has focused on Pelham Bay Park, organizing an exhibition on its landmark Orchard Beach Pavilion for the City Island Nautical Museum. Deborah has been with LESPI since 2019.

 Britton Baine, Treasurer: Britton is a preservation architect who has been working professionally on historic preservation and restoration-related architectural projects in New York City and the surrounding area since 2004. He is a founding member of LESPI.

Helena Andreyko, Secretary: Active with the Grand Street Democrats and Administrator at the not-for-profit Hudson River Foundation, Helena is a long-time Lower East Side resident with a passion for its historic architecture and sense of place. She has been with LESPI since 2017.

Phyllis Eckhaus: Phyllis is a writer, lawyer, fundraiser, and amateur historian who has written about the radical women who flocked to Lower Manhattan (and NYU Law School)  at the turn of the 20th century.  An East Villager, Phyllis has been with LESPI since 2020.

Barry Feldman: Barry is a New York City tour guide who teaches at the Museum on Eldridge Street. He has longstanding interests in urban history, historic preservation, and the social history of American Jews. He is the former president of the Lower East Side Jewish Conservancy, and prior to retirement, was a senior NYC School Administrator and Professor of Education. He has been with LESPI since 2019.

Merica May Jensen: Merica is an artist, architect and educator working in New York City. Drawing from her experience as a professional dancer and 10+ years with Diller Scofido and Renfro, she strives to explore the role of architecture as social choreographer and agent. Her recent projects around gender equity, climate change, affordable housing, public space, and race have offered her opportunities to hone her design process and envision an elevated future. She has been with LESPI since 2021.

Laura Sewell: Laura is a long-time East Village resident, enthusiast and community advocate. She currently serves as the Executive Director of the East Village Community Coalition. Laura has been with LESPI since 2019.

Jean Standish: Jean has been living in the East Village for over 40 years and, as a result of the drastic changes in the community, has become an ardent preservationist, including serving as an active member of the Boards of LESPI and the Bowery Alliance of Neighbors. She has been with LESPI since 2010.

LESPI’s Board of Advisers

Michael Henry Adams: has been a prominent force in New York City and, in particular, Harlem preservation for decades. In Michael’s words: “l am Harlem’s Hellion, a latter-day knight errant in a sacred quest for justice, equality and recommence as it involves the best buildings from the past. In order for Black lives to matter today, the Black contribution to America and the world must be acknowledged, commemorated and preserved in the form of historic landmarks. Others concern themselves with different areas of equity. This is mine.” Michael has been with LESPI since 2022.

Marilyn Appleberg: a writer by profession, Marilyn has been an advocate for her East Village/ Lower East Side neighborhood for four decades. Her focus has been the protection, beautification and in 1984, the extension of the St Mark’s Historic District, one of the first designated in Manhattan in 1969. In 2012 Marilyn was honored with a Village award from the Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation recognizing 40 years as a “community leader and neighborhood activist.” She’s been with LESPI since 2012, and is the author of LESPI’s book “East Village: Lens on the Lower East Side.”

Simeon Bankoff for more than 20 years Simeon served as Executive Director of the Historic Districts Council, a New York City preservation advocacy organization that provides technical and strategic support to groups and individuals to help save historic buildings. Previously, he worked for a number of other New York City preservation organizations, including the Historic House Trust where he worked to acquire 18th and 19th century farmhouses for the city, and the NY Landmarks Preservation Foundation, where he helped initiate the Cultural Medallions plaque program which commemorate the residences of notable New Yorkers such as Jack Kerouac, George Gershwin and Edna St. Vincent Millay. Simeon has been with LESPI since 2016.

Andrew Berman: Andrew has been Executive Director of Village Preservation since 2002. He previously worked in the New York State Senate and New York City Council for Thomas K. Duane, who represented Greenwich Village, the East Village, NoHo, SoHo, Chelsea, and Hell’s Kitchen, among other neighborhoods. In 2013, he was named to the Vanity Fair “Hall of Fame” for his preservation work at GVSHP, and was named one of the 100 Most Powerful People in Real Estate by the New York Observer. Crain’s New York Business called him “a force to be reckoned with.” A lifelong New Yorker, Andrew has an Art History degree from Wesleyan University. Andrew has been with LESPI since 2016.

Leo Blackman: Leo is principal of Leo J. Blackman Architects, a small firm specializing in adaptive reuse and additions for institutional clients, including Village Community School and Church of the Ascension. He is active in landmark and community issues in both New York City and Dutchess County. Leo is former Board president of the Historic Districts Council, and current Chair of the Amenia Zoning Board of Appeals. He has been with LESPI since 2013.

Erik Bottcher: has been with LESPI since 2014.

Erik Chu, AIA: has been with LESPI since 2021.

Kerri Culhane: Architectural historian, planner and curator, Kerri’s experience spans twenty years of professional practice, focused on the past, present and future of New York City’s Lower East Side, Chinatown, Little Italy and the Bowery. She is currently a PhD candidate at the Bartlett School of Architecture, University College London. Her dissertation explores the life and career of Chinese American architect Poy Gum Lee (1900-1968), interweaving it with a history of transnational architectural exchange between China and Chinatown from 1882 to 1965. Kerri has been with LESPI since 2013.

Andrew Dolkart: has been with LESPI since 2014.

Eric Ferrara: Eric is founder and director of Lower East Side History Project, author of several New York City history books and fourth generation Lower East Sider. He has been with LESPI since 2012.

Molly Garfinkel: Molly directs Place Matters, a public history and preservation program of City Lore, New York City’s urban folklife center. She has worked in cultural resource management, museum education, exhibition curation, and traditional arts presentation. Her research explores Western and non-Western building and community building traditions, theories of cultural landscapes, and histories of urbanism and city planning. She has been with LESPI since 2015.

 Mitchell Grubler: Mitchell is a founding member of the Friends of the Lower East Side, Chair of the Landmarks Committee of the Bowery Alliance of Neighbors and Co-Chair of the Culture and Historic Preservation Working Team of the Chinatown Working Group. He is Vice President for the Administration of Grants for the Four Borough Neighborhood Preservation Alliance Foundation, Chair of the Queens Preservation Council and a member of the Advisory Board of the Preservation League of Staten Island. He has been with LESPI since 2014.

Marcia Haddad Ikonomopoulos: Marcia is on the Board of Directors and the Executive Board of Kehila Kedosha Janina and is the Museum Director of the synagogue museum. She is also President of the Association of Friends of Greek Jewry and, in that capacity, successfully nominated Kahal Shalom Synagogue on the island of Rhodes in Greece as one of the World Monument Fund’s 100 Most Endangered Sites in 1999, enabling the saving of the synagogue built in 1575. An activist and a preservationist, Marcia has been a member of LESPI since 2012. 

Linda Jones: has been with LESPI since 2011.

Holly Kaye: Holly is a planning and preservation consultant whose long-established practice is focused on fundraising & capacity building for primarily historic sacred sites through New York, heritage/cultural tourism and local economic development, including the formation of BIDs. She is the founding Executive Director of the Lower East Side Conservancy and formed the Lower East Side BID; she subsequently served both as their Development Consultant for many years. Holly has been with LESPI since 2013.

Eileen Kim: Eileen has a background in arts administration and fashion design, and currently works as a New York City residential real estate salesperson.  A resident of the East Village / Lower East Side Historic District, Eileen has been with LESPI since 2013.

Rev. Dr. Bayer Jack-Wah Lee: Rev. Lee has had extensive and wide-ranging professional experience as Pastor of First Chinese Baptist Church on Pell Street in Chinatown, Consulting Pastor of First Chinese Presbyterian Church on Henry and Market Streets, and as a preservationist working on the Historic American Building Survey and archeology of China’s Guangdong-Hong-Kong-Macao Great Bay Area. He has researched numerous historic topics including suffragette Mabel Lee, New York City’s First Chinese Baptist Church, and Chinatown’s growth and development. Rev. Lee has been with LESPI since 2023.

Katy McNabb: Katy is an independent preservation consultant whose practice focuses on research and community outreach. She has served as Director of Community and Government Affairs at the NYC Landmarks Preservation Commission and Director of the Pike Place Market Historical Commission in Seattle. She has been with LESPI since 2008. 

Joyce Mendelsohn: Joyce is the author of The Lower East Side Remembered and Revisited, was the first Director of Education at the LES Tenement Museum, is on the board of the LES Jewish Conservancy and is a founding member of Friends of the Bialystoker Home. She received the first Lillian Wald Award from Henry Street Settlement and a Grassroots Preservation Award from the Historic Districts Council. She has been with LESPI since 2009.

Bruce Monroe: A resident of the East Village for over 35 years and former art director for financial and real estate industry trade publications, Bruce is pleased that neighborhood preservationist has been added to his resume of community activism and volunteering, which also includes many years of providing design, graphics and marketing support for organizations such as the LGBT Community Center and SAGE. Bruce has been with LESPI since 2010.

Sara Romanoski: has been with LESPI since 2014.

Catalina Salazar: has been with LESPI since 2012.

Gagandeep Singh, AIA: An architect based in the Lower East Side, Gagandeep brings over 14 years of experience from renowned firms in New York City, Paris, and Mumbai. Currently, as a Project Architect at Studio Castellano, he has led the preservation of several landmark projects, notably the conversion of the Jarmulowsky Bank into Nine Orchard hotel. Gagandeep has been with LESPI since 2024.

Robert Slaughter: As Founder, President & Creative Director of the Arts Olympus, Robert has vast experience in all areas of production including working with the United Nations, the Los Angeles Inner City Cultural Center, and the Miami Tourist Development Authority. In Miami, he was one of the founders of the now famous “Deco District” in South Beach, having produced all the entertainment for “Art Deco Week,” and helped create the first “International Film Festival.” He is an East Village resident who has been with LESPI since 2010.

Sandra Strother: has been with LESPI since 2023.

Osvaldo Valdes: has been with LESPI since 2011.

Philip Van Aver: a recognized fine artist and East Village resident since 1969, Philip has been active in local preservation efforts for many years, including the successful campaigns to landmark the Ottendorfer Library, the Charlie Parker Residence, and PS 64. He was a member of the Lower East Side Joint Planning Committee’s Executive Committee and a founding member of CODA – Coalition for a District Alternative. Philip has been with LESPI since 2008.

Kate Waterman has been with LESPI since 2015.

 Anthony C. Wood: Tony is a preservation activist, teacher, historian, and grantmaker. He is the Founder and Chair of the NY Preservation Archive Project, and author of Preserving New York: Winning the Right to Protect a City’s Landmarks (Routledge, 2007). He has held many important preservation-related positions, including Chair of the Preservation League of New York State, Advisor and Trustee, National Trust for Historic Preservation, Chair of Partners for Sacred Places, and Chairman Emeritus of the Historic Districts Council of New York City. Since l993 Tony has been the Executive Director of the Ittleson Foundation. Tony has been with LESPI since 2015.

LESPI’s monthly meetings were previously held at the Neighborhood Preservation Center

Past Board Members:

In Memoriam: Marie Beirne (Director), Ricky Leung (Director), Corky Lee (Adviser), Jack Taylor (Adviser)

LESPI Committees:

Architectural Design Review: Deborah Wye, Chair; Britton Baine, and Richard Moses

Events: Carolyn Ratcliffe, Chair; Robert Slaughter, Helena Andreyko, and Jean Standish

Individual Landmarking: Barry Feldman and Deborah Wye, Co-Chairs; Phyllis Eckhaus, Richard Haberstroh, Eric Nash, and Lisa Vogl

Programming: Phyllis Eckhaus, Barry Feldman, Carolyn Ratcliffe and Deborah Wye

Survey / Mapping: Britton Baine, Chair; Marcia Haddad Ikonomopoulos and Bruce Monroe

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LESPI President Richard Moses speaks about LESPI’s past, present and future in this 2017 LES History Project PODCAST

LESPI’s fiscal sponsor is Fund for the City of New York.

More questions about LESPI? contact us at info@LESPI-nyc.org.