Three Ways the New LPC Map is Better than NYCMap
The Landmarks Preservation Commission recently released a new interactive map. The map shows all exterior, interior, and scenic landmarks, historic districts, and properties calendared for designation. According to LPC Chair Meenakshi Srinivasan, “The launch of this map is a key milestone in our efforts to ensure that all New Yorkers have the history of our city at their fingertips”.
You might ask how is this map different from the NYC map, which already shows exterior, interior, and scenic landmarks, historic districts. There are several tools that the new map provides that are not available on NYC Map:
1. The LPC map specifies the borders of an individual landmark rather than just indicating it with a symbol on a map. This is helpful when indicating which property is the landmark and which are surrounding buildings (see image on the right), and how much exactly of the property is landmarked, since sometimes not all is.
2. The LPC map includes a link to the desgination report and provides a photo. According to the LPC website: “LPC’s designation reports detail the historical, architectural, and cultural significance of every individual landmark or historic district approved by the Landmarks Commissioners. Prepared by members of the Commission’s staff, the reports serve as the basis for designation and regulation of future alterations. They describe in detail the physical appearance of each building or site at the time they receive landmark status.”
In addition to a photo and link to the designation report, the LPC map includes more information of interest to researchers, historians, and the public, such as the architect, style, and dates of construction. The only item that NYCMap includes that the LPC map does not is the the block and lot number.
3. The LPC map increases public knowledge by listing calendared properties and districts. This is part of the “broader LPC initiative to bring greater transparency, efficiency, and public access to the agency.” GVSHP previously described the calendaring process, which may seem confusing to a non-preservationist: Before a building can be calendared, the LPC must send a letter to the building owner(s) and inform them in advance that a vote to ‘calendar’ the building, site, or district will be held. The LPC makes official its intent to consider a building or district for landmark status by voting to add a public hearing date to its public meeting calendar (this does not mean that the date of the hearing has been set, but merely that the LPC has officially decided that it will hold one). Once a building has been calendared, the LPC is given forty days to review any demolition, alteration or new construction permit application for the site before the Department of Buildings will issue such permits. This means in essence that the LPC is given a forty day heads-up to hold a hearing and vote to designate before an owner can destroy or disfigure a site if the LPC feels it is worth acting to do so; they can also seek to convince the owner to modify or hold off on the work.
This map makes clear all in one place which properties are on the LPC calendar and being considered for designation, and when that hearing is scheduled.