new york city landmarks preservation commission

anonymous asked:

Do you know much about housing options available to single women in late 1940s NYC? Was it really legal to have rules like the ones Peggy was given?

After World War I, there was an increase in the number of single women moving to urban centers to pursue careers or attend college. However, housing for women in New York City was difficult to find due to a halt in housing construction and because residential hotels gave preferential treatment to male renters. At that time, there existed women’s boarding houses for working class or immigrant women, but these came with long waiting lists.

In the late 1920s, real estate entrepreneurs began establishing housing complexes for young, professional, middle/upper class women. Perhaps the most famous of these is Manhattan’s Barbizon Hotel, built in 1927. Like other women’s hotels, the Barbizon did not allow men in tenants’ rooms. Because these were privately-run rooming houses, these policies were legal.

Prospective tenants [of the Barbizon] were required to bring three good references for admission, and were graded on criteria such as looks, dress, and demeanor. From the beginning, the Barbizon existed as a combined charm school and dormitory, one where fretting parents could be confident their girls would be kept safe – and chaste. No men were allowed above the lobby without strict supervision, and parents could require their resident daughters to sign in and out at the front desk. Some were even given their own chaperones. Girls who came in late or, in the parlance of one staff matron, “in bad shape” were spoken to.

Source: Sorority on E. 63rd St.

This report on the Barbizon 63 building made by the Landmarks Preservation Commission contains some good history and descriptions, as well as the names of other women’s dormitories in New York City (link goes to a PDF).

Before and after images of 29 West 57th Street, New York

R.I.P. Chickering Hall, thank you brainless morons of Vornado Realty Trust. Put those jackhammers to work on what little brain you have before you unleash them on the priceless architectural heritage of your own city.

I rarely speak out personally on this blog (I don’t think I ever did before), but in this case I think it needed a fitting comment to vent my anger and frustration.

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In 1965 as response to the loss of historically significant buildings in New York city, most notably Pennsylvania Station, the late Mayor Robert F. Wagner signed into legislation the Landmarks Law –creating the New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission. 

Pennsylvania Station was designed by the architectural firm of McKim, Mead & White and completed in 1911. The Beaux Arts-style train station occupied two full City blocks from 31st to 33rd streets between Seventh and Eighth avenues, and was demolished in 1963 to make way for Madison Square Garden and an underground commuter railroad station. On February 11th The Museum of the City of New York is hosting and exclusive preview of PBS’s documentary “The Rise and Fall of Penn Station”. To check out the movie that details the life of this iconic building see: bit.ly/1aYeK8R