Early last year, the New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission (LPC) launched an online, interactive map that pinpoints all pending as well as existing landmarks within the city’s 141 historic districts. The freely accessible tool, which makes it easy to explore often overlooked sites and narratives, recently received a major enhancement that makes it an unparalleled resource for learning about New York City’s built heritage.
On top of the data that was already uploaded for over 1,400 individual landmarks, detailed, building-by-building information is now available for nearly 34,000 historic structures. You can search and filter across districts for specific architectural styles, architects, building type, and era of construction — which means researchers can easily find, say, all the historic Art Deco buildings in Manhattan or all the Néo-Grec row houses in Fort Greene Historic District. Playing around with the filters, I was able to find what is listed as the only residence in New York that displays East Indian decorative detail: an apartment on 7 East 10th Street, which was built in 1887. Passersby can still observe the careful carvings today.
The data was all culled from building entries in 50 years of historic historic district designation reports, and their upload is part of a broad initiative by LPC to bring greater transparency and public access to the agency. While the former website’s version gave visitors an overwhelming presentation of data, this revamped map — accessible from computers, smartphones, and tablets — is much more inviting and user-friendly. As Landmarks Preservation Commission Chair Meenakshi Srinivasan noted in a statement, the database will undoubtedly be “invaluable to all stakeholders, including homeowners who want to know more about their buildings, community groups, preservation advocates, historians, academics, and anyone who walks through New York City’s neighborhoods and marvels at our buildings.”