Since 1999, the Preservation League of New York State has highlighted New York’s most endangered historic sites through its Seven to Save program. The League works with local advocates over the course of the two-year listing and beyond, to raise visibility, assist with advocacy, and provide technical services.
“The individual sites included on this year’s Seven to Save list embody key preservation issues affecting places across New York State,” said Preservation League President Jay DiLorenzo. “From the negative environmental impact of senseless demolition to bringing little-known, but important, histories to light, the League is excited to work alongside on-the-ground advocates to save each of these seven at-risk places.”
The League collaborates with property owners, elected officials, and other stakeholders to craft preservation strategies and put these plans into action. Through partnerships with groups and individuals, threats to dozens of at-risk buildings, landscapes, downtowns, and neighborhoods have been reduced, and in many cases, eliminated by the Preservation League’s Seven to Save listing and subsequent actions.
New York Almanack will be highlighting places on the the Seven to Save list in the coming days and weeks.
2022-2023 Seven To Save List
Thomas Memorial AME Zion Church, Watertown, Jefferson County
Built in 1909, this African American church, whose original congregation had ties to the Underground Railroad, has been without an active congregation since 2012. Working with local stakeholders to find a use that will best serve its community today, this modest building has the potential to educate and inspire in Watertown, throughout the North Country, and beyond.
Genesee Valley Park, Rochester, Monroe County
The woodland buffer of Genesee Valley Park is an original aspect of the Frederick Law Olmsted’s design, but it is under threat by a proposed development plan. This Olmsted bicentennial year provides an opportunity to articulate a preservation ethic regarding under-valued historic landscapes, and the League will work with local stakeholders to advocate for proper stewardship of this important piece of Rochester’s historic park system.
Proposed South of Union Square Historic District, Manhattan, New York County
While the New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission has cited the architectural and cultural variety of the area as a reason why the neighborhood shouldn’t be landmarked, this variety and vibrancy are precisely what make the proposed South of Union Square Historic District such a vital resource to preserve. Village Preservation has designed and led the campaign for landmark designation.
Penn Station Neighborhood, Manhattan, New York County
New York State’s Empire State Development Corporation’s proposed Pennsylvania Station Civic and Land Use Project (the “Penn Area Plan”) would demolish multiple blocks of historic buildings in the vicinity of Penn Station in Manhattan. Thousands of people will be displaced, and the negative environmental impact of such senseless demolition would be astronomical. Empire Station Coalition, a group of concerned community organizations, banded together in 2020 to fight the proposed Plan.
Downtown Oneonta Historic District, Oneonta, Otsego County
Historic preservation can serve as an economic life raft for upstate cities like Oneonta in Otsego County, but the public perception of preservation is a challenge for community buy-in. The League anticipates working with the City of Oneonta to provide outreach that engages a broad audience to help clarify the benefits of preservation and their historic downtown.
Willard State Hospital, Romulus, Seneca County
State hospital complexes like this one pose a particular set of challenges and can be seen mirrored at similar locations across the state. Considering the future of Willard State Hospital in Seneca County now is vital to preserving an important part of New York State history before long-term vacancy causes the remaining buildings to deteriorate past the point of no return.
James Brooks / Charlotte Park Home & Studios, East Hampton, Suffolk County
Artists James Brooks and Charlotte Park were at the forefront of the Abstract Expressionist art movement of the 1940s and 50s. Their home and studios in East Hampton are an important physical link to this history. Over-development is a major issue on Long Island, and the preservation of this site provides a chance to not only save a vital part of local history connected to a groundbreaking American art movement, but also a pristine natural landscape. First listed by Preservation Long Island on their 2021 Endangered Historic Properties List, the League’s listing follows close behind the inclusion of Brooks-Park on the National Trust for Historic Preservation’s 2022 11 Most Endangered List, underscoring the truly national importance of this site.