Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Diaz hopes to see Grand Concourse become a historic district

During the mid-20th century, if you lived on the Grand Concourse, that meant you 'made it.' Today, you're still rewarded with classic architecture, a vibrant commercial district and loads of history, and that's why Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. is asking the City Council to designate the Concourse a historic district.

Here is Diaz's testimony to the Council subcommittee on landmarks and maritime uses from today:
Last year, I applauded the designation of a Grand Concourse Historic District by the New York City Landmarks Preservation Center, and now I urge its approval by the New York City Council.

Designation as a New York City Historic District will complement the Grand Concourse’s already established listing on the National Register of Historic Places. In the future, I hope to see this historic district extended to match the more extensive national register boundaries.

This Grand Concourse Historic District is significantly intact, and contains many notable examples of art deco and other classic apartment houses. As I mentioned in my testimony to the Landmarks Preservation Commission, the threats to buildings on the Grand Concourse are in the details. Poorly done renovations and building management with short vision are carving away at the inherent value of this illustrious built environment. As an historic district, the New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission can guard against ill conceived and undesirable solutions that threaten proper maintenance of these buildings.

The area of the new district has been richly added to with the new Yankee Stadium and Gateway Center. The City itself has invested greatly in the area with infrastructure improvements, including improvements to both the concourse roadway and park system. The lower Grand Concourse has also been re-zoned to create a vibrant, mixed-use, mixed-income community with new housing, waterfront open space, and an array of retail services. 

Its status as an historic district is the finishing touch to the revival of the entire area, and I urge its support. Thank you for your consideration.

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