The Brokaw Mansion: Catalyst for the Landmarks Law
Following the completion of Central Park, upper Fifth Avenue became New York City’s most desirable address, where prominent families constructed opulent mansions. Within a generation they were quickly replaced with the latest trend — luxury apartment buildings. The Brokaw Mansion met this sad fate and was demolished in February 1965. But all was not lost! Public outcry and scathing press led Mayor Wagner to sign the landmarks legislation into law.
In commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the Landmarks Law, join FRIENDS for a program that will bring together vintage film clips and first-hand accounts to explore and celebrate this catalyzing moment in the history of preservation. Thanks to the generosity of the Ukrainian Institute of America, the program will take place at the former Fletcher-Sinclair Mansion, a spectacular contemporary of the Brokaw Mansion, located directly across the street from where it once stood.
Special guests include:
Peter Samton is a New York City architect and partner at Gruzen Samton. One of the original founders of AGBANY, the Action Group for Better Architecture in New York, Samton became involved with key preservation battles in the 1960s, including those to save Pennsylvania Station and the Brokaw Mansion.
John Heimann is an investment banker, former New York State Supervisor of Banking and Commissioner of Housing and Community Development, and was appointed by President Jimmy Carter to be Comptroller of the Currency. In the fall of 1964 Heimann was running for the New York State Assembly and helped to form the Committee to Save the Brokaw Mansion and get the Landmarks Law passed.
Joseph M. Cahalan, PhD, grew up in the Brokaw Mansion. His father was the live-in caretaker and superintendent for the building from roughly 1940 until its demolition in 1965. Dr. Cahalan is now the Chief Executive Officer of Concern Worldwide U.S., an organization dedicated to the reduction of suffering and elimination of extreme poverty.
Convened by Anthony C. Wood, author of Preserving New York: Winning the Right to Protect a City’s Landmarks, and Chair of the New York Preservation Archive Project, the program will be followed by a light reception.
Wednesday, February 18th
THE UKRAINIAN INSTITUTE OF AMERICA
2 East 79th Street, at Fifth Avenue
RSVP required. Click HERE to make a free reservation.
Produced in partnership with the New York Preservation Archive Project and the Ukrainian Institute of America as part of the NYC Landmarks50 Alliance celebration of the 50th anniversary of the Landmarks Law.
- “720,000 New York City tax photos from 1940 are now digitized so you can find your building online.” by Michelle Cohen, 6sqft, November 5, 2018.
- “The 1940 Tax Photos-A Well-Traveled Collection.” by Kelli O’Toole, New York Department of Information Services Blog, November 2, 2018.