Friends of the Upper East Side Historic Districts, founded in 1982, is an independent, not-for-profit membership organization dedicated to preserving and celebrating the architectural legacy, livability, and sense of place of the Upper East Side.

We pursue our mission through rigorous advocacy as well as educational programming for adults and children. Our success can be measured by the neighborhood’s 131 individually designated landmarks and 7 historic districts, encompassing a total of 1,907 protected buildings. We urgently promote the values of common sense zoning and good planning, and believe that the Upper East Side can be a place where architectural beauty, historic resources and new development exist in harmony.

On a day-to-day basis, FRIENDS strives to serve as the eyes and ears of the neighborhood, a source of information for residents and property owners, and an active and reasoned voice in public decisions that affect the historic and cultural resources of the Upper East Side. To that end, FRIENDS testifies on all Landmarks Preservation Commission items affecting the neighborhood, and monitors and testifies before the Community Board, City Planning Commission, Public Design Commission, and City Council, on city government actions likely to impact the Upper East Side.

FRIENDS also works hard to educate the public. We host lectures, sponsor walking tours, and present annual awards to outstanding preservation projects, advocacy efforts, and community service on the Upper East Side. Additionally, we offer educational programming for 1st through 5th graders through our robust Young FRIENDS program. A variety of curricula focus on the appreciation of the built environment and neighborhood history. Our goal is to stimulate an interest in architecture, history, and preservation, while also instilling a sense of community pride and awareness.

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Friends History

FRIENDS of the Upper East Side began as a group of volunteers interested in supporting preservation soon after the designation of the Upper East Side Historic District in 1981.

With the rapidly increasing number of landmarked structures in the city, the Municipal Art Society saw the need for additional local community groups supporting preservation in New York. At the time, there was a growing recognition that designation was only the first step, and that much of the ongoing work of preservation had to do with monitoring and advocating for sensitive change in neighborhood. FRIENDS was one of the many watchdog organizations incubated by MAS. Accordingly, an essential part of our work has been to review every Upper East Side application that appears at a public hearing of the Landmarks Preservation Commission and offer expert testimony.

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Board & Staff

Rachel Levy has held the position of Executive Director since December 2015. Prior to FRIENDS, Rachel had experience working with the Municipal Art Society of New York, Landmark West!, and the Park Slope Civic Council. She serves on the Board of Advisors of the Historic Districts Council and was recognized as a Woman of Distinction by New York State Senator Liz Krueger in 2018. She holds dual M.S. degrees in Historic Preservation and Urban Planning from Columbia University’s Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation, and a B.A. in Anthropology from Bryn Mawr College.
Director of Education Heidi Carey brings experience and enthusiasm to her position at FRIENDS. After receiving an AB in History from Georgetown, Heidi earned her MS in Historic Preservation at Columbia. She worked in preservation and design education in rural Pennsylvania - the Pennsylvania State Historic Preservation Office and the Historic Preservation Trust of Lancaster County - and Chicago - the Chicago Architecture Center - before moving to New York, where she has run FRIENDS children’s programming since 2013. She has also taught STEAM lessons for the Bruce Museum in Connecticut and develops architecture enrichment programs for schools in Westchester County, New York. Heidi hails from small-town western Pennsylvania and appreciates the architecture and environs of the diverse locales she has called home. She currently lives in Westchester County with her family.
Franny Eberhart, President
Rita C. Chu, Vice President
Lionel Goldfrank III, Vice President
David I. Karabell, Vice President
Patricia F. Sullivan, Vice President
Andrew P. Steffan, Treasurer
Alice McG. Concagh, Secretary

George Calderaro
Sarah Chu
Christopher Collins
Christina R. Davis
Alexandra C. Howard
Thomas Jayne
E. William Judson
Rev. John A. Kamas
Christian Keesee
David W. Levinson
Marjorie F. MacLachlan
Carol E.R. Miller
Genie Rice
Jeanne Sloane
Daniel B. Strickler, Jr.
Arete Warren
Margot Wellington
Ronda Wist

Board of Advisors
Kent L. Barwick
Andrew S. Dolkart
Hermes Mallea
Peter deF. Millard
Judith Price
Robert C. Quinlan
Timothy C. Quinlan
Gretchen Siebel
Anthony C. Wood

Historic Districts & Landmarks

The Upper East Side has seven historic districts and over 120 individual landmarks designated by the New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission. 

FRIENDS’ Preservation Committee reviews every Upper East Side item that goes to a Landmarks Preservation Commission public hearing and weighs in to encourage appropriate changes to designated buildings in our neighborhood. FRIENDS is also a strong voice for expanding preservation protection to more culturally and architecturally significant buildings in our neighborhood.

Most recently, we have focused on bringing recognition to the immigrant history of Yorkville, on the eastern Upper East Side through projects like our original book, Shaped by Immigrants: A History of Yorkville, and targeted advocacy on behalf of these buildings.

Individual Landmarks

In addition to contributing buildings in historic districts, the Upper East Side boasts 131 individual landmarks that have been designated by the Landmarks Preservation Commission — learn more about them here.

Historic Districts

For more on types and criteria of landmarks in New York City, there is a wealth of information available on the website of the NYC Landmarks Preservation Commission, including the fantastic Discover NYC Landmarks map. The LPC also maintains helpful and thorough pages about the designation process for new landmarks, the alteration process for designated buildings, and up to date information about current applications. Learn more at the links below.

Contact Us

You can help us be the eyes and ears of the Upper East Side. Get in touch! 

FRIENDS of the Upper East Side Historic Districts
966 Lexington Avenue, 3E
New York, NY 10021

T: 212-535-2526


    FRIENDS is seeking to fill the position of Executive Director.

    Organization Description
    Founded in 1982, Friends of the Upper East Side Historic Districts is one of New York’s most effective preservation advocacy organizations and a growing influence on issues related to planning and zoning reform. We pursue our mission to preserve and celebrate the architectural legacy, livability, and sense of place of the Upper East Side through a program of rigorous advocacy as well as educational programming for adults and children. Long a champion of common-sense zoning, good urban planning, and sound preservation policy, we fervently believe that the Upper East Side can be a place where new development can co-exist in harmony with architectural beauty and historic resources. Among those historic resources are seven historic districts, 131 individual landmarks, and the many as-yet unprotected historic buildings in Yorkville.

    FRIENDS is an established leader in promoting policies which protect and enhance the built environment on the Upper East Side. These include early efforts to contextually rezone the area’s residential midblocks, the designation of an expanded Upper East Side Historic District, and successful legislation to limit the use of zoning loopholes in new development.

    On a monthly basis, FRIENDS attends all Landmarks Preservation Commission hearings and testifies on Upper East Side items. We regularly monitor, attend and testify before the Community Board, City Planning Commission, Public Design Commission and City Council to encourage appropriate development on the Upper East Side.

    In addition, FRIENDS serves as a neighborhood advocate, educating the community and fostering an appreciation of the importance of the built environment. For our young friends, we teach elementary school students about architecture and history. For adults, we hold symposia, sponsor walking tours, lectures and annually give awards for outstanding preservation projects.

    Position Description
    Reporting to the President and Board of Directors, the Executive Director leads all preservation and planning advocacy initiatives, including review of Landmarks Preservation Commission applications and land use policies affecting the Upper East Side. Representing the organization to the public at large, the Executive Director manages relationships with community partners, residents, institutions, government, and the press while also organizing all communications and outreach via print and online publications.

    The Executive Director coordinates all fundraising efforts, including, but not limited to, grant applications, membership management, and the annual benefit gala. The Executive Director oversees all programming including special preservation and research projects, walking tours, symposia, exhibits, and an annual meeting and awards ceremony.

    The Executive Director is responsible for day-to-day management of the organization, including human resources, internal and external communications, event planning, membership programs, and office management. The Executive Director supervises a small staff, as well as interns and consultants in the areas of zoning, fundraising, accounting and bookkeeping, and public programs.

    This position requires a high-energy, motivated candidate who possesses the following skills and qualifications:

    • An advanced degree in historic preservation, urban planning or related field (or comparable work experience).
    • Extremely knowledgeable about historic preservation and land use policy in New York City.
    • Demonstrated leadership of a small, collaborative team.
    • Must have strong communication skills, be comfortable with public speaking, and be able to build relationships with multiple constituencies including public policy makers.
    • Experience in fundraising and knowledge of the administrative aspects of running a non-profit is essential.
    • Strong administration skills with meticulous attention to detail and a high level of computer proficiency.
    • Some evening and weekend availability as needed.

    This is a full-time, paid position within regular business hours in-person with some remote flexibility. Benefits include paid time off, monthly stipend toward health insurance, access to 401(k) retirement plan. Salary in the range of $70,000-80,000 commensurate with experience.

    Interested applicants should submit a single PDF document with cover letter and resume via e-mail to info@friends-ues.org.


    FRIENDS of the Upper East Side 2020