Photo courtesy of the Central Park Conservancy

Before Central Park

Wednesday, June 14 6pm via Zoom

What was in Central Park before it became our Central Park? Sara Cedar Miller, historian emerita of the Central Park Conservancy and author of Before Central Park offers a tantalizing glimpse of the “prepark.”

Before it became a model for city parks worldwide, the land was the site of farms, businesses, churches, wars, and burial grounds – and home to many different kinds of New Yorkers.

From 17th and 18th century Dutch and English landowners to the land divisions of the 19th century; from New York’s Common Lands to the early Black community of Seneca Village and the immigrant experience, we’ll revisit the incredible past of Central Park with one of its top historians.


Photo courtesy of the Central Park Conservancy.



The Bloomingdale Asylum: A New Vision

Tuesday, May 23 6pm via Zoom

19th-century asylums are often portrayed as sinister, but the Bloomingdale Asylum in upper Manhattan was different. Architectural historian Dr. Nina Harkrader reconstructs the site and buildings that from 1815 to nearly the end of that century were an important part of the treatment of thousands of troubled New Yorkers  through the “Moral Treatment” approach to care.

Located on the current site of Columbia University, the Bloomingdale Asylum was a private hospital for the care of the mentally unstable. Surprisingly to many, everything from its architecture to its setting on more than 70 acres of beautiful landscape overlooking the Hudson was designed to support a new Quaker-inspired therapeutic approach: “Moral treatment.”

Dr. Harkrader shows us the real world of the time, introducing us to the lives of several women of the era and what their confinement in Bloomingdale might reflect about gender roles of the era. Unearthing historic records and documents, she has found fascinating clues to the envisioned ideals of a new approach to care as well as some very difficult realities.


Other past recordings are available to current LW! Members via our PROGRAMS LIBRARY.


The Opulent Apartment Houses of The Boulevard VIDEO

This event has passed, but a link to the full 1.25 hour video can be purchased below. 

The Ansonia, the Belleclaire, the Dorilton, the Belnord, the Apthorp: five of the finest apartment hotels of “The Boulevard” on the Upper West Side. It was the turn of a new century and people like William Waldorf Astor and William Earl Dodge Stokes had a vision for a new way of living. They imagined the well-to-do living, hotel-style, in gracious apartments flanking a fashionable boulevard similar to the Champs-Élysées in Paris. (This explains why the first three of the above were so French in style.) 

Historian Tom Miller (aka The Daytonian in Manhattan blogger) takes us along The Boulevard, circa the heyday of these impressive and aspirational buildings. Tiptoeing past the vigiliant doormen of the day, we’ll gawk at the courtyards, architecture and ornamentation; delve into the stories of some of the more colorful residents; and revel in the apartments’ upscale and innovative amenities. 






Only Murders In The Building: Staging the Scene of the Crime VIDEO

This event has passed, but a link to the full 1.5 hour video can be purchased below 

A murder. A trio of neighbors-turned-crime investigators-turned-podcasters. A landmarked building. A perfect evening! If you’ve been pulled into the whodunnit world inside the luxe Arconia building (aka the Belnord on the UWS), you can’t miss this “how-dunnit” special event. 

Emmy-winning Production Designer Curt Beech and Set Decorator Rich Murray and Art Director Jordan Jacobs from the hit Hulu show Only Murders In The Building will share their secrets on everything from scouting the perfect NYC building for this caper of capers to creating the entire glittering world within.

OMITB fans have been gushing over the lavish and eclectic interior set design crafted by our über-talented speakers that has made the fictional Arconia a full-fledged cast member. That courtyard! The lobby! Even the elevator! And of course, the unbelievable rambling pre-war apartments for each character: maximalist Oliver, sophisticated & quirky Charles, inscrutable Mabel and a host of others (no spoilers). Hear how every detail, color palette, texture and style were carefully curated to create a set that feels real and wholly New York City.

The Historic Districts Council and Landmark West! invite you in for an evening to peek behind the designer curtains (there will be photos!) of one of the most popular series that also features one of our city’s finest landmarks!






Holding the Safety Net in San Juan Hill VIDEO

Wednesday, January 25th 6-7pm via Zoom  

Please join Landmark West! and architectural historian Jessica Larson in this exploration of the ways in which Black charity and reform initiatives shaped the landscape of San Juan Hill, the community Robert Moses demolished to make way for the Lincoln Center for the Perforning Arts complex, in the early decades of the 20th century. Larson will focus in on the architecture of the buildings constructed to facilitate this social work, and together we will look at how the built environment of San Juan Hill was shaped by community-driven efforts to address poverty and improve the quality of life for the residents. Because charity work was deeply gendered, Larson will emphasize the significance of women to the spatial and welfare programs of the neighborhood.

Speaker Jessica Larson is a Ph.D. candidate in Art and Architectural History at the CUNY Graduate Center. Her dissertation examines the architecture of charitable and reform institutions built in Manhattan for Black aid recipients between the Civil War and World War I, with a focus on how women reformers directed to these designs. She has held fellowships with the American Council of Learned Societies, the New York Public Library’s Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, and the Library of Congress. She has also worked for the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Princeton University Art Museum, and the Bruce Museum. Jessica is currently a Fellow at the Smithsonian American Art Museum and National Museum of American History.   




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