New York City is on its way to getting another historic district. On Tuesday, the Landmarks Preservation Commission voted to put the consideration of the Morningside Heights Historic District on its calendar.
For those who don’t know, Morningside Heights is a neighborhood in upper Manhattan, stretching essentially from the Hudson River to the Morningside Park side of Morningside Drive and from West 110th Street to West 125th Street.
Of course, the proposed district does not include the entire neighborhood. It would stretch from just south of West 109th Street up Riverside Drive to West 119th Street. A small piece of it would stretch as far east as the west side of Amsterdam Avenue and parts of Broadway would be included. At its southern end, it would meet up with the Riverside-West End Historic District Extension II. That district was just designated in June of 2015.
As for the proposed Morningside Heights Historic District, it would contain 115 buildings, most of them built between the 1890s and 1920s. Specifically, 20 were built before 1900, 74 were built between 1900 and 1910, eight were built between 1911 and 1920, 10 were built between 1921 and 1931, and three of them were built after 1960. All of Broadway from West 109th Street to West 116th Street was included in the LPC’s study area, but what it calls “intrusions” led to the cutting of large swaths from the actual proposed district.
Ninety-seven percent of that study area is residential, and 91 percent of the buildings in the proposed district are intact or only have minor alterations, according to the commission.
Most of the buildings proposed for protection were built after the development of Morningside Park and along with the development of Riverside Park, and spurred largely by the opening of the subway in 1904 and the relocation of the Columbia University campus. The campus is not included in the proposed district, nor is the Cathedral Church of St. John the Divine, though the latter was recently calendared for designation.
LPC Chair Meenakshi Srinivasan said she was “very pleased” to see the Morningside Heights Historic District placed on the commission’s calendar. If designated, it would be the city’s 140th historic district. The next step is a public hearing. A date for that has not been announced. However, that hearing, as well as a vote, must take place within two years, under the terms of a law passed by the City Council and signed by Mayor Bill de Blasio in June.