In a city of progress, history sometimes has to fight to stay relevant. That goes double for the incredible historic buildings that make New York New York, many of which aren’t still standing out of sheer luck. A good number of them owe their continued existence to the city’s Landmarks Preservation Commission, also known as the LPC, which designates historic landmarks and upholds the laws of preservation. Consider that the commission was formed in 1965 after the lamentable destruction of the original Penn Station, a beaux-arts masterpiece.
Since then the LPC has been responsible for designating individual landmarks and landmarked neighborhoods in all five boroughs, usually with the help of the communities themselves pushing for preservation. Buildings must be at least 30 years old and deemed historically invaluable to the city to become a landmark. A lengthy procedure including research, community outreach and public hearings precede any designation. There are now 109 historic districts and 20 historic district extensions.
But not all landmarked neighborhoods are equal. We’ve scoured the city for 15 of the most exciting New York City landmarked neighborhoods — some designated many years ago and others considered recent landmark achievements. These districts aren’t all brownstone blocks and stuffy co-op buildings; also protected from the wrecking ball are suburban, free-standing homes in Brooklyn, an abandoned small pox hospital in Staten Island and the historic cast iron warehouses of SoHo.