February 29, 2012

Preserving the Great Outside in NYC

New York City's open spaces and landscapes are the focus of the Historic Districts Council's 18th Annual Preservation Conference titled "The Great Outside: Preserving Public and Private Open Spaces.  The conference will be held this weekend, March 2 - 4, 2012, and the slate of speakers is impressive:
  • Charles A. Birnbaum, FASLA, FARR, and founder of The Cultural Landscape Foundation; 
  • Thomas J. Campanella, associate professor of urban planning and design at University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, will address Moses-era parks; 
  • Alexandra Wolfe, preservationist at the Society for the Preservation of Long Island; 
  • Thomas Mellins, curator and architectural historian of mid-century public housing landscapes; and
  • Evan Mason, independent scholar of New York City rear yards.

As an aside, Campanella is the author of one of our favorite books, Republic of Shade: New England and the American Elm (2003).  Also Charles Birnbaum has written about Hideo Sasaki and the Sasaki Garden at Washington Square Village, a privately-owned by publicly-used green space in the Greenwich Village neighborhood that is one of our "sacred places".

The conference is offering five four walking tours and one bike tour on Sunday: (1) Woodland Cemetery, Bronx, with Susan Olsen of Friends of Woodlawn Cemetery; (2) Sunnyside Gardens, Phipps Houses, and Woodside Houses, Queens, with Jeffrey A. Kroessler; (3) North Shore Waterfront and Greenbelt, Staten Island, with Linda Eskenas; (4) Midtown Plazas, Manhattan, with Matthew Postal; and (5) Bike the Williamsburg and Greenpoint Waterfront, Brooklyn.  You can download the conference brochure here.

HDC maintains a Tumblr site which includes amazing photographs of open space in New York City.  We cannot attend the conference but if you do, we would like to hear about your experience so please leave a comment.

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