Moving Uptown: German-American Culture at the Turn of the 20th Century

Moving Uptown: German-American Culture
at the Turn of the 20th Century

The Lower East Side’s Kleindeutschland and the Upper East Side’s Yorkville  At the Historic Sixth Street Community Synagogue

Wednesday June 21st
6:30 – 8:30 p.m.
323 East 6th St. (between First and Second Avenues)

Tickets: $12 general public / $10 for LESPI and Synagogue members
Seats are limited, purchase tickets HERE.

Come for a wonderful evening:

During the decades around the turn of the 20th century, waves of German-Americans left their homes in the East Village/Lower East Side’s Kleindeutschland and headed north to Yorkville.  This migration started with the construction of the Second Avenue El train in 1874, and accelerated with the terrible General Slocum Steamship disaster on June 15, 1904, when over a thousand people died during an outing sponsored by St. Mark’s Church on East 6th St.

Although most German-Americans have since dispersed from both neighborhoods, it’s still possible to see traces of this remarkable culture, such as at the German-American Shooting Society Clubhouse building (1889) on St. Mark’s Place; Ottendorfer Library (1884) on Second Ave. at St. Mark’s Pl.; St. Joseph’s Church on East 87th St. (1895); and the century-old Heidelberg Restaurant on 2nd Ave. near East 85th St.

For more info contact Richard at info@LESPI-nyc.org or 347-827-1846.

Presented by:


Save New York Summit: Thursday, June 22nd

This is the city we love…

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This is developers’ vision of the future…

Save New York Summit

Thursday, June 22nd
6:00 p.m.
Holy Trinity Lutheran Church
Central Park West & 65th Street

FREE, click here to RSVP.

The scale of New York is being drastically changed – not just in Midtown Manhattan, but in neighborhoods throughout the city.  The tide of “supertall” towers beginning to rise in residential areas, including those surrounding Central Park, is symptomatic of the unprecedented threats to parks, playgrounds, light, air, landmarks, small businesses, and community quality of life all New Yorkers face. City policies have enabled, and sometimes incentivized, this trend.

All are invited to participate in an action-oriented discussion about why so many of these towers are invading our city, and what we can do about it.

Speakers include:

George M. Janes, Urban Planner and Zoning Expert
Presenting:”What’s Up With Supertalls?”

Michael Hiller, Attorney and Community Defender

Opening remarks by:

Angel Ayón, Save Harlem Now!
Rachel Levy, FRIENDS of the Upper East Side Historic Districts
Kate Wood, LANDMARK WEST!


This event is co-sponsored by:

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Discovering Deco in our Neighborhood

Outside of 895 Park Avenue, designed in 1929-30 by Sloan & Robertson.

Despite the rainy weather, a group of Deco devotees joined FRIENDS and tour guide Anthony W. Robins on a tour of the Upper East Side’s Art Deco architecture. Robins is the author of the newly-released book New York Art Deco: A Guide to Gotham’s Jazz Age Architecture. Although a bit more elusive than in other neighborhoods, the Upper East Side has many Art Deco gems which capture the forward-thinking aesthetic of the time. Highlights included an apartment building by Raymond Hood (who contributed to the design of Rockefeller Center), a 1930 townhouse that was one of only four townhouses built in Manhattan that year, the elegant Carlyle Hotel, as well as a few unexpected Deco buildings in Yorkville. Although the Art Deco style may be few and far between on the Upper East Side, these impressive buildings are not to be missed! Check out the full walking tour in Robins’ book, available now!


A Look at “Modern” Times on the Upper East Side

Outside of the Fifth Avenue Synagogue, completed in 1959 and designed by Percival Goodman.

On Saturday, May 20th, architectural historian and tour guide Matthew Postal led FRIENDS on a walking tour of some of the Upper East Side’s Modern (and a few Postmodern) buildings. From a post-WWII synagogue designed by Percival Goodman, to a townhouse designed by Paul Rudolph, to a building commissioned by John D. Rockefeller III designed by Philip Johnson to hold a collection of Asian art, the Upper East Side contains an unexpected bounty of buildings from the Modern era. Our group also learned about works by Edward Durell Stone, Robert A.M. Stern, Skidmore & Merrill, and more. This interactive tour sparked discussions on the subtle qualities Modern design and whether these buildings are successful architectural contributions to the neighborhood. It was a fun and thought-provoking tour for all!


Did You Miss “Attack of the Killer Megatowers”? Check Out Our Recap!

On May 13, 2017, nearly 50 attendees joined FRIENDS as we hosted a community workshop supported, in part, by the National Trust for Historic Preservation. The workshop covered the basics of zoning and preservation in New York City, with a focus on the Upper East Side, as well as our recommendations for zoning changes. Working with urban planning consultants George Janes and Ethel Sheffer, FRIENDS seeks to change the zoning loopholes which allow for developers to build taller and taller buildings.

See below for full video coverage of the event, plus links to presentation slides:

Welcome – Franny Eberhart, Board President, FRIENDS of the Upper East Side Historic Districts

Historic Preservation in New York City – Elizabeth Fagan, Director of Preservation, FRIENDS of the Upper East Side Historic Districts
FRIENDS’ Director of Preservation, Elizabeth Fagan, covers the basics of the New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission, including the criteria for landmark designation, plus a brief overview of the National Register of Historic Places. 

Zoning Basics – Tara Kelly, Vice President Policy & Programs, The Municipal Art Society of New York
As part of their Livable Neighborhoods Program, the Municipal Art Society explains what zoning is, the basics of FAR, how to identify your zoning map, and the basics on as-of-right development and the Uniform Land Use Review Procedure.

Spotlight on UES Zoning & Land Use Mechanisms – Rachel Levy, Executive Director, FRIENDS of the Upper East Side Historic Districts
FRIENDS’ Executive Director, Rachel Levy, discusses the neighborhood character of the Upper East Side, and explains the different zoning districts and the building forms that these districts create.

How Do Supertowers Get So Tall? – George Janes, Principal, George M. Janes and Associates
Urban planning consultant George Janes examines the rise of the supertowers, how developers are able to build so tall, and FRIENDS’ recommendations for how the zoning text can be amended to help reduce overall building height.