Lecture by Charles Starks, Urban Planning and Policy at Hunter College; Research Fellow, New York Preservation Archive Project

27 Feb


New Yorks Forgotten Planning and Preservation Pioneer: Piecing Together the Legacy of George McAneny


Charles Starks, Adjunct Lecturer in Urban Planning and Policy at Hunter College; Research Fellow, New York Preservation Archive Project

 Tuesday, March 21, 6:30 pm

New York University Department of Art History

Silver Center, Room 301

100 Washington Square East (entrance on Waverly Place)

George McAneny (1869–1953), New York’s most celebrated city planner and preservationist in the first half of the 20th century, had an extraordinarily diverse and consequential public career that spanned from the height of the Progressive Era to the early Cold War. He was elected to the presidencies of the Borough of Manhattan and the New York City Board of Aldermen, and led, at various times, the City Club, the Municipal Art Society, the Regional Plan Association, and the American Scenic and Historic Preservation Society, among other groups. As a public official and advocate, McAneny expanded streets and subways, institutionalized planning and zoning, fought to preserve historic buildings, and, in his last years, was a central figure in the creation of the National Trust for Historic Preservation.

This lecture will bring into focus the complex career of a man known to architects as an early champion of zoning, to preservationists as a hero who successfully battled Robert Moses, and to subway buffs as a dogged negotiator of the contracts that built the IRT and the BMT. Drawing on material from archives and published sources, the lecture will aim to show that McAneny’s vision and legacy, obscured in the decades after his death by the dominating figure of Moses, are worth remembering as New York struggles with the challenges of city building in the 21st century.

The manuscript on which the lecture is based can be downloaded from http://www.nypap.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/10/New-Yorks-Pioneer-of-Planning-and-Preservation-How-George-McAneny-Reshaped-Manhattan-and-Inspired-a-Movement.pdf. Research for this manuscript was generously supported by the New York Preservation Archive Project.

Sponsored by the Society of Architectural Historians, New York Metropolitan Chapter, and the NYU M.A. in Historical and Sustainable Architecture.

–Free and open to the public–



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