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Sandy Assistance Update

South Street Seaport Museum / Bowne & Co. Stationers

October 29, 2013 – A Year After Sandy

A year after the devastation caused by Hurricane Sandy a great deal of work has been done to repair the storm’s damage, but a great deal more remains to be done. Immediately following the storm, the Conservancy reached out to offer financial and technical assistance to the owners of historic properties damaged by the storm. We disbursed $177,000 in emergency funding and countless hours of expert advice to help with the restoration of 21 properties owned by non-profit and religious institutions. We were the only preservation group to do so. The following is an update on the progress that has been made one year later.

South Street Seaport Museum/Bowne & Co. Stationers, Manhattan
Sandy’s storm surge placed most of the Seaport under several feet of water. The South Street Seaport Museum was devastated and unfortunately remains closed. However the buildings housing the Bowne & Co. shop are open. The flood damaged these buildings but quick action saved the collections and also saved the interior wooden elements including the joists and floors. A $10,000 Emergency Grant to the South Street Seaport Museum was awarded to assist in this restoration.

Woodlawn Cemetery, Bronx
This National Landmark cemetery suffered extensive wind damage. Many large trees were toppled causing damage to various historic monuments and gravestones. The Conservancy’s $10,000 enabled the Cemetery Association to lease the heavy equipment needed to lift downed trees and to reset monuments back in place. This work has been completed

Sailors Snug Harbor Cultural Center, Staten Island
The remarkable Sailors Snug Harbor complex suffered wind damage. The Conservancy’s grant to the Sailors Snug Harbor Cultural Center for $3,000 helped defray expenses for repairs to several windows and doors that were blown-out by the storm.

Green-Wood Cemetery, Brooklyn
A $10,000 grant was given to Green-Wood Cemetery to assist in the restoration of dozens of historic monuments and several mausoleums that were damaged due to falling trees and tree limbs. This work is still ongoing.

Mt. Vernon Hotel Museum, Manhattan
This 1799 stone building was converted to a hotel in 1826. Today it is a museum run by the Colonial Dames of America. Storm winds ripped the exterior wooden shutters from their hinges. The Conservancy’s $3,000 grant helped the museum refabricate and repair the historic exterior shutters. Work is not completed.

Prospect Park, Brooklyn
Our $10,000 grant to Brooklyn’s Prospect Park Alliance helped with the restoration of historic railings and garden walls that were damaged by falling trees during the storm. The Concert Grove restoration project, including the recasting of the ornate bronze railings is ongoing.

Cemetery of the Evergreens, Brooklyn
This important historic cemetery was designed in the 1840’s by Andrew Jackson Downing. The damage here was similar to that at the other historic cemeteries: wind toppled trees, broken and displaced masonry monuments. A $10,000 grant was awarded to allow a materials conservator to assess the damage and guide the restoration. The conservator has submitted her report and is working with the Cemetery Association on the ongoing restoration work.

Garibaldi-Meucci Museum, Staten Island
The museum is housed in a circa 1849 Gothic Revival style cottage in the Rosebank section of Staten Island. It was designated an Individual Landmark in 1969. The museum is dedicated to Italian American heritage in America. Our $10,000 grant was used to repair four masonry piers at the main entrance to the museum property that were in poor condition prior to the storm and were further damaged due to the storm. The work is complete.

Police Museum, 100 Old Slip, Manhattan
The Italian renaissance style First Precinct Police Station, now The Police Museum, was built on landfill in what had been a boat slip. It suffered extensive flood damage during the storm. In addition to the damage to the interior including mechanical systems and floors, the water damaged the building’s four monumental sets of exterior oak doors. The Conservancy gave $10,000 towards the restoration of the doors. The building is now undergoing a major restoration.

Historic House Trust
The 1765 Palladian style Morris-Jumel House in Upper Manhattan and the 1842 Neoclassical Bartow-Pell Mansion in the Bronx both suffered roof damage during the storm. Our $10,000 grant was intended to help both landmarks. The roof work at the Morris-Jumel House is now complete. However no work has yet been commenced at the Bartow Pell mansion. The Trust asked for a supplemental grant to help with this work. A supplemental grant for $5,000 was given to start the roof repair at Bartow-Pell..

Sixth Street Community Center
With an $8,000 grant, this non-profit center at 638 East 6th Street, completed the fabrication and installation of a wood window and transom, both with colored glass, to match the original windows. The Center is housed in a former synagogue, built in 1889 and vacated in the 1970’s.

Robbin’s Reef Lighthouse
The wooden floors that were destroyed by Hurricane Sandy are now almost 50% replaced. The lighthouse dates to 1883 and is a National Register-listed property in Upper New York Bay. This work is being funded by a grant of $10,000 to the Noble Maritime Collection, the nonprofit custodian of the Lighthouse that is overseeing the restoration.

Alice Austen House, Staten Island
This National Historic Landmark overlooking the Narrows was the home of one of America’s earliest and most prolific female photographers. Named “Clear Comfort” by her grandfather, the Gothic Revival style cottage is a museum to Alice Austen’s work. Hurricane Sandy soaked the grounds and resulted in moisture in the basement where important photography and paper collections are stored. A $10,000 grant has enabled the museum to hire a consultant who is overseeing the conservation and relocation of the collection from the basement to a room on the second floor. .

Union Baptist Church, Brooklyn
Emergency repairs to the double-hung stained glass windows damaged during Hurricane Sandy are complete. The church received a $5,000 Endangered Buildings Fund Grant for this repair work.

United Methodist Church, Patchogue
The spire was toppled by high winds. It has since been restored thanks in part to a $5,000 grant. The congregation is extremely pleased with the way the restoration has turned out.

The Free Magyar Reformed Church, Staten Island
This 1883 Carpenter Gothic church in Charleston, near the southwest shore of Staten Island, received a $5,000 grant to repair substantial tree and wind damage to its roofs.
All work is now complete

Flushing Quaker Meeting, Queens
This 1694 National Historic Landmark had a large tree split in half and crash through its newly restored porch roof. The porch was initially restored as part of a $700,000, Conservancy-led restoration project. The tree damaged three areas of cedar shingles at the porch roof, cracked the tongue and groove porch ceiling and severely bent and opened seams in 30 linear feet of copper gutter at the porch perimeter. A $5,000 grant helped repair the porch again.

Jewish Center of Brighton Beach, Brooklyn
This 1931 Mediterranean Revival synagogue received a $15,000 grant to deal with extensive flood damage to its basement and first floor. Repairs and upgrades to the interior including the restoration of electrical and heating systems are complete.

St. James Evangelical Lutheran Church, Brooklyn
This 1924 Carpenter Gothic church in Gerritsen Beach received $5,000 for repairs to the flood damaged basement and sanctuary. All work is now complete.

Beth-El Church of God, Rockaways, Queens
This 1858 Gothic Revival church designed by Richard Upjohn received$5,000 to help repair roof damage. This work is now complete.

Zen Mountain Monastery, Ulster County
This 1938 Arts and Crafts Monastery is receiving $5,000 to help repair a deteriorating drainage culvert that broke during excessive runoff from the storm. This project is ongoing.


July 30, 2013

The Conservancy’s $164,000 in post Sandy emergency grants and technical assistance helped 21 historic sites throughout the five boroughs that were damaged by the storm. Nine months later, some are completely up and running while others are still in the midst of repairs. The following is an update on some of the work to date.

Sailors’ Snug Harbor Cultural Center has repaired four windows in the Carl Grillo Glasshouse and repaired glass doors into the winter garden that were blown out by the powerful winds.

Mt. Vernon Hotel Museum has restored fourteen wooden window shutters damaged in the storm and is in the process of re-attaching them to the windows of their 1799 building.

The Garibaldi Museum on Staten Island has fully restored the sandstone entrance piers and wrought iron gates damaged by the storm.

Woodlawn Cemetery has re-positioned numerous stone monuments toppled by falling trees thanks to the rental of a small crane paid for by our grant.

Green-Wood Cemetery has made a great deal of progress clearing trees and restoring broken and toppled monuments but is still in the process of restoring the larger monuments and mausoleums.

The Cemetery of the Evergreens hired a materials conservator to guide their restoration process and is well on its way to repairing all the damage caused by the storm.

Both the Morris-Jumel House and the Bartow-Pell Mansion have expanded the scopes of their respective repairs to include not only storm damage but other maintenance items and are in the process of obtaining the necessary approvals from the Parks Department.

The Alice Austin House is consulting with an archivist who is advising them on cataloging and relocating the photographic collection that is currently in the house’s flood-prone basement.

The South Street Seaport salvaged and retained the historic pine flooring and wooden built-in cabinets in the Bowne Print Shop thanks in part to our grant.

Prospect Park’s restoration of the areas surrounding the Concert Grove is still underway.

Beth-El Church of God in Christ in Far Rockaway, an 1858 wood-frame Gothic-revival church by Richard Upjohn, was able to replace the entire roof thanks to our grant in addition to an insurance settlement.

The Police Museum at 100 Old Slip is undergoing a substantial restoration that will relocate all of the building’s mechanical systems from the cellar to the attic. Our grant will specifically go to the restoration of the historic oak entrance doors.

The Zen Mountain Monastery in Ulster County was initially damaged by hurricane Irene and again by Sandy. A drainage culvert overflowed causing the lower story of this 1920-1938 Scandinavian Arts and Crafts style building to flood. A new drainage system is in the process of being built.

And finally, the Sixth Street Community Center in Manhattan has completed the restoration of their handsome stained glass windows on their building’s main façade.


February 26, 2013

Post-Sandy Grant Helps Historic Houses

The latest in a series of Emergency Grants given out to cultural and non-profit organizations has gone to the Historic House Trust to repair Sandy-related damage to two of its magnificent historic house museums.

The Morris-Jumel Mansion is located on an elevated site in Washington Heights. It dates to 1765 and contains some of the finest Georgian interiors in the country. During the storm, it suffered wind damage to its roof and decorative rooftop railings. One portion of railing, including a carved corner finial in the shape of an urn, came down entirely.

The Bartow-Pell Mansion Museum in the Bronx, circa 1836, also sustained roof damage as a result of high winds. The house’s very special orangerie, or conservatory wing, was damaged when winds ripped apart an integral copper gutter and associated flashing causing damage to the roof as well. Prior to hurricane Sandy, the Conservancy had awarded an emergency grant to the Bartow Pell house for emergency repairs to interior joists and flooring that had been damaged by a plumbing leak.

The Conservancy’s $10,000 grant to the Historic House Trust will be used towards repairs for these two historic roofs. Since the storm, the Conservancy has awarded approximately $120,000 in grants to non-profit and religious organizations to assist in repairs and restoration of their landmark buildings.

January 29, 2013

Sandy Assistance Update: 90 Days Later

The Conservancy’s latest emergency grant has gone to the Sixth Street Community Center on the Lower East Side of Manhattan. It will go to restore an historic window and transom that were damaged by the storm’s high winds. The Community Center was originally built as a synagogue in 1889. It was used as a house of worship until the 1970s, when it was abandoned. Community activists saved it and began social programs there in the 1980s. Today, it continues to provide basic food, health, and education services to people in the neighborhood.

In addition to the ten emergency grants already given out, the Conservancy is continuing to work with the following non-profit and religious organizations whose buildings were damaged by Hurricane Sandy.

At the Police Museum, aka 100 Old Slip, the building’s four sets of monumental oak doors were damaged and warped by flood waters. The Conservancy has reached out to several qualified contractors who will inspect the damage and provide proposals for their restoration. The Conservancy has pledged an emergency grant to the Police Museum to help defray the cost of door restoration.

Cemetery of the Evergreens on the Queens-Brooklyn border, suffered broad damage to its historic graves and monuments as dozens of stately trees were brought down by the storm’s winds. Here, we are assisting the cemetery board create a master plan for the survey and repair of the damaged monuments. In addition, we have recommended stone specialists who can study the historic monuments that are in a poor state of conservation. The Conservancy has pledged a grant to help the museum pay for the professional services of a conservation expert.

At the National Historic Landmark Flushing Quaker Meeting House, a tree crashed through the recently restored porch roof. It damaged the hand-cut cedar shingle roof and the new copper gutter. The Conservancy has helped solicit roof repair proposals and will be issuing a grant as soon as the total gap between storm damage repair costs and the insurance settlement is confirmed.

At the Art Deco style Manhattan Beach Jewish Center in Brooklyn, the ground floor and basement were flooded. The water wiped out not only the heat and electrical systems, but also devastated the catering kitchen and ballroom. the Conservancy has helped with referrals to electricians, mechanical engineers, and legal counsel. The Conservancy will be pledging a grant towards the cost of permanent electrical upgrades once the costs are known. On the second floor, beyond the reach of the flood, the synagogue’s lovely Guastavino tile sanctuary is unharmed. The Conservancy has connected the synagogue with a Columbia University preservation graduate student to prepare a pro-bono National Register nomination, which will make the synagogue eligible for future Conservancy grant funding.

Also in Brooklyn, at the 1926, wood shingled St. James Evangelical Lutheran Church in Gerritsen Beach, Sandy caused severe flooding of the ground floor community space. The space serves the entire neighborhood as well as storm recovery groups. The church was brought to our attention by a volunteer group named Rebuilding Together NYC, which has been helping with cleanup. The Conservancy has contacted the church leadership, and will be making a grant towards boiler replacement once costs are confirmed.

The Emergency Grants are being funded by The New York Community Trust and the Conservancy’s Endangered Buildings Fund.

December 20, 2012

Six Emergency Grants Given in December

Woodlawn Cemetery in the Bronx, Union Baptist Church and the Prospect Park Alliance in Brooklyn, Snug Harbor and the Garibaldi-Meucci Museum in Staten Island and the Mount Vernon Hotel Museum and Garden in Manhattan each received Conservancy emergency grants this month. Our post-Sandy assistance now totals more than $50,000, with additional grants pending.

Our grant to Brooklyn’s Prospect Park Alliance will help restore the Concert Grove’s ornamental iron rail which was broken when a tree fell on it in the storm. The Alliance had recently celebrated the conclusion of major restoration work in this section of the landmark park, making Sandy’s destruction even more disheartening. The hurricane took down more than 500 trees throughout the park.

The 1898 Union Baptist Church in Bedford-Stuyvesant will be able to restore two stained glass windows that blew in during the storm.

On the Upper East Side, the Mount Vernon Hotel Museum and Garden will repair shutters that were blown off the 1799 landmark.

The Conservancy grant will enable Woodlawn Cemetery, a National Historic Landmark, to hire equipment to lift damaged headstones and monuments back into place.

On Staten Island, the Garibaldi-Meucci Museum will be able to repair crumbling entrance piers that suffered further damage in the hurricane. Sailors Snug Harbor will restore doors and windows damaged in the storm.

Additionally, the Conservancy enlisted materials conservator Joan Berkowitz to assess damage to monuments at The Evergreens Cemetery, which is on the National Register of Historic Places. We plan to assist recovery at this 225 acre institution which sits on the border of Brooklyn and Queens.

Meanwhile, the National Park Service is continuing to assess damage to Ellis, Liberty and Governors Islands and expects to have a report mid-January.

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