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The first, and only one, of its kind in New York City, the Neighborhood Preservation Center is a place where the public is welcome to convene, strategize, and exchange information through its programs: the meeting rooms, the office spaces, and the online resource database and library that comprise the Resource Referral Service. Opening on November 1, 1999, the Center located in the historic Ernest Flagg Rectory of the landmark St. Mark’s Church In-the-Bowery site and is a project of the St. Mark's Historic Landmark Fund. It endeavors to support the numerous organizations concerned with the city’s multifaceted environment, and to facilitate the public’s access to these organizations. It is also committed to supporting preservation and sustainability in action through participation in the Lower East Ecology Center's Ecobiz NYC program.
Organizations from all areas of the city – and beyond – as well as community groups at work in the immediate neighborhood of St. Mark’s, have availed themselves of the Center’s services.
The Neighborhood Preservation Center was created through a unique partnership of three organizations: the Historic Districts Council, a city-wide advocate for New York’s historic neighborhoods; the Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation, a leader in the preservation and protection of the architectural heritage and cultural history of the Village; and the St. Mark’s Historic Landmark Fund, a friends group dedicated to the preservation of the St. Mark’s Church campus, focusing now on the preservation and maintenance of the Historic Ernest Flagg Rectory and sponsorship of its Neighborhood Preservation Center project. All three organizations have offices at the Center.
The Neighborhood Preservation Center is housed in the 1901 Beaux Arts building designed by Ernest Flagg. Designed as the home of the Rector of St. Mark’s Church In-the-Bowery, the building was damaged in a fire in 1988. An exterior restoration was completed in 1993. The interior restoration and renovation did not begin until 1998 when, under the aegis of the St. Mark’s Historic Landmark Fund, the historic Ernest Flagg Rectory was restored and adapted to be the home of the Neighborhood Preservation Center and its three resident organizations. For more information about the rectory's history and the restoration and adaptive reuse, click here.
The relationship between these three organizations serves as the basis for the spirit of cooperation and collaboration that the Center inspires amongst all the groups who work here.
Photo Credit: Susan De Vries, 2011