Preservation Vision Cafés

Preservation Vision Cafés are interdisciplinary dialogues between colleagues in historic preservation and allied fields. Part-guided discussion, part-networking session, each Café transforms the Neighborhood Preservation Center into that local watering hole where the bartender and a regular embark on a conversation that grows to engage everyone at the bar.

The Preservation Vision Cafés continue the discussions initiated during Preservation Vision: Planning for the Future of Preservation in New York City and aim to strengthen the future of preservation in New York City by fostering more conversation within and outside the field. We thank Michael Webber for his design of the Preservation Vision Café banner.

Preservation Vision Café No. 4

New York City's Landmarks Law pioneered historic preservation activity across the nation. Two recent events are challenging the law’s enforcement strength and stringency—City Council is currently reviewing 11 proposed bills, 6 of which would alter the landmark designation or pre-designation process; and the real estate lobby is issuing its own recommendations for changes to the Landmarks Preservation Commission’s process. Preservation Vision Cafe 4 on December 10, 2012 brought together preservation law expert David Schnakenberg* and Randy Mason**, head of PennDesign’s Center for Research on Preservation and Society, in a conversation unpacking these challenges. The beverage paired with this conversation was beer, generously donated from Brooklyn Brewery. For a summary of the discussion, click here. For photos of Cafe No. 4 see our Picasa page.

The suggested reading list for this conversation:

*David Schnakenberg is an associate with Rosenberg & Estis, P.C. Before joining R&E, David was the Ralph C. Menapace Legal Fellow at the Municipal Art Society of New York, where his work focused on the legal issues surrounding land use and planning, historic preservation and New York City governance. Mr. Schnakenberg is a member of the New York City Bar Association's committee on Land Use, Planning & Zoning, and is an Adjunct Associate Professor of Historic Preservation Law at Columbia University's Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation.


**Randall Mason is Associate Professor and Chair of the Graduate Program in Historic Preservation at the University of Pennsylvania's School of Design. He earned a PhD in Urban Planning from Columbia University. Prof. Mason's current research focuses on socio-economic impacts of preservation policies and urban conservation strategies in the U.S. and abroad. His current work includes two books - How Priceless is the Past? Economics and Historic Preservation (under contract with W.W. Norton); and a book on North Brother Island with the photographer Christopher Payne - and he is the recipient of the 2012-13 National Endowment for the Arts Rome Prize. 


Preservation Vision Café No. 3: Preservation and the Sustainable City

What is preservation's role in a successful, sustainable megacity? On Tuesday July 26, 2011, Lisa Kersavage* and Nathan Storey** led the first Café of the season, discussing the common ground and conflict with preservation and sustainability goals.  For the summary of the discussion and Nathan's cocktail recipe, click here. For photos of Café No. 3 see our Picasa page or our Facebook page where we invite the conversation on this topic to continue.

Some readings were referenced and discussed at the cafe:

Preservation Vision New York City’s Statement on Environmental Sustainability
National Trust for Historic Preservation’s Position Statement: Historic Preservation and Sustainability
Roberts, Tristan “Does Saving Historic Buildings Really Save Energy?"
Glaeser, Edward L. “Reservations about Landmark Preservation”
Ourossoff, Nicolai “An Architect’s Fear that Preservation Distorts.”
Birnbaum, Charles A. “Nostalgia 2.0: Has Historic Preservation Become a Spectator Sport"
Kersavage, Lisa "The Green Opportunity in New York City's Historic Buildings"

*Lisa Kersavage is the Senior Director of Preservation and Sustainability at the Municipal Art Society of New York and the Historic Preservation Policy Strategy Development Consultant at the William Penn Foundation. She has served as the Executive Director of the James Marston Fitch Charitable Foundation; the Executive Director of Friends of the Upper East Side Historic Districts, and was the Publications Specialist at the architectural firm Polshek Partnership.

**Nathan Storey is an urban planning graduate student at Hunter College and is the Commissioner for Institutional Responsibility for the Graduate Student Association at CUNY.  He also serves as the Communications Manager for City Atlas at the CUNY Institute for Sustainable Cities and is a contributor to PlaNYC. Previously he was the Digital Media Fellow for Nathan is also a mixology consultant (

Preservation Vision Café No. 2: The Next Generation: Inciting a Young Preservationist Movement in New York City

On October 19, 2010, Seri Worden lead a discussion to consider the emerging guard of preservation-minded civic leaders in New York City, with presentations by Mike Webber on One Past 5, Historic Denver and Dan Holland on the Young Preservationists Association of Pittsburgh.

A summary of the discussion and cocktail recipes click here. For photos of Café No. 2 see our Picasa page. This program is made possible through the gift of an anonymous donor. We also thank Michael Webber for his design of the invitation for Café No.2

Preservation Vision Café No. 1

The Preservation Vision Cafés were launched on June 22, 2010. Simeon Bankoff demonstrated his mixology skills while he and Anthony C. Wood led a discussion with the participants about the current landscape of preservation in NYC and together the group conducted a diagnostic on preservation today by exploring several recent preservation efforts to identify what worked, what didn’t work, and what new approaches to preservation they might suggest.

For a summary of the discussion and Simeon's cocktail recipes, click here, and for photos of Café No. 1 see our Picasa page. This program was made possible through the gift of an anonymous donor.