SPOTLIGHT: Lower East Side Preservation Initiative (LESPI)

Formed in 2007, the Lower East Side Preservation Initiative is a grassroots, volunteer organization comprised of local residents and preservationists advocating for the landmarking of historic sites and streetscapes in the Lower East Side. This non-profit focuses on the diverse and historically rich communities located in the East Village, Lower East Side below Houston Street, Chinatown, Little Italy, and the Bowery. 
LESPI table at the 10th & Stuyvesant Streets Block Party

LESPI has conducted multiple block by block surveys of the area to identify new historic districts and expand the borders of those already established. The results of these surveys have been crucial in the push for landmarking, including the designation of the East Village / Lower East Side and East 10th Street historic districts, and LESPI's proposed historic districts in the blocks around the Tenement Museum and in Chinatown.

The organization teams up with other local groups to promote advocacy campaigns, and regularly testifies at Community Board #3 and Landmarks Preservation Commission hearings in support of historic designation and preservation-friendly legislation. LESPI also collects signatures for petitions, and offers educational programming about the area's history as well as current preservation-related issues. LESPI's "East Village: Lens on the Lower East Side", is a local history and collection of contemporary photographs.
Tour of Seward Park led by LESPI and Historic Districts Council

For more information on LESPI, please see their website and Facebook page.

Since 2009, the Lower East Side Preservation Initiative has been among the Neighborhood Preservation Center's virtual office groups and uses the meeting space for their monthly board meetings and public programs. For the full list of groups that have used our meeting rooms, please visit our website.