16th Annual Tribute Ceremony for Unsung Civic Giant Andrew H. Green

Important: This year's ceremony will NOT be held in Central Park as it usually is. 

Please join me and other history lovers as we raise a toast of apple cider to Andrew H. Green (1820-1903), the unsung 19th century master planner, reformer, and preservationist whose accomplishments transformed New York into a world-class city. The ceremony will take place at the yet unfinished Andrew H. Green Park on the Upper East Side in Manhattan. I will preside over the festivities. Our guest speaker will be Fran Leadon, author of the recently published "Broadway: A History of New York City in Thirteen Miles." We will also hear from Barry Schneider for an update on the progress of the park's design and construction.  


Prof. Kenneth T. Jackson, editor of "The Encyclopedia of New York City," has called Mr. Green, "arguably the most important leader in Gotham's long history." During his fifty-year career, Mr. Green steered the creation of some of New York City's foremost parks, cultural institutions, and public works. He rescued the city from bankruptcy after the Tweed Ring scandals, and pioneered the historic preservation movement. Most importantly, he masterminded the 1898 consolidation of the five boroughs, a measure that expanded the city's size five-fold and earned him the nickname "the Father of Greater New York." 


In the 1860s the Central Park Commission, led by Mr. Green, was empowered to modify the street plan of the Upper West Side. Among other things, Mr. Green rerouted and straightened Broadway (aka The Boulevard). Our guest speaker, Fran Leadon, whose highly praised new book "Broadway" discusses this period, will share his thoughts about Mr. Green and his planning rationale. 

Mr. Leadon is an architect and author. Prior to writing "Broadway" he was co-author (with Norval White and Elliot Willensky) of the fifth edition of the AIA Guide to New York City. He was born and raised in Gainesville, Florida, and graduated from the University of Florida in 1991.  He did graduate work at Yale, graduating in 1994, and moved to Brooklyn in 1996.  In 2000 he joined the faculty at the City College of New York, where he teaches design studios and history courses in the School of Architecture and seminars in the Macaulay Honors College. 

Clyde Haberman, writing in the New York Times, described "Broadway" as, "a whirl of characters: architects and landlords, capitalists and unionists, reformers and traditionalists, visionaries and charlatans. It is a whirl, too, of events like ticker-tape parades, civic battles, financial booms and inevitable busts." More about Mr. Leadon and his book below. 


The Andrew H. Green Park site was designated for Mr. Green about a decade ago, but the physical transformation of the land into a real green space has been slow. For years, all there was was a dog run; construction on the other sections was held up because of the deteriorating pilings that held up the ground. I am happy to report that things are moving forward. A new section -- the parcel under the large swirling overhead metal sculpture -- was opened last year. At our ceremony Barry Schneider, the chair of the 197-A Committee of Manhattan Community Board 8, will update us about the design and construction of the remaining parts of the park.

Michael Miscione 
Manhattan Borough Historian 


Andrew H. Green Park (directions and map below) 
Saturday, November 10, 2018
Free. No reservations required. Invite your friends!
Light refreshments will be served at the ceremony. 

The park is located on the East River, on the uptown side of the Queensboro Bridge. From East 60th Street and York Avenue, walk up the long ramp that crosses the FDR Drive. Meet under the giant curving overheard metal sculpture at the top of the ramp. 



Fran Leadon's website: https://franleadon.com/ 

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