69 petitions

Update posted 4 days ago

Petition to New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission, Corey Johnson, City Council Member Laurie Cumbo, Meenakshi Srinivasan

Protect Poet Walt Whitman's New York City Home

Walt Whitman, America's most famous poet, lived at 99 Ryerson Street in Brooklyn, New York when his world famous book Leaves of Grass was first published in 1855.  While Whitman lived in over 30 places in what is today New York City during this lifetime, the house at 99 Ryerson Street is the ONLY ONE still standing.  Accordingly, 99 Ryerson Street is of great cultural and historical significance.  It tells not only the story of a key moment in American poetry and literature, but also the story of a towering figure in global culture. We are seeking official city landmark designation from New York City to protect the building from demolition, especially because development is encroaching on the neighborhood.  While the New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission initially rejected our request, the Commission is currently reviewing additional information and research that we provided on the significance of the site and Walt Whitman's association with the site.  We need your help convincing the Commission to landmark this critically important building. The house at 99 Ryerson Street is one of only two buildings directly associated with Walt Whitman that are still standing in New York City.  It would be an unforgivable tragedy to lose this crucially important building to history.  Join us in protecting this important cultural resource for the benefit and enjoyment of future generations. Quotes from supporters: "To protect a house like this one, it seems to me, is a form of cultural stewardship.For this house to disappear would be something like an extinction: such a place cannot be got back, not ever, once it is lost."  - George Saunders, author of Lincoln in the Bardo and winner of the 2017 Man Booker Prize “During my time as Poet Laureate of the United States, my travels in our country and abroad gave me a renewed sense of Walt Whitman’s ongoing, central importance. Poets writing in other languages, on every continent have looked to Whitman’s work for an epitome of what is most liberating in the culture of the United States. Please let me add my voice to those hoping that you will recognize his house in Brooklyn as a true landmark.”  - Robert Pinsky, former U.S. Poet Laureate "I feel a particular relationship to Whitman and, maybe more to the point, a strong sense of just how much impact not only his work but his physical presence had on the New York City of his day. I do hope you’ll revisit the question of the house on Ryerson as a historic landmark."  - Michael Cunningham, award winning author  “2019 marks the bicentennial of Walt Whitman’s birth. We hope to celebrate Whitman’s groundbreaking contributions to literature by landmarking the site most associated with his seminal work by the time that key milestone arrives. I hope the Commission understands this is not about the architectural merit of 99 Ryerson Street but rather its incredibly significant cultural value.” - Professor Karen Karbiener, founder of the Walt Whitman Initiative “The city needs more landmarks like this one to help narrate the histories of LGBT Americans – and it needs to consider cultural landmarks seriously rather than aesthetic landmarks alone.” - Jay Shockley, co-founder of the NYC LGBT Historic Sites Project “If Whitman’s Leaves of Grass gave birth to American poetry, then Brooklyn is thebirthplace of our art, and 99 Ryerson Street is the last remaining cradle. The Commission needs to reconsider its initial rejection.” - Jason Koo, executive director and founder of Brooklyn Poets

Brad Vogel
3,645 supporters
Update posted 3 weeks ago

Petition to Artspace Projects, Sherwin-Williams

Artspace Projects: Move the Pullman Artspace Lofts to Save the A.W. Steudel Center

Artspace Projects, Inc. and their partners intend to construct a large, modern apartment building on a sensitive historic site associated with the lives of some of the poorest factory workers involved in the Pullman Strike of 1894. We have warned that the proposed “Pullman Artspace Lofts” could destroy irreplaceable archaeological resources and harm the historic character of the Pullman National Monument, the “first planned industrial community in the United States.” Meanwhile, two streets away, the 90,000 square foot A.W. Steudel Technical Center sits vacant (see photo above). Sherwin-Williams plans to demolish this impressive and architecturally significant building designed by Schmidt, Garden & Erikson and constructed a half-century ago. This building is an ideal candidate for adaptive reuse. To us, it seems wasteful and absurd to tear down this perfectly good building and then, at the same time, construct a similar building steps away using millions of dollars of taxpayer money. But a win-win solution exists: Sherwin-Williams, donate the A.W. Steudel Technical Center building to Artspace Projects, Inc. and save yourself the costs, risks, and negative publicity associated with its demolition. In addition, you’ll leave a lasting legacy for the community where your company has had a constant presence since 1886.   Artspace Projects, Inc., complete an even larger, more vibrant community arts space. With more than twice the square footage of your current project, you can add additional housing units or amenities for artists, such as studio space, classrooms, or a theater—today or sometime in the future. You could also provide space in this massive, fireproof structure to house the permanent archives of the Pullman National Monument. As part of the project, you and your partners can still rehabilitate historic “Poverty Row,” Pullman’s last surviving tenement block house complex. By rehabilitating the two surviving tenement "block houses" and preserving the archaeological ruin  between them, you’ll have ensured that these historic resources are preserved unimpaired for future generations, as the Antiquities Act of 1906 and Presidential Proclamation 9233 requires. Most importantly, your corporations will have truly acted in the long-term interest of our community and the nation. The Pullman National Monument is an integral part of our collective cultural heritage, and thus it belongs to all of us. We can create artist live-work housing, save the A.W. Steudel Technical Center, AND protect the historic resources and design of the Pullman National Monument. Let’s all work together to make this happen. Sign now to demand that Artspace Projects and Sherwin-Williams agree to relocate the Pullman Artspace Lofts to the A.W. Steudel Technical Center building.

Pullman National Monument Preservation Society
169 supporters