Six to Celebrate is a dynamic program of the Historic Districts Council, and New York’s only targeted citywide list of preservation priorities.
The purpose of the program is to provide strategic resources to neighborhood groups at a critical moment to reach their preservation goals. The six selected groups receive HDC’s hands-on help on all aspects of their efforts over the course of the year and continued support in the years to come. The program helps community activists learn to use tools such as documentation, research, zoning, landmarking, publicity, and public outreach to advance local preservation campaigns.
Since the program’s inception in 2011, HDC has helped Six to Celebrate groups create three National Register districts (Bowery, Far Rockaway Bungalows and Fort Independence); one National Register-eligible district (Gowanus); three National Register Properties (Port Morris Gantries, Sylvan Grove Cemetery and Richmond Terrace Cemeteries); 33 NYC Individual Landmarks; five NYC historic districts (Bedford Stuyvesant, Bedford, Park Avenue, Crown Heights North III and Mount Morris Park Extension), with many others still in the works; one contextual zoning to maintain neighborhood scale and character (Woodlawn Heights); and 13 neighborhood surveys that have resulted in the documentation of thousands of historic buildings across the five boroughs. We have also assisted in leveraging over $100,000 in private and public grants for these community-driven projects. Neighborhoods selected also benefit from professionally-designed websites, illustrated walking tour brochures, press attention, growing audiences and new contacts in the field.
The six, chosen from applications submitted by community organizations, are selected on the basis of the architectural and historic merit of the area, the level of threat, the strength and willingness of local advocates, and potential for HDC’s preservation support to be meaningful.
As HDC’s former Executive Director Simeon Bankoff stated at the beginning of the program, “Neighborhoods throughout New York are fighting an unseen struggle to determine their own futures. By bringing these locally-driven neighborhood preservation efforts into the spotlight, HDC hopes to focus New Yorkers’ attention on the very real threats that historic communities throughout the city are facing from indiscriminate and inappropriate development. As the first list of its kind in New York, the Six to Celebrate helps raise awareness of local efforts to save neighborhoods on a citywide level.”
Six to Celebrate is generously supported in part by public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council and by the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Kathy Hochul and the New York State Legislature. Additional FY23 support is provided by New York City Council Members Erik Bottcher, Gale Brewer, Christopher Marte, Keith Powers, and Lincoln Restler. Communications support for the program is provided by the Ford Foundation.
About Historic Districts Council
The Historic Districts Council is the advocate for all of New York City’s historic neighborhoods. HDC is the only organization in New York that works directly with people who care about our city’s historic neighborhoods and buildings. We represent a constituency of over 500 local community organizations.
What do we do?
First and foremost, HDC provides technical and strategic support to groups and individuals to help save historic buildings. Since 1971, HDC has been a vital force helping to preserve historic neighborhoods and buildings throughout the five boroughs. HDC has been involved in the creation of almost all of the 108 officially designated historic districts in New York, which encompass almost 30,000 individual buildings. We have organized residents, secured funding for studies, given public testimony, worked with city agencies, and held people’s hands for over 40 years. Last year, we launched our “Six to Celebrate” program, the only citywide initiative coming directly from the communities that spotlights preservation concerns.
We educate. Each year, HDC offers over two-dozen public programs, conferences, workshops, and talks related to New York City history, preservation practices like restoration, and community organizing. We also offer walking and bicycle tours of distinct neighborhoods that embody the city’s history, vibrancy and cultural backbone.
We speak out for preservation. HDC is the only group which regularly reviews every single public proposal affecting a historic building and historic districts in New York, and when needed, we comment on them. We monitor the New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission and work with elected officials on historic preservation and development issues. We have negotiated agreements between developers and community residents on projects affecting historic neighborhoods. Learn more on the HDC website.