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Richard Moses Celebrates 5 Years and, Hopefully, 300+ Historic Buildings

richard moses Richard Moses (right) at LESPI’s birthday bash.

At a meeting on Tuesday, the Landmarks Preservation Commission may well create a new East Village/Lower East Side Historic District encompassing over 300 buildings. But the Lower East Side Preservation Initiative isn’t waiting till then to celebrate: the group marked its fifth anniversary last night with bubbly and birthday cake at Smart Clothes Gallery on Stanton Street. Since preservation architects Richard Moses and Britton Baine – inspired by a screening of “Slumming It: Myth and Culture on the Bowery” – started the organization in 2007, they’ve gone on to become instrumental in the creation of a 10th Street Historic District and have led countless tours and discussions about neighborhood history and architecture. The Local chatted with Mr. Moses as he prepared for last night’s birthday bash.


You’ve garnered opposition from religious groups in the community in regards to landmarking. Have others opposed your projects and how do you handle the situation?


There were a few property owners who were opposed. They came out and expressed their opposition, but there wasn’t a huge number of them by any means; I would say a few.

It’s a tricky situation because emotions tend to run high on both sides. Certainly we’re sympathetic to concerns of religious institutions on the idea that they want their congregation to be thriving and we certainly want them to be thriving – we don’t want them to burdened. We feel sometimes that there’s a misunderstanding of some of the requirements of the Landmarks Commission and that there’s a different focus on short-term versus long-term goals. Read more…

The Pain of War at Merchant’s House

Burns_Montage-Slide2aGraphic by Tim Milk

The Merchant’s House Museum, at 29 East Fourth Street, is hosting two star attractions this season. The first, to commemorate the 150th anniversary of the onset of the Civil War, is “Medical Photography from The Burns Archive.” It features photographs of Civil War casualties, meticulously documented through the war years by Dr. R. B. Bontecou, as well as a genuine army surgeon’s operating kit, complete with amputation knife. It is chilling to see the destructive effect of the period weaponry on the soldiers, corpsmen and drummer boys at the front of the lines. The Burns Collection in all its facets can be seen here.

IMG_1046a-med-cropTim MilkThe corner of a servant’s room.

Dr. Stanley Burns’ overview of Dr. R. B. Bontecou’s photographs, “Shooting Soldiers,” can be accessed at

Secondly, the curators of Merchant’s House are pleased to open the household servants’ quarters to the public for the very first time. These are quite possibly the oldest extant immigrant Irish living quarters in the city. See the world as they did, through the attic dormers. Observe the call-bell hooked to a chord that led downstairs, which hearkened them to their duties. Living together beneath the roof as they did, the Irish women communed much closer to the elements and much farther from comfort than did the “better half.” As always, the museum is a fascinating visit to a bygone era, with original décor and furnishings dating back to the 1830’s.

“Medical Photography from The Burns Archive” runs through Aug. 1. The self-guided tour is a continuing event. For information on hours, stop by the Merchant’s House website: