Defenders of the Historic Upper East Side is a preservation advocacy group founded in 2003 and dedicated to preserving and protecting the Upper East Side historic character. The great array of architectural styles, from 19th century brownstone rowhouses to distinguished early 20th century apartment buildings make our neighborhood some of the most expensive and desirable real estate in the world and a mag- net for intense development pressure. Misguided, well-funded development projects, seeking to enrich the few at the expense of the larger community, will always assault us.
Our non-profit group, many members of which have decades of experience in the field of urban preservation, has come together specifically to provide immediate, sophisticated and intense hands-on technical assistance. We will advise, support and lead grassroots advocacy campaigns in our all too fragile area.
Though protections such as zoning and landmark designation exist, they require an aggressive and informed citizenry to be effective. A development proposal usually arrives with a “war chest” and a phalanx of experts. Neighbors coming together to oppose it must often start from scratch, learning the system, raising funds, garnering public support – and they must do all this while the clock is ticking.
Imagine the success that would be possible if those citizens had an existing organization to turn to that could immediately provide strategic advice, technical assistance, access to experts, the instant ability to receive tax-exempt donations and, on occasion, even provide seed money. This is a dream we are making a reality.
In partnership with local groups or as the lead organization, Defenders of the Historic Upper East Side fills a narrow but critical void. We will provide the best possible defense for our beloved and often beleaguered neighborhood.