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Preservationist, Brooklyn Heights resident Alex Herrera to receive landmarks conservancy award

March 10, 2022 Brooklyn Eagle Staff
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The New York Landmarks Conservancy has announced the winners of the 2022 Lucy G. Moses Preservation Awards. Alex Herrera, a preservationist and long-time Brooklyn Heights resident, will receive the Special Award for Preservation Service at the Awards Ceremony on April 20 at 6 p.m. at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine in Manhattan.

The Lucy G. Moses Preservation Awards are the Conservancy’s highest honors for excellence in preservation. The awards recognize individuals, organizations, and building owners for their extraordinary contributions to the city.

Herrera was the director of preservation services at the Conservancy for nearly 23 years before he retired in 2021. Prior to that, Herrera was at the city’s Landmarks Preservation Commission for 20 years. As director of preservation, he oversaw the division that manages regulatory activity at thousands of buildings across New York. He also was a longtime board member of the Brooklyn Heights Association and remains a trusted advisor.

At the Conservancy, he advised hundreds of people a year on how best to conserve, restore and repair their landmark buildings. Working closely with professional colleagues from a variety of related fields, he took part in the rescue and restoration of many notable landmarks on behalf of the Conservancy.

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Herrera spent years on federal Section 106 (part of the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966) reviews of the Farley Post Office in Manhattan and the former TWA Terminal at JFK.

In Brooklyn, when the Department of Buildings emptied people from four brownstones on a landmark block and said the buildings needed to be demolished because workers damaged a basement party wall, Herrera went to court with the owner of the damaged building and got a stay. He knew the buildings were solid, and he convinced a DOB engineer to let the Conservancy bring in a shoring company to fix the damage. Herrera saved those homes.

Here’s a short list of buildings Herrera has helped: the Tobacco Warehouse (in Brooklyn Bridge Park), the Four Seasons Restaurant; the Morris Jumel Mansion; Historic Richmondtown; Weeksville Heritage Center (in Bed-Stuy); Louis Armstrong House; Woodlawn, Green-Wood and Evergreen Cemeteries; Frederick Douglass Memorial Park; Noble Maritime Collection; Frederick Law Olmsted’s home on Staten Island; the South Street Seaport Museum; Governors Island and more.

In 1997, Herrera received the prestigious Sloan Public Service Award, considered the Nobel Prize of New York City government, for his work at the Landmarks Commission. The Conservancy says it’s happy to add the “Oscar” of preservation to his awards room.

The 2022 Lucy G. Moses Preservation Project Award recipients include: 1 West 123rd Street; 55 Reade Street; 74 Grand Street; Astoria Park Pool and Play Center; Empire State Building Mooring Mast; Farley Building Postal Lobby; Gage & Tollner; the Helmsley Building; the Highbridge Water Tower & Step-Street; Noonan Plaza Apartments; One Wall Street; Power Station at Berklee NYC; T Building and Trinity Church Wall Street. The Preservation Organization Award will be presented to Prospect Park Alliance for excellent stewardship of its collection of historic structures and sites. Yuien Chin, Preservation Advocate, will receive the 2022 Preservation Leadership Award for her work in centering Harlem’s rich architectural and cultural heritage.

“We have an amazing range of Lucy winners this year,” said Peg Breen, president of The New York Landmarks Conservancy. “The city’s incredible architectural diversity will be on full display, and we’re thrilled to be celebrating it all in person again.”

The New York Landmarks Conservancy, a private non-profit organization, has led the effort to preserve and protect New York City’s architectural legacy for nearly 50 years. Since its founding, the Conservancy has loaned and granted more than $54 million, which has leveraged more than $1 billion in 1,850 restoration projects throughout New York, revitalizing communities, providing economic stimulus and supporting local jobs.

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