New City, NY - May 15, 2016. The Rockland County Executive's Historic Preservation Merit Awards were presented at a country supper today at the Jacob Blauvelt Historic Site in New City,  NY.

MeritAward-4

Specifically, the JGPC received the "Preservation Leadership Award" for displaying outstanding leadership to the preservation of historic resources in Rockland County, NY for our work in the acquisition of the John Green House and the rehabilitation of the historic house.

Here are some photos from the evening event.

MeritAward-3Rick Tannenbaum, President of the JGPC,
Ed Day, Rockland County Executive,
Ken Sharp, Treasurer of the JGPC.
MeritAward-1Mary Cardenas, JGPC Board Member and Rick Tannenbaum, JGPC President

We are truly honored to receive the recognition and to be part of the historic preservation community in Rockland County and the Hudson Valley. For more photos from the evening, view a Youtube slideshow about the winners, prepared by the Historical Society of Rockland County. Congratulation to all of the other winners.

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MainandGedney-1Across the street from the John Green House, stretching north from Main Street, between Gedney Street and the Hudson River, sits an abandoned gasification plant and fuel storage depot. Safely nestled behind a chain link fence, and overgrown with weeds, are the remains of a partially remediated brownfield.  The plant and fuel depot were the dominant features of the Nyack waterfront for about 75 years and have been abandoned and fallow since the mid-1960s.

DEC Sign

The New York State DEC declared the site a brownfield.

NyackWaterFrontCirca1955

 Aerial view of the Gedney gas field from 1955. The John Green House sits at the bottom of the circle (at about 6:00 on a clock face), just where Main Street and Gedney meet. All of the storage tanks are long gone. The buildings housing the gas works were long ago demolished. And the tank on the west side of the street (just above Lydecker Street) is also long gone. Left in their wake though was polluted ground, uninhabitable, unsafe, and a blight on the Village of Nyack. Part of the parcel has been owned by a local developer for many years, and that same developer now has an option to purchase the balance of the land from its current owner. The site has been partially remediated, though it still remains unsafe to build on.

Now, finally, beginning in 2015, an effort has been underway by that same developer, in partnership with a local architectural firm to complete the remediation of the brownfield, build a dedicated public park along the waterfront, and site over 100 market-rate condominiums on the site. Zoning changes are underway to facilitate developer's ability to transform the waterfront. The Village of Nyack is revamping its master plan, with a new focus on the waterfront. Plans are underfoot to build a contiguous walkway from Memorial Park to a site terminating at the north end of the Gedney Brownfield. The Tappan Zee Community Benefits Fund has just granted the Village of Nyack $195,000 to build a walkway over the inlet separating Memorial Park from the Village owned lots just south of the John Green House.

5484622Rendering of proposed condominium development on the former Gedney Brownfied.

9263970Part of the plans include a waterfront cafe, river access, and landscaped walkways. For the first time in 50 years, the Village of Nyack may be able to a safely access the waterfront north of Main Street and east of Gedney. For the first time in 50 years, families will be enjoying waterfront living, in the place where gas tanks once resided. The current Village government has the foresight to make it possible for this to happen. And all of this will certainly benefit the John Green House. Sitting alone, across from the Brownfield, the House was all but forgotten, and left for dead. Saved by the John Green Preservation Coalition, Inc. in September of 2015, we are now poised to own waterfront property that is part of a thriving, modern waterfront.

When John Green built the House in 1819, it was the center of economic activity in and about Nyack. Now, perhaps in time for the House's bicentennial in 2019, it will once again be in the center of everything -- a jewel in Nyack's crown, and an anchor on its waterfront.

We need community support to make all of this happen. Our progress is proof of our commitment.  Here are a few ways to help: (1) make a donation at our Generosity/IndieGoGo crowdfunding page; (2) become a member or make a tax-deductible contribution on our web site; (3) make a tax-deductible donation of a vehicle, running or otherwise, to the John Green Preservation Coalition; or, (4) mail a check to: The John Green Preservation Coalition, Inc., P.O. Box 378, Nyack, NY 10960.

Thank you.

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April 28, 2016 - Nyack, NY: This is what progress looks like.

04-28-2016-02Our skilled masons are reconstructing the northeast corner of the building where we managed a controlled collapse last fall. Note the care taken to key the corner stonework into the existing side wall (exposed under the stucco). It won't be long before we are ready to do finish mortar work at the exposed joints on this section. And, we once again want to thank DCAK-MSA (Drazen and Julia) and Helmer-Cronin (Bill) for stepping up and helping us out with this critical part of the re-build. If you are around in Nyack and want to have a closer look, please come visit us at 23 Main Street, at the foot of Main Street, steps from the Hudson River. We are happy to show off the house to visitors.

04-28-2016-01This view, from the front, shows the temporary lintels above the framed windows. We have replacement stone lintels being hand-cut on order to replace the temporary wood frames. We are just passing the second floor window frame and will soon be at the roof sill. The concrete block barrier in front of the building (where the original porch once stood) has been removed to permit access down to the foundation. Replacing the front porch (recreated from historic photos) is on our agenda for a later phase of the rehabilitation.

We need community support to keep going. Our progress is proof of our commitment.  Here are a few ways to help: (1) make a donation at our Generosity/IndieGoGo crowdfunding page; (2) become a member or make a tax-deductible contribution on our web site; (3) make a tax-deductible donation of a vehicle, running or otherwise, to the John Green Preservation Coalition; or, (4) mail a check to: The John Green Preservation Coalition, Inc., P.O. Box 378, Nyack, NY 10960.

Thank you.

 

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This House Matters, a film by documentarian and John Green Preservation Coalition (JGPC) board member, Tina Traster has been declared an "Official Selection" of the 2016 Hoboken International Film Festival. It is showing at the Paramount Theater in Middletown, NY on Saturday, June 4, 2016 at 12:00noon to open the Festival's Saturday showing. Tickets are $11.00.

The documentary features the people and organizations behind historic preservation efforts in Rockland County, NY and focuses specifically on the acquisition of the John Green House by the JGPC. Also featured are the Seth House in Pearl River, the Cropsey barn in New City, the Vanderbilt/Budke House in West Nyack, NY and the Lent House in Orangeburg, NY.

At its debut in the Nyack Library, it played to a maximum capacity audience of 101 persons. Its next local showing is at the New City Library on June 22, 2016 at 7:00pm

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PleasePickProjectWe are proud and please with our alliance with the Suzanne Barish's "Please Pick Project." The John Green House (23 Main Street) will be one of the hosts for the project. We'll be assembling planter beds soon. Stand by for planting dates and our upcoming open house.

To learn more about the "Please Pick Project" and Suzanne Barish, please see "Edible Nyack: Resident Plans Public Gardens" in the Journal News or view her TedX talk  (Youtube Link).

If you want to assist with building raised beds, planting seedlings, or caring for the plants, please contact us. Volunteer dates, to be announced.

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watercolor presentationToday, the John Green Preservation Coalition hosted the Historic Society of the Nyacks and other guests for the presentation of Beverley Bozarth Colgan's watercolor portrait of the John Green House. House tours were given to about 30 people on site and funds were raised for the rehabilitation of the John Green House. Thank you to everybody who attended and to those who contributed to the cause. It is the support of the community and the charitable organizations and interested individuals who make our continued efforts possible.

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Northeast corner of the front facadeWith the return of the warm weather, we are able to resume working on the northeast corner of the front facade at the John Green House. Our thanks again to Drazen Cackovic and Julia Khomut from DCAK-MSA Architecture and Engineering, to Bill Truss, and to Bill Helmer from Helmer-Cronin Construction for all of the hard work, expertise, materials and labor that they have contributed for the stabilization of the house.

When we took title last fall, we were compelled to undertake a controlled and managed take-down of the northeast corner, as all parties involved agreed that that portion of the house would likely collapse during the hard winter. It is that portion that we are rebuilding right now.

It is imperative that we keep the momentum moving, and we are currently planning on undertaking repairs of the center section of the front facade (that section to the east of the front door). We have obtained bids for the work involved and continue to solicit qualified expert opinions on the best way to proceed. Our best and most complete bid so far is about $14,000 for that center section, including engineering, materials and labor.

The John Green House will become a cultural asset to the Village of Nyack and the surrounding communities, in a manner similar to the Edward Hopper House and the Nyack Center. We need community support to make it happen.  Here are a few ways to help: (1) make a donation at our Generosity/IndieGoGo crowdfunding page; (2) become a member or make a tax-deductible contribution on our web site; (3) make a tax-deductible donation of a vehicle, running or otherwise, to the John Green Preservation Coalition; or, (4) mail a check to: The John Green Preservation Coalition, Inc., P.O. Box 378, Nyack, NY 10960.

Thank you for your help and support.

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Watercolor Painting
Come join the John Green Preservation Coalition and the Historical Society of the Nyacks (HSN) for the presentation by watercolor artist Beverley Bozarth Colgan of her "John Green House" to the HSN @ 2:00pm, this Sunday, April 17th in front of the John Green House, 23 Main Street, Nyack, NY.

Architect and historian Win Perry will lead a house tour for interested persons, and donations to the restoration of the building's facade will be accepted.

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I want to turn the clock back to when people lived in small villages and took care of each other.

~Pete Seeger

 

John Green was a 19th century lumber dealer, entrepreneur and community leader.

Pete Seeger was a 20th century folk singer, activist and environmentalist. 

What could these two men possibly have in common?

First off, they were both dreamers.  Secondly, they both made their dreams come true.

John Green found himself in Nyack, working for a wealthy family.  But he looked to the Hudson and dreamed of the future – a future with an active seaport, a steamship to carry his cargo to New York City, and a road running right through the middle of the County to bring folks here.

He did all those things and more.

About 146 years later, Pete Seeger, legendary singer, songwriter, folklorist, activist, environmentalist, and peace advocate looked at that same Hudson River in despair.  Decades of industrial pollution had left the once pristine waters a filthy, chemical sludge.  But Seeger looked to the Hudson and dreamed of the future – a future with a cleaner, more vibrant waterway, and announced plans to “build a boat to save the river” –

He did all those things and more.

John Green had a vision of a bustling Nyack Seaport, and he built his business around that vision.  He charted out the deep water channel to bring large vessels to his landing.  He lobbied for legislation making possible the construction of the Nyack Turnpike, providing a direct route from Suffern to the Hudson River.  With the maiden voyage of “The Orange” (originally called “The Nyack”), a steamship he was instrumental in making a reality, Green brought his vision to life.

Pete Seeger thought the river was worth saving, and that a majestic replica of the sloops that sailed the Hudson in the 18th and 19th centuries would bring people to the river where they would experience its beauty first hand and be moved to preserve it.

He organized, performed and fundraised, finally building the majestic sloop “Clearwater”. From “The Clearwater’s” website; “In 1972 Seeger and the Clearwater crew sailed the sloop to Washington, DC while Congress was debating the Clean Water Act. Seeger personally delivered a petition with hundreds of thousands of signatures to Congress and then proceeded to hold a spontaneous concert in the halls of Congress. A few weeks later the Federal Water Pollution Control Act was passed in 1972 over then President Richard Nixon's veto.” 

These men weren’t men of great means.  But they believed in their dreams, acted on them and made them real.

And though they are no longer with us, their passions live on.

Today, Pete’s supporters are carrying on his mission, working to restore the majestic Clearwater sloop, just as supporters of The John Green House are working to restore his historic sandstone home.

But we need more people like John Green and Pete Seeger.

We all need to be like these dynamic dreamers – willing to set our minds to the task, find a way or make a way, and never stop until the task is done.

 

Ode

By Arthur O'Shaughnessy  

We are the music-makers,peteseegertappanzee

And we are the dreamers of dreams,

Wandering by lone sea-breakers

And sitting by desolate streams;

World losers and world forsakers,

On whom the pale moon gleams:

Yet we are the movers and shakers

Of the world for ever, it seems.

 

downloadWith wonderful deathless ditties

We build up the world’s great cities.

And out of a fabulous story

We fashion an empire’s glory:

One man with a dream, at pleasure,

Shall go forth and conquer a crown;

And three with a new song’s measure

Can trample an empire down.

 

We, in the ages lyingimg005WORKED2

In the buried past of the earth,

Built Nineveh with our sighing,

And Babel itself with our mirth;

And o’erthrew them with prophesying

To the old of the new world’s worth;

For each age is a dream that is dying,Sloop_Clearwater3_-_Photo_by_Anthony_Pepitone

Or one that is coming to birth.

 

 

 

To make a contribution to the restoration efforts of The Clearwater, please go to http://www.clearwater.org/

 

To contribute to the rehabilitation of The John Green House, please go to http://www.johngreencoalition.org/donatesupport/

 

Thank You.

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Since taking possession of The John Green House a few months ago, volunteer crews have been on hand most Saturdays and sometimes during the week chipping away stucco, clearing weeds, tearing out old, busted up sheet rock, and a whole host of other activities required to get this house back on its feet.

When we’re not doing that, we’re answering questions.

When you work on The John Green House, you’re going to get into conversations.  That’s just a given now, and we know that if we plan to spend three hours of a Saturday morning working on the house, at least a good half hour (and usually more) is filled with answering questions from passersby about our large, yellow stuccoed friend.

It’s to be expected, and we’re happy to inform people about what’s going on.  Perhaps you’ve passed by and wondered as well, but haven’t seen us out there, or haven’t had the time to stop and chat.  So for anyone that’s still curious, I give you some of our most asked questions and their answers.

How old is this house?  Nearly 200 years old.  We had initially believed the house to have been built in 1817, but our Vice President Win Perry discovered information that now indicates a construction date of 1819.

Who owns the house?  The John Green Preservation Coalition, a not for profit organization, holds the deed to the house.  After being taken in lieu of foreclosure several years ago, the house was eventually donated to us by the bank.

When did people last live in the house?  The latest signs of occupancy are refrigerator magnet calendars from 2004.  We’re assuming around that time.

That sign with the “X” means they’re going to tear it down, right?  No.  Many people believe that “the X Sign” means that a property has been condemned.  This is not the case.  That sign is a warning to firefighters that the structure has been deemed unsafe by the building department and fire inspector.  It is there as a warning to use extreme caution.

So it’s not safe?  Well, it’s actually safer now than when we first acquired the house.  Over the last couple of decades, a combination of water and termites caused a decent amount of damage to many of the load bearing floor joists throughout the house.  Parts of the first floor felt like they would collapse at any moment.  Since our acquisition, our friends at Helmer Cronin Construction and DCAK-MSA Architecture have given us much needed assistance and have constructed temporary interior supports from basement to roof, as well as installing exterior struts to literally hold the walls in place.

What are you going to do with the house?  That’s an excellent question.  We have talked about having the house serve as a Nyack Welcome Center and museum, we’ve discussed using part of the house as artist’s live/work space, and there’s even been some suggestion of retail.  While we have many ideas on the subject, we’re very interested in hearing about what the community might like to see the house become.  We’ll be asking folks to participate in a survey in the near future – keep checking back here for details.

When do you think you’ll be done?  Our goal is to have the grand opening of the house coincide with the opening of the new Tappan Zee Bridge, which is scheduled to be 2018.  If it looks like we’re not going to make that deadline, then our new deadline will be 2019, to coincide with the 200th “birthday” of the house.

How much is all that going to cost?  We’re currently estimating around $500,000.

How much of my tax dollars are going to pay for this?  None.  Zero.  Zip.  Nada.

Have you found anything valuable in there?  I don’t know about valuable, but we’ve found an eclectic assortment of interesting objects for sure.  We’ll be displaying some of them in an exhibit soon.

How can people help?  We have been really fortunate to have a great group of volunteers who have been assisting us in cleaning up the property.  We’ve also been blessed with generous people who have donated monetarily to our efforts.  We can always use assistance in both of those areas, but probably one of the easiest ways people can help is to simply tell a friend.  The rehabilitation of The John Green House is a huge effort, and it will truly take a Village to realize our vision.  So, for anyone who wants to help – spread the word!  Thanks!

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