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Astor Foundation approves Harlem restoration grant.

Astor Foundation approves Harlem restoration grant

The Vincent Astor Foundation has approved a grant in the amount of $500,000 to be used to restore and repair the series of historic wood porches on the landmark block known as Astor Row in Harlem. The project is being coordinated by the New York Landmarks Conservancy and the New York Landmarks Preservation Commission, in collaboration with Astor Row homeowners who are members of the West 130th Street Block Association.

Astor Row is comprised of 28 houses, grouped in pairs, along most of the south side of 130th Street between Fifth Avenue and Lenox Avenue. The brick rowhouses, which were designated as individual landmarks by the New York Landmarks Preservation Commission in 1981, were built in the 1880's at a time when William Astor owned the land. Of particular significance to the historical and architectural character of the houses are their wood porches featuring decorative brackets and spindles. The porches, together with the houses' front yards, provide a rural feeling unusual in New York City.

Since November of last year, the New York Landmarks Conservancy, the Landmarks Preservation Commission and the Department of Housing Preservation and Development have been working together and with Astor Row homeowners who are members of the West 130th Street Block Association to marshal sufficient funds from various financial assistance programs to rehabilitate and restore the Astor Row houses. Those financial assistance programs include the Facade Improvement Program of the Landmarks Preservation Commission, which provides grants of up to $15,000 to undertake exterior restoration; the New York City Historic Properties Fund, a revolving loan fund administered by the Landmarks Conservancy, which has offered Astor Row homeowners 3 percent loans for exterior restoration and repairs; and the Department of Housing Preservation and Development's loan program, which provide low interest loans to homeowners for both interior and exterior repairs.

The Vincent Astor Foundation grant for the restoration of the series of porches -- the most significant feature of this landmark block --represents a vital step in this collaborative effort.
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Publication:Real Estate Weekly
Date:Sep 4, 1991
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