CouncilStat — where it’s at

Volume 77, Number 27 | December. 05 – 11, 2007LETTERS TO THE EDITORCouncilStat — where it’s atTo The Editor:Let’s do it for MargotTo The Editor:Thank you for mentioning the proposal to expand the Soho-Cast Iron Historic District in “Scoopy’s Notebook” last week (“Soho district may grow,” Nov. 28). The Metropolitan Chapter of the Victorian Society in America has initiated a proposal to expand the district and has been advocating for this expansion for some time. We are looking to broaden community support for the district’s extension.When the Soho historic district was designated in 1974, it left out many outstanding and clearly landmark-worthy buildings on the west side of West Broadway, on the east side of Crosby St. and along portions of Broome, Grand and Howard Sts. east of Broadway. Margot Gayle, the world’s leading expert on cast-iron architecture, fought hard in the 1960s and 1970s to preserve and protect Soho’s cast-iron buildings. No doubt that without Margot’s tireless efforts, Soho’s breathtaking collection of cast-iron and masonry loft buildings would not be here today.

Despite her success, Margot was never satisfied with the incomplete boundaries of the Soho-Cast Iron Historic District. Since the Victorian Society was founded in Margot’s kitchen at 44 W. Ninth St. in 1966, she turned to us to help lead the charge to expand the boundaries of the Soho historic district.

Margot, whom we can also thank for helping to save Jefferson Market 40 years ago, will hopefully turn 100 years old on May 14, 2008. We believe that the best centennial birthday present for her would be an expanded Soho historic district, something she has long wanted. We are asking the Landmarks Preservation Commission to expand the Soho boundaries while Margot is still with us to see the culmination of her amazing lifetime of work.

We thank the Soho Alliance for allowing us to present our proposal last week to its membership. The response was overwhelmingly enthusiastic about the proposed expanded Soho Cast-Iron Historic District. However, we still have our work cut out for us. We hope that the residents of Soho and surrounding neighborhoods will join us in asking the Landmarks Preservation Commission to landmark the many outstanding buildings on the edge of the Soho historic district as a 100th birthday gift to Margot Gayle. Soho, the Village and New York City as a whole owe so much to Margot’s advocacy throughout the years, and the time has come to see her vision through.

Complete information on the history of all of the buildings in the proposed Soho historic district expansion and what people can do to help protect them can be found at

Jeffery Sholeen
Sholeen is president, Metropolitan Chapter of the Victorian Society in America