By HAROLD EGELN Under a thousand sanctuary ceiling stars soaring sky-high overhead, the newly restored interior of Grace Church, with a rich history in Brooklyn Heights since 1847, was just the right place at the right time for hosting the citywide
Historic Districts Council’s 2014 15th Annual Grassroots Preservation Awards Party
held on Wednesday evening, June 4.
The Episcopal church, at 254 Hicks Street at Grace Court, has finished an extensive year-long multi-million-dollar sanctuary restoration project except for its musical organ area now being worked on, with a re-dedication celebration on June 8, four days after historical preservatists from Brooklyn and the city hailed preservation leaders with awards, accolades and applause. “Tonight we honor the people behind the buildings,” said Simeon Bankoff, HDC executive director. “And we hope to learn from them tonight.” The HDC is a not-for-profit, independent and non-partisen organization advocating community based preservation action for the city’s designated historical districts, landmarks, neighborhoods and buildings, and to uphold the city’s Landmarks Law. It started as a coalition in 1971 and was incorporated in 1985, and its website is www.hdc.org. Among many Brooklynites cheering him and the council in the church in the heart of the Brooklyn Heights Historic District (the city’s first in 1966) were Bay Ridge preservationist leaders Victoria Hofmo, a HDC Board of Directors member, Bay Ridge Conservancy founder and a 2006 award honoree, activist Susan Pulaski, President Emeritus of the Bay Ridge Historical Society, and Susan Sizley. In the Epsicopal church’s wonderous setting in the massively high colorful sancutary, designed as “a verdant earthly paradise (with) a celestial ceiling” as church literature noted, Restoration Committee Chair Thomas Pace welcomed the HDC and thanked it for choosing the Gothic Revival church designed by Richard Upjohn (1802-1878), a founder of the American Institute of Architects. Pace spoke in place of Leo J. Blackman, whose architectual firm helped the project. Blackman is the vice president of the NDC Board of Directors. The church pastor is The Reverend Stephen Muncie. THE AWARD HONOREES SALUTED First of those honored was Forest Hills resident Michael Perlman, 31, founder and chair of the Rego-Forest Preservation Council in 2006 which saved the Forest Hills Tennis Stadium from demolition and was converted to a concert venue. He said, Continue reading Historic Districts Councils, in Brooklyn, Honors Grassroots Preservationists