3rd Annual Ortner Preservation Awards Winners

3rd Annual Ortner Preservation Awards Winners
14th Street Block Association President Mark Padwe (holding the Ortner Award for neighborhood intervention) and Marilyn Bloom (Photo by Pamela Wong/BKLYNER)

The Park Slope Civic Council’s 3rd Annual Evelyn and Everett Ortner Preservation Awards were presented last night to the 14th Street Block Association and to homeowners John and Tina Novogratz.

The awards were presented during the Park Slope Civic Council’s general board meeting held at the Old Stone House (336 3rd Street). Inaugurated in 2014 by Park Slope Civic Council member John Casson, the Ortner Awards recognize projects that are compatible with the historic architecture of Park Slope as well as intervention efforts made by individuals or groups to protect the neighborhood’s historic character and unique identity.

The awards honor the long-time Park Slope residents and advocates, Evelyn Ortner (1924-2006) and Everett Ortner (1919-2012), who purchased a brownstone on Berkeley Place in 1963 and subsequently spent the next 40 years transforming the neighborhood, then in decline, into the vibrant community that it is today.

According to one of the competition’s judges, Clem Labine, founder of the Old House Journal and a long-time friend of the couple’s, “If it weren’t for the Ortners’ pioneering work, Park Slope today would be filled with towering condos just like lower Flatbush Avenue.” He added that young people today have no idea what Park Slope was like in the 60s when the Ortners first settled there and convinced him and many others to move to the neighborhood as well.

Ortner Award judge and Old House Journal founder Clem Labine (Photo by Pamela Wong/BKLYNER)

Labine said after the Depression in the 1930s, Park Slope was rife with abandoned buildings and crime. He said in the 1960s, “You could buy a brownstone for as little as $10,000 because people who had a choice chose not to live in Park Slope.”

He said the Ortners devoted their lives to campaigning to get people to purchase homes in Park Slope, renovate the derelict buildings, and restore the architecture. The couple also played a pivotal role in establishing the Park Slope Historic District, the largest landmarked district in New York City.

“Through their 40 years of dedication, Evelyn and Everett took a place that people were trying to escape and transformed it into a neighborhood where we all feel very lucky to live,” Labine concluded.

Before presenting the awards, Casson explained that the Ortner Awards were established by the Civic Council to “encourage the construction of new buildings and the renovation of existing buildings to make them compatible to the old, original Park Slope houses.”

The first award for neighborhood intervention was presented to the 14th Street Block Association for “initiating a successful effort to reconfigure the proposed conversion of the Pavilion Theater [188 Prospect Park West] into luxury a apartment building to make it more compatible with the architecture of historic buildings in Park Slope.”

L-R Park Slope Civic Council President Judith Leif presenting Mark Grashow and Michael Padwe with the Ortner Award for neighborhood intervention (Photo by Pamela Wong/BKLYNER)

The 14th Street Block Association tirelessly fought against a real estate developer’s plans to convert the Pavilion Theater into a large, luxury condominium apartment building with underground parking and several retail stores on the ground floor. The Block Association determined that the developer’s proposal for the site was a “thrown together building with little architectural cohesion and a problematic contextual relationship to the historic buildings surrounding it.” Following a long battle, the developer abandoned the project and leased the theater to Nitehawk Cinema that is currently building a 7-screen, 650-seat, dine-in movie theater.

In accepting the award, Michael Padwe, President of the 14th Street Block Association stated, “We doubt this is the end of our long struggle with the Sanders/Pavilion Theater.” In the late 1970s through the 1980s the Block Association fought against a hardware store that wanted to move into the theater space and put a truck loading dock on 14th Street. They then rallied against another developer who wanted to build condos on the site, who ultimately went to jail for fraud and left the building “to rot.” Padwe says, “We can only hope our future relationship with the theater will be better…. We are going to continue to monitor whatever goes on….”

The second award of the evening was for the preservation of an important Park Slope historic structure, the C.P.H. Gilbert-designed Chiclet Mansion located on the northeast corner of 8th Avenue and Carroll Street.

L-R Tina Novogratz and Chrissa O’Malley Horrigan accepting the Ortner Award for the restoration of the Chiclet Mansion located on 8th Avenue at Carroll Street (Photo by Pamela Wong/BKLYNER)

The award was presented to John and Tina Novogratz, the new owners of the Chiclet Mansion, and architect Chrissa O’Malley Horrigan who collaborated with the couple on an extensive renovation of the historic building, which included replacing the roof and more than 70 windows, repointing the façade, repairing and replacing many interior and exterior architectural elements, and the restoration of the stained glass windows.

Chiclet Mansion located on the corner of 8th Avenue and Carroll Street (Photo by Pamela Wong/BKLYNER)

The restoration project secures the Chiclet Mansion’s status as one of the “finest example[s] of residential Romanesque Revival Architecture in New York City.”


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