Tompkinsville Theatre / Staten Island, NY

Thirteen properties were singled out for Building Beautiful awards, including the temple-style Tompkinsville Theatre at 120 Victory Blvd., a former movie theater built in 1925 attributed to respected Island architect James Whitford

Staten Island Advance (New York)

April 8, 2011 Friday


PRESERVING OUR ARCHITECTURAL HISTORYThe Preservation League of Staten Island stages its annual awards program next week


The Preservation League of Staten Island (PLSI) will host its 2011 Historic Preservation Awards ceremony April 16.

This year’s program will recognize the efforts of more than 40 property owners whose efforts have contributed to preserving the Island’s historic and architectural past through tireless restorations and longtime property stewardship.

The event will take place at 1 p.m. in New Dorp Moravian Church Hall, 2205 Richmond Rd. Admission is $25 and includes a light lunch.

According to PLSI president John Kilcullen, the award-winning buildings in five categories were selected from both solicited public nominations and those submitted by a PLSI Awards committee comprised of experts on Island history, local architects of the AIA-S.I. Chapter and community leaders. The committee reviews the nominations and makes its decisions based on each category’s criteria.

Noting the annual awards program has been in existence for over 25 years, Kilcullen commented that he was impressed by the number of smaller properties represented among entries this year.

"We’re seeing more smaller properties on the Island being renovated," said Kilcullen, noting "Now people are seeing the intrinsic beauty in a simple bungalow. Preservation isn’t only about the grand old Victorians on Mud Lane."


Two new categories were added this year: Building Beautiful and Block Beautiful. The former recognizes the facade of a commercial building that positively contributes to a commercial district’s historic flavor and streetscape while maintaining its original architectural designs.

"Adaptive reuse is our big mantra for 2011," the PLSI president said. "With the Building Beautiful Award, we wanted to recognize the unsung business owners who appreciate the part their buildings play in the history of their community and the Island.

"(These business owners) are going beyond just putting up a shingle and saying ‘come shop with us,’ " Kilcullen continued. "By maintaining their buildings’ original architectural designs, they’re also enhancing the streetscape and the pedestrian shopping experience."

The Block Beautiful Award is a nod to a block or group of buildings that as a whole contribute to the street’s overall historic, architechtural and curb appeal. The inaugural award will recognize St. Austins Place in West Brighton, a small street where the homes are maintained true to the original character of the neighborhood.

Kilcullen characterizes the new categories as "a way to acknowledge historic preservation is more than ‘pretty little houses.’ It’s also viable commercial structures and business districts, as well as adaptive reuse of historic sites, such as the Smith Infirmary and U.S. Lighthouse Depot, for the greater community benefit."


Thirteen properties were singled out for Building Beautiful awards, including the temple-style Tompkinsville Theatre at 120 Victory Blvd., a former movie theater built in 1925 attributed to respected Island architect James Whitford, and the Art Deco-style site of the borough’s first Chevrolet dealership at 1316 Castleton Ave., West Brighton.

Other categories in which awards will be presented are Historic Treasure, Appreciation and Encouragement, and Bronze Plaque Award.

Historic Treasure Awards recognize stewardship of a historically or architecturally significant building. Included are buildings that have undergone changes over time but remain of cultural or historic importance to the immediate community and Staten Island as a whole.

Nineteen awards will be presented in this category. Among winners are the Gothic-style Mt. Sinai United Church, built in Stapleton in 1894, two 19th-century clapboard townhouses, a shingle style bungalow and a carriage house, all on Targee Street in Stapleton, and a Second Empire Mansion, circa 1863 on Harvard Ave., New Brighton.

Property owners in the process of a daunting restoration and renovation project of a historic/architecturally significant building will receive Appreciation and Encouragement awards.

Eight properties will be honored in this category, including a Victorian/Colonal Revival house on Westervelt Avenue, New Brighton, built in 1904 and attributed to architect Edward Sargent, and a circa 1869 Greek Revival house on Harbor Road, Mariners Harbor.


Coveted Bronze Plaque Awards are given for the extensive restoration of a building’s historic fabric/design and/or for contextual additions that respect its original architectural style and form. There are two winners in this category for 2011, a Colonial Revival home with Spanish influences on Ward Avenue, Ward Hill, and Stone Manor on Fort Hill Park in St. George.

Next week’s program is being chaired by Kilcullen, Angela D’Aiuto and Nick Matranga. It will consist of a slide presentation of the winning houses and buildings, presentation of bronze plaques and certificates and comments from the winning owners and designers.

Tickets may be purchased online at, or by calling 718-980-1551. They also will be available at the door. A complete list of the winning properties can be found on the Web site.

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