Morningside Heights Historic District Council

Preserving, Improving, and Telling the Story of our Community


“If the world weren’t such a beautiful place, we might all turn into cynics.”

Moon Palace by Paul Auster

Morningside Heights is one of the most appealing and interesting communities on Earth.

Think of all the people who have lived here — their many origins and beliefs, their local and global impacts. Consider the daily routines and major events that shaped these lives and the fact that you, reading these words now, are part of this sprawling story.

There are galaxies of experience on our blocks.

The particulars of a time and place can never be replicated. Eras and communities evolve over years and decades. In doing so, they meld uniquely and offer distinct imprints on culture. Because we value this ongoing narrative, we are committed to honoring its artifacts and lessons.

As you learn more about our work to share the unique charm of Morningside Heights with future generations, you might consider joining us in improving our neighborhood today.

Here’s a five-minute overview video on MHHDC’s work.

A great moment in the ongoing story of Morningside Heights:

The 2017 unveiling of Phase I of our Historic District. Among others in attendance were Assembly Member Daniel O’Donnell, Landmarks Preservation Commission Chairperson Meenakshi Srinivasan, LPC Foundation Executive Director Christina Davis, MHHDC President Laura Friedman, and City Council Member Mark Levine.

Endangered: McGiffert Hall

Watch our video on the potential threats to this historic building here.

We are deeply concerned over the fate of McGiffert Hall, at 122nd Street and Claremont Avenue.

There are indications this striking 1931 Allen & Collens building, which has served as housing for Union Theological Seminary, will be razed and replaced by a high-rise.

McGiffert Hall was purchased in 2018 by Riverside Church, which has retained developer Savills to consult on potential uses of the structure.  With a 42-story, all-luxury tower going up across the street through the sale of land and air rights by UTS, a similar structure at the McGiffert site would deliver a massive blow to local preservation efforts.

MHHDC has filed a Request for Evaluation for Landmark Designation of the building with the Landmarks Preservation Commission. 

Mobilization to support this objective is being planned now. In the meantime, please sign our online petition here.  WE MUST SAVE McGIFFERT.