A Fight to Preserve ~ Coogan’s in Washington Heights



photo credit: @hecisdead via The Uptown Collective

The 32 year-old, popular restaurant and bar, Coogan’s in Washington Heights was on the road to closing because of a rent increase. A petition quickly went up to save the beloved establishment, and 15,000 signatures were gathered.  Shortly thereafter, Manhattan Times tweeted out the good news! A new lease was agreed upon, and Coogan’s will remain open.

Image via Adriano Espaillat on Twitter
Image via Coogan’s Facebook Page

What goes around can eventually come around, and so far this year we have seen the benefit of a fight to preserve, the power of the petition, and #Resist both here and Nationally.

We have clearly seen the benefit of numbers ~ the number of members of various groups and organizations with historically good track-records of access and success ~ with a large number of followers who can quickly come to the fore in support of an issue, whether it be rezoning, housing, a demolition, a closure, or a social issue.  Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation, Save Chelsea, Landmark East Harlem, East Harlem Preservation, our local politicians, blog sites like Jeremiah’s Vanishing New York are just a few, and each one of us spreading the word by signing a petition or a post on social media.

In the end, we have seen the power we each have when we throw our hat in the ring. It is a + 1 that can quickly add up. Going back just 60 days, below are three more, with a positive outcome.

Image via East Harlem Preservation

The statue of the controversial 1800s gynecologist Dr. J. Marion Sims, which sits on Fifth Avenue at 103rd Street, has been a continuous source of very active protest, led by East Harlem Preservation.  Their voices were heard. It was announced that this statue will be moved to Greenwood Cemetery, where he is buried.

Image via the artist

The iconic mural ‘Spirit of Harlem‘ by artist Louis Delsarte, located on Frederick Douglass Boulevard at 125th Street, was replaced with painted black brick, sporting signage of one of the new shops in the commercial space.  Just days after our original post, a reader initiated a petition, which quickly reached 1,000+ signatures, and shortly thereafter, the building owner announced that the false wall would come down – bringing back the beloved mural.

Historic Julien Binford Murals

The historic Julien Binford Murals located at 101 West 14th Street was on its way to being demolished along with a gut-renovation at the recently sold and shuttered HSBC bank branch.  Shocked preservationists came together and the community group Save Chelsea, the Julien Binford family and NYC Council Member, Corey Johnson, successfully saved the panels from demolition.

Stay engaged. Be that + 1 that could make a difference.