The Watch

Seventh Regiment Armory

New York, United States

2000 World Monuments Watch

Officers of the Seventh Regiment Armory in the late nineteenth century had access to facilities that included lavish reception spaces and public-area rooms designed by Louis Comfort Tiffany, Stanford White, and the Herter brothers. The Armory, on the Upper East Side of Manhattan, was built with private funds and many of its troops were volunteers from well-to-do New York families. The 53,000-square-foot drill shed remains one of the largest unobstructed interiors in the city and the oldest extant "balloon shed" in the nation. Today, the red brick structure serves as offices for State National Guard troops, a homeless shelter, and arena for arts and antiques shows. Despite continued use by diverse groups, the Armory suffers from decades of neglect. The significant interiors have been damaged by water leaks to the extent that some rooms are closed because of falling plaster. The state agency responsible for its operation has neither funds nor incentive to perform repairs. A local conservancy group has been formed in response, but sizeable funds, public awareness, and political support must be mobilized to keep the structure a viable urban presence.

Since the Watch

A non-profit group, formed in 1998 for the preservation of the Armory, acquired a long-term lease on the building from the State of New York in 2006. Since then, numerous events and performances have been mounted at the Armory, taking advantage of its vast historic drill hall. Other spaces are in use by army veterans, and the building continues to host frequent art and antique fairs. Conservation work continues. January 2011

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