Simeon Bankoff (born October 10, 1970) is the current executive director of a New York, USA, not-for-profit organization, the Historic Districts Council. HDC strives to preserve the history of New York City by advocating for the protection of historic buildings and neighborhoods. This mission is pursued through ongoing programs of community outreach and education, public policy initiatives and hands-on advocacy support for community preservationists. Mr. Bankoff has been executive director of the organization since November 2000.
During his tenure, the Historic Districts Council has been at the forefront of numerous historic preservation campaigns – such as the drive to save the formerly industrial neighborhoods of Brooklyn’s waterfront, the protection of Lower Manhattan’s unprotected historic buildings, fighting out-of-scale development along Central Park and advocating for the preservation of low-density historic neighborhoods in Queens. HDC has also become involved with campaigns to preserve a number of individual buildings, such as the Trylon Theater in Queens, 2 Columbus Circle in Manhattan and the Lady Moody House in Brooklyn. In addition to helping communities throughout the five boroughs, HDC has also been active in working to promote legislation to help preserve New York’s unprotected historic buildings as well as producing regular educational programs on history and preservation in New York City. In 2003, Bankoff became the subject of several news headlines when he strongly opposed the demolition of the Church of St. Thomas the Apostle in Harlem.
The Archdiocese of New York, under the administration of Cardinal Edward Egan, executed what Bankoff referred to as an "anti-landmark policy" by partially destroying the centuries-old Gothic church in order to clear the site for residential development in August 2004.
Previous to becoming Executive Director of the Historic Districts Council, Bankoff worked for a number of other historic preservation organizations in New York City: including the Historic House Trust where he worked to acquire 18th and 19th Century farmhouses for the city, and the New York Landmarks Preservation Foundation, where he helped initiate the Cultural Medallions plaque program which commemorate the residences of notable New Yorkers such as Jack Kerouac, Frank O'Hara, George Gershwin and Edna St. Vincent Millay.
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