New Rochelle Armory Nominated for Heritage Award

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New Rochelle Armory Nominated for Heritage Award

January 11, 2012 - 04:20

The Save Our Armory Committee has nominated the New Rochelle Armory for consideration of the prestigious Heritage Award Program administered by City Hall. A detailed application has been submitted for review in an effort spotlight the historic significance of this unique New Rochelle treasure.

We wholeheartedly concur with Mayor Bramson's statement of " By raising public awareness about our past, we help ensure that hiostoric charmremains a vital part of our future". In Fact, we couldn't have said it better.

The application does request the owner to be the one submitting. We hold that, by extension, the residents of New Rochelle are the owners. The taxpaying citizenry, who foot the bills for the city, who essentially buy all the product the city uses. If one were to look at the ownership of city hall, or the fire houses or police station, I doubt the mayor's or councilmember's would be on the paperwork. Good or bad, without the residents, there would be no New Rochelle.

To view the application click

and follow the links for the application and the details pages.

We'll let you how it turns out.  Remember


There are 20 Comments

Martin Sanchez's picture

To the members of the SOA, great job. I am sure that all elected officials and members of the Heritage Award Program will find your statements compelling and worthy of an award. On behalf of all New Rochelleans, thank you. 

Martin Sanchez

Good luck John, but the reality is that Bramson will crush this application as he controls the process and don't forget Bramson was part of the council that received ownership with the deed restriction it be used for public access and benefit. The NR Armory was approved for the national registry but the administration refused to support the designation so they could bulldoze the Armory and give the land to Forest City for nothing.

Please keep the citizenry updated on this application so all can see if Bramson is a man of his word or just another smoke & mirrors politician.

It is about time. I asked for protective status over a year ago and it is rewarding to see that a better voice than mine has brought it to completion.

This opens up many options and should raise optimism and hope in many voices.

Well done and indeed, well said Noam. I think we would all be better for it if we could see our young men and women joining the equivalent of Sea Scouts, getting assistance from community members on tutoring and mentoring, and meditating in a chapel dedicated to our veterans past and present.

Just a few random ideas. What is not random is the often unheralded work of people like John D who stay the course and see light not just darkness.

Pace Giovanni



Not so fast. Noam made that statement without taking the NR Armory into consideration. John D and the SOA (Save Our Armory) Committee have called his bluff. Let's see if Noam is a man of his word or if the review process, that he controls, approves the SOA's application.

Don't forget Noam's attempt to circumvent the NYS deed restriction by sending a Home Rule Request to the state legislature allowing the city council to give the armory away to Forest City. Senator Klein stated that he was misinformed (by Bramson) and pulled his support for Noam's request after being exposed.

Suzi Oppenheimer put her support behind it though.  How do these people continue to get elected is beyond me.  

I really don't care much about the past, even motive. This becomes opportunity and we should not piss on John's leg over this. Again, politics, politics, politics. It will not change so you take what you get and you work and sweat to get it.

John, if there is anything I can do and perhaps speaking for many others, we can do, just post and let us know.

God Bless



Warren, no one is pissing on John's leg. The others expressing opinions are stating fact and you should care about the past, motive and politics or there is no hope to save the armory. The past is a great building through which many passed in service to their country, many did not return. The motive is to use the armory as a bargaining chip for Echo Bay with Forest City and finally the politics, which you will really will not like is; Noam used his political influence in an attempt to strong-arm a home rule request through the state legislature. He and his democratic cohorts would have succeeded if not for a TOTS blogger and Bob Cox. Thus the comment by Senator Klein. 

I feel confident that everyone who commented on this post is ready to walk arm & arm with John and the SOA committee if necessary to save the armory. A recycled building is the greenest building and Noam should keep that in mind!

you are both correct and i apologize for my poor choice of words.

I view this as a milestone for the loyal opposition and, given the approval of a Heritage Award, opens up very real possibilities of federal and state funding based around restoration using so called "green technology."

I will let it go at that except to say again, I mispoke in my joy of seeing something potentially positive come from all of this.


Your comments are always well thought out and informative, but when you use the phrase piss on (John's) leg that is unnecessary. The mayor used this phrase and it will haunt him until he admits it was wrong. In order to protect the armory and make sure it is part of our future, we must hear all sides of the issue. It is most important to listen to those who do not want it saved. That is the only way to present a case and John, Peter and Ron are the ones to do the job. You have offered your help and so will many others. They just have to send out the word. Let's hope Noam has the courage to make things right.


While I applaud the SOA's work and dedication to this cause, I am still convinced that saving this dilapidated building is about as progressive and sound as purchasing a garbage truck that does not fit on our city streets.

While many pride themselves on holding on to the past, the utility of the armory is nill.  It is an antiquated structure, in disrepair that could be used to attract viable development once the economy shifts again.

It is perhaps the last beacon of salvation for the economic woes of this city.  Why squander it for community use, when we can barely maintain what the community has already?

How do you know how dilapidated the building is?  Is that based on a study by Forest City who wants to tear it down?  Sounds a lot like the environment impact study Ikea did in the late 90's that said an entire neighborhood was blighted and should be torn down to make way for their super-store. 

Also lets keep in mind that it'll cost a lot to tear it down too, money that could be used to renovate the building.  You know the city could have gotten Monroe College to use part of it, but that opportunity's long gone because New Rochelle dragged its feet and the college found another home for its basketball team.  I'm sure other opportunities exist, one just has to be creative and think outside the box. 

John, keep up the press and nice work!

What about a weekend farmers' market, antique show, flower show or craft show? New Rochelle should be a destination and the armory could draw people from neighboring areas. 

I fear that it will go the way of the church on North Ave. and be sold to Forest City for $1. Remember Sutton Manor wants it destroyed and they are a Dem voting block.

The east end seems to be the target area for development and will receive very little in return. It is time that the mayor and council take off the blinders and use this building as the start of GreeNR.

Reuse the structure.

Fed Up, Jimmy Killoran and construction people who are associated with him say it is redeemable. It bonees are ok. but much needs to be done but it is a perfect vehicle for modern green construction where the money likely can be found.

Its value is in its history, not in the plot of land it occupies. Were that teh case, the whole debate with Forest Hills over its worth to the community would have been moot.

It has plenty of potential; for one, it levels out the West and East side in terms of available youth and senior facilities.Nothing exists on this side of town; the West has Doyle, the Y, and more.

In addition, it can serve a very wide variety of purposes all tht benefit the community. Veterans, a Chapel, a museum, Seniors, another spot to gather and have quality of life, kids potentially with resurrecting the Sea Cadets, basketball, mostly study halls for tutoring. My wife who has secured a large grant in the State for training veterans on job skills and also looking at extending behavioral and medical services says the upper floor area can serve as a training center and a placement center...These men and women, if in some construction related program can have almost unlimited on the job exposure provided by Habitat for Humanity: so training in construction skills, maintenance skills, in the Aromory, work on job sites.

It could have a job placement counselor, someone to intake and test returning vets, provide counseling for PTS,, etc.

Then what about kids who are not doing well at school. We could bring on tutors and mentors at all levels from elementary through college.

Seniors can avail themselves of what has already come about via the excellent work at Doyle. I am sure Oppenheimer would be helpful, Tocci would be more than willing to lend a hand. It should not be something to benefit the Jeromes in advancing Monroe. They have enough. Let Armory be registerd and then serve the community; not the college.

So, the potential is there, the heart is there in terms of its advocates, and it is a legacy project to me that should bring forward our excellent historian and there is likely space for a Rockwell Museum as well.

Come on.... support our local small businesses, resurrect and sustain a city treasurer and use it is multiple ways to serve different at risk populations. What could be better?

Without spending a ton of time addressing everything that you all have stated, let's just keep it simple with this.  We have ample facilities that are already under used and under appreciated in this city.  The Library Green and libraary itself serve or can serve as a destination for much of what you have stated.  (Farmers market, tutoring, veteran training...)

We have a YMCA and schools as well as parks for recreation/basketball.  And Sea Cadets?  Really?? Okay, but only after we iplement a Civilian Air Corps as well.  Wait I think Little Orphan Annie is on the radio.  No my mistake.

And what is this nonesense about history?  Give me a break!  I am sure that most of the men who went through the Armory hated their expeience there.  Not to mention, should history stand in the way of progress?  There is a stadium built in the Bronx that can answer that question.

The building is a torn up relic.  I could care less what Habitat says. It is free storage for them, and Jim is not a contractor or building inspector.  It is old, and antiquated, unsafe and quite frankly a useless eyesore that only inhibits any viable development from transforming the water front.... now when is the next street car due in, I am out of here

Have you forgotten, a few years ago the Halloween haunted house was in that building. Many parents and children went in that building. Was it unsafe then? It was housed in that building because the north end did not want the traffic, etc at Ward Acres. For many years, the people of New Rochelle wanted to use the building only to be told by city hall that it was not available and it had nothing to do with safety. I suggest that the interested citizens be allowed to have an independent engineer, etc.(at no expense to the city) enter the building to evaluate the conditions. Passing the building everyday and seeing it being destroyed and the city doing nothing to at least board up the windows, stop people from climbing the fence and doing who knows what at the back of the building makes me believe this structure will go the way of the church on North Ave. Since all of the development will be at the east end section of this city, we deserve a community center and prove we can make money and support the building. What about indoor tennis? According to the city manager, the tennis courts on Pinebrook Blvd. makes quite a bit of money for the city and perhaps those north end citizens would finally travel to the location. After all, they are the saviors for the rebirth of New Rochelle.  Since when has the city want to make money, I thought they only wanted to spend it.  

Warren, I am not going anywhere, I was just waiting for a street car that will never come.  Just like the building in question here will never be restored or reused for or by the city.  It is a relic, from a bygone age, and its best service to us will not be a glorified community center, nor should it be short saled to Forest City or any other developer that wants to offer a nickel on every dollar.


But the Haunted House was a tremendous money maker, and community jewel.  It was forced into the Amory because the barn was rendered unsafe, and then was forced off of US 1 because it too was not safe.  Notice a trend here?

While I have made my position clear on the Armory, I would be remiss if I didn't offer my two cents on Ward Acres.

It would be ideal for a comunity pool and recreation area. Much like Lake Isle in Eastchester.  It fits the bill from a legl perspective, and what red blooded north ended New Rochellean would oppose such a noble facility, tucked so elegantly into a wooded enclave?

fed up, gotta love a guy like you who speaks his mind. any chance of reconsidering your move? think you are wrong on many of your points, but make a few substitutions, perhaps junior rotc for sea cadets, etc. and you get my point.... something with uniforms and discipline that adds pride to our kids and reflects our general values and love and respect for the community and veterans.

I think you feel most of that. we do need more people like you. reconsider if you can

The current state of the armory building is a shine to the corruption and malfeasance which exists in New Rochelle and has flourished for 2 decades. The city accepted the building in good conditioned, mothballed as the expression goes, and was responsible for maintenance. They allowed the haunted house for years, the police recklessly trained there multiple times while the city encouraged deterioration by consistently ignoring routine maintenance which would have kept the building weather tight. The greenest building is a reclaimed building and there is no reason we can't reclaim and reuse the armory. It is clear that Idoni and Bramson accepted the building under false pretenses as Bramson's failed attempt at an end run around the deed restriction attempting to get a last minute home rule request through the legislature which was thwarted by TOTS!


I would like to thank all the supporters, well wishers and citizens who possess the insight and understanding of the implications of historic preservation. Special thanks to those willing to go to bat for me :-).

With that being said, I also appreciate the naysayers and those who offhandedly reject the concept of a renewed Armory. Through your uninformed rantings, you only serve to underscore how much of the city has been misinformed by the opponents of historic preservation. (Just as a sidebar, the Civilian Air Patrol flies about 85% of all non-military search and rescue missions in this country). I believe, given the truth about the armory, many more would see how the overall benefit of utilizing the Armory would far outpace any benefit that mere housing would provide to this city. I'll also keep it simple, the Armory and development are definitely NOT mutually exclusive. Can anyone criticize thousands of people per year coming to our city, spending their money and then going home, without the burden of providing city services that additional residents would require? Do you reallly think 5000 more residents is preferable to 20,000 tourists? Every dollar spent at events in the Armory would bring along even more money to the local economy. Parking, dinners, shopping, etc. We get nothing from residents who shop at the grocery stores. If you can't have the discussion that would take a serious look at adaptive re-use of the Armory, then you are seriously uninformed, for whatever reason I can't say. 

A vision towards making New Rochelle its best would include the Armory by any measure. GreeNR? This is the prefect platform to practice what is preached by so many. So much has been written about the "embedded energy" of existing buildings. A critical factor in a real evaluation about preservation and environment. Look at the stuff written about the Armory on this site and at regarding cost benefit and environmental consideration. Forest City representative, Abe Naperstek freely admitted that if they were required to include the Armory in their  plan, they would have. That was 3 years ago, and now we see, their new plans are considering a reuse of the Armory. So enough of the mindless, uninformed blather about how it can't be done. It can be done and all it takes is the courage and vision to make that decision. It's time to rise above politics, above special interest money, above us vs them mentality and come together to bring New Rochelle up to its potential, instead of just another overcrowded, overtaxed inner city.

Read, Learn, Get Involved

It's Your Armory! 

John, well stated as usual and based on in in depth knowledge of the situation. For all that believe the Armory stands in the way of progress I request you check the facts before allowing your feelings to over rule what is. First of all, the greenest building is a reclaimed/reused building. Second, there is a deed restriction which mandates public use and public access. Third, then councilwoman Chris Selin held multiple "stakeholder meetings" where there was overwhelming support for a reclaimed/reused Armory. Fourth, in order for the city yard to be moved the city needs a easement from New York State which they haven't been able to procure for two years. Finally, Mayor Bramson confirmed the city council can't give the Armory to Forest City or any developer without a home rule request. Bramson sent such a request to his fellow democratic assembly delegation in the dead of night. This attempt to circumvent the deed restriction was thwarted by TOTS.

To recap;

Reclaiming & reusing the Armory is environmentally astute

The deed restriction mandates public use & access

The neighborhoods most impacted favor Armory reuse

The opposition, headed by Bramson, tried backdoor, in the dead of night politics to negate the deed restrictions

Senator Klein, who supported Bramson's failed attempt to circumvent the deed, removed support saying he was misinformed. Who was Klein misinformed by? Bramson sent the request so it must be Bramson who misinformed Senator Klein.

In closing I will say this; the New Rochelle Armory was approved for the National Historic Registry which requires the property owners approval. Idoni, Bramson and company denied the Armory its rightfull place on the list. The issue is nothing more then politics and corporate welfare, the same failed policies responsible for New Rochelle's current state!