This structure, former headquarters for the East New York Savings Bank, was demolished last year. But from its remains, a phoenix of a movement is on the rise with preservationist Zulmelena Then, founder of PENY, providing the wings.
Zulme (pron. Zumi) admits that preservation may not be at the top of the concerns list for longtime residents. The mayor is proposing an “upzoning” of the area for developers to create taller structures which, he says, will increase affordable housing.
“East New York will be the first of 15 neighborhoods to be rezoned, and what happens will set the course for future rezoning efforts. The community should have a say in everything that impacts it – even displacement through demolition,” she says.
“Preserving landmarks is a political act and a community service, and I want to send the message out that the community cares about everything that impacts it and should have input in all revitalization efforts.”
So far, through her PENY movement, the Bushwick-born and raised junior architect has gotten the attention of city agencies, real estate media, the community board and the “right people” in New York City preservation.
A graduate of Pratt, Zulme started her career at Michael McCaw Architects in Stuyvesant Heights, where she first worked as an intern. In her free time, Zulme bikes all over the neighborhood delivering the word to whoever will listen, and her movement is picking up steam. For more information: (BGreen)