By Mark Diller

The historic preservation movement, the Upper West Side, and indeed the City of New York, lost a determined and gracious leader with the passing on December 21st of Lenore Norman.

Lenore’s professional career was remarkable and inspiring. She rose in three years from an intern to the Executive Director of the Landmarks Preservation Commission in the 1970s, serving behind the scenes there for over a decade under three Chairs. The time of her tenure there has been hailed as one that brought the cause of preserving worthy elements of our built environment from an idle pastime to a professional and scientific pursuit. To that end Lenore:

The streetscape of our City would be very different, and very depressing, if Lenore had not steered these efforts from behind the scenes.

Lenore’s volunteer life was equally accomplished. She served for decades on Community Board 7 on the Upper West Side, co-chairing its Preservation committee and ensuring that the unique sense of place in the community was preserved while making room for the best of the new in balance. Lenore lent her expertise to the effort to designate the West-Park Presbyterian Church a landmark and to create an historic district celebrating the character of West End Avenue, to name two recent examples.

Perhaps even more remarkable than her accomplished professional and volunteer careers was the grace, dignity and patience for all who came before her, regardless of whether she agreed with their positions or interests. Lenore was no one’s fool, and put the work first, but in an era where too much public discourse is personal she never confused deficiencies in one’s work with deficiencies in one’s character.

Lenore is survived by Milt, her husband of 61 years, and her children Judy and Stephen, and a proud extended family, to all of whom the community and City owe a debt of gratitude for the countless hours spent away from home on our behalf.

Respectfully submitted –
Mark Diller, Chair, Community Board 7/Manhattan

Image of Lenore Norman via Corcoran.

HISTORY, NEWS | 5 comments | permalink
    1. Pedestrian says:

      Thank you for the lovely tribute to Ms. Norman.

    2. Mel Wymore says:

      Beautiful. Thank you, Mark, for giving words to the enormous contribution Lenore made to us all. We will miss her dearly.

    3. Alan Flacks says:

      No-one mentions that at one time she also worked for the New York City Department of Buildings, where she was effective and helpful.

    4. Peter Salwen says:

      Thanks for your touching words, Mark. Lenore made a unique contribution to the city, and working with her was always a pleasure and an honor.

    5. Irving Polsky says:

      Lenore Norman for severval years was a colleague at the Commissioner’s Office, Department of Buildings. I valued her advice and helpfulness.