About Landmark East Harlem

Landmark East Harlem (LEH) was formed to give the community of East Harlem an ongoing voice in how our neighborhood is developed and to support development that preserves the unique cultural and historical significance of the neighborhood. Leaders from CIVITAS, East Harlem Preservation, and the Marcus Garvey Park Alliance founded Landmark East Harlem (LEH) in 2015; AND joined shortly thereafter as the fourth member of the alliance.

Landmark East Harlem believes that historic preservation is an indispensable component of a holistic community development strategy.
Founding members Joanna Delson, Kathleen Benson Haskins, & Connie Lee at an LPC hearing.
 LEH has had significant success in raising awareness about the rich tapestry of historic resources in East Harlem, and has worked with the Landmarks Preservation Commission (LPC) and the State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO) to bring long-overdue protections to several properties throughout the neighborhood. Since late 2017, LPC has designated three new individual landmarks in East Harlem.
The first historic district in East Harlem listed on the New York State and National Registers of Historic Places is centered around East 116th Street and Pleasant Avenue. The unanimous vote by the State Review Board in March 2019 to list the district represents the culmination of a three-year long process initiated and propelled by Landmark East Harlem. LEH secured grant funding from the Preservation League of New York State and The New York Landmarks Conservancy to hire a preservation consultant who conducted an intensive survey of the proposed district. The consultant determined boundaries and identified defining features and structures of significant architectural importance to make the case for historic district listing.
East Harlem Historic District Boundary
Click Map to Zoom In

Our Leadership

We rely on our members for their expertise, guidance, and passion for preserving our East Harlem landmarks. 
Interested in joining our board? We’re looking for new members!
Email LEH member  Chris Cirillo with questions about how to get involved.

Chris Cirillo

Chris Cirillo has been the Executive Director/President of Ascendant Neighborhood Development since 2012. Based in East Harlem, Ascendant has developed and continues to manage approximately 700 affordable rental apartments in Northern Manhattan. Before joining Ascendant, Chris held senior positions at The Richman Group Development Corporation and the New York City Department of Housing Preservation & Development (HPD). Chris completed his Master of Science in Historic Preservation at Pratt Institute. He now serves as a Visiting Assistant Professor at Pratt in the Historic Preservation and Real Estate Practice programs.
Joanna Delson Bio Photo

Joanna Delson

​Joanna Delson, a native New Yorker, serves as the Executive Vice President of CIVITAS and is a Founding Member of Landmark East Harlem. Her design business, Space Management Design, focuses on space planning for small New York apartments. She lives with her family in East Harlem.

Kathleen Benson Haskins

Kathleen Benson Haskins serves on the Board of East Harlem Preservation and is a Founding Member of Landmark East Harlem. She is also on the advisory board of Placeful, a member of the East Harlem Holiday Tree Committee, and a Friend of Hope Community, Inc.

Connie Lee

Connie Lee is the President of the Marcus Garvey Park Alliance and a Founding member of Landmark East Harlem. The Alliance collaborated with community partners and NYC Parks to raise awareness and funds to preserve the iconic fire watchtower that has stood atop Mount Morris in Marcus Garvey Park since 1857. Connie is also a Public Art Leader and created the Public Art Initiative, an ongoing program that supports local artists and facilitates public art installations in parks and open spaces throughout East and Central Harlem extending the Alliances advocacy beyond the borders of Marcus Garvey Park.

Robin Stratton Rivera

Bio Coming Soon
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