Oliver E. Allen, historian, writer, editor, Tribeca preservationist

Oliver E. Allen, historian, writer and editor for Life magazine and later editor at Time-Life Books, authored more than a dozen books, including two histories of New York City: “New York, New York”  and “The Tiger,” a history of Tammany Hall.

In Tribeca, where he moved to a Hudson Street loft overlooking Duane Park with his wife Deborah in 1982, Allen was best known for his Tribeca Trib column, “Old Tribeca,” and for his volunteer contributions to the community as co-founder of Friends of Duane Park. He also was part of a small group whose work led to the designation of Tribeca’s four historic districts.

In the 1980s, Allen joined a band of local activists that dug into the history of Tribeca’s buildings and published “The Texture of Tribeca,” by architectural historian Andrew Dolkart. The volume, illustrated with photos by Allen, provided the Landmarks Preservation Commission with the research it needed to designate Tribeca’s historic districts in 1991 and 1992. Allen loved his neighborhood and his articles from the Old Tribeca column have been compiled into two books, two books, “Tales of Old Tribeca” and “Tribeca: A Pictorial History.”  Mr. Allen died in 2017 at the age of 94.

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