Sunday, September 17, 2017

Revolution on the Roads

On Sunday, September 17, at 2 pm, the Roeliff Jansen Historical Society will host preservationist Alexia “Lex” Lalli. She will give an illustrated talk, Revolution on the Roads. Lex’s presentation is designed to wrap up the Society’s Summer Exhibit and illustrate the past and future of road travel.

The evolution of roads and vehicles, and the means of moving goods and people are a fascinating story of necessity and ingenuity. The accelerated pace at which these new ideas were introduced in the 19th and 20th centuries paralleled our growth as a great nation.  Using the Columbia Turnpike as an example, the illustrated talk will cover transformations in transportation from the 18th century to the present, and give some predictions about future revolutions on the roads.

Alexia Lalli has worked in the fields of historic preservation, urban design and planning, and transportation. For the Metropolitan Transportation Authority she led the Grand Central Centennial, a year-long celebration of the terminal, working with many branches of MetroNorth Railroad and the MTA. Previously she worked on projects involving the West Side Highway, the Williamsburg Bridge, and renovating subway stations for the Adopt-A-Station program.

In 2008-2009 she assisted in the creation of an agenda for the future of the Hudson River Valley for the Hudson-Fulton-Champlain Quadricentennial. During the Quadricentennial year, she created Heritage Weekend: over 100 heritage sites, parks, museums, and buildings were open and free for a weekend. It has become an annual event.

As executive director of Heritage Trails New York from 1996 to 2000, she established trails, organized tours and installed 42 historical markers in lower Manhattan.

She directed community relations for the West Side Task Force after the extensive plans for Westway along the Hudson River in NYC was defeated. After receiving approval from local communities and both the city and the state, this resulted in the parks and roads now along the Hudson River from downtown Manhattan to 59th Street.

For several years, she worked for the Museum of the City of New York and the Building Museum in Washington, D.C., planning adult programs related to their exhibitions and to issues in urbanism.

A graduate of Cornell University, she spent a year at Harvard’s Graduate School of Design as a Loeb Fellow.

She has homes in New York City and Hillsdale where she founded Historic Hillsdale, the Preservation Committee of the Town Board. Historic Hilldale brought about the designation of Hillsdale as an historic district on the State and National Registers of Historic Places. This designation both increased awareness of the historic character of the town and also made building owners eligible for tax benefits and grants. Historic Hillsdale helped renovate Town Hall, began the efforts to save the East Gate Toll House, and many other projects.

She served for twenty years on the Board of Aston Magna, a baroque musical society and is presently on the Loeb Fellowship Council at Harvard University and the Trustees Council of the Preservation League of New York State.