Tuesday, January 9, 2007

Landmarking Debate in the Times & Sun

Preservationists have always been fighting to save historic and aesthetically valuable properties, and have met with a lot of resistance from pro-development mayoral administrations dating back to the passage of the Landmarks Law in 1965. Penn Station was torn down, and that led to the passage of the law. Unfortunately, the commissioners chosen by successive mayors have been less than preservation friendly. Everyone seems to be jumping on the landmarking bandwagon recently.

As the Internet has been able to mobilize people to take action, the printed media has been forced to cover landmarking stories. Lately, the Manhattan-centric newspapers have been having a tennis match with the subject.

First, we have Tom Wolfe's Op-Ed from the New York Times

Next, we have the response from Chairman Tierney.

In walked the NY Sun with their own Op-Ed.

And the responses to it from preservationists.

Let's not leave out AM-NY's Ten to Save. (They got a lot of requests from Queens to cover threatened buildings here then seemed to drop the topic.)

QC believes that if the landmarks law cannot be applied equally across the city, then it needs to be abolished. Let all properties be equally threatened with demolitions. Right now, only those in wealthy neighborhoods are protected and that is discriminatory.


verdi said...

The LPC exists mainly to protect buildings that are in the "tourist corridor" of our city. This comes as no surprise, that's why it continues to be Manhattan-centric. NYC has boasted a record year for tourism. If we were to allow such venerables like the Empire State Building, St. Patrick's Cathedral, etc. etc. etc. to be at risk of being torn down, then what tourist in his right mind would come to visit New York? Think of all those tourist $$$$$$$$$$$$ going to London or Paris! Bloomberg and his accomplices don't think that our borough's worth 'squat" when it comes to having anything worth preserving, because it's not a main "tourist destination". We're invisible (except at election time)! This is why Queens has been continually "stiffed" when it comes to getting our fair share from LPC. They have bypassed many designation-worthy sites in Queens, while they have designated less-worthy sites in Manhattan. Well, my feeling is, if we can't get equal protection under the Landmarks Law (which it's supposed to deliver) , then it's being applied in an unequal (and therefore illegal) manner and must be ammended or abolished!

Anonymous said...

If the law is not applied fairly, then it should be overturned.

You hear that Landmarks West? Greenwich Village? Brooklyn Heights?

Us peasants out here in Queens learned a few things they left out of your prep school education my lords and ladies. Well, guess what? School is about to begin.

Anonymous said...

CIVITAS was asked to come out to Queens and they sent some sort of snooty reply. And the Landmarks Conservancy, what percent of their effort is in Queens? Are they the same guys that run something called the 'Sacred Sites' program that goes around Queens telling the developers that it is ok to ignore the local preservationists, that Manhattan says it's ok to tear down our local landmarks? Why am I enjoying their discomfort?

Anonymous said...

If Queens can't get the same quality of Landmark "protection" that Manhattanites get, then Manhattan doesn't deserve it either. Abolish the Landmarks Law! Then let Manhattan face the world naked like we do! What's good for the Goose is good for the Gander! The Landmarks Law isn't being applied equally throughout Greater New York (which happens to include Queens, Mr. Mayor)! Therefore I must agree that , it is as such, discriminatory. Replace it!

Anonymous said...

Are anyone of you preservationists interested in dialoguing or meeting with some of the more reputable developers (if there are any) let's say like i.e. Cord Meyer, Muss Development, Mattone or Ciampa etc. The purpose of this would be to discuss the ammendment of our municipal Landmarks Law. Let's face it, it's not serving either of the "sides" well. Both legitimate developers and legitimate historic preservationists (the ones who are out there daily, in the trenches, not the ones sporting teaching posts or fancy college degrees) require a change in this elitist law. Especially a law that favors specific boroughs or neighborhoods. Any takers? Let's hear some ideas! Maybe I'll reveal who I am if you're seriously interested in a dual dialogue!

Chip said...

A reputable developer? Well you have made my day. No, let's get the lowest of the low and turn then on the landmarks law. Did you get someone polite to sack Rome? Hell no, history remembers the VANDALS which has added a useful word to our language. As in, which politician VANDALIZED their community for one donor? or which newspaper put a positive spin on VANDALIZED property? or which community board voted to VANDALIZE the very community they were designed to protect? (It's fun, go ahead and try it. Possibilities are endless.) Lets see the whole city VANDALIZED and reduced to the level of Queens. Then, and only then, will we be taken seriously. Cause only then they will not only finally understand us, but they will need us.

Anonymous said...

To a "Chip"- off - the- old- (God knows what)! I admire your spirit of Nihilism and I follow your thoughts. You've got to "burn a field" first (sometimes), before you can begin to grow certain crops there. Your writing "style" reveals you though. I think that I've met you in print somewhere else. Please state your purpose in a clear and simple fashion, without all the references to classical civilizations of the past. (Maybe I'm a little slow in following the rest of your train of thought.) What do you propose? Do you want the Landmarks Law abolished or just fixed? Suggest something concrete on how to go about it and who should participate? It is, after all, an elitist law designed to protect only the percieved elite neighborhoods of NYC. How do we start and who's going to lead it? Will you? And will your simplistic "scortched -earth" policy with regards to the destruction of the LPC (correct me if I'm wrong) leave anything better? If you can't get your piece of candy then nobody else gets theirs! Is that your story? I think that we'd both be just a pair of romantic Bolshevicks if we truly believed in that fairy-tale! It took the former USSR over 70 years to recover from the same folly that, I think, you're suggesting!