Saturday, February 3, 2007

Saving Upper East Side Crap

It's a good thing the LPC and city council saved these buildings. It would be a shame to lose these Manhattan beauties:

Two Buildings, Once Stripped of Landmark Status, Regain It

The New York City Landmarks Law states that “the standing of this city as a world-class tourist center and world capital of business, culture and government cannot be maintained or enhanced by disregarding the historical and architectural heritage of the city and by countenancing the destruction of such cultural assets.”

Yes, the Crapper can see how these "cultural asssets" would be real tourist attractions. Nothing in Queens even comes close to their significance...

Bravo to our Queens council members for unanimously approving 2 more landmarks for Manhattan while their own borough continues to get the shaft!


Anonymous said...

They've got to be kidding! They reject Jamaica Savings Bank, but save these ugly things? Give me a break!

Anonymous said...

I don't know about you, but I didn't vote for my council representative so they could represent Manhattan. Why don't I have any landmarks in my neighborhood?

Anonymous said...

I guess Queens is no Upper East Side.

Anonymous said...

You don't have any landmarks in your neighborhood because the city wants you and your neighbors to either a) leave to make way for yuppies or b) leave to make way for new immigrants.

Anonymous said...

We've just got to invest in moving all of our significant landmark worthy buildings to Manhattan if we want to save them. We could, of course, relocate some of our City Council "representatives" to Siberia. That would be a whole lot cheaper!

Anonymous said...

The thing we shall revisit again and again is how this is happening with full knowledge of the preservation community.

The galling point is mainline preservationists on BOTH sides of the East River are aware of this double standand, and have remained silent on this issue.

This is inexcusable.

Anonymous said...

Queens has far superior buildings! Notice how this particular case greatly exceeds the Landmark Preservation Commission's "alteration law" that is not on the books!

There have been many articles with Queens preservationists quoting how Manhattan-centric the Landmarks Commission is, but there's less input from some Manhattan preservationists.

City Council overturned BOTH Jamaica Savings Banks, and they deserve to be re-designated immediately. No excuse! The one in Elmhurst on Queens Boulevard was defeated in 2005 resulting from Melinda Katz. Why should one councilmember have the most say? She is unaligned with her consituency in so many ways. I pray for the day she gets out of office or maybe even canned!

Anonymous said...

And they'll continue to remain silent or their funding gets cut! (This point was just verified by a preservation group director who doesn't want their name revealed). Silence is truly golden if you want to continue getting the operating cash your organization needs to survive! What an interesting form of blackmail, isn't it?

Anonymous said...

That's how gov't funding sources manage to play one preservation sector against the other. You'll never see unity between the groups divided by the East River!

Anonymous said...

Good point about the funding.

This issue can be easily addressed: before the canon was closed a few decades ago on landmark designation, the finest neighborhoods in NYC received designation (something our friends in preservation are tongue-tied when we ask them about this.) Now, since you have embraced the East Side, West Side, Greenwich Village, Brooklyn Heights, the preservation community already has a potential donor base that can finance anything they set their minds to free of political strings.

Now here is the kicker. These neighborhoods keep their resources close to home. They have no incentive to underpin a citywide movement.

The way around this is simple.

Let's work to overturn the landmarks law (which pretty much protects only these communities - and a scattering of similar areas.) The reason? The politics of NYC no longer supports it in its current form

The preservation community, which once had the people like Jackie Onassis as a supporter, has already lost the political forum. There are two reasons for this:

• They permitted the ‘cult of development’ to grow unchecked in the outer boroughs. Once this virus was injected into the body politic of the city, it is only a matter of time before it spreads to ‘safe’ designated areas. It is only a matter of time before they are compromised.

• The process discriminates against poorer less politically connected areas. Any law on the books, especially in a place like NYC, that has this de facto result should be struck from the books.

Community preservation shall get nowhere until the wealthy areas understand that it is their best interests to provide the resources for grass-roots groups around the city.

Like the freedoms guaranteed under the bill of rights, they must understand that by only protecting the rights of those in poorer areas, are their rights protected.

Only when everyone in NYC gets the same opportunities in community preservation, will it enjoy citywide political support

Only the ruins of the overturned landmarks law will there finally be the willingness, and the support for a true city wide movement. No half measures, as playing around with commissioner appointments, will do any lasting good.

Anonymous said...

I agree with the previous poster. I always wondered why preservation groups always were crying for money, yet certain neighborhood organizations seemed to have cash to spare. Now I understand. By starving the center, they had more than enough to lavishly live in their little enclaves. No reason to sully their distinguished position with too many from the great unwashed. By controlling the agenda that benefits them, (“The system is not rotten to the core, everything is fine if we can just influence the appointment of a few commissioners.”) they give the impression that "a little nip here and a little tuck there" system will do just fine. I guess they never read Poe’s “Masque of the Red Death.”

Anonymous said...

Let's play a little game - Council member Jessica Lappin went to bat for the UES landmarks; the LPC redesignated them. Council member Archie Spigner killed the first Jamaica Savings Bank - the designation didn't hold. Council members Helen Sears didn't care about the second Jamaica Savings Bank - that designation didn't hold. Council member David Yassky killed the Austin Nichols Warehouse - that designation didn't hold. Council member Bill Perkins protested St. John the Divine - that designation didn't hold. Council member Peter Vallone Jr. protested the Sohmer Piano Factory - that was never even designated.
Connect the dots.

Anonymous said...

Tear this Manhattan Crap down and transfer their landmark status to much more worthier sites in Queens! Yeah! Sure! Not with this prejudced LPC!

Anonymous said...

True! The Queens preservation community has no gumption, money or any fresh ideas! Its just hash and re-hash time! That's why the developers laugh as they roll over them with their bulldozers! Oh wait, let's have another emergency meeting......we need to form a new task force.....let's do a mamouth letter writing campaign....downzone the area.... meet with our ellected officials! C,mon boys, let's face it you're tired and bankrupt. At this point neither a physic or a nerve tonic will help. A quarter of a century's worth of weak performance ! I'm moving to Brooklyn! I've had it!

Anonymous said...

Earth to Flushing: Fire John Liu.