Saturday, May 10, 2008

This is protected while Queens historic sites are bulldozed

In testimony, the hospital portrayed the O’Toole Building as worthy of demolition because it was outmoded, unsuitable to current needs and out of character with other buildings in the neighborhood. Designed by Albert C. Ledner in 1964 for the National Maritime Union of America, it was purchased by the hospital and renamed the Edward and Theresa O’Toole Medical Services Building.

St. Vincent’s Pleads Poverty to Evade Landmark Law

Yet once derided in the neighborhood as the “overbite building” for its serrated setbacks, O’Toole is now admired by many preservationists for its unusual nautical motifs. “It is an exceptional building, with technical innovations — including the use of glass block — that are valuable to the history of architecture,” said Nina Rappaport, chairwoman of a preservationist group, Docomomo New York-Tristate (who?), that has made saving the building a cause.

At the hearing — implying that they would vote to protect it — a majority of the commissioners praised the O’Toole Building, including Christopher Moore, who said he considered it “one of the most historic buildings in the entire complex.”


Anonymous said...

I would not blame people in the village for trying to protect their neighborhood from overdevelopment. People in Queens should focus on emulating the activists there.

All of the elected officals from the village promote preservation while the people of Queens elect hacks who take bribes from developers.

There is plenty of blame to go around for what is happening in Queens, the voters deserve a healthy share of it.

I know the O'Toole building is pretty ugly and not in character with that neighborhood but look at the huge glass tower they propose to replace it with, that's even worse, and that's the point.

Anonymous said...

When Manhattan based organizations refuse to share information or dole out funds preservation projects based on population, there IS a little problem with the why THEY handle things.

And God forbid a real grassroots effort starts in the outerB. If our local preservation 'talent' doesn't get us (go QPL!) then their minders in Manhattan will certainly talk to local developers and say "its ok!"

Notice that big fund raiser by the LPC group down at lower Manhattan - $500 is a donor catagory - yet those same people will buzzard into the resources of every preservation organization for their community, giving scant resources to the rest of us.

The law should be overturned, dammit!

Anonymous said...

The Greenwich Village society for Historic Preservation is not just Manhattan based, it's entire mandate is to fight for historic preservation in the village and surrounding areas. They don't promote preservation on the upper east side any more than they do in Queens.

They are the ones who raise most of the funds and lead most of the fights in the village.

Theirs is the model that I think needs to be emulated in Queens.

I think the LPC acomplishes a lot less and raises a lot less money than some people think.

The effort needs to be mostly local, or I doubt much will be accomplished.

The recent creation of the Newtown Historical Society, as well as the efforts of the group fighting for preservation of the Ridgewood Reservior wilderness are a very good start. The Juniper Valley civic group is also doing a lot of good work.

I think building up support for these and similar groups will accomplish a lot more than waiting for substantial support from Manhattan that I'm afraid to say I doubt will ever come.

The least expensive membership category in the Greenwich Village group is $50.00 per year. The key is to reach out and attract thousands of members.

Anonymous said...

I have a soft spot for the O'Toole building; it's architecturally distinctive, if not exactly gorgeous.

Anonymous said...

The O'Toole facility has an excellent psychiatric outpatient department.

I suggest that LPC
avail themselves of its services!

Anonymous said...

We dissagree totally!

The GVSHP is not only Manhattan based but Manhattan biased.

Put that up your "cooler"
Mr. Berman and his retinue
and seek some enlightenment as to what goes on in the rest
of Greater New York!

Maybe if the "outer" boroughs boasted a population of wealthy gay activists we wouldn't be so bereft of Landmarks!

Anonymous said...

The effort needs to be mostly local, or I doubt much will be accomplished.

Absolutely impossible for the following reasons:

1. misinformation is spread by the local politician (paying off a campaign debt to a developer), newspapers (amazing what real estate ad revenue can do for a dying industry - and the editorial page) and the community boards (great idea completely dominated by the machine)

2. grants are written by preservation groups that claim they represent the entire city, but manage to focus almost all their attention on lower Manhattan and Brooklyn, areas that have internal resources to not only sustain their own preservation efforts, but have funds to spare to contribute to the presevation efforts in other areas who do not live such a charmed existance.

3. it has been documented that the mainline presevation movement has been doing everything to keep the other boroughs underfoot, from elevating non-entities to represent those communities (anyone ever seen the Queensborough Presevation League, one of the phantom darlings of HDC do something useful?), starving the areas outside the handful of favored districts of information and financial resources, keeping the LPC budget tiny (calls for a few $100,000 when $1,000,000s are needed), not putting in place a public education program which would create a broad city-wide awareness for preservation issues, and, when all else fails, meeting privately with developers and the like and telling them it is perfectly ok to stomp on the grassroots types who have the unfortunate luck of trying to to something outside of the charmed areas - or trying to get around the mind-numbing games condoned by the entire process.

For that last stunt alone, the landmarks law should be overturned.

Anonymous said...

The GVSHP has no motive to diminish preservation in other areas. The GV in their name stands for Greenwich Village.

Of course they limit their mandate to that area, I don't understand why anyone would see that limit as a bias.

There are huge areas in Queens that should be landmarked, like the yellow brick row houses in Ridgewood and the mansion districts in north Flushing.

If the local people don't spearhead the effort, no one will.

The previous post referenced Queens politicians in the pockets of developers. I certainly agree but look at Greenwich Village, all of the elected officials there support preservation. Let's learn a lesson. It can be done.

Anonymous said...

The elected officials in GV support preservation because all of the Village's wealthy residents can
afford to BUY their pols with huge campaign contributions Mr. Berman!

Queens ain't got that kind of juice
to squeeze from an orange or otherwise fella!