From the NY Times:
A storybook magic hangs about St. Paul’s School, a 130-year-old brick palace that seems caught in an evil spell, inching toward a tragic end while ripping this affluent Long Island suburb apart.
The school stands four stories tall, all red brick, spires and gargoyles, topped by a pitched slate roof and lined with windows hugged by keystones. It looks like the kind of place young Jane Eyres or Harry Potters might race through, and thousands of students did, from the early 1880s until it closed in 1991.
But now, nearly two decades after Garden City bought St. Paul’s and its surrounding athletic fields, the village is considering tearing it down. An environmental review of the proposed demolition is under way, with a vote on whether to pay for it expected in the coming months.
The proposal is not a result of a lack of affection for the High Victorian Gothic behemoth, which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places — the village illuminates St. Paul’s at night with spotlights, and dressed it with an outsize Christmas wreath. The people of Garden City just cannot agree what to do with it.
Preservationists say the imbroglio underscores just how vulnerable old buildings can be in the suburbs. Individual municipalities hold the primary power in designating landmarks — the federal and state governments play a limited role — and St. Paul’s has virtually no protection because Garden City has no landmark ordinances.