November and December have not been good months for the Landmarks Preservation Commission, not with the New York Times seriously deconstructing all the agency's problems, quandaries, dilemmas and outright failures and bureaucratic bungling in a long series of articles and a scathing editorial, all of which kicked off with Tom Wolfe's blazing takedown. Before Thanksgiving, there was a stinging article about how long it can take to designate landmark districts. After the holiday, there was an engaging piece about developers using loopholes to get buildings down fast. Yesterday, the Times took on the touchy subject of the demolition of churches, curiously leading with the knockdown of the Green Church in Bay Ridge which had been entirely ignored outside of Brooklyn until the building was rubble. (It's being replaced by condos which will have a new church and calls for landmarking were ignored.) Today's topic, meanwhile, is the "delicate dance" between preservation and development and uses the epic battle waged over St. Vincents and Rudin Management in the West Village as the example. The story does give the LPC its due, talking about what a tough job it is to be stuck in between all these rocks and hard places.
Then there's this:
Yet some preservationists and politicians assert that, under a mayoral administration that has emphasized new construction — from behemoth stadiums to architecturally bold condo towers — big developers have too often been allowed to lead on the dance floor. Some accuse the landmarks commission, charged with guarding the city’s architectural heritage, of backing off too readily when important developers’ interests are at stake.It's a loooong series of articles, but we think there's one super-safe bet. There is a man named Robert Tierney, who is Chair of the LPC who will be glad to open up the NYT tomorrow and not have to read another takedown of his agency.
· Preservation and Development, Engaged in a Delicate Dance [NYT]
· Houses of Worship Chosing to Avoid Landmark Status [NYT]
· An Opaque and Lengthy Road to Landmark Status [NYT]
· Preservationists See Bulldozers Charging Through a Loophole [NYT]