By Sabina Mollot
It was in 2008 when the Stuyvesant Town-Peter Cooper Village Tenants Association, realizing the vulnerability of the community as its new owner set to work at deregulating as many apartments as possible, decided to push for its preservation via landmarking.
Seven years later, that application for a landmark designation has still not been completed. However, this is only because the effort has shifted towards the creation of a documentary about the complex aimed at arguing its significance both architecturally and socially, to the Landmarks Preservation Commission.
At this time, according to its two producers, William Kelly and Marie Beirne, the project is around 75 percent finished.
It was over the past three years that Kelly has been doing research that’s included interviews with numerous community leaders of Stuy Town’s past and present.
“The biggest coup,” he shared in an interview with Town & Village last week, “is Lee Lorch. It was the last interview he did.” Lorch, who was the leader in the fight to desegregate Stuyvesant Town in its early years, died last year. The interview was conducted at the former activist and professor’s home in Toronto. Other people interviewed include local elected officials such as Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney and Council Member Dan Garodnick, New York Times reporter Charles Bagli, who wrote a book about the catastrophic sale of the property to Tishman Speyer called Other People’s Money, civil rights expert Maria Biondi, architects weighing on the property’s structural issues and various tenants.