By Maria Rocha-Buschel
As the Landmarks Preservation Commission began addressing decades worth of backlog last Thursday, representatives for preservation groups expressed surprising opposition to the designation of Union Square Park as a city scenic landmark.
Jack Taylor, speaking on behalf of the Union Square Community Coalition, and Kelly Carroll of the Historic Districts Council opposed the proposed landmarking.
Taylor said in his testimony that landmarking the park as it is today would be a “historical travesty” and he noted that the idea would have had much more support if the LPC had followed through with the landmarking after a public hearing in 1977.
Since then, though, the park has been modified to the point that Taylor said it doesn’t resemble the location of various historical events, including the first Labor Day that was celebrated there in 1882. He said that in 2005, there was a deliberate effort on the part of the city and then-Mayor Michael Bloomberg that drastically changed the nature of the north plaza.