First comes ‘de-calendaring,’ then demolition
On Tuesday, State Senator Brad Hoylman sent a letter to New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission (LPC) Chair Meenakshi Srinivasan in response to the proposed LPC “de-calendaring” of potential landmarks:
Dear Chair Srinivasan:
I write to express my serious concern over the New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission’s (LPC) proposed “de-calendaring” of potential landmark sites throughout the city, including 14 sites in my Senate District, and strongly urge that the LPC reconsider this course of action.
I do not believe that the LPC has allowed for sufficient public input on such a drastic action and I fear that removing properties from the calendar may place many vulnerable potential landmarks at risk. Last year, after receiving notification that a former automobile showroom designed by Frank Lloyd Wright at 430 Park Avenue in my district was under consideration as a landmark, the owners soon thereafter demolished the property literally in the middle of the night, thereby robbing New Yorkers of an important part of our city’s historic and cultural heritage.
I am concerned that once LPC removes the proposed properties from the calendar, thus removing the protections that this preliminary designation imparts, the same fate will befall these properties and they, too, will be demolished with absolutely no recourse provided to the public.
Instead, the LPC should hold public hearings on the properties and carefully and deliberately consider each one on the merits of the proposed landmark, rather than on the length of time it has been on the LPC’s calendar.
It would be an indelible stain on New York City’s collective conscience for these historic properties to have survived so long, only to be lost to an administrative “clearing out” of longstanding calendared properties. The Commission should delay the scheduled December 9 vote and review each property through the normal landmark process to allow preservationists, community members and property owners time to review and comment on proposed actions.