Tuesday, July 20, 2004

2 Columbus Circle: And Still the Fight Goes On

Court Denies City's Attempt to Rush Judgment on 2 Columbus Circle

Late last week, the Appellate Division of the New York Supreme Court preliminarily rejected efforts by the City to rush the legal process that could decide the future of 2 Columbus Circle. Under court rules,Landmark West! and colleagues, who filed suit last November contesting the building's sale because an inadequate environmental review neglected to identify it as a significant historic resource, have until early 2005 to file our appeal. As of now, that schedule still holds. And we fully intend to file.

The City's Friday morning sneak attack is the merely the latest in a series of maneuvers to derail the swelling campaign to preserve Edward Durell Stone's famous 1964 design. Last week, the Economic Development Corporation notified the Manhattan Borough President's office that it would seek an August 19 hearing before the Borough Board, a last step in transferring ownership of the site to the Museum of Arts and Design (MAD). Mid-August hearings are a classic political gambit to squeeze through decisions that would otherwise engender huge public debate. An attorney representing MAD told a state judge that the Museum had been stymied in its efforts to raise funds due to the possibility of LW's obtaining a reversal in its suit. She said that two pledges in excess of $1 million had already been withdrawn.

Meanwhile, support for ensuring that 2 Columbus Circle receives the public Landmarks hearing it deserves is stronger than ever. The National Trust for Historic Preservation , the Preservation League of New York State , the Historic Districts Council , DOCOMOMO , the Municipal Art Society, the New York Landmarks Conservancy , Robert A.M. Stern, Tom Wolfe, Senator Tom Duane, Chuck Close, Frank Stella, Jonathan Adler, Barry Bergdoll, Jeffrey Bilhuber, Michael Bruno, Andrew Cogan, Frank De Biasi, Joan K. Davidson, Todd Eberle, Michael Formica, Franรงoise Gilot-Salk, Milton Glaser, Bob Hiemstra, Mary Anne Hunting, Barbara Jakobson, Reed & Delphine Krakoff, Gene Meyer, the Very Rev. James Parks Morton, Carlos Mota, Liz O'Brien, James Zemaitis, Alan Rosenberg, Jill Rudnick, Michael Sorkin, Ken Smith, Alan Wanzenberg, Hicks Stone and Edward Durell Stone, Jr. The list goes on. Way on.

MAD and the City would like for this whole issue to just go away, but it won't. The eyes of the nation are on them.

And if you've read this far, you might as well keep reading. Don't miss this week's issue of the West Side Spirit and Christopher Moore's front page coverage of the continuing battle for the future of 2 Columbus Circle. To read it, click here.

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