Friday, November 18, 2005

Intro. 705: It's Up to City Council

Spotlight on the City Council to Preserve New York's Most Endangered Historic Buildings

Thanks to all who contributed to the tremendous turnout at last Monday's City Council hearing regarding Intro. 705, the "Landmarks Hearing" bill. The seats in the large Council Chambers were filled with frustrated preservationists from every borough, the vast majority of whom testified in support of this legislation to strengthen New York's Landmarks Law and expand the ability of the public to participate in the designation hearing process. Their heartfelt testimony was echoed in New York Times architecture critic Nicolai Ouroussoff's milestone article, "Turning Up the Heat on a Landmarks Agency" (11/14/05, pE1, attached in case you missed it), which cited the imminent destruction of 2 Columbus Circle and other examples as evidence that "what is needed is a ruthless analysis of the landmark designation process." Also see Frances Morrone's piece in today's New York Sun (copy pasted below). "There's something rotten at the core of the Big Apple," he writes.

The ball is now in the City Council's court. And we all must continue to play an active role. The Landmarks Subcommittee adjourned Monday's hearing without taking a vote (a quorum of committee members was not present). Please help get the message out about how Intro. 705 will help to preserve our historic neighborhoods from relentless development. Email/ fax/call Council Speaker Gifford Miller today! Tell him that his support is key to getting this bill passed before the end of 2005 so that more buildings in your community are not lost - without even being heard by the Landmarks Preservation Commission.

Both Speaker Miller and Intro. 705 sponsor Council Member Bill Perkins will leave office next month. If passed before their term expires, this bill could be the most important legacy they leave for the future shape of our city.

New York City Council Speaker Gifford Miller
Phone: (212) 535-5554
Fax: (212) 535-6098
City Hall, NYC 10007

Also, email the members of the Landmarks Subcommittee and Land Use Committee as well as your local council member (go to for contact information). Send them copies of your testimony and/or a personal note making sure they know that the future of New York's most beloved, endangered buildings and neighborhoods rests in their hands!

Melinda Katz (Chair, Land Use) -
Simcha Felder (Chair, Landmarks Subcommittee) -
Charles Barron (Landmarks Subcommittee) -
Leroy G. Comrie, Jr. (Landmarks Subcommittee) -
G. Oliver Koppell (Landmarks Subcommittee) -
James S. Oddo (Landmarks Subcommittee) -
Annabel Palma (Landmarks Subcommittee) -
Bill Perkins (Landmarks Subcommittee) -
Tony Avella (Land Use Committee) -
Maria Baez (Land Use Committee) -
Erik Martin Dilan (Land Use Committee) -
Vincent J. Gentile (Land Use Committee) -
Eric N. Gioia (Land Use Committee) -
Andrew J. Lanza (Land Use Committee) -
Miguel Martinez (Land Use Committee) -
Michael E. McMahon (Land Use Committee) -
Hiram Monserrate (Land Use Committee) -
Michael C. Nelson (Land Use Committee) -
Christine C. Quinn (Land Use Committee) -
Joel Rivera (Land Use Committee) -
James Sanders, Jr. (Land Use Committee) -
Larry B. Seabrook (Land Use Committee) -
Albert Vann (Land Use Committee) -

Monday, November 14, 2005

Critical Public Hearing Today at City Hall

Is "business as usual" at the Landmarks Preservation Commission threatening to destroy your neighborhood? Then, by all means, speak out! Today is your opportunity - join fellow preservationists at City Hall starting at 11 AM for a public hearing on Intro. 705 (the "Landmarks Hearing" bill). And if you had any doubt about the magnitude of this hearing, check out today's New York Times...

Critic's Notebook
Turning Up the Heat on a Landmarks Agency

Published: November 14, 2005

Someone has stolen one of my buildings! That was the panicked reaction of Beverly Moss Spatt, then the chairwoman of the New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission, after the cast-iron facades of a building by James Bogardus were spirited away from a downtown lot in 1974. The 1849 facades, supposedly protected by official landmark status, had been disassembled and stored for eventual relocation at another site. But thieves broke into the lot and sold most of them off as scrap metal.

Three decades later, Ms. Spatt, now retired, is one of the people fighting to save 2 Columbus Circle, a 1965 building by Edward Durell Stone, in one of the biggest preservation uproars in a generation. But this time it is the commission itself that seems to have been hijacked.

Once considered the most powerful agency of its kind, the commission has lost the confidence of many mainstream preservationists by repeatedly refusing to hold a public hearing on the building's fate. At the urging of those preservation advocates, a city councilman, Bill Perkins, has introduced a bill that could force the commission to hold public hearings on potential landmarks. The implication is that the commission cannot always be trusted to protect the public interest.

The bill, which is to come before a City Council subcommittee that meets at 11 this morning, would require a public hearing on any building that has been determined eligible for listing on the state register of historic places. It would also allow the City Council to demand such a public hearing in a majority vote.

The bill probably comes too late to save 2 Columbus Circle, where scaffolding began to rise this month. (The building has been sold to the Museum of Arts and Design, which plans to remake the interior and clad its white marble Venetian-style faƧade in terra-cotta tiles.) The aim is rather to ensure that similar debacles can be averted in the future.

But the bill does not specifically address the sad reality that the commission no longer seems willing to fulfill its role as a defender of the city's architectural legacy. This is not solely the fault of its chairman, Robert B. Tierney, on whom much of the controversy has focused. It has to do with a subtle but crucial shift in how the commission does business. Founded in 1965 in response to the tragic razing of Penn Station two years earlier, the Landmarks Preservation Commission has traditionally been made up of independent voices with deep roots in the preservation community.

The commission's power to protect a building in virtual perpetuity - and its willingness to use that power - made it the most powerful such agency in the United States. Its chairmen were often willing to stand up to the mayor when they felt a principle was at stake.

The gradual shift away from those convictions had its seeds in the fiscal crisis of the mid-1970's, which spurred the rise of public-private partnerships with developers. Developers gained increasing power over how the city was shaped. Playing on the public's fear, many politicians argued that the only alternative was a descent into blight and crime.

That attitude reached its apogee during the Giuliani administration, which often appointed commission members more for their political ties than for their records as advocates for architecture. Jennifer Raab, the commission's chairwoman from 1994 to 2001, was a real estate lawyer who had worked as a campaign aide on Rudolph W. Giuliani's staff. Mr. Tierney, a appointment by Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, is a former lobbyist with deeper political ties than preservation experience.

The shift toward political expediency has been aggravated by soaring real estate prices in almost every corner of the city. Significant but little-noticed works of architecture that are now standing on valuable land, making them that much more vulnerable to demolition. Among the buildings preservationists are worried most about these days are the 1964 New York State Pavilion, designed by Philip Johnson, in Queens, and the Domino Sugar plant in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, from the 1890's. Neither building has yet to receive a hearing by the Landmarks Commission.

If passed, the Perkins bill would shift the balance of power somewhat. Requiring the commission to hold a public hearing on any building that is being considered for the state historical register would at least prevent travesties like the commission's stonewalling on 2 Columbus Circle. And it would add a dose of transparency to the commission's decision-making process.

But in the long run, what is needed is a ruthless analysis of the landmark designation process. The commission's research staff has been cut in half over the last decade because of budget reductions. This makes it difficult for the commission to identify buildings that deserve consideration. And if the bill succeeds, the commission's workload is certain to expand.

Of course, more City Council input would not necessarily help the preservationist cause. The council has its own political agenda. It recently overturned the commission's decision to grant landmark status to the 1969 Jamaica Savings Bank in Queens, and preservationists fear that it intends to do the same to the Austin, Nichols & Co. Warehouse, a 1915 building in Williamsburg, designed by Cass Gilbert, in a council vote scheduled for Nov. 22. The vast structure, admired for its Egyptian Revival motifs, stands on the site of a proposed residential waterfront development; the local city councilman, David Yassky, has already declared that the building doesn't merit landmark protection.

The only hope to be derived from this struggle is that the fate of 2 Columbus Circle will harden the resolve of a younger generation of preservation advocates who are less willing to accept the status quo. The drive to save 2 Columbus Circle, after all, was led by Landmark West, founded in 1985 and led by Kate Wood, rather than more established institutions like the Municipal Art Society, which opposes the Perkins bill.

This new generation of advocates seems eager to discuss what parts of our city's heritage deserve protection, and they have clearly not hesitated to lead the charge against an inexorable political process, filing one legal appeal after another to save Edward Durell Stone's building. Vanquished on that front as the scaffolding went up this month at Columbus Circle, Landmark West set up a streaming Webcast of the building titled "Shame Cam" (

Not everyone, it seems, is satisfied with business as usual.

Friday, November 11, 2005

Critical Mass Needed to Pass "Landmarks Hearing" Bill

Preservationists UNITE! Important Opportunity to Demonstrate Strength of New York's Preservation Community
Crucial Public Hearing on Landmarks Bill - Don't Be Overlooked, Make Your Voice Heard!

**Please pass this email on to your neighbors and fellow preservationists!**

On Monday, November 14, starting at 11:00 AM at City Hall (the Committee Room adjacent to the main Council chambers) the City Council's Landmarks Subcommittee will hold a public hearing on Intro. 705, the "Landmarks Hearing" bill. This legislation responds to outcry from communities in all five boroughs who have lost, or may lose, buildings due to the Landmarks Preservation Commission's (LPC's) failure to hold public designation hearings. Enough is enough - it's time to stem the tide. Unless we act now, how many more buildings will be doomed through LPC inaction?

Meanwhile, keep your eyes on the 2 Columbus Circle "Shame Cam" (go to Now that the election is over, the destruction has begun. Scaffolding continues to go up, and marble chunks begin to fall. Your support of Intro. 705 can help stop this from happening again and again. The time is now!

The text of Intro 705 is available online ( Below is the list of organizations (over 50) that have endorsed this legislation as members of the "Citizens for a Responsive Landmarks Law." Also below is a list of council members that have signed on to the bill as co-sponsors - is your council member on this list? If not, please call, email or fax them to show your support for passing this law - and soon! (A complete list of council members, their districts and contact information is available at Landmarks Subcommittee Chair Simcha Felder ( and Land Use Chair Melinda Katz ( are particularly key. Attached is a sample letter for inspiration.

Numbers matter. Even if you don't plan to speak, please plan to attend on Monday, 11/14 at 11:00 AM at City Hall.

Citizens for a Responsive Landmarks Law


Art Deco Society of New York
Brownstone Revival Coalition
DOCOMOMO US—NY/Tri-State Chapter
The Friends of the Old Croton Aqueduct
Four Boroughs Neighborhood Preservation Alliance
Historic Districts Council
Institute of Classical Architecture & Classical America
Modern Architecuture Working Group
The Roebling Chapter, Society for Industrial Archeology, Inc.
Society for the Architecture of the City
Women’s City Club of New York

Riverdale Historic District
Friends of the Old Croton Aqueduct

Bay Ridge Conservancy
Clinton Hill Association
Council Member Vincent Gentile's Preservation Committee
Crown Heights North Association
Ditmas Park Association
Ditmas Park West Neighborhood Association
Fort Greene Association
Prospect Park South Association
Senator Street Historic District
Society for Clinton Hill
Society for the Preservation of Long Island Antiquities

10th and Stuyvesant Streets Block Association
Association of Neighbors on the Upper East Side
Clinton Special District Coalition
Coalition for a Livable West Side
Committee for Environmentally Sound Development
Community Board 9
Defenders of the Historic Upper East Side
The Drive to Protect the Ladies’ Mile District
East 78th Street Block Assoc. Park/Lex>Ea
st Harlem Historical Organization
The East Village Community Coalition
Flatiron Alliance
Gramercy Neighborhood Associates
Greenwich Village Community Task Force
Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation
Hamilton Heights- West Harlem Community Preservation Organization
Harlem Preservation Foundation
Historic Neighborhood Enhancement Alliance
The HDFC Council
Manhattan-Ville Heritage Society
Murray Hill Neighborhood Association
NoHo Neighborhood Association
Roosevelt Island Historical Society
St. Agnes Apartments Board
Stuyvesant Park Neighborhood Assoc.
Tribeca Community Association
Turtle Bay Association
Union Square Community Coalition
West 15th Street 200 Block Association
West 45th Street Block Association
West 122nd Street Block Association
WestSide Heights Citizens League

Beachside Bungalow Preservation Association
Douglaston Little Neck Historical Society
Jackson Heights Beautification Group
Jackson Heights Garden City Society
Kew Gardens Hills Civic Association
Parkway Village Historical Society
Richmond Hill Historical Society
Queens Civic Congress

North Shore Waterfront Greenbelt
Preservation League of Staten Island
West Brighton Restoration Society

INTRO. 705 CITY COUNCIL CO-SPONSORS: Is your council member on this list?

Larry B. Seabrook
Annabel Palma

G. Oliver Koppel

Charles Barron
Bill de Blasio

Yvette D. Clark
Lewis A. Fidler

Vincent J. Gentile
Letitia James
Kendall Stewart
David Yassky

Gale A. Brewer
Alan J. Gerson

Robert Jackson
Margarita Lopez
Eva Moskow
Bill Perkins
Philip Reed

Joseph P. Addabo ,Jr.
James F. Gennar
John C. Liu R>J
ames Sanders, Jr.

Ron Schweiger (Brooklyn)
Stanley Cogan (Queens)
Richard Dickenson (Staten Island)

Thursday, August 18, 2005

Pressure Mounts on LPC to Hold Hearings

In the City Council and in the court of public opinion, pressure is mounting on the NYC Landmarks Preservation Commission (LPC) to hold public hearings on the buildings that matter most to New Yorkers.

Yesterday, NY City Council Member Bill Perkins introduced a “Landmarks Hearing” bill (Intro 705) to help ensure that historic buildings and districts that earn support from a majority of council members for consideration or that meet the eligibility criteria for the NY State Register of Historic Places receive fair, open, democratic designation hearings before the LPC. (See below to learn how you can help get this law passed, and visit the New York City Council's website to read the text of Intro 705 at The intent of the “Landmarks Hearing” bill is to stem the tide of worthy buildings that are overlooked for hearings by the LPC without explanation to the public. Cases in point include St.Thomas the Apostle Church in Harlem, the Grand Concourse in the Bronx, the Richmond Hill district in Queens, and the (now sadly lost) Dorothy Day Cottage in Staten Island.

Meanwhile, expert support continues to grow for the LPC to hold a public hearing on 2 Columbus Circle, reports David W. Dunlap in today’s New York Times (“For 2 Columbus Circle, a Growing Fan Club," 8/18/05, pB3, link to article below). No less an authority than
Vincent Scully, the Sterling professor emeritus of art history at Yale University and one of the world’s most esteemed scholars of 20-century American architecture, wrote an August 14 letter to LPC Chair Robert B. Tierney (who has claimed taking an undergraduate course with Scully 40 years ago as his principal architectural education). Scully instructs his former student, “Something rather wonderful has occurred, by which [2 Columbus Circle], rarely anyone’s favorite building in the past, is looking better every day. Its own integrity, its uniqueness, the indomitable determination to make a point that produced it, are come to the fore and are powerfully affecting the way we see it.” The full text of the letter is available on LW’s website at NT>

Link to David Dunlap's New York Times article:

As further evidence of “the redemptive power that the passage of time holds for once-ugly ducklings,” Dunlap also cites the newly expressed support of several former landmarks commissioners (William E. Davis, Sarah Bradford Landau, Stephen M. Raphael and Mildred F. Schmertz), who recently called on Tierney to schedule a hearing for 2 Columbus Circle, joining Gene A. Norman and Beverly Moss Spatt (both former chairs) and Anthony M. Tung, whose support has been on record for nearly a year. Former commissioner Jack Freeman also supports a hearing, and
former LPC Chair David F.M. Todd has stated his hope that a hearing would "strengthen the Landmarks Law."

2 Columbus Circle is just one prominent example of the LPC's lack of responsiveness to the public and the need for immediate action to remedy this threat to our city's heritage. HERE'S WHAT YOU CAN DO:

1) Contact your local council member(s) urging them to sign on as a co-sponsor of Intro 705, the "Landmarks Hearing" bill. A list of council members, their districts and contact information is available at

2) Join "Citizens for a Responsive Landmarks Law," the coalition in formation to advocate for Intro 705. Reply to this email with permission to use your and/or your organization's name in connection with this initiative.

3) Email/call/fax Mayor Bloomberg. Urge him to break the wall of silence and call for a public hearing for 2 Columbus Circle today! Email: go to and type your message in the space provided. Phone: 212-788-3000, Fax: (212) 788-2460. We appreciate receiving blind copies of your letters - please send to

See our website for additional updates -

Tuesday, August 9, 2005

Landmarks Commission Stirs on 2 Columbus Circle

"The debate over whether 2 Columbus Circle merits consideration as an official landmark is playing out on the Landmarks Preservation Commission itself," reports David W. Dunlap in today's New York Times ("Unanimity on a Building is a Facade, Insiders Say," 8/9/05, pB3, link to full text below). At long last! Recent rumblings suggest that the discussion about the future of 2 Columbus Circle may finally be taking place where it belongs, among the current 11 members of the Landmarks Preservation Commission (LPC).

Dunlap writes that a letter from Landmarks Commissioner Roberta Brandes Gratz to the editor of the Times (printed 8/6/05, pA13, se August 8th entry below) "suggested that at least some of the 11 commissioners favor a public hearing, as did telephone interviews yesterday with several members."

Link to Dunlap's article:

Reading tea leaves is not our specialty, but one can only hope this news augurs well for 2 Columbus Circle and, more importantly, for the wisdom, integrity and independence of the LPC itself. An LPC spokesperson states that Chair Robert B. Tierney is "not inclined to revisit this question." Why not, if former Chair Sherida E. Paulsen's claim that 19 commissioners since 1996 exercised their "professional judgment" that 2 Columbus Circle fails the test for a hearing turns out to be untrue?

Ask Mayor Bloomberg! Call, e-mail, fax him today to let him know that in new Yorkers' minds this is definitely not a closed case. Contact information below:

Mayor Michael R. BloombergE-mail: go to and type your message in the space provided
Phone: 212-788-3000
Fax: 212-788-2460
We appreciate receiving blind copies of your letters - please send them to

Monday, August 8, 2005

From the New York Times: Commissioners Set the Record Straight RE: 2 Columbus Circle

Challenging the assertion that 19 members of the Landmarks Preservation Commission (LPC) from 1996 to the present had each come to a negative decision about the merits of 2 Columbus Circle for landmark designation, former LPC Chair Beverly Moss Spatt and current commissioner Roberta Brandes Granz have responded to an op-ed piece by former Chair Sherida E. Paulsen ("The Black Hole of 2 Columbus Circle," New York Times, July 30th 2005). Click Here for Spatt's and Gratz's letters to the editor, printed in Saturday's Times (August 6, 2005, pA12). Paulsen's op-ed is included at the end.

Friday, July 15, 2005

The People's Hearing for 2 Columbus Circle

Big thanks to all of you who helped make yesterday's People's Hearing for 2 Columbus Circle such a success. The fact that over 150 people filled the library of the General Society for Mechanics and Tradesmen -itself an inspiring Landmark building - to testify before 11 empty seats - one for each of the conspicuously absent Landmarks Preservation Commissioners - is living proof that New Yorkers care about the future of Edward Durell Stone's 1964 building and would eagerly take part in a real landmarks hearing, if only given the opportunity. A full record of the proceedings will be available shortly. In the meantime, see New York Observer coverage here.

Co-sponsors for the People's Hearing include: Public Advocate Betsy Gotbaum; NYS Assembly Members Richard N. Gottfried (represents 2 Columbus Circle area), Pete Grannis, Daniel O'Donnell and Scott Stringer; NYS Senators Tom Duane, Liz Krueger (represents the 2 Columbus Circle area) and Eric Schneiderman; NYC Council Members Vincent J. Gentile, Margarita Lopez, Eva Moskowitz and Bill Perkins; and former Council Member Ronnie Eldridge.

WHAT MORE WILL IT TAKE for 2 Columbus Circle to get the public hearing it deserves?

Thursday, July 7, 2005

2 Columbus Circle: Fighting Another Day

Last week on the 2 Columbus Circle front had its highs (links to the excellent New York Times editorial and Tom Wolfe's New York magazine article are included below, in case you missed them) and lows (a permit for the removal of the building's facade).

The outcome is that, for the moment, 2 Columbus Circle remains intact, ready to fight another day. And so are we. But still no public hearing? No more waiting around! Mark your calendars for Thursday, July 14, and the "People's Hearing" for 2 Columbus Circle (time and place to be announced shortly). In response to the inexplicable refusal of Mayor Michael Bloomberg and the Landmarks Preservation Commission (LPC) to have formal public input on whether 2 Columbus Circle should be designated as an official NYC Landmark, this "hearing" will be an open forum for citizens to express their views and decide the merits of the case for themselves. What better way to show the Mayor and the LPC that the people of New York want a real public hearing for 2 Columbus Circle? Come and make your voice heard! Stay tuned for additional information...

Tom Wolfe's New York Magazine Piece:

Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Good News, Bad News

Let's start with the good news. Today, the New York Times ran an editorial calling the NYC Landmarks Preservation Commission to task for refusing to hold public hearings to discuss 2 Columbus Circle, which the Times notes" is already an architectural monument, the work of a major architect, whether the commission likes it or not." The editorial goes on to say that "dooming this building without a hearing is an enormous mistake, one that seriously erodes the Landmarks Preservation Commission's purpose and whatever political independence it has managed to attain since it was first created."

The Preservation League of New York State, the National Trust for Historic Preservation, the World Monuments Fund, every major preservation organization in the city, and now the New York Times. The elation was short-lived: we just learned that the NYC Department of Buildings has approved the permit for the Museum of Arts and Design to begin removing 2 Columbus Circle's facade. Right before the start of the long holiday weekend, their timing couldn't be better.

Here's what you can do:
Mayor Bloomberg clearly hasn't gotten the message yet. Your e-mails/phone calls/faxes are absolutely critical TODAY! (see contact information below.)
Mayor Michael Bloomberg212-788-3000 (phone)212-788-2460 (fax)To e-mail the Mayor, go to and type your message.

No one ever said that preservation was for the faint of heart!

Monday, June 27, 2005

Tom Wolfe and Rally Help Turn Up Heat on 2 Columbus Circle

Last Thursday's (6/23/05) "Hands Around 2 Columbus Circle" rally was a hands-down success! Many thanks to all who participated in person and in spirit. This week, your hands have another assignment - get the as quickly as possible on the latest issue of New York Magazine (July 4th, 2005) and Tom Wolfe's article, "The 2 Columbus Circle Game."

This follow-up to his spectacular 2003 two-part New York Times Op-Ed piece is subtitled "Was the Landmarks commissioner a little too close to the side that wants it destroyed? A would-be savior of Edward Durell Stone's building looks at the latest, most dramatic twist in the city's preservation drama." The "twist" is the trove of e-mails obtained by LANDMARK WEST! through a Freedom of Information request (which Wolfe dibs the "Bob and Laurie Letters") between LPC Chair Robert B. Tierney and Museum of Arts and Design (MAD) New Building Director Laurie Beckelman. For an online version of Wolfe's piece, go to

To see the e-mails for yourself (and the accompanying legal papers), go to the May 17, 2005 entry on the 2 Columbus Circle timeline at

While you're online, go to the June 23rd, 2005 timeline entry to see pictures from last week's rally at 2 Columbus Circle and read statements of support by NYC Council Members Bill Perkins and Margarita Lopez. Nearly 150 supporters joined hands around the building's iconic "lollipop" base for over an hour, celebrated the World Monuments Fund's (WMF) naming of 2 Columbus Circle to its "Watch List" of the 100 Most Endangered Sites on earth and called on Mayor Bloomberg and the NYC Landmarks Preservation Commission (LPC) to give the building the public hearing it deserves (at long last!).

With the crowd and television camera crews looking on, Council Member Perkins announced his intention to sponsor a "People's Hearing" in July (date tba). "The refusal of the Landmarks Preservation Commission to hold hearings on the future of 2 Columbus Circle demonstrates a shameful disregard for the will of the people and the Commission's charter-mandated responsibility...I will Chair the "People's Hearing" to make sure the people's voice is heard on the future of this significant building."

The summer's just begun, but things are really heating up! Stay tuned...
June 21, 2005: World Monuments Fund (WMF) includes 2 Columbus Circle on its 2006 "Watch List" of the world's 100 Most Endangered Sites

First, the Preservation League of New York State listed 2 Columbus Circle on its 2003 "Seven to Save" list, then the National Trust for Historic Preservation included the building on its 2004 list of "America's 11 Most Endangered Historic Places." Now, WMF places 2 Columbus Circle on a list that includes Ellis Island and the entire country of Iraq. WHAT MORE WILL IT TAKE for 2 Columbus Circle to get the public hearing it deserves?

When the world's foremost organization dedicated to preserving endangered artistic and architectural heritage across the globe identifies a New York City building as among the most threatened resources on the planet, is this good news? Yes, if it helps snap the Bloomberg administration out of its stubborn denial to grant 2 Columbus Circle even a public hearing and the chance to survive for future generations. The bad news is that the building is endangered because Mayor Bloomberg, the NYC Landmarks Preservation Commission (LPC) and the Museum of Arts and Design (MAD) have turned a blind eye and a deaf ear. Are local politics really more important than world heritage?

Mayor Bloomberg, stop stonewalling and let the people of New York speak! What better way to honor New York City's renowned 1965 Landmarks Law and the many communities working at the grassroots to protect their historic landmarks, big and small? Show us that the landmarks process can be open, transparent and democratic. Prove that preservation matters to you.

May 31, 2005: Demonstration in support of 2 Columbus Circle!
Join 2 Columbus Circle supporters for a demonstration in front of the Museum of Arts and Design (MAD, the institution that just yesterday signed a contract to purchase and destroy Edward Durell Stone’s 1964 building) as museum donors gather to celebrate the opening of a new exhibition featuring the collection of Jerome Chazen, MAD’s Building Campaign Chair.

WHAT: Demonstration to show support for a public hearing

WHEN: Tuesday, May 31, 5:30 PM

WHERE: In front of the Museum of Arts and Design, 40 W. 53rd Street

WHY? Good question. Why can’t 2 Columbus Circle get a public hearing at the Landmarks Preservation Commission (LPC)? Just a hearing?

With any questions, call LANDMARK WEST! at 212-496-8110 or email us at

Friday, May 27, 2005

"Collusion is charged in the purchase of a former museum at Columbus Circle."

Robin Pogrebin's article in today's New York Times ("Group Seeks Removal of Landmarks Chairman,") is required reading for the long holiday weekend.