Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Tom Wolfe Takes on Mayor Bloomberg's Landmarks Commission

Tom Wolfe's full-spread Op-Ed piece in Sunday's New York Times is required reading for anyone who cares about New York City. Period.

"The (Naked) City and the Undead," 11/26/06

A few quotes can hardly do justice to Wolfe's dead-on assessment of the "undead" Landmarks Preservation Commission (LPC) and its downward spiral. But since the post-holiday fog may still be lifting, some excerpts - sure to get your attention - are pasted below.

Strong words must be accompanied by strong deeds. Here's what you can do:

1) Email letters@nytimes.com with your response to Wolfe's op-ed;

2) Cc your messages to Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg (go to http://www.nyc.gov/html/mail/html/mayor.html and paste in your message), LPC Chair Robert B. Tierney (rtierney@lpc.nyc.gov), and landmarkwest@landmarkwest.org;

3) Email the Citizens Emergency Committee to Preserve Preservation(citizens@savelpc.org), the landmarks-reform campaign (referred to by Wolfe at the end of his piece) that is now preparing a lawsuit that would reinforce the independence of Landmarks Commissioners by compelling MayorBloomberg to immediately re-appoint or replace the 9 (out of 11) whose terms have lapsed. Lend your name to the list of co-petitioners in the lawsuit and support this initiative to use the "third branch of government to get the first branch to do its job" (in the words of Whitney North Seymour, Jr., attorney and acting secretary of the Emergency Committee)!

And now some quotes...

Referring to Aby Rosen, the prospective developer of 980 Madison Avenue:"Like every major developer in town, he knows that the LandmarksPreservation Commission has been de facto defunct for going on 20 years. Today it is a bureau of the walking dead, tended by one Robert B. Tierney."

Revisiting Mayor Koch's abrupt dismissal of Landmarks Commission Anthony M.Tung in 1987: "Never again could you expect a landmarks commissioner, muchless a chairman, to stand up to a mayor...never again could you expect anyof them to stand up to Big Real Estate, if Big Real Estate had the mayor's backing."

Reviewing Mayor Bloomberg's landmarks track record (including 2 ColumbusCircle and the former Dakota Stable): "Reading the tank-style tread marks of the excavation earth-movers today, one is forced to conclude that Rudy Giuliani and Ed Koch are not the only mayors who would just as soon have ended the charade by mercifully putting the Landmarks Preservation Commission and the walking dead out of their misery...Mayor Michael R.Bloomberg certainly seems to qualify as another."

Do read the entire piece - it's worth it.

(See below or follow this link: http://www.nytimes.com/2006/11/26/opinion/26wolfe.html)

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