Thursday, November 17, 2011

Return of the Urns

Thank you, David Dunlap and The New York Times for drawing attention to the demon that plagues historic neighborhoods under active consideration for landmark protection.  Too many heedless owners rush to destroy the very fabric that makes buildings in these neighborhoods architecturally significant, but more importantly, fabric that is integral to the quality of life of the people who live here.

“It was one of the most traumatic days of my life,”said Kennedy Fraser, a 35-year resident of 333 West 86th Street, a building located in a proposed extension of the Riverside-West End Historic District (PDF).  Fraser described her feelings as she watched contractors remove 16 magnificent masonry urns from the building's facade last May.

Read Dunlap's article to find out how neighbors succeeded in bringing the urns back (albeit in fiberglass because the originals had been too badly damaged through removal).

It's a crying shame--and an expensive mistake.  Property owners, hear this message:

“Everybody responds to beauty,” Ms. Fraser said. “People think it doesn’t matter, that nobody will see them, that they’re just a poetic detail. But somehow, it’s important to have those things that not everybody notices.”

...but that they will fight for.

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