Wednesday, April 29, 2015

MOBIA Museum to Close!

In the wake of the sale of 1865 Broadway by the American Bible Society to Avalon Bay Communities for a planned 39-floor residential building, MOBIA, the Museum of Biblical Art is set to shutter forever on June 14th.

As recent as last fall, the Museum was honing in on rental space on East 42nd Street but ultimately plans fell through.

In addition to the cultural loss of the Museum, the Upper West Side will lose the architecture that the American Bible Society commissioned, including its Anabelle Selldorf interior, its FX Fowle glass extension and the original 1966 structure by Skidmore Owings and Merrill.

The American Bible Society, itself leaves NYC, after nearly two centuries for Philadelphia, taking with it their remaining employees.

Please read further information from the MOBIA Press Release  and also covered in the New York Times.

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Jeffrey Kroessler op-ed on 50 Years of the Landmarks Law

LW! Board member Jeffrey Kroessler has a terrific op-ed in yesterday's Daily News: 

Wrecking crane moves in for kill on the Morosco Theater at W. 45th St. in 1982

Image: Clarence Davis

“Historic preservation saved New York City: 50 years after the passages of a landmark law, celebrate its legacy”

Treat yourself to a full read.  Here's an especially meaty excerpt, which follows an inventory of good things historic preservation has done New York City:

“Today, the city takes for granted the benefits of preservation while refusing to embrace it. Critical voices find a more receptive audience in both city government and among the general public, creating an odd alliance of builders favoring untrammeled development and progressives seeking to advance desired social ends.

“But the protection of historic parts of the city is not a quaint idea with no value in the present.”

Bravo, Jeff!

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

ALERT: Buying the Sky?

Image Source: The Architect's Newspaper

Join us at a special Town Hall Meeting 
at the main New York Public Library
5th Ave at 42nd St. on April 28th
The Central Park Sunshine Task Force of Community Board 5 wants to hear from YOU about an issue that affects us all.  Billionaires' Row is spreading. More shockingly tall towers are not only sprouting up in midtown, but also creeping up the east and west sides of Central Park.   

As things are, this luxury mega-development is taking place 
with no public review of individual projects or their cumulative impacts - a lack of municipal oversight as egregious as the City's concurrent effort to roll back neighborhood contextual zoning protections.    

Send Mayor de Blasio and his city agencies a strong message.  Join the campaign to take back our sky, parks, landmarks, and neighborhoods!
Space is very limited, so please RSVP today for this free forum at:

Saturday, April 18, 2015

50 Years Later, the New York Times Looks Ahead

On the eve the the New York Landmark Law's official Golden Anniversary, The New York Times pens an editorial with a graphic timeline of key Landmark milestones accompanied by political insights regarding reactions at the time.  This simple reminder of the inseparable reality of politics to our built environment is particularly timely, the New York Times points out, as Mayor deBlasio seeks a city of more "equality and diversity" amidst a promise to revitalize a Landmarks Commission with ever-increasing responsibility and no
 significant additional funding.

McKim Mead and White's IRT Powerhouse on 59th Street, one of the LPC's proposed sites to de-calendar. 

While it squarely addresses the current concerns for what they are, the editors have stopped short of addressing the newsworthy 96 sites the Commission has proposed to de-calendar without a vote of designation.  And although, the editors look forward to the next steps politically, they too are caught up in the politics, and fail to address the built environment- specifically what would be the next New York City landmark that should be saved?  Which Historic District should be protected?  What do you, our readers think?

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Deadline EXTENDED!

Write to City Planning 
by 5pm on Thursday, April 30
to oppose Mayor de Blasio's 
Proposed ReZoning plan

Or send letters to:  
Robert Dobruskin
Director, Environmental Assessment and Review Division
NYC Department of City Planning
22 Reade Street, 4E
New York, NY 10007
Below is a sample message:

I support efforts to defend the current and future contextual neighborhood zoning protections from being weakened by allowing height limits within these protected areas to be raised by 20-30%. The proposed citywide rezoning plan would overturn communities' hard-won zoning and historic district protections in one fell swoop. The result would be higher, out-of-character new buildings that undermine individual neighborhoods' human scale and unique sense of place. This is not the way to ensure affordability, architectural quality, and quality of life in our city. The environmental review for the rezoning plan must be expanded to ensure height limits can be maintained and impacts on historic resources, neighborhood character, and quality of life are taken into account for every neighborhood that will be affected. More information on the plan should be made available to the public, and there should be public briefings in all affected neighborhoods.