Saturday, December 31, 2016

Cheers For The New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission!

The Commission entered this year with a backlog of 95 properties that had been proposed as potential New York City landmarks.  Today, the backlog is cleared, and 41 properties (more specifically, 39 individual buildings and 2 historic districts) have been added to the list of amazing structures that do so much to define an amazing city.  Here is a link to the list of 41.

New York, more than ever, is the subject of development pressures, not just from in the city, but from all over the world.  Sometimes, especially in the past year, it seems as if every day brings news of some faceless, charmless megastructure that will do little more than make someone a lot of money from people who can afford to pay it--and, in a decade or so, be torn down and replaced by some even more faceless, charmless megastructure.

Why am I, along with others, so fascinated by older buildings?  Maybe its as simple as the fact that they were built in a time when money wasn't the only reason for putting them up in the first place. They were seen as embodying other virtues--stability, beauty, and designs that allowed them to shine without overwhelming their architectural neighbors.  It's the history of what happened in many of these places, of course, that also makes them special.  And often that history is more significant than the architecture.

Whatever the reason, be it architecture or history, it's important to save as many of these treasures as possible.  They tell us much about where we have been, and can serve as guideposts to the future. Congratulations to the Commission, and also to the citizen advocates who do much to enable their work.  And may all of us look around us, whether we're in New York or anywhere else, and do what we can to save America's past.

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