Without Landmarks commission, Penn Station protestors were powerless

TRD New York /
Aug.August 01, 2012 04:00 PM

Fifty years ago tomorrow, when Penn Station was heralded as an architectural masterpiece, a group of protestors who went by Agbany, or the Action Group for Better Architecture in New York, gathered outside the station’s entrance to protest plans for the new station, which New Yorkers use to this day. Both developer Irving Mitchell Felt and the Pennsylvania Railroad razed the structure the following year to replace it with Madison Square Garden, a hotel and an office tower.

The protest clearly proved to be unsuccessful, but one of the demonstrators, architect Diana Goldstein, told the New York Times “We knew we wouldn’t win, but we did hope to change the climate.”

Only when the demolition reached completion, the Times said, did the Landmarks Preservation Commission gain regulatory power. Many believe that the Penn Station episode helped save the Grand Central Terminal and other city landmarks from destruction.

But today, many developers believe the landmarking process has swung too far in favor of preservation. As previously reported, current LPC Chairman Robert Tierney has designated more city historic districts than any other administration.

Developers have indicated these designations bring them more expenses, which get passed on to city residents. The City Council met for a hearing earlier this year to discuss a bill requiring the LPC to weigh potential lost costs from new developments before landmarking them. A separate bill would require City Council approval for designations. [NYT] — Zachary Kussin


Related Articles

arrow_forward_ios
The Strand Bookstore and store owner Nancy Bass Wyden (Credit: Getty Images)

Over owner’s protests, city landmarks Strand bookstore

Revamped design for 550 Madison receives Landmarks’ approval

Revamped design for 550 Madison receives Landmarks’ approval

The Top 10 preservation fights of 2018

The Top 10 preservation fights of 2018

11 Penn Plaza and Apple CEO Tim Cook (Credit: Vornado, Getty Images)

Apple is in talks for a lease at Vornado’s 11 Penn Plaza

Gov. Andrew Cuomo and a rendering of Penn Station (Credit: Getty Images, Governor's Office)

Landlord to Cuomo: “No intention of selling” Penn Station site

A rendering of Empire Station with Governor Andrew Cuomo and JDS Development's Michael Stern (Credit: Getty Images, JDS)

Recycled ideas? Penn Station plan similar to JDS 2016 proposal

Governor Andrew Cuomo and an an aerial of Penn Station's planned expansion (Credit: Getty Images and New York State)

Cuomo plans to acquire private real estate to expand Penn Station

Vornado wants to clean up “crack alley” around One Penn Plaza

Vornado wants to clean up “crack alley” around One Penn Plaza

arrow_forward_ios
Loading...