Dragons, magic wands, and whimsy are rare topics for discussion at New York City community board meetings, but they were this month.
After a Tuesday night debate, Manhattan Community Board 5’s landmark committee voted against a proposal to build an elaborate Harry Potter-themed retail store — that includes a fiberglass dragon — on Broadway in the Flatiron District, according to the New York Post.
The proposal came from Warner Bros. Entertainment, which wants to add six “wand-style” flagpoles along with the dragon to the facade of the landmarked Mortimer Building, a late 19th century office building a block away from the Flatiron Building.
The proposal is part of Warner Bros. planned “Wizarding World” store and attraction. The company also wants to serve food and drinks, set up a service window on Broadway, and create a sidewalk cafe.
But the committee was most concerned about the plans for the nearly 160-year-old building’s facade. Allowing the dragon and the flagpoles would open the floodgates for retailers to engage in all sorts of aesthetic perversions, some on the board said.
“If Harry Potter can put a dragon, then Nike can put a shoe, then a bakery down the block could put a croissant, and then where do you stop?” said committee chair Layla Law-Gisiko.
The committee will send its recommendation to the full community board for a vote later this month. The issue then goes to the city’s Landmarks Preservation Commission for a binding vote. While community board recommendations aren’t themselves binding, the LPC and local city councilmember typically give weight to them. [New York Post] — Dennis Lynch