Could Jeffrey Epstein’s Upper East Side mansion soon become a museum?
That’s the goal of art preservationist groups including Save the Frick and Stop Irresponsible Frick Development, according to the New York Daily News. The groups have spent years fighting against the Frick Collection’s proposed expansion plan, which includes gutting the museum’s current music room to make space for a bigger exhibition area.
Architect and preservationist Theodore Grunewald, who runs Save the Frick, maintains that the Frick would not have to do this if it buys Epstein’s mansion at 9 East 71st Street and other nearby houses. However, Frick COO Joe Shatoff disagrees.
“Our renovation and revitalization plan has been guided carefully by two key tenets — first and foremost, to preserve the unique, intimate experience of the Frick, and secondly, to ensure the long-term future of the museum and library,” he said in a statement to the News. “A separate building across the street does not answer these needs and would not provide the critical adjacencies required to make it a functional solution.”
The museum’s expansion plan includes repurposing almost 6,000 square feet of the existing property for a new education center, better wheelchair accessibility and increased public access.
Epstein was accused by authorities of abusing underage girls at his many homes, and was facing criminal charges until his death in a Manhattan jail cell in August. The financier’s Upper East Side home — where authorities say they found hundreds of lewd photos of underage girls — is reportedly worth upwards of $70 million. The ultimate fate of this and his other properties will likely be decided as part of a long and complex legal battle. [NYDN] — Eddie Small