Monday, November 29, 2010

Roberta Brandes Gratz Removed from the Landmarks Preservation Commission

The New York Times City Room blog reported last night that Roberta Brandes Gratz was removed from the NYC Landmarks Preservation Commission as of October 26, 2010.  Gratz - journalist, preservationist, and most recently author of The Battle for Gotham: New York in the Shadow of Robert Moses and Jane Jacobs - was
appointed to the Commission by Mayor Michael Bloomberg in 2003. 

The Mayor giveth, and the Mayor taketh away.

Gratz was often "a thorn in the side of the commission, freely speaking her mind, even if her views clashed with other commissioners, City Hall or the chairman, Robert B. Tierney," reports the TimesBloomberg deliberately failed to reappoint Gratz when her term expired, even as other commissioners had their terms renewed, leaving her to vulnerable to removal at any moment.


Wednesday, November 24, 2010

LW! in the Press :: West Side Spirit covers 25th anniversary

Check out this online article in the West Side Spirit, sharing a bit of info about LANDMARK WEST!'s quarter century of preservation advocacy on the Upper West Side.  

**Spoiler alert!** Some of our favorite lines, below ...

"We don't want the Upper West Side to become a Disneyland, where everything is just a facade.  We want there to be something tangible ...  It's probably not sexy, what we do, but it's essential."
~~ Arlene Simon, president, founder and citizen activist extraordinaire.

On the protection that landmarking provides and the responsibility it instill in property owners: "Yes, people may have to go through more bureaucracy ... but their neighbors do too."
~~ Kate Wood, executive director and glass-half-full expert.

For more on LANDMARK WEST's 25th anniversary celebration, to be held on Tuesday, December 14, 2010, at the Stanley H. Kaplan Penthouse at Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts, click here!

Friday, November 19, 2010

UPDATE from the FIELD :: "Nautical" Boathouse bar sunk by Design Commission

As reported by Cristiana P.

Central Park's iconic Loeb Boathouse was recently in the market for an outdoor bar redesign.  Suburban mall kiosks and beach-front rest stations need not apply!

The Design Commission on Monday morning reviewed a proposal for a newly designed bar adjacent the Boathouse, and LW! was there.  Following a presentation of the project by representatives of both the Parks Department and the project architect, we presented our testimonyCosmetic quick-fixes are not the answer, we argued, when the fundamental design is inappropriate.  The Commissioners picked up on this same point and offered critique on the tear drop-shaped design.  For a rundown (and more LW! notes) visit A Walk in the Park blog.

As we commented to A Walk in the Park: "LANDMARK WEST! is incredibly pleased that the Design Commission took a strong stand on this application, especially after it passed through a number of other stages of public review with far less criticism. This was a prime example of money and the desire to generate revenue--not design integrity--being the driving force behind park projects. What we get, of course, is an outrageous, flamboyant design that belongs anywhere but in a Scenic Landmark like Central Park. The Design Commission picked up on this precisely, and we think it’s terrific."

Our design review committee first reviewed this proposal in September, when it appeared before the Landmarks Preservation Commission (click here for a copy of our statement).  And we'll continue to monitor agency agendas for its resurfacing.  As always, stay tuned!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

NEW! Reserve online for LW! events and programs

Reserving your ticket for LANDMARK WEST! events just got a whole lot easier!  It's simple:

(1) Hear about an intriguing upcoming LW! event by email.*  Like Mosette Broderick's "Architecture (and Scandal!)" next Monday, or our 25th Anniversary gala celebration at Lincoln Center on December 14th.

(2) Click on the links provided, like this one here for Mosette Broderick, or this one here for our anniversary fete.

(3) Select your tickets, enter your billing information, and voila!  You're on the list!

Of course, you can still call LW! staff at (212) 496-8110 with any questions.  We can't wait to see you at one of our upcoming public programs!

*Don't already receive our emails?  Easily subscribe by emailing us at

Celebrate Defenders of NYC Heritage at Annual Bard Birthday Breakfast

Come celebrate Roberta Brandes Gratz, Jane Jacobs, and fellow defenders of New York City at the annual Bard Birthday Breakfast Benefit on December 1 - details below! 

(Required reading is last week's New York Times City Room blog post about Roberta's feisty tenure on New York's Landmarks Preservation Commission...and her abrupt dismissal by Mayor Bloomberg.)

Roberta Brandes Gratz will also be speaking tonight, Wednesday, November 10, at 7:00 PM at The New School, Theresa Lang Community and Student Center, 55 West 13th Street, 2nd Floor.  Admission is free!  Sociologist Richard Sennett and moderator David Brancaccio will join in the discussion, entitled "The Battle for Gotham:  The Competing Legacies of Jane Jacobs and Robert Moses."  The event is co-sponsored by The Nation Institute, Haymarket Books,, City Limits and The New School.