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Frick Collection’s Page Garden Must Be Has Been Saved

Update June 4, 2015:

Original Post, May 7, 2015:

MAS has declared its intention to publicly oppose any expansion plan that places the Page garden in danger. Read our letter delivered Thursday, May 7, 2015, to Ian Wardropper, Director, the Frick Collection:

Dear Mr. Wardropper,

The Municipal Art Society is deeply concerned about the destruction of the Russell Page garden on 70th Street as part of the Frick Collection’s proposed expansion. The garden is considered by many to be one of Page’s greatest works and is his only design in New York City.

The uniqueness of the Frick Collection is not confined to the great works of art within its walls, but extends to its outstanding exterior and landscape architecture. Since its creation 38 years ago, the Page garden has become a defining characteristic of the Frick estate. Those who enter the Collection enjoy views of the garden from within the entrance pavilion, and the grounds are visually accessible to passersby outside, enriching the streetscape of the entire neighborhood.

The issue is not the number of gardens at the Frick, or if the same number will be retained going forward. More is at stake; the current proposal risks undermining the singular essence of the Frick Collection by erasing a masterpiece of landscape design—a landmark in its own right.

While MAS is not necessarily against an expansion, we will oppose any plan that places the Page garden in its crosshairs. We urge the Frick Collection to explore alternative solutions – most obviously, the reference library – that do not require the loss of such a beloved work of landscape architecture and treasured urban greenspace.



Margaret Newman, FAIA
Executive Director