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MAS Statement regarding the Landmarks Preservation Commission’s Greater East Midtown Initiative.

MAS Statement regarding the Landmarks Preservation Commission’s Greater East Midtown Initiative. July 19, 2016

The Municipal Art Society of New York is a non-profit committed to advocating for intelligent urban planning, design, and preservation policy. MAS has a particularly long and celebrated history in East Midtown, successfully leading the fight to preserve Grand Central Terminal.

When the Department of City Planning first released their plans to rezone a large portion of East Midtown Manhattan in 2012, MAS worked with area stakeholders and a variety of planning experts to help ensure the future vitality of this important neighborhood. Much of this effort culminated in a report, East Midtown: A Bold Vision for the Future, which laid out recommendations for an improved planning framework for the City.

In 2013, the Historic Districts Council, the New York Landmarks Conservancy, and MAS identified 16 buildings worthy of landmark designation and presented this list to the Landmarks Preservation Commission (LPC). In response, the LPC has calendared 12 buildings, and has held hearings for five items today:

  • Pershing Square Building*
  • Graybar Building
  • Shelton Hotel*
  • Beverly Hotel
  • Hotel Lexington*

We are grateful to the LPC for taking action on this selection of important historic resources. However, several of the buildings that we recommended for designation, and were identified as eligible by LPC, remain unprotected. In addition, many were identified as projected or potential development sites in the Final Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for the East Midtown Rezoning (denoted by an asterisk), virtually guaranteeing that these remarkable buildings would be demolished. LPC should immediately calendar the remaining six buildings it considered eligible for designation:

  • Chemist Club
  • Lincoln Building
  • Roosevelt Hotel*
  • Postum Building*
  • Union Carbide
  • Girl Scout Building*

We would also urge that LPC reconsider the remaining two buildings on the joint list:

  • Vanderbilt Avenue Building*
  • Barclay Hotel*

In sum, we strenuously ask the LPC to broaden their efforts to preserve the architectural legacy of East Midtown as embodied by these eight historic sites.

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