A Quiet War on Landmarks, or Fixing the Problems with the Preservation Commission?

Is the city’s Landmarks Law broken?

To the uninitiated, that would have been the likely conclusion from a hearing held at the City Council today. Eleven different pieces of legislation addressing myriad issues at the commission were debated. Nearly half of the council’s 59 member made an appearance, grilling officials from the Landmarks Preservation Commission and the Department of Buildings over problems perceived, parochial and patrician at the city agencies.

The city is under assault from a nanny state stuck in the past seemed to be the clear message.

For the large crowd assembled in protest for what turned out to be a four hour meeting, the case was quite the opposite: It was the city’s daring Landmarks Preservation Commission, keeper of the soul of the city, that was under assault. Of the 54 people who signed up to give testimony before a joint session of two council committees all but one spoke out against the vast majority of the bills. Read More

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