Red Ink and Rewrites Too

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Landmark the Lower East Side

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Sep 16, 2008
Honorable Robert B. Tierney
1 Centre Street, 9th Floor
New York, NY 10007

Dear Honorable Tierney,

I am writing to urge the Landmarks Preservation Commission to evaluate and designate the proposed Lower East Side Landmark District without delay.

The Lower East Side of Manhattan is an irreplaceable, essential part of the history of New York and of the country.  Intense development pressure in the neighborhood is eroding the fabric of the community and wiping away the collective memory of generations of immigrant families. The new hotels and condominium towers that are being erected across the area are destroying the signature tenement streetscapes.

While the Lower East Side was listed on the National and State Registers of Historic Places in 2000, as you know, only designation as a New York City Landmark District will effectively protect the area’s streetscapes from the advancing pattern of destruction.  The proposed district is limited to encompass only the most significant, intact section of the neighborhood.

The New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission has been responsible for saving some of the most important elements of America’s story.  Today, it is more vital than ever that we protect the places that convey history’s real complexity, including ethnic diversity, hope and suffering, beauty and humbleness.  This is the rare value that is being lost with each demolition and inappropriate new project in the Lower East Side.

As an archaeology/cultural resources tech I have personally researched and watched as some buildings have been torn down without at least recording them properly. For example, Germania Hall, on Bowery near Houston, listed in the “big book” history of Gotham as a “bowling alley” was where Kate Mullaney sitting next to Susan B. Anthony, was the first woman elected to management of a labor union. It was also part of the original “National Guard” that protected the capital in NYC and then in the Civil War, in Washington, D.C., mustered out on Big Brother Island in the Bronx, and were part of the “Draft Riots”. This is a shame, a building in photograph and painting that at least should have had an “as-built” drawn of it before demolishing. How many other “unknown” stories are there to other buildings architects determine are “not significant” or “not unique” that at least should have been investigated further. I have read of many and cringe at the loss. At least a nice sign or something! My archeology experience with the National Parks Service makes me want to pick up the phone and call them sometimes, as if it would matter. It might!

Please act quickly to protect the heart of the Lower East Side as a Landmark District.

Mr. George Myers

New National Trust For Historic Preservation Site


Written by georgejmyersjr

09/17/2008 at 3:08 am

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