From the recently demolished Pan Am Terminal at JFK to the current fight to save the storied Rizzoli Bookstore in Midtown, struggles for preservation continue to wage on in New York City. Often a fight for landmark status, these battles pit developers against historians and preservationists to save sights important to the city’s history.
After it was announced last week that Picasso’s tapestry, “Le Tricorne,” was going to be evicted from its home at the Four Seasons Restaurant, we decided to take a trip to see it. “Le Tricorne,” has resided at the Four Seasons Restaurant since 1959. The tapestry is owned by the New York Landmarks Conservancy and was not included as part of the interior landmark designation received by the restaurant.
After nearly 30 years at its current location, Rizzoli is threatened with eviction once again. The Rizzoli Publishing House, which was originally established in 1929 and is affiliated with Italy’s Corriere della Sera newspaper, came to New York City in 1964. Rizzoli’s first New York bookstore was located on Fifth Avenue adjacent to the building that now houses Henri Bendel and a tower that’s home to hedge funds and investment firms. At the time, Fifth Avenue was home to several important bookstores, including Scribner’s and Doubleday. (more…)
In our roundup of nautically-influenced architecture in New York City, the O’Toole Medical Services Building of St. Vincent’s Hospital in Greenwich Village was high on our list. Built originally for the National Maritime Union by architect Albert C. Ledner, it’s clad in white with portholes as windows. It closed in 2010, but The New York Times has reported that the building will be reused as a medical facility again by the North-Shore Long Island Jewish Health System, who will repurpose the space as an emergency room and care center.
Recently, Untapped Cities reader Rachel Potter submitted the following preservation query to our mailbag:
I have a question about landmark preservation rules – recently I saw the article about the ‘64 World’s Fair [in Flushing Meadows-Corona Park] and the decision whether to restore or demolish them. I also learned that JFK’s Pan Am Worldport is being torn down. I’m confused though, since both of these sites have historic landmark status, how is it possible to demolish them? Isn’t the point of landmark status to ensure their preservation in the midst of projected redevelopment?
For more than half its life, Lower Manhattan’s iconic Woolworth Building has been off-limits to all but the lucky few employed in its handful of professional office spaces. While the lobby has been technically closed to the public since World War II, the management doubled down on its policy after 9/11, erecting the infamous “TOURISTS ARE NOT PERMITTED” sign much bemoaned by local architecture buffs.
On Wednesday, January 22nd at 6:30pm, we’ll be offering readers the chance for intimate, hour-long tour led by Jason Crowley, a preservationist and architectural historian who is working to digitize and catalogue the extensive collection of Woolworth Building archives. You will not only get to see the famous lobby, but also the vault of the former bank and past entrances to subway lines in the basement of the building.
Jason will lead us across the street to City Hall Park where we’ll examine the highly ornamented exterior of what was once the tallest building in the world. After discussing the Woolworth’s crucial importance to the development of the skyscraper and the New York City skyline, Jason will take us into the lobby, where he’ll share commentary on the vaulted ceilings and sculptural details.
Following the tour, Untapped Cities history columnist Benjamin Waldman will lead guests to an optional cocktail hour at Fraunces Tavern. While you mingle with other members of the Untapped community, Ben will be on hand to discuss the evolution of New York City’s skyscrapers from Trinity Church to the World Trade Center, as well as the zoning changes they’ve necessitated.
Tour has limited capacity. Tickets available for tour only, tour and cocktail-hour Q&A, or cocktail-hour Q&A only.
See more of Untapped Cities’ upcoming events here.