Best of 2007: 980 Madison Avenue Tower Quashed
2007 was a year of collaboration. Rather than being limited to issues rooted in their surrounding blocks, New Yorkers concerned with preservation and land-use issues throughout the city banded together to support causes throughout the boroughs. These collaborations generated a collective voice loud enough to effectively advocate against various proposals. One such example was the application to erect two glass towers atop the Parke-Bernet Building at 980 Madison Avenue. 9 out of 10 Landmarks Commissioners stated that they felt, regardless of the merits of the design, it was simply proposed for the wrong place. There has been extensive press coverage of the decision and see here for a full report. We are incredibly appreciative for all the support from the 84 groups who signed on in opposition to this project, and for the Landmarks Commissioners for their articulate and thoughtful consideration of this project which led them to the right decision. The only cloud on the horizon is that the agency didn’t reject the proposal outright, and it might come back in an altered form, but given the strong words of the Commissioners and the intense public interest, we are hopeful that any new application will have to start the process afresh.
For the record, here are the groups that stood in opposition: thank you all!
10th & Stuyvesant Streets Block Association, Bay Improvement Group, Bayside Civic Database, Boerum Hill Association, Brooklyn Borough Historian’s Office, Brooklyn Bridge Park Conservancy, Brooklyn Heights Association, Brownstone Revival Coalition, Building Conservation International, Cambridge Place Action Coalition, Carnegie Hill Neighbors, Center Development Corporation, Center for Thanatology, Central Park West Preservation Committee, Civitas, Committee To Save The Trylon Theater, Concerned Citizens of Greenwood Heights, Council of Chelsea Block Associations, Crown Heights North Association, Defenders of the Historic Upper East Side, Ditmas Park Association, Drive to Protect the Ladies’ Mile District, DUMBO Neighborhood Association, East 78th Street Block Association Park/ Lex., East 85th/86th Lex-Park-Mad Block Association, East 86th Street Merchants/Residents Association, East Midtown Coalition for Sensible Development, East Village Community Coalition, Fort Greene Association, Four Borough Neighborhood Preservation Alliance, Friends of First Avenue Estate, Friends of Historic New Utrecht, Friends of Terra Cotta, Friends of the Upper East Side Historic Districts, Fulton Ferry Landing Association, Gramercy Neighborhood Associates, Greater Astoria Historical Society, Greenwich Village Community Task Force, Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation, Historic Districts Council, Historic Neighborhood Enhancement Alliance, Institute of Classical Architecture & Classical America, Jackson Heights Beautification Group, Jackson Heights Garden City Society, Landmark West!, Manhattan Community Board 8, Manhattan East Community Association, Metropolitan Historic Structures Association, Modern Architecture Working Group, Municipal Art Society, Murray Hill Neighborhood Association, National Trust for Historic Preservation, New York Landmarks Conservancy, New York Marble Cemetery, New York Preservation Alliance, New Yorkers for Responsible Development, NoHo Neighborhood Association, North Shore Waterfront Greenbelt, Parkway Village Historical Society, Preservation League of Staten Island, Preserve and Protect, Queensborough Preservation League, Rego-Forest Preservation Council, Richmond Hill Historical Society, Riverdale Historic District, Roosevelt Island Historical Society, Senator Street Historic District, Serpentine Art and Nature Commons, Society for Clinton Hill, Society for the Architecture of the City, SoHo Alliance, Sunnyside Foundation for Community Planning and Preservation, Tribeca Community Association, Turtle Bay Association, Union Square Community Coalition, Vinegar Hill Neighborhood Association, West 122nd St. Block Association, West 54 – 55 Street Block Association, West Brighton Restoration Society, West Cunningham Park Civic Association, Westerleigh Improvement Association, Wyckoff House & Association, Yorkville Historic Society.
Without support from community groups beyond the neighborhood immediately affected in this instance, such an advocacy effort could not have been as effective. The continued collaboration of preservation-minded individuals and organizations is essential to the fight to preserve the integrity of our city’s historic character. To formalize the establishment of such a citywide network, in November HDC launched its new Neighborhood Partners Program. This free program aims to positively influence and shape the future both of our neighborhoods and of the entire city by creating a unified voice for preservation and land use issues. (For more information, please contact Lauren Belfer, HDC’s Community Coordinator, at email@example.com or 212.614.9107, extension 14.)