E-BULLETIN OF THE HISTORIC DISTRICTS COUNCIL
July 2013, Volume 10, Number 1
UPDATE ON PROTEST OVER LIBRARY SELL-OFFS AND CLOSINGS
The Central Library Plan has had preservationist and scholars outraged for several months now but the reality of the situation is finally coming to light and New Yorkers are not happy. The reality is the Mid-Manhattan Library and SIBL (The Science, Industry and Business Library) are not the only libraries on the chopping block to fund to the CLP. Branch libraries in other boroughs are set to be sold as well. NY State Assembly’s Committee on Libraries and Education Technology held a hearing to discuss the CLP and present the plan, and since the hearing the media has been a flourish reporting on the status of NYC libraries. Two lawsuits have recently been filed against the plan; one which requested all work be stopped until all proper permits were filed; the second claiming that removal of the stacks is a violation of a 1978 agreement between the NYPL and the State of New York. Attached is a PDF press release of the latter suit.
Below are excerpt and links to just a few of these articles, and press releases:
“Although both cases feature claims against the Trustees, the similarities between the two lawsuits ends there. The first claim in the Coalition’s lawsuit to be filed tomorrow is that a 1978 Agreement between the Library, City and State of New York bars any structural alteration of the Central Branch of the Library absent prior consent from the State. Under another provision of the 1978 Agreement, the NYPL and the City also each separately promised “to protect and preserve the historical integrity of features, materials, appearance, workmanship and environment” of the Central Library” — a promise that “they would break if the stacks were to be removed,” according to Michael Hiller of Weiss & Hiller, the firm representing the Coalition.”
-Excerpt from the Press Release from WEISS & HILLER, PC Attorneys at Law; filed by Citizens Defending Libraries
By David Levering Lewis, Posted: July 2, 2013
“Change is always necessary,” the distressed appellants conceded, “but not of the kind envisioned by the CLP.” They insisted that “the money raised can be better used to preserve and extend what already exists at 42nd Street.”
NY Daily News:$300M job is halted at main branch of New York Public Library
New York Post: ‘NY Public Library’s risky scheme’: Real-estate fiction; NY Public Library’s risky scheme
The New York Public Library has voluntarily halted construction on its iconic main branch “until all approvals” are in hand, a library official said Monday. The statements came after scholars and preservationists sued to block the plan because it requires the demolition of stacks under the landmark building’s Rose Reading Room and it would move more than 1 million books to New Jersey.”
By: Susan Bernofsky, Posted: 07/02/2013
“The day began with opening statements from each of the Assembly members on the Committee (all spoke strongly in support of saving our public libraries from being sold off), followed by presentations by the presidents/CEOs of the New York Public Library and Brooklyn Public Libraries, Anthony Marx and Linda Johnson. As a Manhattan resident, I hadn’t been aware that the Brooklyn libraries are in just as much danger as their Manhattan counterparts, so I was surprised to hear Johnson arguing in support of closing and selling off two branches: the Brooklyn Heights and Pacific branches. …
I was very pleased to see the Assemblymembers present take both CEOs quite aggressively to task. Assemblyman Kellner remarked at the end of Marx’s testimony that it had left him “with more questions than answers,” and Assemblywoman Millman (who holds a degree in library science) pointed out that the selling off of public buildings is at best “a one-time fix for a recurring capital need”; a library that has been closed and sold off is gone forever, while the moneys from its sale may soon be exhausted.”
JOIN ACTIVISTS AND ELECTED OFFICIALS TO PROTEST THE LIBRARY SELL-OFFS
WHEN: Friday, July 12 at 10:30am
WHERE: Steps of 42nd Street Library
Join Public Advocate Bill de Blasio in a press conference on Friday morning at 10:30 AM on the steps of the Central Reference Library at 42nd St. where he will announce his opposition to the rushed and unexamined Central Library Plan and the sale of the Brooklyn Heights Library. He has also opposed the Pacific Branch library. Other elected officials have also been invited.
For more information, see “The Truth About the Central Library Plan”.
To join the Campaign to Preserve the Carnegie Libraries go to http://hdc.org/carnegie-libraries/campaign-to-preserve-the-carnegie-libraries-donate
To Watch the video or listen to audio of the hearing go to http://assembly.state.ny.us/av/
Please join HDC at 111 Centre Street (between White and Leonard Streets), Room 574 on Thursday, July 18, 2013 at 10:30 a.m to show support for the legal challenge to NYU 2031.
Justice Donna Mills will conduct oral argument. The lawyers for HDC and the other petitioner groups (including GVSHP and NYU Faculty Against the Sexton Plan) will argue in support of the Article 78 Action. Respondents will argue that the case should be dismissed in its entirety.
You must have photo ID, and leave time to go through security.
City Council hearing July 22nd at 11:00 am
Eighteen years after its first public hearing, the proposed district had a second hearing in August 2011 at which proud residents, elected officials, and preservation advocates packed the room with calls for landmarking. HDC has been happy to work with the dedicated members of the Bedford-Stuyvesant community, a 2011 Six to Celebrate neighborhood, including Brooklyn Community Board 3, the Bedford-Stuyvesant Society for Historic Preservation, as well as numerous block associations and individuals. We continue to support them as they strive towards designation of further areas of the neighborhood including Bedford. On April 16, 2013 the Landmarks Preservation Commission voted in favor of designating the Bedford Stuyvesant/ Stuyvesant Heights HD.
The district will now be heard at City Council on July 22nd at 11:00 am at the Council hearing room at 250 Broadway. Please join us to show your support of this worthy district.
To read the designation report click here
If you’re receiving this, then you know that HDC is working hard throughout the city to protect and preserve the neighborhoods which make New York great. Please consider contributing and becoming part of the movement to preserve our city’s irreplaceable architecture and history. There are a lot of buildings to cover, and we can only do it with a lot of people.
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