Wednesday, January 25, 2012

It's still your city... right? #occupyDOB #occupyLandmarks

Image by Stephan Von Muehlen
According to an article published yesterday, Landmarks Preservation Commission spokeswoman Lisi de Bourbon told the Village Voice the commission considers the fencing surrounding Chase Manhattan Plaza removable, and therefore outside the commission's purview.

But that doesn't seem right at all. 

Here's the law: "If an owner wishes to perform any work on a designated landmark or on a property in a designated historic district, he or she must obtain a permit from the Landmarks Preservation Commission approving such work before carrying it out." The Commission will only issue a permit if it deems that the proposed work has no effect, is appropriate or is minor.

Permit applications for TEMPORARY changes -- defined as one (1) calendar year or less -- must be filed and include a plan and time schedule for the dismantling of the installation and Installation details indicating that there will be no damage to protected architectural features. There has been no application filed for the fences.

The phone number for Landmarks is 212-669-7951.

Today is a great day to give Landmarks a ring to talk about whether a fence that has been up for 4 months and seems to be staying up indefinitely is within the Commission's purview.
We'd love to hear how your conversation goes -- email with a report.

Here are some things you might say:
1. You might want to ask to see a copy of the permit for the fence work, even if it is temporary, being sure to ask for a the plan and time schedule for dismantling the fences and details indicating that the fences will not damage protected architectural features.

2. You might want to use the language below which come directly from the Chase Manhattan Plaza Landmarks Designation Report, and also contain photographs of the places we can't access now.

"Not only did it stand out sharply from its older masonry neighbors, but the planning of the site, incorporating an irregularly shaped 2½ acre plaza, established a welcome break from the narrow, twisting streets that characterize much of
the neighborhood."

"The plaza was intended to be one of the project’s most dramatic and distinctive features. It isolates the tower from its older masonry neighbors and the empty space functions as an elegantly minimal forecourt or, as Architectural Forum described it, a 'front yard.'"

"As originally built, the raised plaza was reached from three marble staircases, each with a different design. The widest and most elaborate stairs is located to the south and adjoins Pine Street. Due to the sloping site, it was designed with a second set of deep cantilevered risers to the east. The west stairs is located near the intersection of Nassau Street and Cedar Street and consists of two elements: a staircase that narrows slightly as it descends to the concourse level and behind it, a wider staircase, which rises onto the plaza. The east stairs descend to where William Street meets Cedar."

"The south plaza’s most conspicuous feature is Isamu Noguchi’s “Sunken Garden"... this unique sculptural work was commissioned for public view. This type of patronage was not uncommon in the late 1950s when large, often colorful, pieces of abstract art were frequently introduced into office building lobbies, bank interiors, restaurants and airline terminals."

"The plaza’s “Sunken Garden” is sited in a circular well between the south stairs and a raised cantilevered marble planting bed that is original and adjoins the east facade of 20 Pine Street. The 60-foot diameter garden is well preserved; it was designed to be viewed from the plaza..."

"On the basis of a careful consideration of the history, the architecture and other features of this building, the Landmarks Preservation Commission finds that One Chase Manhattan Plaza has a special character, special historical and aesthetic interest and value as part of the development, heritage, and cultural characteristics of New York City."

#occupyDOB #occupyLandmarks

UPDATE 01.27.12:
"...Richie Nagan, the Building Department expediter who first complained about the barriers at Zuccotti Park and alerted the National Lawyers Guild to the violations, disagrees.
"Actually a permit is issued by Landmarks" for a case like this, Nagan says, citing page 28 of the Guidelines and Materials Checklists for Performing Work on Landmarked Buildings, which says even "temporary installations" require a plan filed with the Commission and assurances that the installation will be removed on time.
De Bourbon disgrees, claiming that regulation only governs signs."
Chase Manhattan Plaza Still Fenced Off, Activists Call on Landmarks Commission To Act
Nick Pinto, The Village Voice 01.27.12

1 comment:

  1. So far as I know there is still at least part of the Constitution in effect and a loss of our first amendment right to protest would in my mind herald the end of democracy. We cannot allow that to happen