It's come to this: staff from the Landmarks Preservation Commission have told the Village Voice that the guarded fences at Chase Manhattan Plaza are not subject to the permitting process that other work on Landmarked properties is because the fences are not "affixed or attached." That seems a ridiculous technicality -- and one that Chase is taking advantage of! -- in light of the massive alteration of the architectural design that the unaffixed and unattached fences and the guards that accompany them have achieved.
But all work on Landmarks needs to be approved by the Commission to make sure that it is "appropriate and do[es] not detract from the special character of the city's landmarks and historic districts."
We need to engage the hierarchy and get the attention of the chief Landmark-Preserver. Today, let's occupy Landmarks Preservation Commissioner Robert B. Tierney's inbox. This direct action is easy, and doesn't even involve getting a stamp. Follow these steps:
1. Point your browser here: http://www.nyc.gov/html/mail/html/maillpc.html
2. From the first drop-down, select "Complaint"
3. Enter your email address.
4. Cut and paste the message below into the Message box:
Fences and guards have surrounded Chase Manhattan Plaza (CMP, 26 Nassau Street) for over four months now, inhibiting all public access. CMP is a designated Landmark. From the 2009 Designation Report: “The plaza was intended to be one of the project’s most dramatic and distinctive features. It …functions as an elegantly minimal forecourt or… a 'front yard…The south plaza’s most conspicuous feature is Isamu Noguchi’s “Sunken Garden"... this unique sculptural work was commissioned for public view… it was designed to be viewed from the plaza..." Landmarks staff have indicated Chase did not need to demonstrate that the fences would not interfere with the landmark through a permitting process because they are not "attached." Although they are held down with sandbags, not bolts, their effect is to inalienably alter the character of this Landmarked public plaza. Both the “front yard” and the historic sculpture have been inaccessible since September.
6. When you receive an acknowledgement of receipt in your inbox, forward it to us at email@example.com. We want to know just how occupied Mr. Tierney's inbox gets.