Thursday, May 22, 2008

"Just because a building is old does not mean that it is historically significant"

That's Mitchell L. Moss, professor of urban policy and planning at NYU's Wagner School of Public Service, in an op-ed in today's Post titled Death by 'Preservation.'

It's a reaction to the National Trust for Historic Preservation naming the LES in its 2008 list of America's 11 Most Endangered Historic Places.

An excerpt from Moss' op-ed:

New York City's Landmark Preservation Commission is focusing on the need to save important buildings in the area rather than to create a massive historic district that would limit new housing and development. Just because a building is old does not mean that it is historically significant. Landmark designation shouldn't be abused to achieve other political and social goals.

The Lower East Side is flourishing; the New Museum just opened on the Bowery and is the catalyst for the transformation of what was once the city's Skid Row. The Yiddish that once was spoken on Grand Street has been replaced by Cantonese and Mandarin.

If New York City is to accommodate the population growth projected over the next quarter century, neighborhood change is inevitable. This is not a city that stands still. It is always evolving.

We should be wary of strangers from Washington bringing their recipes for preservation; let New York be New York.