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Landmark commission declares winners and losers in the preservation game

By
Howard Halle
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Landmarking is generally a good idea; without it, New York would be buried under super-tall towers for billionaires. But getting coveted landmark status isn’t easy, given the huge backlog of buildings and neighborhoods vying for the honor. It means the difference between the possibility of falling under the wrecking ball or remaining a fixture of the city’s landscape.

As reported by the New York Times, the Landmarks Preservation Commission just met to decide which sites made the landmarking list and which did not. Out of of 95 petitions (some of them pending for decades), only 30 made the cut. The winners include the neon Pepsi sign on the Queens waterfront and Bergdorf Goodman on Fifth Avenue. The losers include the Lexington Avenue home of President Chester A. Arthur and the Cunard Mansion on Staten Island. Another loser, though, is something of a surprise: Union Square. It turns out that the place is victim of its own successful renovations over the years, which, according to the commission, have wiped out its original character. Picky picky.

But that’s the name of the game. Owners of the properties that were rejected landmark status can now apply for demolition permits if they so chose. Given the astronomical price of land here, expect a stampede for the door.

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