Yesterday’s New York Times ran an article by Robin Pogrebin, In Preservation Wars, A Focus on Midcentury. (Free registration required.) Here’s an excerpt:
Arguing that significant buildings are not getting their due, advocates of midcentury architecture are stepping up pressure on the city’s Landmarks Preservation Commission to hold full public hearings on proposals to raze two movie theaters on the Upper East Side of Manhattan.
Plans have been announced to convert Cinemas 1, 2 & 3, a 1962 International-style theater on Third Avenue across from Bloomingdale’s, into retail space. The Beekman, a 1952 late Streamline Moderne design at Second Avenue and 66th Street, is to be replaced by a breast and diagnostic imaging center run by Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center. The theater is scheduled to be closed down this summer.
On another front, a lawsuit was filed against the city last week in New York State Supreme Court seeking to prevent reconstruction of 2 Columbus Circle into the Museum of Arts and Design. The marble-clad building with a “lollipop”-motif facade by Edward Durell Stone once housed Huntington Hartford’s Gallery of Modern Art. The landmarks commission has never held a public hearing on the future of the building, on which demolition is expected to begin in late May.
These two different battlefronts represent a larger argument on the part of preservationists that the commission has generally neglected postwar architecture and been unresponsive to their concerns about Modernist sites.
Modernist preservation had been on the brain lately, here and elsewhere:
Beekman Theater to Close? (Wired New York)
Morris Minor (Miss Representation)
Cinemas Facing Eviction & Demolition (Friends of Upper East Side Historic Districts)
Legal Wrangling Over “Lollipop” (NY Daily News)
Goodbye, Quirky 2 Columbus Circle (Gothamist)