A charmed city, slated for ruin
By Matthew Taub
For Brooklyn Daily Eagle
“Any City gets what it admires, will pay for, and ultimately, deserves… we will probably be judged not by the monuments we build but by those we have destroyed.”
The New York Times Editorial Board uttered those fateful words in 1963 upon the demolition of a grand, renowned Pennsylvania Station. The soulless underground network of dreary tubes and uninspiring mall-like plazas that took its place was met with near-universal derision, continuing to the present day.
Sadly, despite the preservationist movement burgeoning from that travesty, history seems fated to repeat itself, or even double down on prior poor decisions. In the coming months, The City of New York faces critical junctures on an astounding number of significant real estate projects. And it is in these crucial moments that not enough balance is being given to considerations other than fulfilling pre-ordained desires or the lustful pursuit of profit.
Most pressing is The New York Public Library on Fifth Avenue, scheduled for a “carry coals to Newcastle” renovation, with $350 million assigned to unnecessarily gut book stacks, making it harder to actually check out titles (they’ll soon be delivered from off-site locations), while the operating budget is slashed and services are cut back.