Strand’s lawyer, Alexander Urbelis, went into detail about how we tried to work with and warn Landmarks about the consequences of their actions at our press conference on June 11, 2019.
All of our efforts made no difference.
Alexander Urbelis said, “We asked Landmarks time and again to take a broader view of what constitutes preservation, when that process could destroy a cultural institution like the Strand.”
We asked Landmarks to reschedule its first hearing because it fell on the Strand’s busiest and most important time of the year – the holiday season.
Landmarks denied this.
We told Landmarks that the Strand is a fragile 92-year-old book store that simply cannot sustain the added costs landmark designation.
Landmarks ignored us.
We told Landmarks that their plan to designate this building put in jeopardy 238 full-time union jobs.
Landmarks didn’t care.
We told Landmarks that the Strand is more than a book store to the residents of this city, and that now, more than ever, institutions like the Strand need to be protected.
Landmarks dismissed this.
We reminded Landmarks of what Charles Scribner III said 30 years ago, when his landmarked book store was closing: “The whole landmarks situation is a mess . . . there has to be some relief to the people willing to operate independent book stores today.”
Landmarks didn’t learn from this.
We offered testimony from notable authors, like Fran Leibowitz, Gary Shytengart, Hank O’Neil, and others, all of whom opposed this landmark designation because it could destroy the Strand.
Landmarks snubbed them.
We gave Landmarks the results of a CBS news poll that showed that 83% of New Yorkers opposed plans to landmark the Strand.
Landmarks refused to acknowledge this.
We came to Landmarks with a win-win solution: a preservation easement that would have given greater protection to the façade of this building than landmarking would have done.
Landmarks rejected this.
We tried to work with Landmarks to adopt a Master Plan that would address the Strand’s concerns as well as protect the Strand’s building itself; we asked for a postponement of the hearing so we could continue to work on this Plan and have it submitted prior to the hearing.
Landmarks refused to delay this morning’s vote.
By fighting Landmarks’ actions in the public and being fully transparent about our efforts, we hope that this will inspire you to share your own thoughts and experiences dealing with the Landmarks bureaucracy in NYC.
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