Trying to Save Part of Edward Hopper’s New YorkWhen much of Greenwich Village was landmarked in 1969, the low-rise sprawl of humble Italian-immigrant groceries and tenements southeast of the neighborhood, along Sullivan and Thompson streets and even Seventh Avenue South, didn’t make it inside the designated historic safety zone. The area, while not full of great monuments, has its own quiet claims on history. The artist Edward Hopper lived there most of his life, and his paintings like Early Sunday Morning were set there. On December 10, the Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation and the local community board convened more than 100 people inside Our Lady of Pompeii Church to figure out how to get the city to landmark the area to keep its Hopperness intact. GVSHP’s Andrew Berman points out that it’s filled with gems like Macdougal Street’s Provincetown Playhouse, which launched Eugene O’Neill, and a nearby rowhouse where Louisa May Alcott may have worked on Little Women. Parts of the façade are all that remains of Edgar Allan Poe’s house on West 3rd, which NYU subsumed into a big new building, raising alarms.
the morning line
Steamrolling in Our Time
• Ladies and gentlemen, your new catchphrase for the day: “I am a fucking steamroller.” If we are to believe the Post exclusive, this gem was uttered by none other than Governor Spitzer — in response to a GOP assemblyman who complained about being shut out of the legislative process. [NYP]
• Albany Democrats, who apparently didn’t get the above memo, are, in the delicate Times phrasing, “leaning toward reneging” on their deal with Spitzer that lets him hand-pick the Hevesi replacement. [NYT]
• The White House has approved $25 million in aid to combat lung diseases and others in 9/11 first responders. And to think all it took was five and a half years, and the Dems pretty much parading a dead cop around the State of the Union address. [NYDN]
• Guess who’s about to sign a lease for $50,000 square feet at Lincoln Center vacated by the dear old Tower Records? T. J. Maxx, that’s who. And so, suburbia encroaches one step closer. [Crain’s]
• And the Landmarks Preservation Commission has bestowed its blessing on three heretofore unprotected sites, thus saving them from, you guessed it, a fucking steamroller: two Harlem churches — one built by the architect of St. Patrick’s — and the awesomely named Horn & Hardart Automat-Cafeteria Building. (Now, sadly, a drugstore). [amNY]
Tom Wolfe Wants a Bonfire at the Whitney
Tom Wolfe called the Landmarks Preservation Commission “de facto defunct” in a Times op-ed on Sunday, its members pawns of developer Aby Rosen and his evil plans to build a 30-story glass condo in the Upper East Side Historic District. Then today came news that the Whitney Museum, located in the same historic district and after decades of fighting to build an addition, would give up on its Madison Avenue expansion plan and instead build a “satellite” branch along the High Line in the meatpacking district. So does Wolfe think that this move, finally, is the right stuff? We called to find out.
So, Tom, happy that the expansion has been stopped?
Everything possible should be done to keep the Whitney from expanding. I mean, we really don’t need any more of that, unless they improve in taste. Mainly, they should just get rid of the building. Almost anything they could put in its place, as long as it’s no higher than that, would be real plus for the city.