Battle for Bryant Park, 25 Years On
Battle for Bryant Park, 25 Years On:
A Discussion with Anthony Tung
Thursday, March 8, 2012
Co-sponsored with the Historic Districts Council
and the Neighborhood Preservation Center.
On January 8, 1987, The New York Times reported: "A four-year-old plan to build a restaurant behind the New York Public Library has been dealt a surprising setback, with the city's Landmarks Preservation Commission warning that it would consider 'absolutely untenable' any structure that would make it difficult to view the library's west facade."
The author of the motion was Commissioner Anthony Tung.
Five days later, on Sunday, in "A Landmark of Misfeasance" the Times editorial board called for the replacement of every member of the commission.
By Monday, Anthony Tung had been sacked. But it took 18 turbulent months for the mayor to finally unseat him.
Marking the 25-year anniversary of this battle, which energized the entire preservation community, Anthony Tung will join Anthony C. Wood and Jeffrey Kroessler to re-examine the controversy. The discussion will examine how this episode affected the independence of the Landmarks Preservation Commission and relations between the preservation community and the commission, as well as the episode's implications for the present.
Highlights from the Event:
Anthony Max Tung lectures internationally on historic preservation and has taught historic preservation at MIT and Columbia. He is the author of Preserving the World's Great Cities: The Destruction and Renewal of the Historic Metropolis.
Anthony C. Wood is the founder and chair of the New York Preservation Archive Project, Chair Emeritus of the Historic Districts Council, member of the Citizens Emergency Committee to Preserve Preservation, and advisor to preservationists across the city and state. He is the author of Preserving New York: Winning the Right to Protect a City's Landmarks.
Jeffrey A. Kroessler is a longtime board member of the Historic Districts Council and member of the Citizens Emergency Committee to Preserve Preservation. He is the author of New York, Year by Year and The Greater New York Sports Chronology. He is an associate professor in the library at John Jay College of Criminal Justice.
Above image: The New York Public Library and Bryant Park, ca. 1910-20; Library of Congress, Prints & Photographs Division, Detroit Publishing Company Collection, [LC-D4-73002]