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Leading the Commission

Geoffrey Platt

The first chair of the New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission speaks about the efforts to pass the New York City Landmarks Law and the early years of the Commission.

Interviewed by Anthony C. Wood
May 15, 1984
Above: Geoffrey Platt being sworn in by Mayor John Lindsay for re- appointment as chairman of the New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission; Courtesy of the Anthony C. Wood Archives

Geoffrey Platt was one of the forces behind the New York City Landmarks Law. He shares the stories of the early meetings with James Felt, who was instrumental in getting the law passed, the Committee for the Preservation of Structures of Historic and Esthetic Importance, and the early New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission. The law was passed after the demolition of the Brokaw Mansion spurred public interest in preservation. He details the compromises that were necessary to pass the bill through the New York City Council, particularly the moratorium on designations after the first year. He also speaks about the challenges of protecting deserving buildings, while also building credibility and legal precedence for the fledgling Landmarks Law and Landmarks Preservation Commission.

To request a copy of this oral history, please contact info@nypap.org.