Friday, October 16, 2015

NYC Landmarks Law Celebrates Golden Anniversary

This year marks the 50th anniversary of the passage of the New York City Landmarks Law. With Bryant Park being designated as a "Scenic Landmark," and the New York Public Library designated as an "Individual Landmark," this is a meaningful anniversary at the park.

According to the NYCL50 website, The New York City Landmarks Commission is the mayoral agency created by the 1965 Landmarks Law to:
  • Safeguard the city's historic, aesthetic, and cultural heritage
  • Help stabilize and improve property values in historic districts
  • Encourage civic pride in the beauty and accomplishments of the past
  • Protect and enhance the city's attractions for tourists
  • Strengthen the city's economy
  • Inform the people of New York City about the value of landmarks for their education, pleasure, and welfare 
This photo was taken in 1965, the year the Landmarks Law was signed. You can 
see that the park looks much better today. Bryant Park is getting better with age! 
Photo by Arthur Merrill.
The impetus for the Landmarks Law was mounting losses of historically significant buildings in New York City, primarily the old Penn Station. The law has preserved much of New York's architectural history that otherwise would have been lost to the ages amid new development.

The interior of Penn Station was light and airy--a huge contrast to today's Penn Station.
Photo by Shorpy. 

The station's demolition was the impetus for the Landmarks Law.
Photo by Aaron Rose. 
Check out this neat interactive map to see if your favorite places in New York are landmarked. After seeing how many landmarked areas there are on the map, it's hard to imagine what today's New York would look like without historic preservation!

To celebrate this "landmark" anniversary (excuse the pun), a project called NYCL50 is hosting a series of special events related to historic preservation.

1 comment: