MANHATTAN — An estimated 75 people attended a meeting on June 19 hosted by the Historic Districts Council (HDC) to address recent attacks on the New York City Landmarks Law by a group called the Responsible Landmarks Coalition, organized by the Real Estate Board of New York (REBNY).
According to Simeon Bankoff, executive director, attendees discussed what appears to be an attempt at gutting the law, passed in 1965, by the City Council, which stated at the time it was “required in the interest of the health, prosperity, safety and welfare of the people.”
Almost a half a century later, preservation continues to serve New Yorkers by helping to create a vibrant, livable city, said Bankoff.
“The Landmarks Law outlines the many benefits of protecting historic buildings and neighborhoods, including stabilizing and improving property values, fostering civic pride, protecting and enhancing attractions, stimulating tourism and other businesses and overall, strengthening the economy of the city,” he said.
Among those present were representatives from two neighborhoods, including Bedford-Stuyvesant, whose success has been targeted as “over-reaching” by the new real estate group.
One representative of preservation efforts in that community reportedly said, “Historic designation efforts in Bedford-Stuyvesant have been driven by community residents. The designation of Alice and Agate Court, and the move to designate the other five proposed districts were initiated by residents who are overwhelmingly in support of landmarking.”
Bankoff said the HDC will continue “the constructive conversation.”