City Council Not in Favor of Landmarking 135 Bowery

Posted on: September 16th, 2011 at 9:35 am by

It’s not looking good for the 200-year-old federal building at 135 Bowery, which had already received landmark status back in June.  A Boogie correspondent attended the City Council Land Use Sub-Committee Hearing yesterday and filed the following notes.  By the end of this year, the neighborhood will likely have lost two important historical sites, 35 Cooper Square included.

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There were 5 items on the agenda. 135 Bowery was the last item, and it was taken separately with a short break beforehand.

The first 4 items sailed through with nice words from the council members who represented those districts. One vote on all 4 passed with just one angry guy, Halloran, voting no cuz he said he was mad at the LPC because they will not consider any buildings in his district.

The nice woman from the LPC spoke first to recap all that had been done to analyze 135, then I think Margaret Chin spoke next. She confirmed what the LPC woman said: that she had spoken in favor of landmarking the building at the LPC hearing, but now she had changed her mind, because the bank-owner is promising affordable space in the new building.

Then a lawyer, architect and bank rep’ spoke against the landmarking. They claimed it was too deteriorated, would cost too much, they had spent so much already to buy the building, and a bunch of other crap. A lot about the interior, but the landmarking has nothing to do with the inside.

The council members asked some questions that showed how little they know about landmarking, and then several of them left, excusing themselves for one reason or another, so that the “in favor” speakers were talking to just a couple of council members.

Then 2 dozen people spoke in favor of upholding the LPC’s designation. Several in the beginning from organizations, then individuals spoke. It was a really terrific turnout. But you could see that it was not going to do any good. They all follow the representing council member’s lead. It was really sad compared to how upbeat the first 4 items and their council members were.

After I spoke, I had to go back to my day-gig. So I don’t know what else happened, but by the time I got back to work, my radio was playing a news segment covering the event, complete with an audio clip of Chin’s remarks. Their angle was her reversal.

So that’s the upshot of it. Just seems like it all went according to a rigged system where public input is made to make us all feel better, but rarely is taken into account in any changes.

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