LES Awarded UNESCO World Heritage Site Status
The Lower East Side joins the Taj Mahal, Great Pyramid, and Stonehenge by being awarded UNESCO World Heritage site status.
This is the Press Release we received this morning….
UNESCO today added the Lower East Side to its list of global sites of historic significance. We issue these awards to both recognize and protect historic locations around the world, and the Lower East Side is of unique site of global significance.
While much of the original culture has been lost, there are still reminders of the former immigrant and heroin addicted communities that can be seen in the local architecture and environment.
UNESCO lists several unique elements of the Lower East Side, which it recommends be saved for future generations:
Vicki Rovere’s Free Store, Ludlow Street.
El Castillo de Jagua, Rivington Street
The Pickle Guys
Russ & Daughters
All $1 a slice pizza parlors
Pianos Bar (as a prime example of “Hell Square” problems)
Of particular note are the local business improvement district and Community Board 3, which should be documented and their meetings filmed for future generations to marvel at their curious administrative decision making regarding the local area.
We also recommend acquiring the original leases and bills of sale for all local buildings and their tenants as we feel the mystery of current landlord ownership/rental agreements is a research area akin to the deciphering of the Dead Sea Scrolls.
Visually the Lower East Side is changing rapidly and we call on the local community to refuse to allow any new murals to be added by “street artists” who fly in from around the world to show off their photo realist, but locally irrelevant, painting skills. In terms of architecture, glass fronted buildings should be banned as they do not sit well with the traditional vernacular. The recent plans unveiled for the former Sunshine Cinema site are a prime example of this disturbing trend.
Finally, UNESCO appeals to the local council to provide advice, enforce laws, and punish landlords and developers who disregard the rights of local tenants, especially those who have resided in the area for more than 20 years. These are the people who make the Lower East Side a place worthy of UNESCO status.