Recently, the Wall Street Journal declared Michael Bloomberg the “Mayor of Preservation,” because his administration has created and expanded 41 historic districts throughout the city, which is more than his predecessors. While critics argue that some of the Landmarks Preservation Commission’s decisions were based more on guiding development rather than preserving historic districts and properties, one can’t deny that New York City’s architectural vibrancy largely comes from embracing both historic and contemporary design. The Meatpacking district, for example, reuses many of its old structures in a new way, and has been transformed from vacant and crime ridden to a cultural center for art, fashion, and nightlife. It is a true testament to the success of historic preservation with an undeniable contemporary “cool” factor.
Preservation makes sense: it creates jobs, increases property values, invites tourism, encourages sustainability, and revitalizes cites. Preservation is an important economic driver in local communities. Whether you walk through a historic district—like the Upper West Side/Central Park West district (including the American Museum of Natural History), visit a single building like Eldridge Street Synagogue, or be “wowed” by the unique interiors at the Park Avenue Armory, you understand the power of preservation. And you understand the importance of retaining neighborhoods and properties that teach us about our history.
Great urban centers are created by a series of balancing acts, and historic preservation vs. contemporary design is just one consideration. At EverGreene, our offices overlook the renovation of the High Line, and the development at Hudson Yards. We see every day that historic and contemporary are complimentary. And we’re grateful that groups like the Landmarks Conservancy and the Historic Districts Council help to maintain that balance.
Click here to read WSJ’s full story.