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Preservation and Progress
Preservation and Progress
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Measuring Up:
A new approach to government accountability -- officially called "performance assessment" but more colloquially, compstatmania -- compiles, analyzes and interprets statistics in order to spot trends, gaps and overlaps in city services. It's not magic -- it's hard work, and requires lots of attention to detail and follow-up. On this page, Gotham Gazette looks at this approach to improving city services.

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Forty years ago, New York reacted to the loss of old Pennsylvania Station by passing a law to protect city landmarks. This series, in partnership with Open House New York, looks at the physical city since the birth of the preservation movement.

The NYC Preservation Game (10/03/2005) Church or skyscraper? Summer cottage or million dollar home? "Masterwork" or "world's greatest urinal?" In this interactive game about the city's historic landmarks, you decide.

Governors Island (09/26/2005) Will Governors Island become the new UN? A CUNY campus? Site of the Olympics? Or will it remain just another illustration of the difficulties of getting anything built in New York?

42nd Street (08/29/2005) Ten years after the old 42nd Street -- sleazy and scary -- started being transformed into "The New 42nd Street" -- cleaned-up, crime-free, and corporate -- all the critical questions of urban planning facing the city seem to be playing out on one famous block.

An Elegant Old Hotel Gives New Lives to the Homeless (9/12/05) For decades the Prince George Hotel, with its burnished wood, lavishly detailed ceilings and classical columns welcomed visitors to Edith Wharton's New York. But then the hotel declined, becoming one of New York's notorious welfare hotels in the 1980s, when it housed about 1,600 people. The city closed it in 1989.

Cemeteries (8/22/05) Conditions for the dead in New York are even more crowded than those for the living, and cemeteries face some of the same issues as NYC's other historic treasures.

St. Stephen's Church -- Will It Ever Be A Landmark? (8/22/05) Constantino Brumidi is being celebrated on his bicentennial for his paintings in the U.S. Capitol. But his work in Manhattan's St. Stephen's Church is often overlooked. Gary Papush looks at the 40-year effort to landmark St. Stephen's and the role of community boards in preservation.

One Family Restores A Non-Landmark Theater (8/15/05) The St. George Theater was vacant and crumbling until one family stepped in to rescue it.

The 2005 Mayoral Candidates On Preservation (8/01/05):
Ferrer | Fields | Miller | Weiner

Restoration on Eldridge Street (6/20/05) How was a historic synagogue saved despite prohibitions against government funding to preserve houses of worship?

Preserving Social History on Roosevelt Island (5/23/05) Although many buildings were destroyed, Roosevelt Island still boasts landmarks offering insight into New York's social and architectural history.

New York's Proposed Stadiums and Arenas (5/02/05) How do New York City's proposed sports stadiums and arenas - the West Side Stadium, new Yankee Stadium, and Brooklyn Nets Arena - compare with similar venues across the country?

Still Unpreserved (4/18/2005) On the 40th anniversary of the city's landmarks law, some preservationists argue that much more must be done to save historic places. A slideshow of ten threatened New York City sites.

2 Columbus Circle And The Need To Preserve Preservation by Kate Wood (11/25/04) The failure of the Landmark Preservation Commission to hold a public hearing about 2 Columbus Circle is, argues preservationist Kate Wood, a clear sign of an agency in serious need of reform.

When a recent effort to declare the Cathedral of St. John the Divine an official landmark fell apart, it was just the latest conflict between religious institutions and advocates for historic preservation. Many believe it is a choice between fixing the roof or feeding the poor.
four NYC congregations weigh their options:

Sherith Israel: Preserving The Past Or Shaping The Future?
(Central Park West, Dist. 6)
Bowne Street Community Church: Adapting To The Times
(Flushing, Dist. 20)
West-Park Presbyterian: Neighbors Come To The Rescue
(Upper West Side, Dist. 6)
St. Thomas The Apostle: End Of An Era
(Harlem, Dist. 9)

December 11, 2003

Religion and Historic Preservation (12/15/03) When a recent effort to declare the Cathedral of St. John the Divine an official landmark fell apart, it was just the latest conflict between religious institutions and advocates for historic preservation. Many believe it is a choice between fixing the roof or feeding the poor. Also, from the Community Gazettes, four NYC congregations weigh their options.

The Landmark Loophole: How Protected Structures Can Still Face Demolition (March 2001)

Will Urban Renewal Thinking Prevail in Rebuilding Lower Manhattan? by Roger P. Lang

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Gotham Gazette is published by Citizens Union Foundation and is made possible by support from the Robert Sterling Clark Foundation, the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, the Altman Foundation,the Fund for the City of New York and donors to Citizens Union Foundation. Please consider supporting Citizens Union Foundation's public education programs. Critical early support to Gotham Gazette was provided by the Charles H. Revson Foundation, Rockefeller Brothers Fund and the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation.

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