Preserving New York
Winning the Right to Protect a City’s Landmarks
By Anthony Wood
Routledge – 2008 – 444 pages
Routledge – 2008 – 444 pages
Preserving New York is the largely unknown inspiring story of the origins of New York City’s nationally acclaimed landmarks law. The decades of struggle behind the law, its intellectual origins, the men and women who fought for it, the forces that shaped it, and the buildings lost and saved on the way to its ultimate passage, span from 1913 to 1965. Intended for the interested public as well as students of New York City history, architecture, and preservation itself, over 100 illustrations help reveal a history richer and more complex than the accepted myth that the landmarks law sprang from the wreckage of the great Pennsylvania Station. Images include those by noted historic photographers as well as those from newspaper accounts of the time. Forgotten civic leaders such as Albert S. Bard and lost buildings including the Brokaw Mansions, are unveiled in an extensively researched narrative bringing this essential episode in New York’s history to future generations tasked with protecting the city’s landmarks. For the first time, the story of how New York won the right to protect its treasured buildings, neighborhoods and special places is brought together to enjoy, inform, and inspire all who love New York.
"Preserving New York is a valuable, deeply researched account of a little-knowm aspect of the city's past…And the photographs are wonderful…" -- Francis Morrone, The Wall Street Journal, January 2008
"Preserving New York…makes an important contribution to our overall understanding of preservation history in New York City by focusing on one compelling story - the previously untold saga of the people and places, the buildings and battles, and the politics and policies that led to the passage of New York City's landmarks law in 1965." -- Preservation Advocate, newsletter of the Preservation League of New York, Issue 121
"Knowing the early history of the movement, which is detailed admirably in Anthony C. Wood’s recent book Preserving New York: Winning a Right to Protect a City’s Landmarks is key to understanding the persistence and fervor with which New York’s preservationists follow the actions of this small city agency [Landmarks Preservation Commission.]" -- The New York Times, March 2009
"Anthony Wood’s Preserving New York helps us realize again that preservation is about passionate people, not about laws—itshould be required reading for all of us who care about preserving our history." -- Buildings & Landscapes 16, no. 2 , Fall 2009
l. The Myth of Pennsylvania Station 2. Albert Bard and the City Beautiful 3. The Bridge, the Castle and Moses 4. Postwar as Prelude 5. The Civics Engage 6. The Bard Act 7. The Village People 8. The View from the Heights 9. Heard. Deferred. Referred 10. A Series of Near Misses 11. The Commission and the Station 12.Crisis and Sacrifice. Epilogue
Anthony C. Wood is a preservationist, historian, teacher and grant maker. Currently the Executive Director of the Ittleson Foundation, he has worked for the J.M. Kaplan Fund and the Municipal Art Society. He is an Adjunct Assistant Professor of Historic Preservation at Columbia University and is the founder and Chair of the New York Preservation Archive Project.