info 07.27.15

Another NY Institution Goes Haywire

New York institution creates plan—a harebrained fix for the unbroken.

A public outcry follows.

New York institution withdraws plan.

It's getting a little tiresome, guys. We know space is in short supply. That's a definition of New York. Every museum, library and university wants more elbow room. But when you get more room for your elbows (or books or artwork or offices), we New Yorkers inevitably lose something. Sometimes the trade-off is worth it, but lately, not so much.

The NYPL's Central Library Plan would have done irreparable damage to the intellectual bedrock of New York City, offshoring three million items to storage in Princeton, New Jersey.

The Frick was ready to lose the Russell Page garden for a six-story addition. Teachable moment! Ye stewards of beloved NY institutions: we no longer live in a top-down world. You need transparency and broad-based buy-in. Get used to it. And stop breaking things.

The latest institution to have gone haywire is the Museum of Natural History. Apparently the irony of cutting a chunk out of Theodore Roosevelt Park for more bricks and mortar (even if for a science center) was lost on the leaders of the museum.

The park is already circumscribed. The grass is off-limits. A central gathering spot was ruined in 2004 by the Sivert Lindblom obelisk, dedicated to Nobel Prize winners, that lacks even the tiniest vestige of grace. And now they would like to lop off a lovely area of the park for a six-story, 218,000-square-foot expansion, removing the flower beds and nine mature trees and benches of a restful refuge. Don't let them do it.

Sign the petition
Save Teddy Roosevelt Park
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