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September 12, 2010

How did the Ward Bakery go unprotected? "The key is what the [Landmarks Preservation] commission avoids doing."

Atlantic Yards Report

There's an important clue regarding the fate of the Ward Bakery, now demolished, in The Battle for Gotham: New York in the Shadow of Robert Moses and Jane Jacobs, by Roberta Brandes Gratz.

Writes Gratz, a member of the Landmarks Preservation Commission:

The fundamental dilemma of the Landmarks Preservation Commission is the conflict between preservation and new development in a city where real estate ownership trumps all else in access to power and influence… But when a site does get put on the commission calendar to be considered… the public hearing process is quite admirable.. The measure of the commission is not just what gets designated a landmark or a landmark district. The key is what the commission avoids doing.

Indeed, the commission, which is controlled by the mayor, avoided considering the Ward Bakery in its map of the new Prospect Heights Historic District.

Today's panel

Gratz will be on a panel at 1 pm today at the Brooklyn Book Festival:

Change Is Gonna Come: The Fluid Life of New York City. In a city like New York, change is constant. Yet with that change comes numerous and oftentimes competing interests. Sharon Zukin (Naked City), Roberta Brandes Gratz (The Battle for Gotham), Jonathan Soffer (Ed Koch and the Rebuilding of New York City) and Martin Lemelman (Two Cents Plain) consider the perpetual ebb and flow of the Big Apple and how it affects us all.

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Posted by steve at September 12, 2010 10:57 AM