Challenging the Landmarks Preservation Commission to Abide By Its ‘Equity Framework’

Earlier this year, the NYC Landmarks Preservation Commission announced a new “Equity Framework” for considering landmark designations, saying they would seek to represent the full spectrum of our city’s diverse communities and histories. For many years our work has focused on documenting, celebrating, and protecting underrepresented communities and histories, and especially sites connected to civil rights for African Americans, LGBTQ people, women, and immigrants. We have not infrequently been stymied in those efforts by the Commission. For example, the endangered area South of Union Square is particularly rich in African American, LGBTQ, women’s, and social justice history, and yet the Commission has refused to consider historic district designation for the area, allowing building after building to be demolished.

We are calling upon the Commission to be true to new stated policy, and have been campaigning to protect endangered and worthy sites in our neighborhood that fit the new “Equity Framework,” such as 50 West 13th Street (read about its rich African American and civil rights history here) and our most recent submission regarding 285 and 287 East 3rd Street, as well as various sites connected to women’s history South of Union Square.  

So far the Commission has not moved on any of these sites. We will continue to call upon them to protect worthy and significant historic sites in our neighborhood and throughout New York City, and to live up to their own stated “Equity Framework.”

You can read more about our efforts to celebrate, highlight, and protect diverse histories here.

April 16, 2021