Demanding City Protect the Merchant’s House Museum

Merchant’s House Museum (m.) with planned development site on the left. James Barron/New York Times

Village Preservation has many concerns about a planned development recently approved by the Landmarks Preservation Commission next door to the Merchant’s House Museum at 27 East 4th Street — a development we have long opposed. While we appreciate that the Landmarks Preservation Commission (LPC) put in place a much stricter set of requirements than usual to guard against damage to the museum from construction next door, the agreement arrived at by the LPC still leaves many unanswered questions, and all the requirements in the world won’t mean anything unless they are appropriately monitored and enforced — something City agencies have consistently failed to do with multiple other construction projects in our neighborhoods.

Village Preservation has expressed these strong concerns to City agencies, and the urgent need for them to answer questions and ensure proper oversight and enforcement to protect the Merchant’s House Museum — read our letter here. We will continue to closely monitor the situation, and to work closely with our friends at the beloved Merchant’s House Museum — a public institution on City-owned land that is an irreplaceable cultural asset and a national treasure benefiting thousands of New Yorkers with its educational programs each year. Any work that would force the museum’s closure or damage it in any way would hurt the public first and foremost, and undermine the investment of millions of public dollars in this historic educational institution over the years.

March 15, 2024