Thursday, May 2, 2013
Monday, April 1, 2013
We are currently in the process of writing up our proposal for the restoration of the hotel. We hope to come up with a plan that will restore the hotel but also set it up for great success in the 21st century. We will send the proposal to Vornado as soon as we can. We hope to work with Vornado to help make Hotel Pennsylvania one of the best hotels in Manhattan. More updates to come!
Wednesday, March 6, 2013
Now that the threat of demolition is finally over, we felt it was time to change our name to something more suitable for our current intended actions. We are now the "Hotel Pennsylvania Preservation Society". Our current goals are to persuade Vornado to RESTORE the hotel instead of just renovating it. Don't get us wrong, we're so grateful that Vornado even decided the hotel isn't being demolished, but our work will never be done until it is restored to it's original 1919 splendor. Until then, on behalf of all of us here, Welcome to the Hotel Pennsylvania Preservation Society!
Tuesday, March 5, 2013
In a shocking move this week Vornado has announced to give up its plans to tear down the historic Hotel Penn, and instead bring in new management to renovate the old girl!! A quote from CEO Steven Roth, "We're not going to tear down the hotel," Mr. Roth said. "In fact, we're going to invest in it aggressively and try to make it into a really profitable, really good hotel for our purposes."
All of us at the Foundation are thrilled with this news!!
Wednesday, February 27, 2013
The Wall Street Journal reported today that "Vornado Realty Trust (VNO) said President and Chief Executive Michael D. Fascitelli is stepping down, and Chairman Steven Roth will return to his former role as CEO.
The real estate investment trust said Mr. Fascitelli plans to take a break after which he will pursue new challenges.
Mr. Fascitelli--who will step down April 15--will continue to serve on Vornado's board. He joined Vornado 16 years ago as president and trustee and became CEO in May 2009.
Mr. Roth joined Vornado in April 1980 and has been board chairman since May 1989. He was Vornado's CEO from May 1989 through May 2009.
Separately, Vornado's 32.4% affiliate, Alexander's Inc. (ALX), said Mr. Fascitelli would resign as its president effective April 15 and that Mr. Roth continues to serve as its chairman and CEO. Vornado is the manager that conducts Alexander's operations.
Vornado owns and manages commercial properties around New York and the District of Columbia. The real-estate investment trust has been buying up more in its strongest markets, while shedding properties in its noncore markets.
Its latest announcement comes a day after Vornado reported its fourth-quarter earnings slipped 1.3% with a loss from its stake in J.C. Penney Co. (JCP), though core funds from operations and revenues improved.
Shares closed Tuesday at $83 and were inactive premarket. The stock has risen 11% in the past three months."
In the past Mr. Roth who has never been a fan of the hotel has referred to it as a "placeholder, like a parking lot"
What does this mean to the fate of our beloved Hotel?
Thursday, August 2, 2012
Fifty years ago today, John F. Kennedy was President, the Beatles had not released an album in the U.S., and in New York City, a group of architects, historians and planners gathered under the banner of the “Action Group for Better Architecture in New York” to protest the demolition of Pennsylvania Station. Built in 1910 by the firm of McKim, Mead and White, the classically-inspired train station was widely regarded to be “one of the largest and finest landmarks of its age, “consisting of "nine acres of travertine and granite, 84 Doric columns, a vaulted concourse of extravagant, weighty grandeur, classical splendor modeled after royal Roman baths, rich detail in solid stone, and an architectural quality in precious materials that set the stamp of excellence on a city” (“Farewell To Penn Station” NYT, 10/30/63). Unfortunately, its railroad owners allowed it to deteriorate and by the time its demolition was announced in 1961, the years of deferred maintenance had taken their toll, rendering the glorious public spaces somewhat shabby and dilapidated. AGBANY strove to prevent its destruction but the forces of politics and money doomed the 52-year-old building, despite even the damning words of The New York Times. As Jane Jacobs, present at the protest, later recalled, “There was no exhilaration to this kind of thing. It was more like a wake. The city was making everyone's life absurd with its goofy decisions.''
The myth goes that from the rubble of Pennsylvania Station, the Landmarks Preservation Commission sprang fully formed. The reality is more complicated – preservationists had been hard at work for years formulating strategies to defend and preserve New York City’s historic buildings from thoughtless destruction – but the myth serves its purpose. The demolition of Penn Station became a rallying cry and a graspable moment, one where the effects of slow-moving public policy became blindingly obvious. AGBANY gathered as a wake – but as a hopeful one, praying that Penn Station would be the last masterpiece to fall before the bulldozers of short-sightedness.
The half-century that followed has been good for the appreciation of urban history. Jane Jacobs’ vision of “small plans and big ideas” has found traction with new generations of planners who try to engage affected communities in planning projects. The adaptive reuse of buildings and neighborhoods have become, at least, accepted options to redevelopment plans. Dozens of cities across America have seen that preservation and urban husbandry can bring old growth neighborhoods back to life and breathe new economic, social and cultural vitality into abandoned city districts. In New York City, we have seen the designation of 108 historic districts and the triumph of preservation projects like the High Line and revitalization projects such as Prospect and Central Parks transform the City in exciting and successful ways. But the work of saving our city is far from over.
Neighborhoods throughout New York still suffer the blows of sledgehammers to their historic streets and ungainly towers still sprout like pernicious weeds in otherwise well-tended gardens. Worst of all, Jane Jacob’s words still apply – the city is making everyone’s life absurd with its goofy decisions. For every successful revitalization of a neighborhood, there are plans seeking approval to bury the area in mammoth towers. The historic Chelsea Market building, reinvented as a destination for food lovers and neighborhood shoppers, is being asked to shoulder the burden of over 100 feet of towers. New York University, previously a well-respected commuter school and now the largest private university in the country, has unfortunately developed a voracious appetite for development – development which threatens the scant open space of Greenwich Village. Facing the lower Manhattan waterfront, DUMBO has become a national model of how to redevelop a formerly industrial area by capitalizing on its architecture, but its character is threatened by an over-scaled slab which will block the Brooklyn Bridge. The naturally-developing regeneration of Prospect Heights has been body-shocked by the behemoth Atlantic Yards plan.
Fifty years ago, professionals in ties and white gloves took to the streets to call attention to “an act of civic vandalism”. They hoped for a time when such actions would not be necessary, when the appreciation of the ideals of our past would guide development and build a better future. Their actions helped move us closer to that worthy goal but we are not there yet. We must remember the lessons of Penn Station, all of them, and strive to not allow them to be repeated.
Thanks to the HDC for posting this to its members.
Thursday, June 21, 2012
Below is an excerpt from the Responsible Landmarks Coalition, the organization that wants to change the way our NYC buildings are designated and how the ones that are already Landmarked should be treated.
"New York City’s Landmark Law has enhanced New York City by preserving and protecting its most noteworthy historic buildings and neighborhoods over the last 47 years. However, there are many concerns about the manner in which the Law has been implemented, particularly in recent years as the number of properties under the Landmarks Preservation Commission’s jurisdiction has skyrocketed. Among the most important reforms that are needed are:
Provide An Open & Transparent System
The landmark designation process should be open and transparent, particularly to those property owners who will be most impacted by the decision.
Apply Consistently High Standards
A consistently high standard should be applied in determining whether an individual structure or district merits landmark protection.
Promote Growth & Success Of New York City
Landmark designations and oversight of landmark properties must be reconciled with other policy considerations that are critical to the growth and success of the City.
Administer The Laws In A Sensible Manner
The Landmarks Law should be administered so that the best examples of City’s architectural and historic heritage continue to adapt and meet the needs of the citizens of the 21st Century."
Below is the link to the Power point presentation show at the HDC meeting. It describes what the bill is and how it effects us.
Wednesday, June 20, 2012
Tuesday, June 19, 2012
I managed to attend the HDC's "Help Save the Landmarks Law" meeting today. We have lots of information to share, including a video of most of the meeting. Right now we encourage you to read these PDF flyers that we got from them.
Once the video is uploaded we will post it here.
Once the video is uploaded we will post it here.
Thursday, June 14, 2012
We received this in an E-mail today. If effects not only the HP, but all NYC landmarks as well. The Real Estate Board of New York is calling for extreme reforms of the Landmarks Law. If successful they could change the way Landmark are designated!
E-BULLETIN OF THE HISTORIC DISTRICTS COUNCIL
Public Meeting to Defend the Landmarks Law
Tuesday, June 19th
6pm – 7:30pm
General Society of Mechanics and Tradesmen
20 West 44th Street
As you may be aware, the Real Estate Board of New York is heading up a coalition calling for extreme reforms of the Landmarks Law, reforms which HDC believes would cripple the landmark designation process and damage the regulation of existing protected landmarks. HDC believes that preservation nurtures the city, feeds our commerce and enhances our economy. That these reforms are being proposed now, when investment in New York City real estate is on the upswing, makes their concerns about preservation stifling development particularly peculiar.
HDC is holding an emergency public meeting to discuss community responses to this Vesuvian eruption. We’ll be discussing the concerns raised, the legislation that have been proposed and what community groups and individuals can do.
Please join the HDC for an informative and important meeting.
Open to all but RSVP requested to email@example.com.