May 20, 2008

The Lower East Side, Now on National Trust for Historic Preservation's Endangered List

A timely announcement today, as the National Trust for Historic Preservation announces its 2008 List of America's 11 Most Endangered Places. On the list with WOTBA's beloved modernist mid-century Statler Hilton Hotel in downtown Dallas, the Michigan Avenue Streetwall in Chicago, the Boyd Theatre in Philadelphia, among others, we find on the endangered list the entire LOWER EAST SIDE of New York.

Sad but true. Over the past week, as I've walked the historic streets, I see the physical reminders of the area's immigrant history succumbing to reckless, thoughtless redevelopment.

It has to stop. There's no enforcement power that comes with today's announcement. The fact that the National Trust added the Lower East Side to the list of endangered places just raises awareness. There's no enforcement power with the designation.

Pretty soon all that will be left of LES is marketing new hi-rise glass condos with slogans like "Come live high above the unique area where poor immigrants once lived. Studios starting at 1.75 m. Sorry, no more rugelach."

Image: top, Essex and Hester, OK for now, but... May 2008. Walking Off the Big Apple.

National Trust for Historic Preservation website. Read it and weep.

Part of a series about the changes in the Lower East Side, in progress. See related posts.

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