Guest Editorial: Your Help Is Needed To Save A Landmark Clock In New York City
New York Life Insurance Company’s previous headquarters at 346 Broadway in TriBeCa is a fantastic late 19th-century office tower, assigned as a New York City milestone in 1987. A few spaces within the structure are inside tourist spots; the amazing banking, entryway, and office suites just as a progression of plain yet rich rooms in the clock tower, and the memorable mechanical clock mechanism itself.
The clock, made by E. Howard & Co. of Boston, was perceived by the NYC Landmarks Preservation Commission in its assignment report as probably the best achievement of 19th-century American technology. Its twofold, three-legged gravity escapement , stumbled by a 14-foot long, two-seconds pendulum, powered by 2,600 pounds of weights and striking the hours on a 5,000-pound ringer is one of just two known checks in the whole world with every one of these highlights – the other being at the Houses of Parliament in Westminster (Big Ben).
On December 16, 2014, the NYC Landmarks Preservation Commission endorsed transforming the once open clock tower rooms into a private loft as a component of the reclamation of the structure and its change to condos. The actual clock would be jolted and at any rate halfway destroyed, obliterating its noteworthy honesty and importance, and making its leftovers always difficult to reach and imperceptible to people in general and in danger of additional change or harm by the condo’s occupants.
Several weeks prior, an alliance of preservationists documented suit in New York State Supreme Court to upset a choice by the NYC Landmarks Preservation Commission that would result not just in the passing of a loved inside milestone at the same time, if unchallenged, would start a trend for privatizing freely available inside tourist spots all through the city.
The lawsuit charges that the Commission neglected to ensure the milestone and the public interest procedurally and substantively:
By endorsing changes to the clock and clock tower rooms important to change over the space into a loft, and making it forever blocked off to people in general, the Commission successfully de-assigned the inside milestone which, to be a milestone, has by definition to be consistently open to the general population. There are rules and strategies for de-assignment intended to ensure the public premium, and they can’t be evaded through the Commission’s easier grant methodology. To do so is extraordinary and would make the way for future lasting terminations of public milestone spaces for private benefit.
When the city offered the structure to a private owner, the Commission found, as a component of the lawfully ordered City Environmental Quality Review, that there would be no unfriendly effect on notable highlights in light of the fact that the structure was an assigned milestone. However, when the Commission was approached to endorse changes that would have quite recently such an antagonistic effect, it said it had no capacity to forestall these changes.
The Commission based its endorsement of changes to the milestone clock tower rooms and clock mechanism on the vaguest of documentation and showed an absence of comprehension of the reason and significance of this assignment. For the Commission to allow the gutting of an individual milestone dependent on obscure oral articulations and not on written documentation and drawings is atypical if not remarkable, abuses any meaning of memorable conservation principles, and is basically the meaning of subjective and fanciful choice making.
New York City’s true Clock Master Marvin Schneider and his protégée, Forest Markowitz
Our alliance met up to save a heavenly, memorable clock mechanism and the rooms that house it for the benefit of the public now and into the future – indeed, for the very reason for which they were assigned as tourist spots by the Landmarks Commission.
These issues will be chosen by the court. Something not under the watchful eye of the court, but rather that by the by fills in as a setting to this case, is the proceeding with impoverishment of the public domain to benefit the city’s first class. The deficiency of ancient rarities of our common history and of notable public spaces to which we are completely welcomed isn’t a value we ought to need to pay.
We need your assistance. The most effortless way to get included is essentially to like our Facebook page . On the off chance that you are so disposed, giving to the Tribeca Trust would be incredibly refreshing. With your assistance, I desire to see this lovely and significant clock protected for ages to come.
Photographs graciousness of Vinit Parmar.