Renderings courtesy of NYC Parks/ AMNH
The New York City Public Design Commission on Monday approved plans to remove and relocate the Theodore Roosevelt statue from the steps of the American Museum of Natural History, about a year after officials called for the controversial sculpture to be taken down. The city’s Parks Department and AMNH presented their proposal last week to the Landmarks Preservation Commission, but the agency was unable to reach a decision. On Monday, The PDC voted unanimously to remove and relocate the statue to a relevant cultural institution.
Photo of the Theodore Roosevelt Park via Wikimedia
Surrounding the American Museum of Natural History, the Theodore Roosevelt Park stretches from 77th to 81st Streets between Central Park West and Columbus Avenue. For years, the city has fenced off its green space, not allowing park visitors to touch the lawns. But this summer, as part of a pilot program, the city’s parks department will open two lawns in the Upper West Side park, according to the West Side Rag. From Memorial Day Weekend until September 30, the Northwest and Southwest Lawns will open to the public, officials announced at a community board meeting.
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Michael Hiller is a zoning and land-use attorney who has represented community groups in seemingly impossible quests for about 20 years. His high-profile cases have often been against the Landmarks Preservation Commission, notably Tribeca’s iconic Clock Tower Building and new construction along historic Gansevoort Street, both of which are pending appeal by the defendants.
As one legal observer commented, “He has become an expert in the nuances of the Landmarks Law from a legal perspective. In court, he is very talented on his feet before a very hot bench, before judges who ask a lot of tough questions.” His successes have won him designation as a Super Lawyer every year since 2009 as well as the 2017 Grassroots Award from the Historic Districts Council. 6sqft recently visited Michael at his office to learn more about his work.
Ahead, hear from Michael and learn more about his current cases
After first revealing its controversial $325 million expansion almost a year ago, the American Museum of Natural History has now filed plans with the Landmarks Preservation Commission to move ahead with the Jeanne Gang-designed project. Though, as the Wall Street Journal reports, there’s been some changes, mainly those responding to the community’s concerns over how much of the new Richard Gilder Center for Science, Education and Innovation will encroach on Theodore Roosevelt Park, a city-owned space near the back of the museum at 79th Street.
The new curving Center will occupy one-quarter of an acre of the park, and two historic trees–a 125-year-old English elm and a 75-year-old pin oak tree– will be preserved. Therefore, the public space leading into the museum will have better circulation and more gathering spaces.
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