Remember That Whole Two Columbus Circle Thing? We Kinda Hadn’t, Until Now


Seems that Tom Wolfe’s contributions weren’t enough to save 2 Columbus Circle from its increasingly inevitable Cloepfil-destiny, but Landmark West! just can’t stop, won’t stop. An op-ed piece in the Times by former LPC Chair Sherida Paulsen just got smacked down by former chair Beverly Moss Spatt and current commissioner Robert Brandes Gatz. Firstname Lastname is obviously so over. Spatt seems pretty toned-down and legit:

Ms. Paulsen, chairwoman of New York’s Landmarks Preservation Commission from 2001 to 2003, is entitled to her opinion that Edward Durell Stone’s design for 2 Columbus Circle does not merit landmark designation.

But given widely divergent opinions in the public at large about the
importance of this building, I find it difficult to believe that the 19 commission members since 1996 could have reached absolute consensus that the building is unworthy of even a public hearing to weigh its merits.

Very non-committal for such a contentious process. But it seems like something weird’s going on. Is this whole thing predicated on people just thinking that the Comission had gone ahead and decided something when actually they hadn’t? Gatz kinda thinks so:

Sherida E. Paulsen writes that “2 Columbus Circle simply does not qualify” to be designated a landmark. She says, “That is the professional judgment of the 19 people, myself included, who have served on the New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission since 1996.”

Neither I as an individual commissioner nor the current commission as a whole has rendered a “professional judgment” on whether there should be a hearing or a designation.

So there’s no professional judgement… and no consensus. Man, this is some tricksery.