Tom Wolfe, Steadfast Preservationist


The travails of LSD-dropping hippies and horny college kids are nothing compared to Tom Wolfe’s battle against developer Aby Rosen to protect a tiny five-story building in his neighborhood on the Upper East Side against inevitable “glass-topping.”

In “The (Naked) City and the Undead” in today’s New York Times, Wolfe delivers the reason for his struggle: a powerless and corrupt Landmarks Preservation Commission. He knocks commission members as the “walking dead,” and singles out mayors one-by-one for their spinelessness, which comes to a head over the fight for the oft-maligned structure which will soon house the Museum of Arts and Design.

Want to read more about architecture in multi-hyphenated, onomonopoetic language? Check out Wolfe’s From Bauhaus to Our House, where his tirade against “glass boxes” began.