Why Preservation? … Why Not?

Screen Shot 2014-11-19 at 9.16.29 AMGood morning Lacquered Lifers. If some of you ever had any questions as to why I am a passionate preservationist, or what the point of historic preservation is, these photos of the Brooklyn Navy Yard’s main hospital building and surgeons quarters should answer your questions. The Brooklyn Navy Yard has occupied this site since 1801, the hospital was completed in 1838, and the surgeons quarters in 1863. The Brooklyn Navy Yard was decommissioned in the mid-1960s, whereupon the land was sold to the city of New York and these buildings have stood empty. Over the years different plans have been floated to redevelop the Brooklyn Navy Yard, and while those plans are coming closer and closer to fruition these beautiful pieces of architecture sit empty, abandoned, and neglected … despite their status as New York City Landmark properties. So why preservation? Honestly, why not? 
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  • I worked in historic preservation for a few years – this included planning a trip for major donors to Charleston while the College of the Building Arts was gaining momentum – and I fervently, passionately believe that a commitment to preservation and conservation can make (or break) any town or city. I grew up in Westchester, and very recently the local historical society managed to prevent the town from – brace yourself – paving over the brick roads that make up the oldest part of the village. These roads, however inconvenient in snow and ice, are the backdrop for so much of the history of the place, and paving over them would have been completely irrevocable. Thank goodness they prevailed! And well done you.