Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Hello Landmarks archaeology,

I studied archaeology in fieldschool with Sherene Baugher back before she became the LPC's first archaeologist. My father was born at 660 Water Street on the day after Christmas on his family's kitchen table, the youngest of eleven children to a father who was a real estate reporter and a mother who was once "Bedloe's Nanny" from where she was once the nanny to the caretaker there on Liberty Island. The 660 Water Street location had to be vacated as some of the first City projects, the Alfred E. Smith Houses were built in 1937. Mr Smith grew up across the street from 250 Water Street which brings me to the topic of this email.

In 1994 I sent a copy of my research to Mr. Pagano on the lot bounded by Pearl, Beekman, Water and Peck Slip, one of the last parking lots in Lower Manhattan (though the one behind 40 Exchange Place has gone first) for Greenhouse Consultants Inc., for one of the Milstein family I was given to understand. I had not worked for Greenhouse since then until recently. They have handed me finally, what they say the client "sat on" from 1995 to 2000 when it was finally put together. I warned Mr. Pagano about this and I have found my fears have been proven true. The copy is sub-standard compared to what I had submitted. A similar problem happened at the Bowery in 2000 for Parsons, Inc. research project I worked in partnership with Nancy A. Stehling, MS, RPA, never provided either the opportunity to see edits, or provided with a final copy supplied to the client and to Landmarks for your review I assume. I am not happy about the state of scholarship overview which should be required by law, though I understand the City Charter only gives power to you through the Planning Commission. Common decency might at least have provided copies of both or either reports to the writers. When I think of the amount of large numbers of $'s involved, I just see it as exploitation of the whole process, not just my input, almost a mockery of a sham. Perhaps a guideline to check if what was sent is what you see is needed.

You may or may not know the politics of 250 Water St., where the City's water, from the tunnel under Manhattan being dug must come up there or One Police Plaza, where police park for free in a park once slated to be a public park, Cabrini Park, after the famous women Catholic of NYC. The Dinkins Administration in fact as I recall considered condemning the 250 Water St. site (almost a mockery of the National Register Building across the street 251 Water St., the citation left out of the Greenhouse report, the "250" actually a huge block of addresses formally) on behalf of the greater public need resulting from the rezoning of the tops of older office buildings for apartments, upgraded offices, etc.

I am currently working for Greenhouse Consultants on a a job that once had a Saks Fifth Ave. "Ski Train" come to it, in North Creek, NY in the Southern Adirondacks next door to Gore Mountain. The County, Warren named after a General who died at Bunker Hill, however was actually started by native of NYC and owned the Post Office on Wall Street a Mr. Thurman. Perhaps you could work some intellectual honesty into the review process, I am not happy about 295 Bowery also, perhaps the site of National Guard members called out in the Draft Riots and in defence of Washington, D.C. before mustered out on Brother Island in my borough the Bronx being ignored in the report I researched and prepared. It seems we are becoming to "architectural" and forgetting social history's place in our landscape of ideas. Next door in Germania Hall, Kate Mulaney, her house now on the Register in Troy, NY, sitting next to Susan B. Anthony, once on our $1 coin, was the first women elected to union management. The compulsory participation clause in unions was found un-Constitutional leading to unions run by outsiders. So similarly is our heritage becoming dangerously subject to whatever what company thinks is in its and others best interest. The people who work with the primary and secondary documents should be protected and at least have the opportunity to know what their work is turned into.

I have worked on many, many sites from Fort McHenry, MD to the Waverly Plantation, MS to the Moore Cabin in the Klondike Gold Rush Historic Park, Skagway, Alaska and on sites in Manhattan, i.e., the 175 Water St. Site, the Almshouse Burial Ground for three different "companies," Moore-Jackson Cemetery and elsewhere and I find that some simple rules should be written into the review process so writers also have rights to their literal representations.

Best regards,

George Myers

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