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NYC's Lower East Side on most endangered places list
20 May 2008

WASHINGTON (AP) - The jammed, noisy streets of New York's Lower East Side and the peaceful parks of California don't have much in common at first glance, but both are endangered by bulldozers or budget cuts.

The National Trust for Historic Preservation on Tuesday put the New York neighborhood and the California parks on its list of this year's most endangered places, along with an old brick schoolhouse in Kansas that launched one of the most important legal cases in U.S. history: Brown vs. Board of Education, the landmark 1954 desegregation ruling from the Supreme Court.

"Preservation efforts have really moved beyond individual buildings to neighborhoods, communities, and context," said Richard Moe, president of the group.

"Most people think the threat only comes from the wrecking ball, but that's not always true," said Moe. "It can be underfunding of a resource, it can be neglect, it can be inappropriate development."

Decades ago, the overcrowded tenement buildings of the Lower East Side were considered a blight on city life, even though they were the first home for generations of new Americans arriving at Ellis Island.

Now, preservationists think the danger lies in new luxury high-rises sprouting up in the once downtrodden area. The National Trust is seeking to have the area declared a landmark district, which could mean restrictions on building height and density.

In Topeka, Kansas, the broken windows and overgrown foliage of Sumner Elementary School offer little evidence that it was the impetus for perhaps the most important legal decision in U.S. race history.

The father of Linda Brown sued after she was refused admittance in 1950 to the school only seven blocks from her home. The NAACP eventually took her case to the Supreme Court and the court struck down the "separate but equal" doctrine that had allowed decades of post-slavery segregation.

That small neglected piece of history is dwarfed in size by one of the other places on the list, the California park system, with almost 300 parks, dozens of which have historic designations.

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger pulled back this month on a plan to close some of those sites in an effort to solve the state's budget problems. Preservationists welcome the decision, but say the ongoing financial struggles are still dangerous to parklands that have already been starved of about $1 billion in deferred maintenance over the years.

The other sites that made the group's 2008 list of endangered places are: Boyd Theatre in Philadelphia, Pa.; Charity Hospital and the surrounding neighborhood in New Orleans, La.; Great Falls Portage in Great Falls, Mont.; Hangar One, Moffett Field in Santa Clara County, Calif.; Michigan Avenue Streetwall in Chicago; Peace Bridge neighborhood in Buffalo, N.Y.; The Statler Hilton Hotel in Dallas; and the museums and gardens of Vizcaya in Miami and Bonnet House in Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.

The National Trust for Historic Preservation is a private, nonprofit group founded in 1949.

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On the Net:

National Trust for Historic Preservation: http://www.nationaltrust.org
 

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yeah, the two biggest blights on the appearance of NYC: modern glass towers in hoods like the lower east side that look absolutely silly next to the tenements, and that one ugly stucco-sided mcmansion that seems to be on every block with detached housing in Queens and obscenely dwarfs the modest houses on either side of it.
 

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Just b/c a neighborhood looks blighted, doesn't mean that it is blighted.
 

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That blue checkered building/tower on Delancy street...EHHHHHH!

the biggest eye sour I've ever seen!!! And in my own backyard to top it off!!! :bash:
 

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yeah, the two biggest blights on the appearance of NYC: modern glass towers in hoods like the lower east side that look absolutely silly next to the tenements, and that one ugly stucco-sided mcmansion that seems to be on every block with detached housing in Queens and obscenely dwarfs the modest houses on either side of it.
^ You know I hear a lot of such criticism here & elsewhere (ie Chicago), but I think we need to remember that these newer "Mc-structures" being built are just another aspect of the American urban story. They have their rightful place, whether we like them or not. I do believe in preservation, but we cannot keep glorifying the city of 1900 without allowing for the city of 2010 to arrive. People have different standards now, different materials are being used, and we live in a much more affluent society than we once did.
 

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@talb: um what?

@urban: yeah, i know, it's part of america, you're free to live in however ugly a house you choose to, i just think it's a shame that so many people are willing to pay that much money for a tacky-looking house just because it's big.
 

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in an ideal lower east side, all the tenements would be converted into spacious beautiful apartments with boutiques and restaurants downstairs, and a market on orchard, but thats not gonna happen. If we can't convert, then we're gonna build glass buildings (sometimes controvercial glass buildings) At least world renowned architects are designing the buildings...
 

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in an ideal lower east side, all the tenements would be converted into spacious beautiful apartments with boutiques and restaurants downstairs, and a market on orchard, but thats not gonna happen. If we can't convert, then we're gonna build glass buildings (sometimes controvercial glass buildings) At least world renowned architects are designing the buildings...
 

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So is Harlem. I'd say the most rinky dink places in Manhattan are Inwood/Washington Heights but even then you still have the pluses which are hardcore Dominican culture throughout the community and fort Tryon park with the Cloisters. Harlem gets a bad rep but does not deserve it and the Lower East Side is still a hip place. The neighborhood is not bad.
 

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Im sorry but Lower East side is the most discusting places that Manhattan can have and so far is worst than Harlem.
Sorry to break the news to you buddy but as far as disgusting/dirty goes Washington Heights takes that award. Just walk along b'way or st nicholas from 169th to about 184th and you'll see garbage all over the place. It's sad to admit it, me being dominican and all, but that is the reality! I do love the culture and how dynamic the neighborhood is and you can not beat the food. You get perhaps the best bang for the buck in all of Manhattan.

As far as Harlem goes, it's relatively clean. It ain't Park Avenue but it ain't the Heights.

I do have to agree that the lower east side is definitely an endangered place. Just look at what's been happening to Little Italy in the last 20 years. There are hardly any italians living there. Dang it! Why can't that happen to alphabet city? Bring the wrecking ball baby...woooo!!!

BTW...can I get a pat on the back? I just notice I broke that 100 postings mark...yey 4 me!:cheers:
 

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The dirtiest area's outside of Manhattan are definetley various sections in The Bronx ( Along Williamsbridge, Westchester,Huntspoint, Tremont, 149th, Boston, White Plains (Rds., Sts., Aves., Blvds.)
Williamsburg in Brooklyn is filthy. I was surprised how the Hasidic Jewish ppl and ultra orthidox have absolutely no pride in where they live as opposed to the same type of communties they have in the five towns section of Nassau County. I did a fairly extensive tour of Williamsburg and they just openly litter like it means nothing. Very low class of them, IMO.
Coney Island is atrocious. West Brighton in Staten Island is pretty bad. Imo the most rinky dink hoods are College Point, Whitestone and that particular part of Queens in general. In Jersey I would say Journal Square is a total mess. We got to get it together over here in NYC we seem pretty tolerant of littered streets and we shouldn't be.
 

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Sorry to break the news to you buddy but as far as disgusting/dirty goes Washington Heights takes that award. Just walk along b'way or st nicholas from 169th to about 184th and you'll see garbage all over the place. It's sad to admit it, me being dominican and all, but that is the reality! I do love the culture and how dynamic the neighborhood is and you can not beat the food. You get perhaps the best bang for the buck in all of Manhattan.

As far as Harlem goes, it's relatively clean. It ain't Park Avenue but it ain't the Heights.
ITA!! and I live in the heights, so I can definitely attest to this. Besides, Lower East side is full of culture and rich history...no such thing in the heights and anyone who disagrees with me is talking straight out of his/her rear end.
 

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ITA!! and I live in the heights, so I can definitely attest to this. Besides, Lower East side is full of culture and rich history...no such thing in the heights and anyone who disagrees with me is talking straight out of his/her rear end.
It's ironic thought! I have been to so many people's apartments in The Heights and they are, for the most part, squeaky clean! You usually find the typical, for dominicans anyway, Louis XIV furniture and 2nd empire Parisian curtains and forget about the cars. I miss the good old "Crown on the dashboard" the old cabbies in the area used to have.
 

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Southside williamsburg can be a disgustingly dirty. There are sections of Broadway that are a mess, littered with plastic bags, coffee cups, baby diapers, you name it. As for the LES, it's definitely in danger. I just noticed a tenement building has been razed on orchard st.(btwn delancey and rivington) along with smaller buildings on allen st. Buildings are coming down all over the place. What I hate the most is that these new glitzy buildings will have rather boring retail as opposed to the smaller older buildings. Apart from being an eyesore, the new building on delancey and ludlow will have yet again, another bank (BofA). That other building going up in Ludlow (btwn stanton and houston) doesn't look very promising, it's not built up to the sidewalk like the rest of the tenements so it looks rather strange and out of place...
 

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So is Harlem. I'd say the most rinky dink places in Manhattan are Inwood/Washington Heights but even then you still have the pluses which are hardcore Dominican culture throughout the community and fort Tryon park with the Cloisters. Harlem gets a bad rep but does not deserve it and the Lower East Side is still a hip place. The neighborhood is not bad.
washington heights west of broadway (like the area around bennett park) is spotless clean and is actually a quiet jewish neighborhood. there's a greater demand for housing in washington heights than harlem which is obvious when looking at how much cheaper rents are in harlem despite being much closer to lower manhattan.

btw, the lower east side is by no stretch of the imagination a "gritty" place anymore.
 
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