The Places That Bind: Examining Preservation and Culture in a Changing City

Thursday, May 07, 2009

Rosie Perez hosted a lively town hall style discussion on how communities can save the places they love. Landmarks Preservation Commission Chair Bob Tierney took pointed questions from the audience, writer Nelson George remembered the positive side of the gritty Ft. Greene he grew up in, while preservationists, urbanists and activists blurred the lines between expert and audience member.

Listen to the program:

Places that Bind Segment 1: On Landmarking w/Commissioner Tierney

Places that Bind Segment 2: On Gentrification w/Nelson George

Places that Bind Segment 3: A Few of Our Favorite Places

Read about Public Insight Journalism

Casita in the South Bronx

Photos by Scott Ellison Smith

\"This is about people more than it\'s about architecture. Be civil!\"
Bob Tierney explains what can and can\'t be landmarked.
The audience wanted to discuss specific preservation projects.
The audience included community leaders from all five boroughs.
Tierney watches a video about a South Bronx community garden.
\"How can economic development happen in a respectful way?\"
Writer Nelson George critiques gentrification in Ft Greene.
The audience is energized about changes in their neighborhoods.
Marci Reaven says sharing stories of special places is critical.


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Comments [3]

Gail Schwarz

Re: The Places That Bind:
I am the daughter of Manny Schwarz and sister of Eric; owners of M&E Madison Hardware. I would like to thank you for bringing attention to the disappearing Mom & Pop stores in NY - the building blocks of America!
When my father & brother, Eric had to close the store - it broke so many hearts, not just for my family but for our friends and neighbors in the community. Their store was a haven to all and a necessity to the community. My dad & Eric loved the store and the people of the community. It was their 2nd home.

We are so grateful to Virginie for making the film ,Twilight Becomes Night which as you can see is so instrumental in bringing attention to how essential the mom&pop stores are to the community. While NYC encourages people to start their small business here - and they offer help to get it started, the fact remains that there is no protection from landlords, unscrupuously increasing rents to the store owners- forcing these businesses out, pnly to have them replaced by chain stores or whoever is willing to pay the highest amount. This is done without considering the neighborhood's needs. As in the case of my father & brother's store which was only to be replaced by another food store on the small block (there were 4 already). Why aren't the community leaders reviewing the needs of their communities. Couldn't they see that there were no other hardware stores close by? What about your local pharmacy, barber shop, butcher, etc. that have been forced to close Where is the legislature regarding the rent protection laws? During the closing of our store, there were letters written to local leaders by customers to help keep the store in the neighborhood, but there was not one response! That is the problem - it's not about the neighborhood and its residents and workers - It's not about the community and the services they need - it's all about the landlord who has no regard for the community and the community leaders that don't care.

My father who passed away in 2007 and unfortunately didn't get to see the completed film, was glad that it was being made. He had hoped that one day there would be a union to protect the storeowners. I hope his dream comes true!

Thank you for this opportunity to share my thoughts!

May. 18 2009 08:02 AM

Regarding the plywood structure (casita?) that Puerto Ricans built in the Bronx to use as a community meeting space, Ms Perez said it was built on land that "no one wanted". While owners may not actively occupy their land, let me assure you: There is no property that no one wants. And regarding 'gentrification', or process whereby unwelcome outsiders buy up properties and then want to change them, please try to remember that mnay of these objections are simply racism. Minorities don't want to be displaced by white people with more money, yet they somehow manage to wax nostalgic about the way they displaced the communities that existed in the same space before they arrived.

May. 17 2009 08:30 PM
John Beekman

Hey this was pretty good - but DON'T PRE-EMPT "Speaking of Faith"!!!! We need Krista Tippett's insightful guests and calming conversation!!! Bad programmers, bad!

May. 16 2009 08:19 AM

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