Uncovering The Roots of NYCs Preservation Movement

The controversial demolition of Pennsylvania Station in 1963 is often said to have given birth to New York City’s historic preservation movement. As Randall Mason reveals in his new book The Once and Future New York: Historic Preservation and the Modern City, historic preservation has been a force in the development of modern New York City since the 1890s. Mason is associate professor of city and regional planning in the Graduate Program in Historic Preservation at the University of Pennsylvania’s School of Design and co-editor of Giving Preservation a History.

Rich with archival research, The Once and Future New York documents the emergence of historic preservation in New York at the turn of the twentieth century. The book counters the charge that preservationists were antiquarians concerned only with significant buildings. Primarily using three significant projects &#8211 City Hall Park restoration, the failed attempt to save St. John’s Chapel, and the building of the Bronx River Parkway &#8211 Mason argues that historic preservation in this period, rather than being fundamentally opposed to growth, was integral to modern urban development.

For more information, including the table of contents, visit the book’s webpage:

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