By the bizarre, byzantine nature of local New York City politics, gaining the support of various committees, boards and commissions for a cause can be absolutely crucial. It’s like skimming across puddles of clear water in a sea of bittersweet molasses.
One such puddle was cleared with particular ease last night, however, as the Landmarks Committee of Community Board 8, by a 7-0 vote (with a single abstention), to back the efforts of the 93rd Street Beautification Association to have the Carnegie Hill Historic District extended by one block to the east — to include a stretch of East 93rd Street that the association hopes will be renamed Marx Brothers Place, in honor of the legendary clan of comics who grew up there.
Despite some rather overly enthusiastic reporting by another website, the vote of the committee does not ensure an extension of the district, nor does it guarantee that Marx Brothers Place will become a reality. (The CFR has followed this story for more than two years. For a little more background, feel free to click here, here, here, here, here, here, here and, most famously, here.)
Susan Kathryn Hefti, who writes the Preservation Diaries column for the CFR and serves as co-chair of the 93rd Street Beautification Association, noted in an upbeat email to supporters last night that testimony at the committee hearing came from far and wide, and included such pro-historic preservation organizations as the Historic Districts Council, the 93rd Street Block Association and Carnegie Hill Neighbors.
The next step is for the association to persuade the full board of Community Board 8 to support the district-extension plan, a move that would put pressure on the New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission to give its assent.
The board will meet tomorrow, Wed., July 21, in the auditorium of Memorial Sloan Kettering Hospital (430 E. 67th St.), at 6:30pm.