Zoning for Survival in Greenwich Village


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April 29, 1959, Vol. IV, No. 27

Zoning for Survival

Greenwich Village, as we know it today, is doomed unless drastic action is taken soon by the powers that be. The handwriting on the wall was clearly visible on the front page of The New York Times’ real-estate section of April 12. The headline read: “Village in Midst of Building Boom.” Translating this into Village talk means that without a doubt, month after month, year after year, at a very increasing pace, large chunks of what we know as the Village — brownstones, Georgian Colonials, English basements, 2-3-4- and 5-story buildings, with low- and moderate-rent apartments, will be torn down and replaced with 7-10-12-16- and 20-story luxury apartment houses renting at $140 to $600 a month. Even “Louis” and the “Circle in the Square” are to be demolished soon!

There is one possibility of saving the Village. The City Planning Commission has submitted to the people of this city a new zoning law to replace the present law that dates back to 1916. If this law is passed, probably 75 per cent of further demolition will stop in the Village and anything new that is built will be more in harmony with what we now have here and want here.

This is the only way we can save ourselves. The group that did such a good job of saving the Square should now take on the even more important job of saving the Village! — William W. Brill, Cornelia Street

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