Village Views Archive [forthcoming]

Our publication, Village Views, appeared irregularly between 1984 and 2006, written and produced by volunteers.  There are many pages of interviews, including Anthony C. Wood’s brilliant initiative, the interviews with Charles Platt, first chairman of the Landmarks Commission, and the successor chairman, Harmon Goldstone.  Finding them still alive when he first arrived in New York, he sought them out and asked them penetrating questions, on tape.  In 1987,  he allowed us to transcribe and publish those interviews, documenting a history that could have been entirely lost. For illustrations, photo historian and archivist Dale Neighbors provided haunting images of New York’s past. These things and the contributions of so many other distinguished preservation volunteers, including LPC commissioners who agreed to be interviewed, will now be readily available in the archive here.

Politicians sometimes observe that New York is a series of villages. This justifies our heading, Village Views, no longer, as originally, produced in Greenwich Village, but still preoccupied with the smaller unit, areas having what our local landmarks law calls “a distinct sense of place.” So here we advocate for the preservation of historic districts—though also for the other types of landmarks the law defines, interior, individual, scenic. More than that, we are fascinated by the landmarks law itself, the illusions it has generated, and the protections it still affords, while under continuing assault.