Monday, September 22, 2008
In many American cities, any famous and historic building that was more than 80 years ago, even if it had been remodeled thirty years ago, wouldn’t be torn down. Why? Because it would be designated an historic landmark, even if its owner didn’t want the designation. So why wasn’t Yankees Stadium, which hosted its final game last night, made a landmark? I’ve wondered this, and here’s the New York Times' less-than-definitive answer. Once can speculate that the owners didn’t want the designation, and the city didn’t push it on a building that is useful only as a baseball stadium, but one that is outmoded in an age that demands maximum luxury and profits from such a venue. Surely the city, which contributed to the cost of the new stadium complex, wanted the old building to disappear, even though some shed a tear.
What’s the lesson from this? Perhaps the lesson is that not all historic designations make sense, and that sometimes a building simply outlives its usefulness and demolition should be allowed. And not just for plans that will bring a lot of tax revenue and publicity to the city government …