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save riverside's Peter Green on

Brian Leher's "Ask the Mayor" April 2nd, WNYC

(Transcript)

Brian Lehrer: Peter in Washington Heights, you're in WNYC with the Mayor. Hi, Peter.

 

Peter: Hi, Brian. Hello, Mr. Mayor. I'm with a group of residents in Washington Heights in Harlem. We're trying to save an 1851 house linked to the underground railroad and it's set to be bulldozed. We went to the Landmarks Commission and they gave us their standard rejections, sorry, the houses too rundown to be landmarked, even though it's the last remnant of an abolitionists community that was just discovered in a community of color where landmarks are rare.

 

Last week, Jamaane Williams, the public advocate came to visit. He said that communities of color are always told why things can't happen, but wider wealthier neighborhoods get landmarked all the time, and you can see this if you just pull up the Landmarks Commission's own online map of where landmark buildings and landmark districts are in the city. Only you can help change this at this point. How can we work together to fix this problem and save this touchstone to our city's history? Thanks.

 

Mayor de Blasio: Thank you for the question, Peter. I want to look into this further that there is a site, and maybe you're speaking about the same one I believe on Riverside Drive that I know has gotten some careful consideration.

 

Peter: Yes.

 

Mayor de Blasio: That one I need to double-check, but I do think that connection, that story is a little grayer than in some other cases we dealt with. We just did have an example of landmarking on Duffield Street in Brooklyn, something I was involved in and my wife Chirlane was involved in that I think was a great example of exactly what you're saying. More landmarking of the true history of this city, the history of people of color, the history of the abolitionists movement.

There is a lot more that can and should be landmarked. As fact, this is something that is going to be looked at by our new Racial Justice Commission. How we rethink our entire approach to preserving our history and to landmarking. I will look again at the site you're raising, but again, I think each one is different and we just have to make sure if we're trying to achieve that goal, that we are dealing with sites that really do fit that vision.

 

Brian Lehrer: Can he follow up to get the results of your review? [crosstalk]

 

Mayor de Blasio: Yes. Peter, please give us your information. Absolutely. Please give us your information to WNYC and we will have folks follow up with you today.

 

Brian Lehrer: Peter, thanks. Hang on we'll take your contact information.