Pierpont Morgan Library © The Morgan Library & Museum/Graham S. Haber. Courtesy of The Monacelli Press

Pierpont Morgan Library © The Morgan Library & Museum/Graham S. Haber. Courtesy of The Monacelli Press

The Landmarks Preservation Commission was created by Mayor Robert Wagner in 1965 in the wake of the "monumental act of vandalism" that was the demolition of the original Penn Station. The commission has been on some kind of tear in the last half-century, designating over 1,340 individual landmarks. Although the Landmarks Law was amended just ten years after it was established to account for interior landmarks, just 117 have been named to this day. While it's a small number, the interiors are worth celebrating and are the subject of Judith Gura and Kate Wood's new book,Interior Landmarks: Treasures of New York (which by no small coincidence is hitting bookstores this year) (h/t CityLab).

There may be so few interior landmarks because they are implicitly more complicated than individual landmarks, Gura and Wood go on to explain. Interiors are meant to be used, and at that they are updated, painted, reupholstered, changed before they meet the 30-year threshold that allows them to be considered for designation. "Interiors must keep pace with the evolving needs of those who use them," Gura and Wood write, noting that even a landmark designation isn't intended to turn the space into a mausoleum for a particular design, despite the gentle hand that most landmarked interiors are handled with. Gura and Wood use the book—complete with stunning photographs—not only to take a close look at 47 of the city's most pristine spaces, but also to think about the evolving role of the interior landmark in a city squeezed for space.

Now, onto the gorgeous publicly-accessible interiors that have already been protected for generations to come.

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