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Theodore Grunewald Affidavit 07-07-2011

Theodore Grunewald Affidavit 07-07-2011

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Published by: CECPP on Jul 15, 2011
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08/31/2013

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SUPREME COURT OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK COUNTY OF NEW YORK - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - xIn the Matter of the Application of ERIC W. ALLISON, KEVIN J. FARRELLY, THEODOREGRUNEWALD, TED NARDIN, and CITIZENS EMERGENCYCOMMITTEE TO PRESERVE PRESERVATION,Petitioners/Plaintiffs, Index No. ____________ For a Judgment Pursuant to Article 78 and Sections3001 and 6301 of the Civil Practice Law & Rules-against-THE NEW YORK CITY LANDMARKS PRESERVATION
 
COMMISSION, VORNADO REALTY TRUST,510 FIFTH AVENUE LLC, 510 FIFTH EAT LLC,VORNADO REALTY, LP, and VNO 510 FIFTH LLC,Respondents/Defendants- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - xAFFIDAVIT OF THEODORE GRUNEWALD
 
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State of New York )) SS:County of New York )THEODORE GRUNEWALD, being duly sworn, deposes and says:1.
 
I am a Petitioner/Plaintiff in this proceeding. I make this affidavit insupport of Petitioners’ motion for a temporary restraining order and preliminaryinjunction and for related relief.2.
 
I am by profession an archivist and curator of art and design. Since 1998 Ihave been employed as chief archivist for a major fine arts publishing and mediacorporation in Manhattan. I was trained in architecture at Parsons School of Design, andworked for five years at the firm of Hardy Holzman Pfeiffer Associates in New York.Along the way, I became a landmarks preservation advocate, and established “The UrbanArchaeologist,” a research consulting firm in architectural history.3.
 
Around October 2010, I learned of the removal of the famous HarryBertoia sculptures (the cloud mobile and arbor-like enameled metal screen) from theinterior of the former Manufacturers Trust Company building. That prompted me tospearhead a campaign to obtain official landmark designation of the interior of thissuperb modernist building. I assembled a coalition of organizations under the name,Coalition to Save MHT, and with those partners, successfully advocated for the landmark designation of the interior which was awarded to the building in February, 2011.4.
 
The Manufacturers Trust Company building is well known to me as beingamong the world’s most-recognized masterpieces of mid-century American corporatemodernism, one of the greatest mid-century achievements of the International Style, anda key monument in the world’s shared cultural and artistic heritage. It is also a civic
 
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treasure; a supremely important building to New York City and is a familiar and beloved part of the Midtown streetscape, sharing a relatively short stretch of Fifth Avenue withsuch other designated landmarks as the Empire State Building, the former Tiffany & Co.Building at 37
th
St., the Central Research Division of New York Public Library, theformer Scribner’s Bookstore, Rockefeller Center, and the Plaza Hotel.5.
 
When the designer Charles Evans Hughes III won the intra-officecompetition at Skidmore Owings and Merrill and, under Gordon Bunshaft’s direction,created an x-ray of a Renaissance banker’s stone palazzo in clear plate glass gridded (andgirded) by polished aluminum mullions --complete with a visible escalator instead of asecretive grand stair to whisk you up to the lavishly appointed piano nobile, Bunshaft andHughes accomplished a revolution; creating a highly symbolic and richly expressivearchitectural design, while nonetheless using the austere minimalist vocabulary of International Style modernism.6.
 
The lightness of the building’s expressed structure and the transparency of its glass walls are a tangible symbolic expression of the new-found openness and fluidityof 20th century investment capitalism; bringing what was hidden and put away from theworld out into the light of day under the artificial daylight sky of the building’s famousluminous ceilings. The safe is the most tangible expression of this idea; being a cubicvolume clad entirely in black granite; like an old-fashioned, freestanding steel banker’ssafe, brought out from its traditional location in the cellar and carefully placed aboveground with its opening facing Fifth Avenue.7.
 
The unobstructed sweep of space of the building’s former banking halls on both the upper and lower levels is further expressive of this openness and expansive sense

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