Letter to the Editor: Preservation Advocates Respond to Crain’s Editorial


Published by Crain’s New York on January 18, 2015
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The conversation about the proposed expansion of the Frick Collection has focused on the 1977 Russell Page Garden (Editorial, “Expand the Frick museum,” Jan. 5). While our support of its preservation is steadfast, it is worth reiterating some of the other reasons we find this plan to be inappropriate.

The bulk of the proposed addition is enormous. Viewed from Fifth Avenue or Central Park, it will overwhelm the original Henry Clay Frick mansion, a National Historic Landmark. And yet the net increase in exhibition space would be a mere 3,600 square feet. Thus, a large proportion of this massive new building would be used almost entirely for backstage functions.

Other Upper East Side art institutions have thoughtfully reassessed their interiors, finding efficiencies and new space. Such a process is worth a second look at the Frick. Also, the museum could purchase the ground-floor, two-story condominium unit next door at 11 E. 70th St.

Friends of the Upper East Side is not against the Frick’s expansion. We simply do not believe this proposal is the way to go about it.

—Tara Kelly
    Executive Director
    Friends of the Upper East Side Historic Districts

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