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Letter to Editor: A Model to Help Rationally Analyze the St. Paul’s Morass

Garden City resident James Bauer submitted the following letter to the editor.

The board of trustees as well as all citizens interested in the future of St. Paul’s would be well served by studying the restoration currently underway of the Park Avenue Armory at 68th Street and Park Avenue in Manhattan as well as its business model.

There are some similarities between the armory and St. Paul’s as well as significant differences that can serve to guide the village as it struggles with the future of the St. Paul’s.

  • Both buildings were built in the 1880s and include significant interior and exterior architectural details.
  • Both have been cited as being of historical significance worthy of preservation.
  • Both have been subject to many years of neglect resulting in exterior and interior damage.
There are also significant differences that need to be considered for the future of St. Paul’s.

The armory has the following assets:
  • Has established a clear-cut and focused mission that can help to support its restoration: “The Armory provides a unique space for artists and curators to mount exhibitions that could not be done anywhere else in New York City. It is going to offer unparalleled opportunities to the art community here…"
  • Is located in the center of Manhattan, providing convenient access for millions of people.
  • Has significant ($200 million) funding for its restoration raised from institutional and individual sponsors.
  • Has one of the world’s leading architectural firms (Herzog & deMeuron) working on its restoration.
  • Has a large full-time professional staff focusing on fundraising, restoration and arts programming.
  • Has an existing and growing revenue stream from various arts-related events.

In contrast, St. Paul’s does not have any of the assets that the armory enjoys.

The armory is regularly open for tours; taking a tour would be an eye-opening experience and should be mandatory for the board of trustees and any citizens interested in trying to resolve what the village should do with St. Paul’s.

Further information and photos of the armory are availalable on its website: http://www.armoryonpark.org/.

Don Carss March 01, 2012 at 08:56 PM
The Seventh Regiment and Squadron A have a far wealthier and prestigious alumni than little St. Pauls. The armory has been a bastion of New York blue bloods. Much easier for them to raise funds.
GCTaxpayer March 02, 2012 at 12:43 AM
Don, Those that want to save St. Paul's at any cost constantly compare it to other entities that are far larger or have far more resources to pour into a building. First it was run it like a conservancy as Central Park is run. One major difference, Central Park has billions in real estate ringing it and tons of old money protecting that investment living in those buildings. They donate millions every year. Now we compare it to the armory. Which as you point out, has a very prestigious alum. It all comes down to money and GC taxpayers are tapped out.
jbauer March 02, 2012 at 04:42 AM
The point of my letter was that clearly St Paul's has few, if any of the assets of the armory; its supporters do not understand the challenges of restoration. This makes any meaningful restoration a non-starter.

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