Tammany Hall Designated A Landmark

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tammanyThe Historic Districts Council, along with the Union Square Community Coalition (USCC) have been advocating for the designation of Tammany Hall for several years (USCC first asked for its designation in 1984). Finally, at the end of October the New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission (LPC) voted to designate Tammany Hall an individual landmark

Two years ago, the Landmarks Preservation Commission entered into a Stand Still Agreement with the building’s owner – which is a strategy the agency sometimes employs to work towards designation (essentially this is a legal agreement which says, for a proscribed period of time, the LPC agrees not to designate the property and the owner agrees not to demolish it). That plan seems to have worked, at the final designation meeting there was no opposition and a representative of the owner indicated that the owner was “not opposing the designation and looked forward to continuing the relationship with the LPC.”

Tammany Hall has a long history based in New York politics and in its later years, became synonymous with political corruption. The building was designed by Thompson Holmes and Converse and Charles B. Meyers, and was the last home of the fabled political club. The Tammany Society essentially ran New York City politics, and had great influence in New York State politics,  from the 1790’s through the 1930’s. This 1929 Colonial Revival building was the Tammany Society’s final home and the facade decoration reflects the nativist affections of the Society. The building is now occupied by The New York Film Academy and The Union Square Theater.


4 thoughts on “Tammany Hall Designated A Landmark

  1. James S. KaplanJames S. Kaplan

    I testified on behalf of the McManus Midtown Democratic Club and the National Democratic Club at the hearing before the New York City landmarks Commission on June 25 in favor of the landmark designation of the building at 100 West 17th Street, the last headquarters of Tammany Hall. While as your article correctly notes there was virtually no opposition to the long overdue landmark designation of the building,
    our organizations and my testimony took significant issue with the view of most speakers and, to some extent, the landmarks staff that Tammany Hall was “synonymous with political corruption.” In fact, as my testimony pointed out, at the time the building opened in 1929, leaders of the New York State Democratic party, headquartered in Tammany Hall, lead the Democratic party nationally. Al Smith, who had just been defeated by Herbert Hoover in the 1928 Presidential election was present at the opening as was the popular Mayor Jimmy Walker, and we believe newly -elected Governor Franklin Roosevelt, Al Smith’s hand picked successor. Smith’s key aide Frances Perkins, would go on to serve as the New York State Labor Commissioner under Roosevelt and later Secretary of Labor for all four terms of Roosevelt’s Presidency. In the latter capacity she designed and implemented most of the social welfare policies of the New Deal, including social security and the Fair Labor Standards Act (With my testimony, I entered into the record my article in Financial history magazine “Frances Perkins: the Woman Who Created Social Security and the Modern Middle Class). I stated that it does a gross disservice to the history of the City of New York to dismiss Tammany Hall as ‘synonymous with political corruption”, as does your article. Certainly that was not how most New York voters viewed it at the time the building opened.
    It is unfortunate that your report of the landmark designation did not mention my testimony (which was significantly mentioned in most press reports of the hearing), and uncritically accepts the distortions of later “reform” politicians. Any one who would like copies of my testimony can email me at Jkaplan@herzfeld-rubin.com, or for a history of Tammany in later period google my name and “Tammany’s Last Stand.”

  2. Avon

    It’s kind of ridiculous that one must read the Comments to find out where the hell the building actually IS.
    But then again, it’s kind of preposterous that one (like me) might live in NYC for 32 years and counting, without ever having learned where the building is. In fact, only by reading the prior Comment did I find out that there was more than one. (Duh. Madison Square Garden, the Met Opera, and even City Hall have been moved at one or more times.) So, I guess, I should get all gracious and everything, and just say “Thanks!”

  3. James S. KaplanJames S. Kaplan

    Google “Jim McManus” and “Tammany’s last stand” for an article in True News on how the McManus Democratic Club, the last of theTammany clubs in Manhattan fought to save Hell’s Kitchen and the theatre district in the late 1970’s and 1980’s (twenty-five years after the fall of DeSapio). Earlier this year more than 750 people, including Andrew Cuomo, Bill Deblasio (and Christine Quinn, Bill Thompson and John Liu) and Nancy Pelosi attended the Club’s annual St. Patrick’s day party at TGI Friday’s , the morning before the parade.


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