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Thread: Grant's Tomb

  1. #1

    Default Grant's Tomb


  2. #2

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    August 1, 2004

    MORNINGSIDE HEIGHTS

    Dust-Up Over Center for Grant's Tomb

    By ALEX MINDLIN


    The pavilion near Grant's Tomb was built in 1910 and overlooks the Hudson.

    Just across Riverside Drive from Grant's Tomb, at 122nd Street, is a little colonnaded pavilion, modeled after a Greek temple, with a cliffside view of the Hudson. The tomb itself, renovated in the mid-90's, is a gleaming white; not so the pavilion, which is the brown of a rotting tooth, and partly hidden behind scaffolding and chicken wire.

    This may soon change. Under the terms of a deal that will be the subject of a City Council hearing on Aug. 9, the city's Department of Parks and Recreation is seeking to yield partial ownership of the site to the National Park Service. In return the Park Service, which already oversees Grant's Tomb, would restore the hilltop pavilion, and also use its lower floor, which is below street level, as a visitor's center for the tomb. Long-closed bathrooms already on that floor would be fixed and reopened.

    But the plan has its opponents, chief among them Michael Gotkin, a preservationist and landscape architect. "If they want bathrooms and a gift shop," he said, "they should be building a small free-standing pavilion adjacent to the tomb." Mr. Gotkin said that an elevator for the handicapped to be installed beside the pavilion would be ugly and block northward views from within, that the transfer to federal ownership would leave the city's Landmarks Preservation Commission powerless to protect the site, and that the pavilion is historically unconnected to the tomb.

    "You can't see the tomb" from the pavilion, which was built for the views of the Palisades, he said. "We're on one of the highest points in Manhattan; that's why they're both here," he added. "They're not related physically or historically." The tomb was built in 1897, the pavilion in 1910.

    The move would rid the tomb of book racks and museum displays that now occupy a corner of its giant, spare upper floor. "The tomb was originally built with no visitor services at all," said Steve Laise, chief of interpretation for the Park Service's Manhattan sites. "It was intended to be a very dignified mausoleum. Any intrusion of that kind is a compromise with the purpose of the tomb."

    This is not Mr. Gotkin's first clash with the Park Service over the tomb, which had more than 67,000 visitors last year. In 1997, several years after the tomb was transferred to federal control, the Park Service tried to remove a long stretch of psychedelic, slightly garish mosaic benches, designed in the 1970's, that lined one side of the monument. Mr. Gotkin helped organize protests that ultimately stopped the removal.

    Copyright 2004 The New York Times Company

  3. #3

    Default Grant's Tomb

    He's nuts. The pavilion needs restoration, and getting the postcards out of the tomb makes perfect sense.

  4. #4

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    August 8, 2004

    THE CITY

    Companion to Grant's Tomb, Now Dilapidated

    To the Editor:

    Contrary to a statement made in "Dust-Up Over Center for Grant's Tomb" (Aug. 1), the neoclassically styled pavilion overlooking the Hudson across the street from Grant's Tomb was carefully sited. Its lower level provided restrooms for visitors to the tomb. In 1910, when the pavilion was completed, Grant's Tomb received more visitors than the Statue of Liberty.

    Installing an elevator for the handicapped would not be ideal for that historic structure, but there is a solution. The overlook is too small to be an adequate visitor center by itself, but if expanded underground beneath the street to accommodate additional facilities, it could be linked to a new entrance accessible to the handicapped and situated on the same side of the street as the tomb.

    Either way, it only makes sense that the National Park Service assume ownership of the now run-down structure, which the City of New York fails to maintain. For that matter, the city has long neglected the pathways that it owns surrounding the tomb, and should grant the Park Service ownership of this land, too.

    Frank Scaturro
    New Hyde Park, N.Y.
    The writer is president, Grant Monument Association.

    Copyright 2004 The New York Times Company

  5. #5

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    Some recent info:

    Grant’s Tomb Still Neglected
    By Lauren Melnick
    Columbia Spectator

    November 30, 2005


    After years of neglect, recent attempts to restore the pavilion located at Grant’s Tomb remain unrealized.

    Financial setbacks have plagued the project. The NPS initially budgeted $1.4 million for the project, but the lowest construction bid came in approximately $1 million higher.

    As a result, the NPS had to revise the project in order to cut costs. In mid-October, they released new plans to contractors in hopes of securing an acceptable bid.

    The National Park Service released plans more than 15 months ago to restore the rundown pavilion across the street from Grant’s Tomb, which houses the remains of Civil War General and former President Ulysses S. Grant, to its original design. The NPS proposed adding a handicap-accessible elevator, restrooms, and a visitor’s center, complete with a bookstore and historical displays.

    “Ideally we can negotiate a bid, come to terms, and award a contract,” said Jim Pepper, superintendent of the National Park Service, Manhattan Sites. “We are currently reviewing the bids to see if we can get someone on board.”

    Pepper said the NPS is currently working to finalize the job costs and assess the work that needs to be done, noting the importance of this project to the Grant’s Tomb site as well as the community as a whole.

    “This is an important opportunity because it would mean the restoration of a beautiful building,” he said. “We’re working hard to see that this happens, but there is no way to know as of now.”

    The Grant Monument Association, a non-profit organization that formally operated and maintained the tomb until 1959 when stewardship was ceded to the NPS, said that it is equally interested in seeing the renovations occur.

    “We are thrilled that finally, after decades, attention has been paid to the tomb and pavilion,” said Ed Hochman, president of the GMA. “The sites originally had strikingly beautiful panoramic views. They are disgraces at this point.”

    Hochman said his main goal is ensuring that the project gets the funding it needs.

    “My only concern is that the NPS is given enough money to do the job right,” he said. “The problem lies in what you’re willing to pay for. If you see what the market will bear, you either have to raise the budget or forgo the project.”

  6. #6

    Default Not possible

    Quote Originally Posted by czsz
    Some recent info:

    Grant’s Tomb Still Neglected
    By Lauren Melnick
    Columbia Spectator

    November 30, 2005


    After years of neglect, recent attempts to restore the pavilion located at Grant’s Tomb remain unrealized.

    Financial setbacks have plagued the project. The NPS initially budgeted $1.4 million for the project, but the lowest construction bid came in approximately $1 million higher.



    What? NYC cant find the resourses to save a Pergola, I just give up.

  7. #7

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    It belongs to the NPS

  8. #8

    Default Achicrime

    Quote Originally Posted by ZippyTheChimp
    It belongs to the NPS
    OH, well. I mean - cant NYC do somthing about this (somehow take over the project or find local funding) the building is about to fall down: I am not exagerating, large sections of the roof are collapsing - I pass there regularly.

    All I can (or should I say -will do) is post pics, so mabe it will get the attention it deserves.

    This is just another of one of those things that baffles me about this city.

    But, I'll have to live with it - but not without a little protest!

    cheers
    Last edited by infoshare; December 1st, 2005 at 06:43 PM.

  9. #9
    Disgruntled Optimist lofter1's Avatar
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    ^ Calling Bette Midler ...



    http://www.nyrp.org/

  10. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by czsz
    Financial setbacks have plagued the project. The NPS initially budgeted $1.4 million for the project, but the lowest construction bid came in approximately $1 million higher.
    I can tell you. I'm an architect, know/have done classical work, and even $1.4 m is insane for this project. Let alone $2.4m. The foundation, structure, and finished stone are fine. They just need cleaning. And the roof is just wood and copper. The roof beams and copper sheating are rotten and have to be replaced. A 3 month job in good weather. $800k max with a 20% float. Sometimes contractors just see the City/Parks//NPS as a cash cow. Spending other people's money.

    Maybe Columbia's Preservation department can get a studio involved with working on this in order to make it happen.

  11. #11
    Build the Tower Verre antinimby's Avatar
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    Reminds me of the famous Plymouth Rock Pavilion in Massachussetts:


  12. #12

    Default Pavillion

    There has been some recent activity at the Grants Tomb pavillion.

    The squatter who has been living in the lower level has been evicted and the entrance door boarded-up with a 'No Tresspassing' sign attached. Also, in the same lower level area; overgrown bushes where cut down, mattresses and debris removed, and the whole area cleaned-up.

    I believe that the recent clean-up work done there may have been due to recent postings here in NYW. Whatever the reason I am glad to see the change.
    The general public (no pun intended) can now go down an enjoy the view of the hudson river from the lower section of the pavilion.

    Now, mabe the next flurry of activity there will come from "Bette Midler" and her renovation crew.

    A Google base image of the Pavilion posted below. BTW - You cant tell from the graphic, but the Pavillion elevation is About 150 feet above the Hudson. This is a unique place that has been burried in sh*t for years - there is not excuse imo for nyc to have let this stand for so long. On a positive not - come up and enjoy view - now open for the first time in many years.
    Last edited by infoshare; October 28th, 2007 at 11:09 AM.

  13. #13
    Build the Tower Verre antinimby's Avatar
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    Squatters? Mattresses? Is that how we show our respect to our great Civil War hero and a former president, mind you? If it wasn't so shameful, it actually would've been quite funny.

  14. #14
    Disgruntled Optimist lofter1's Avatar
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    A lot of our former Presidents deserve no better in the respect department (besides they get a life-time salary + perks -- seems that is "respect" enough).

  15. #15

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    The tomb building itself and most of its surroundings are serenely beautiful --a bit of a rarity in New York.

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