In a letter to Frick Collection Director Ian Wardropper, ASLA NY president Jeannette Compton urged the Frick to reconsider the project. “The Frick’s plans should seek to balance the benefits of economic development with the need to retain sufficient green space in our urban environment… The garden is an important work of art in its own right. It is a significant piece in the Frick’s collection.”
Citing documents presented to the Landmarks Commission in 1973, USF is accusing the Frick’s leadership of reneging on a promise to make the garden a permanent fixture. “The Frick Collection has decided to abandon its long-range plans for a wing covering the three vacant lots… thus enabling the proposed garden to become a permanent feature instead of the interim garden previously submitted to the Commission,” those documents read. “The Trustees have now decided to install a permanent architectural garden on these lots.” USF also blasted the Frick over the programming of the expansion, which includes many revenue-generating functions such as a larger gift store and café, as well as loading docks, offices, and an underground auditorium that don’t directly serve the display of the collection. The group is urging the Frick to redesign the expansion to save the landscape and build with a smaller profile.
More damning, former Frick director Everett Fahy has publicly opposed the plan. “At the very least, the architects have to go back to the drawing table,” he told Bloomberg. “I can’t believe anything close to the current designs would be approved by Landmarks.”
Ultimately, the Frick Collection must go before the Landmarks Preservation Commission next year to present its case for the expansion.