The Frick Collection expansion plan raises serious concerns with the community, and will demolish a historic and cultural resource.


There is an active lawsuit focused on reducing the massive expansion that will block significant architectural details of the beautiful john russell pope building

The Frick Collection is a world renown cultural gem in the Upper East Side of NYC. The community has many concerns about the Frick’s proposed expansion. The plan will demolish and erase the one-of-a-kind John Russell Pope Music Room. The plan also proposes to obstruct the architectural details of the Frick Art Reference Library as seen from Central Park and destroy the integrity of Frick as a house museum.


Any redevelopment must preserve historic elements, including the famous, last of its kind Music Room. The house museum must also take steps to ensure the new buildings are architecturally consistent with the existing elements. The current plan fails on both accounts.


The Frick Collection stands apart in New York City’s cultural fabric as a historic house museum, not an institutional museum. The new plan would create new entertainment spaces whose function extends far beyond the programmatic needs of a house museum and will open the floodgates for the over-commercialization of yet another museum in New York City. The Frick is coopting a public resource as a private catering hall for only those who can afford it.

Disregard Of Public Input

In a strange twist, the community has been charged with the task of proving that the Frick has not met the minimum variance — which must be done as part of the zoning regulations law. The community hired an architect to present alternative designs to the Board of Standards and Appeals (zoning) yet the Chair of the Board of Standards and Appeals denied the community the opportunity to share those plans. Those plans proved that an alternative plan for the Frick exists.

Concern With The PLan

The Renowned Music Room
The Renowned Music Room

1. The Renowned Music Room Will Be Destroyed To Accommodate The Proposed Conservation Building

The renowned Music Room has for over eighty years served as New York City’s premier venue for chamber music concerts and recitals. The Music Room has hosted over a thousand performances, and hundreds of live concerts from WNYC.  The proposed expansion plan unnecessarily results in the destruction of the Music Room despite several viable alternatives. The Music Room is regularly viewed by the public and sought for use by classical musicians, and is a central and irreplaceable element of the Frick Collection. The Music Room is a historic and cultural resource for the community. The demolition of this space will have an adverse effect on the public and the future of chamber music. The Music Room is a one-of-a-kind space where the public can experience chamber music as it was intended to be experienced. Demolishing this space erases one of the last venues for chamber music.

The Russell Page Garden
The Russell Page Garden

2. The Russell Page Garden Will Be Destroyed

Despite the frick collection’s claims that they will fully restore the russell page garden, the current proposal will destroy and alter numerous elements of the garden. as several landscape historians have stated in their testimony to the landmarks preservation commission, the new library tower will encroach on the north side of the garden, making it impossible to preserve the garden’s north wall. this includes the south-facing cornices referenced by the landmarks preservation commission when the building was originally landmarked, and the iconic elevated tree plantings at the top of the wall. the redesign will also include the installation of large glass panels in place of the north wall’s existing windows, which deviates from page’s original design. the glass panels and increase in height of the surrounding walls will lead to changing patterns of sun and shadow that will further alter the garden’s aesthetics. the russell page garden is a world-renowned artistic and horticultural icon, and we must not allow the frick to move forward with a redevelopment that eliminates its signature architectural elements.

3. The Proposed Development Will Overwhelm The Beautiful, Iconic Mansion At The Center Of The House Museum

Building a new structure over the renowned music room is the equivalent of adding a seven story building to the house museum. additionally, the all-glass connecting passage between the library and the new structure is not consistent with both the existing landmarked architecture as well as the architecture of the proposed conservation building. we must protect and preserve the house museum’s historic elements and original architecture.

Harmful Expansion Plan for the Frick Collection
Proposed Reception Hall Design

4. The Proposed Café Adjacent To The Russell Page Garden Is Unnecessary And Problematic

The proposed café will introduce a serious risk of rodent infestation in the adjacent russell page garden. we should learn from the metropolitan museum of art, which was forced to eliminate its garden adjacent to the new food service café after it became a rodent breeding ground. The proposed café, catering operation, auditorium, and education center are attempts to commercialize the house museum and create revenue by booking external events. we must not allow the desire to commercialize the frick collection to further threaten the iconic russell page garden.

Get Involved

Time is running out to stop the frick from moving forward with an irresponsible development plan. the board of standards and appeals will meet for its fourth hearing on Tuesday January 28th. email chair perlmutter and the bsa ( to make your voice heard. we cannot let the frick collection become another commercialized museum in new york city.

Join The Coalition

We are a group of concerned neighbors, preservationists, and open space activists who stand for responsible development of New York City's historic Frick Collection.