Lawsuit Filed With Appellate Division On October 13, 2021 - Frick Continues To Demolish Our National Historic Landmark

Respondents [FRICK COLLECTION / KRAMER LEVIN] erroneously claim that the land use review process in support of the variance took the requisite statutorily required “hard look” at the environmental consequences of the drastic variations from the zoning rules governing the district.

In particular, the destruction of a historical and cultural resource, defined in accordance with §160 of the CEQR Technical Manual, was ignored in the environmental review process. The zoning variance at issue allowed for the destruction of the iconic Music Room. The Music Room formed an integral part of the interior of The Frick, which is recognized as a historic resource. The interior of The Frick is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and on the State Register of Historic Places (A. 138). The exterior of The Frick is recognized by the New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission (“LPC”) as a city landmark.

The large exterior glass domed ceiling of The Music Room is part of the landmarked exterior portion of The Frick (A. 199, 200, 228, 808-813, and Exhibit “A” to NYSCEF Doc. #6). This crucial fact was completely ignored by The New York City Board of Standards and Appeals (“BSA”) in approving the Frick’s proposal to cover this exterior portion of The Frick with additional floors to extend above the previously sky facing glass domed ceiling of The Music Room. Respondents are now taking the position that this proceeding is moot because the Frick has taken a wrecking ball to The Music Room in an effort to eviscerate its historical qualities before this appeal can be heard. Respondents have offered no evidence in relation to possible restoration or preservation of the unique acoustical elements of The Music Room and its iconic circular glass ceiling. Respondents argue that this Court should be divested of jurisdiction because in a rush to complete the destruction of The Music Room, The Music Room no longer exists. However, Respondents fail to offer any rationale as to why the project could not have moved forward with sensitivity and regard for the historic and irreplaceable elements of The Music Room. The Respondents offer no economic necessity or financial risk that would have been suffered by The Frick Collection in taking a modicum of minimally protective measures to protect the iconic and irreplaceable acoustical elements of The Music Room.

Community Files Lawsuit Protecting Frick Music Room From Demolition

In March of 2020, chair Perlmutter of the NYC Board of Standards and Appeals rubber stamped the Frick’s request for multiple variances that will destroy the character of the historic upper east side neighborhood and the world renown Music Room among several other architecturally important spaces. During the course of the BSA process, Margery Perlmutter said that she “personally would love to see the music room kept” but then actively argued in favor of the Frick’s proposal to demolish it. Now, the community must take legal action to protect this “historic and culturally significant” landmark (as determined by the New York State Historic Preservation Office).


Board Of Standards And Appeals Public Hearing On The Prick Expansion

Tuesday FEB 25th | 22 READE STREET | 1pm

EMAIL THE BSA YOUR TESTIMONY – MAKE YOUR VOICE HEARD – Any email to must have the BSA calendar number (# 2018-171-BZ) , property address and scheduled hearing date in the subject title.

City Journal: Degrading a Masterpiece

nNw york’s glorious frick collection does not deserve its planned mutilation.

The New York Times: As the Frick Expands, New York City Music Suffers

“For 80 years, New York audiences — and critics, including me — have felt as much affection for the Frick’s music room as the artists who have performed there, even ones of international renown. It truly is the closest thing to a 19th-century music salon this city has to offer.”

New York Post: Descendants of Henry Clay Frick warring over planned Frick Museum renovation

(T)he board of the Frick is pushing for a major expansion and renovation of the Fifth Avenue building, originally a 1914 Gilded Age mansion, which would see the music room demolished to install a large modern auditorium, cafeteria, bookshop and administrative offices.

The Real Deal:

“Frick is in the midst of an expansion plan that has attracted a lot of resistance”

New York Daily News:

“Critics of the Frick’s controversial expansion plan argue that the late financier’s pricey townhouse at 9 E. 71st St. would be much better suited to house the art museum’s proposed additions, instead of sacrificing existing areas of the Gilded Age gallery where industrialist and art patron Henry Clay Frick amassed his treasures”.


“The groups claims that the Frick's expansion is an attempt to commercialize what was once a house museum meant to display a small private collection.”