What The Community Is Saying

Many respected conservationists, historians, architects, horticulturists, and members of the Frick family have voiced their concerns with the Frick Collection’s proposed expansion.  Learn more about the concerns the community has raised in public testimony to the Landmarks Preservation Commission and the Board of Standards and Appeals.

we do have some recommendations for continued improvement of the proposal. First, we find that the façade of the reference library and its connection to the addition have not been resolved. A true setback at the band course, and textural finishes on the “link building” may offer a more amenable design solution. Second, the one-story addition over the reception hall may be better expressed as a skylight. Indeed, a mock-up would help to visualize this alternative, or any proposed alteration. Finally, we regret the loss of the Music Room. We understand that the interior is not designated and therefore this decision is entirely at the discretion of the Frick Collection leadership.
- Municipal Arts Society
"We respectfully request the Commission to reject the proposed revisions and encourage the design team to return with a proposal that honors both the garden and the current programmatic goals."
- Charles A. Birnbaum, President, CEO, and Founder of The Cultural Landscape Foundation
"The Frick Collection is unique. Housed as it is in a once-private home, the Collection provides a respite from the hectic experience of New York art museums, while also offering an intimate experience of masterpieces in a setting where they were lived with and enjoyed by the Frick family. The Frick Collection is, in fact, a sanctuary for the public, just as it was for Henry Clay Frick. Please keep it that way."
- Martha Frick Symington Sanger, great-granddaughter of Henry Clay Frick and author of three award-winning books on Frick and his family, houses, and gardens
"It is unfortunate that the rearrangement of bulk has been made possible in part by sacrificing the original configuration of a wonderful interior space, John Russell Pope’s music room. While we understand that the interior is not within the LPC’s purview, the museum is a much beloved public space and we wonder if further study might allow for the retention of the music room."
- The Historic Districts Council
"It is clear that some aspects of the expansion would adversely affect the integrity of the Russell Page-designed viewing garden on East 70th Street, a rare public commission undertaken by Page and his only design in New York City."
- Charles A. Birnbaum, President, CEO, and Founder of The Cultural Landscape Foundation
"The Music Room (1938) & Reception Hall (1977) are key layers in the Frick's architectural history. Sacrificing two of its very best, most historically significant rooms is a mistake we will regret for generations to come."
- Theodore Grunewald, Vice President of the Committee to Save the New York Public Library
"Remembering the legend of Cinderella, the Frick is a small glass slipper, into which two ugly sisters - standard museological practice and ambitious museum governance - are trying to force their enormous feet. Their wish-list of new facilities can be dangerous: in reality, a glass slipper can break."
- Christabel Gough, Secretary of the Society for the Architecture of the City

Fact Or Friction?

The Frick has told the public and our city agencies several untruths. You be the judge

The Frick says that they don’t expect an increase in visitation.

If an increase in pedestrian and vehicular traffic is anticipated, the Frick will have to undergo an extensive Environmental Impact Survey, which could show adverse effects on the community. It is in their best interest to deny that they expect an increase in attendance.

“This is not designed to increase visitors.”
“We’re not anticipating having more shows or additional shows and we’re not anticipating an increase in attendance as a result (of the expansion)”
Gary Tarnoff, Kramer Levin (attorney representing the Frick)

It is clear that the increases in the space are related to visitor services which is + 100%. Administrative space + 30%

On the duration of the project:

The Frick has repeatedly claimed that the expansion is a 2-year project however different members of the Frick administration have quoted longer durations. At a well attended meeting in November of 2019, Ian Wardropper publicly stated that the project would take 4 years end-to-end.v

Stretching the truth at Community Board 8:

When asked if the variances were necessary for ADA compliance, Frick counsel Gary Tarnoff of Kramer Levin stated that only 1 variance would be necessary. The Frick is conflating the issue of wanting additional space and ADA compliance.

We can’t move our offices offsite and we Need a cafe:

As a 501c3 there is nothing that dictates that the offices need to be onsite – nor is there a programmatic need for a cafe. A cafe is a “want” and the Frick is creating their own hardship as it relates to their “need” for space.