Photo by Jake Dobkin.

Earlier this year you voted that the I.M. Pei-designed NYU Silver Towers were, well, an ugly eyesore. The Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation has held strong, however, and for five years has been fighting for their rights. Well, their day has come. The buildings, and the "Portrait of Sylvette" Picasso sculpture accompanying them, have been landmarked. From the press release:

The New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission (LPC) voted today to designate the complex and its sculpture a New York City landmark, ending a five-year campaign by the GVSHP to preserve the complex.

NYU owns the land under the complex and two of the three towers (the third is a moderate-income housing complex for neighborhood residents NYU was required to build). [The University] wished to build a 40-story tower on the soon-to-be-landmarked open space north of the Picasso sculpture, blocking the public view of the art work. GVSHP adamantly opposed the plan, saying it violated the entire notion of landmarking the complex, and urged the LPC to protect the open space as part of its designation.

The LPC's designation report, approved at today's meeting, acknowledges the importance of the open space as integral to the design, thus making their required approval of construction of a tower in this area by the LPC in the future highly unlikely.

Score one for the post-war urban renewal superblock development! If the 40-story building were to have gone up, could the sculpture have become the new St. Ann's? The LPC also voted to landmark the former Baumann Bros. store (now the New School), 144 West 14th Street, now Pratt Institutute's Manhattan campus, Guardian Life Insurance Company of America Annex, Morris B. Sanders Studio and Apartment, Red Hook Play Center and Pool, and Fire Engine Company No. 54.