June29, 2018 News

Morrison Cohen Spearheads Efforts to Preserve The Frick Collection

June 29, 2018 – Morrison Cohen is representing a group of conservationists, preservationists, open space activists, co-op boards, local residents and members of the Frick family who oppose the expansion plans of the world renowned Frick Collection in New York City. The group, Stop Irresponsible Frick Development (“SIFD”), is challenging the expansion plans put forward by the museum officials that will destroy elements of the famed Russell Page designed garden and the entire Music Room designed by John Russell Pope. The Frick’s plans will also permanently alter the Frick from its intended use as a house museum into a large commercial museum through the addition of approximately 87,000 square feet of space. The SIFD is committed to preserving the house museum’s historic elements and architecture, including its renowned Music Room and the Russell Page Garden. In particular, the Landmarks Preservation Commission is currently considering an application to designate the Music Room as a landmark, which SIFD supports.

The SIFD questions the recent Landmark Preservation Commission’s vote that approved the $160 million plan, and is considering its legal options as the Frick proceeds to try and obtain necessary zoning variances from the Board of Standards & Appeals. Morrison Cohen partner Y. David Scharf called the vote “fundamentally flawed” and offered several reasons why the vote was problematic, including the Landmark Preservation Commission’s lack of jurisdiction due to the fact that it is not in compliance with the requirements of the New York City Charter.

The team from Morrison Cohen representing SIFD incudes Y. David Scharf, David B. Saxe, Terrence K. McLaughlin, Aaron B. Lauchheimer and Michael Mix.

The opposition to The Frick Collection expansion has received extensive media coverage including the New York Times, New York Post, and New York Daily News among others. See below for examples of the coverage:


New York Times: As the Frick Expands, New York City Music Suffers
New York Times: Don’t Let the Frick Disappear
New York Times: Preservationists Protest New Frick Collection Expansion Plan
Courthouse News Service: Frick Renovation Plan Triggers Lawsuit, Protest
New York Daily News: Opponents of Frick Collection expansion plan suffer court setback
Upper East Side Patch: Preservation Group Opposes Frick Collection's Expansion
The Art Newspaper: Preservationists protest Frick expansion plan ahead of approval vote
New York Post: De Blasio’s latest corrupt scheme: letting his own lawyers lobby him
New York Post: Residents cry foul over de Blasio ‘conflict of interest’ with museum expansion
Law 360: $160M Frick Renovation Plan Gets Initial OK, Draws Criticism

Newsletter Mentions:

POLITICO New York Playbook 6/26/18
New York Times New York Today 6/26/18
ArtNews Morning Links 6/26/18
Apollo Magazine Art News Daily 6/26/18: Conservation groups protest against the Frick’s expansion plans