The New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission has 95 properties on its calendar, some of which have been there for decades, all of which are there to be considered as landmarks or denied and the owner given permission to do with it what they will. When Bill de Blasio took office he promised to wipe the slate clean and clear the backlog, and his commissioner, Meenakshi Srinivasan, plans to do just that next Tuesday. Some of the buildings, writes The New York Times' Michael Kimmelman, are obvious ones to save. Others have a more uncertain future. And some have a history that makes them intriguing if not a shoo-in, like the Bergdorf Goodman department store on Fifth Avenue, which, in 1928, replaced the razed mansion of Cornelius Vanderbilt II, a building designed by George B. Post and Richard Morris Hunt that certainly would have been preserved had the political winds been blowing in that direction at the beginning of the 20th century.

So Kimmelman has room to analyze what makes a landmark (the Pepsi sign overlooking the East River?) and if the criteria is purely aesthetics and architecture, or set by cultural capital, and who gets to choose if that's important.

Read Michael Kimmelman's full column in The New York Times.

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