Published: November 21, 2006
Responsibility for the Seventh Regiment Armory was formally transferred to the Seventh Regiment Conservancy on November 14, clearing the way for long delayed and much needed repairs to the Tiffany-decorated landmark at Park Avenue and 66th Street.
“We signed the lease some time ago but now it is fully executed,” said the Conservancy’s chief executive, Rebecca Robertson, who was personally congratulated by the Adjutant General after the lease was approved. The Armory has long been managed by New York’s Department of Military Affairs.
“We’re working out transition details. After that, planning and design will take two to three years. During that time, we will be doing clean-up projects, such as restoring the doors and fixing the bathrooms,” said Robertson.
The Seventh Regiment Armory is Manhattan’s premier venue for art and antiques shows. Robertson said she anticipated few changes to the show calendar over the next several years.
“We have been meeting with dealers and dealer associations. We will be doing more of that. It’s business as usual for the foreseeable future,” said the administrator, whose group will oversee the $150 million improvement project, schedule events and lease space to arts organizations.
The Conservancy’s plans to air condition the Armory and rent it to performing arts groups during the summer months, traditionally an off season in Manhattan for art and antiques shows, met minor opposition from neighborhood residents. As reported in the New York Sun, billionaire Henry Kravis and entertainer Woody Allen are among those who fear increased traffic and other problems associated with increased use of the building. Opponents voiced their disapproval of Conservancy plans at several recent Community Board meetings.
“The misinformation campaign has been terribly alarming, but we find that people are convinced once when we sit down with them. We’ve made a lot of friends,” said Robertson. She added, “We hope to improve the traffic situation for benefit nights, set up and break down.”
Sanford L. Smith, who produces four of his own shows in the Armory each year, has spoken in favor of the Conservancy at recent Community Board meetings.
“I’ve been working with the Conservancy for the last year and a half. The Seventh Regiment Armory needs to be fixed. Its systems are antiquated. The state never put a dime into this building. I believe the Conservancy is of honest character and will do what it says its going to do,” said Smith.
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