Help Save The Players - Update - Why we are concerned
Photo by Alex Nguyen
Many of you continue to be concerned about the financial state of The Players and its future, and so I am including a link to audio of The Players financial report
delivered at their June 19th annual meeting
by treasurer Giacomo Selloni.
Both as a Trustee of Gramercy Park and President of The Gramercy Park Block Association, I am also deeply concerned about the future of The Players, a landmarked 1844 mansion which is part of the original Samuel B. Ruggles' 1831 Gramercy Park Trust.
Since a major focus of the GPBA mission is historic preservation, many of our neighbors have encouraged us to contact the Landmarks Preservation Commission, which has the legal authority to investigate and prosecute negligent owners of landmarked buildings - a legal process called "demolition by neglect." One definition of "demolition by neglect" is "the destruction of a building through lack of maintenance."
The Players is now approximately $4 million in debt and falling deeper into debt by many thousands each month. Over at least a five year period, scaffolding has been put up without the necessary repairs being made due to lack of funds. The current facade work has stopped because "since February, the club has owed the restoration company $55,000. Once that payment is made, they still need to pay an additional $285,000, and $11,500 to the architect."
According to preservation sources, when "owners do not have the financial means to take action" and "there is no option for economic relief, these owners will be forced to sell their homes and move out if they can not afford to make repairs, something that goes against the community enhancement purpose of historic preservation."
It would be truly a great American tragedy if The Players is allowed to deteriorate further, or worse yet, to be sold and moved to another location. The Players is not only a cultural treasure of the American people, but stands as a monument to theater life in New York City, as it houses one of the finest and rarest collections of theatrical literature and memorabilia.
We will continue to be vigilant and keep you informed.