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United Hias Praised by N.Y. City Commission for Landmark Rescue

The United Hias Service was praised here today by the city’s Landmark Preservation Commission for the “vision” and “pioneering spirit” which made it an active participant in rescuing one of New York’s finest landmarks from pointless destruction. Hias’ former headquarters, which previously had been New York’s first great public library, has been acquired by the New York Shakespeare Festival which operates the Shakespeare-in-Central Park program. This purchase was the first example of how New York’s new Landmarks Preservation Law can work to save important buildings.

Geoffrey Platt, chairman of the Commission, said: “The Board of Directors of the United Hias Service viewed their responsibilities in the broadest possible terms. In addition to helping thousands of persons to begin new lives in free countries, they were also anxious to serve all the citizens of New York by saving the old Astor Library building. This building was the center of New York’s cultural life during the second half of the Nineteenth Century.

“With Hias’ outstanding cooperation, an important precedent has been set. People will no longer have the fatalistic attitude that nothing can be done to save our finest buildings from the past. New York City is very grateful to the United Hias Service.”