The New York Times gives a front-page boost to an effort by the New York Landmarks Conservancy, a private non-profit group, to prevent Aby Rosen from removing a Picasso tapestry. The tapestry is owned by the conservancy and hangs in a foyer of the Four Seasons restaurant, which is in the Seagram Building owned by Mr. Rosen's real estate company.
The Times article omits the context, which is that it is the second time that Mr. Rosen has seen his property rights infringed by landmarks extremists. As Edward Glaeser wrote in the New York Sun back in 2006 at the height of the previous battle, over the Parke-Bernet building at 980 Madison Ave.:
The core issue in this battle is respect for private property. Aby Rosen, not the community, owns 980 Madison Ave. The Landmarks Commission's stripping him of the ability to build would represent a great step in state power over private property. It seems odd for members of the normally non-socialist urban haute bourgeoisie to support so enthusiastically such a massive expropriation of private property.
The issue this time around is slightly different in that the private Landmarks Conservancy — different from the government Landmarks Commission — has its own property right in the tapestry. But the issue of the status quo versus change, and of Mr. Rosen's ability to do what he wants with a building he owns, is similar.