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Should the 5th Ave Frick Museum Buy Jeffrey Epstein’s Old Mansion?

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Preservationists are reportedly calling on the Frick Museum at 1 East 70th Street to buy the late convicted pedophile Jeffrey Epstein’s old Upper East Side mansion. Photo Credit: thirteen.org

By: Jeff Sagorties

Preservationists are reportedly calling on the Frick Museum at 1 East 70th Street to buy the late convicted pedophile Jeffrey Epstein’s old Upper East Side mansion.

The museum is currently in the process of expanding its facilities, a move that has riled some neighbors.

Several groups, including ones called Save the Frick and Stop Irresponsible Frick Development, are involved. Indeed, the Frick Collection’s planned expansion has had local residents upset over the prospect for years. One part of the expansion involves getting rid of the Frick’s music room and using the space instead to expand an exhibition area.

The director of Save the Frick, an architect and preservationist named Theodore Grunewald, has voiced the opinion that the planned changes to the museum’s music room would not be necessary if it purchased several nearby houses, including the one that belonged to Epstein.

However, Frick COO maintains that the Frick would not have to do this if it buys Epstein’s mansion at 9 East 71st Street and other nearby houses.

According to Frick’s chief operating officer Joe Shatoff, however, such a move would do nothing to help the museum realize its goals. “Our renovation and revitalization plan has been guided carefully by two key tenets — first and foremost, to preserve the unique, intimate experience of the Frick, and secondly, to ensure the long-term future of the museum and library,” he said in a statement to the New York Daily News. “A separate building across the street does not answer these needs and would not provide the critical adjacencies required to make it a functional solution.”

Facets of the Frick’s expansion strategy include remodeling nearly 6,000 square feet for use as an education center. It would also improve wheelchair accessibility and allow greater public access.

Internationally recognized as a premier museum and research center, the Frick is known for its distinguished Old Master paintings and outstanding examples of European sculpture and decorative arts, the museum points out on its web site.

“The collection was assembled by the Pittsburgh industrialist Henry Clay Frick (1849–1919) and is housed in his former residence on Fifth Avenue. One of New York City’s few remaining Gilded Age mansions, it provides a tranquil environment for visitors to experience masterpieces by artists such as Bellini, Rembrandt, Vermeer, Gainsborough, Goya, and Whistler. The museum opened in 1935 and has continued to acquire works of art since Mr. Frick’s death.”

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