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Aleppo, Venice, Berlin Gas Lamps Make 2014 Watch List

Cruise Route, Venice
The current dangerous route of the cruises through the historic center in Venice. The Italian city has seen tourism increase by 400 percent in the past 5 years, undermining the quality of life for its residents, the World Monuments Fund says. Photographer: Stefano Bassetti/World Monuments Fund via Bloomberg

Oct. 8 (Bloomberg) -- The city of Venice, which has been overrun by cruise-ship traffic and tourists, and New Jersey’s Hudson River Palisades are among 67 sites that need to be preserved, the World Monuments Fund said today.

The fund’s 2014 World Monuments Watch includes the Jefferson National Expansion Memorial in St. Louis, Missouri, known for its arch; war-torn Syria’s Citadel in Aleppo; Tanzania’s Dar es Salaam; and tens of thousands of gas lamps in Berlin.

The city of Berlin wants to replace the gaslights with florescent lamps but those seeking their preservation believe that restoration “would make more sense,” fund President Bonnie Burnham said today at a news conference.

“The Watch is a call to action,” Burnham said in an interview. “It really does seem to invigorate people who are ardent in their efforts but don’t believe they can have an impact.”

Founded in 1965, the New York-based nonprofit has tried to preserve 740 architectural and cultural sites in 133 countries, from the Pokfulam Village near Hong Kong chosen today, to St. Paul’s Cathedral in London and the Orange County Government Center in Goshen, New York. The fund placed the nation of Iraq on its list five years ago.

Any organization or individual can nominate a site for the list. A grocery clerk in New Zealand launched a campaign to put the Nalatale ruins in Zimbabwe on the fund’s watch list last year and succeeded, Burnham said.

New Ships

“We are launching new ships at sea, but we don’t know that they’ll reach their destination,” Burnham said about the list.

The Palisades made the list because plans for a 143-story building by the South Korea-based electronics giant LG Electronics Inc. would threaten its scenic view.

“This is a noble cause,” said Albert K. Butzel, a lawyer in the fight to block the building’s construction. “This will help sharpen our campaign.”

Other U.S. sites listed include the St. Louis arch, which has suffered corrosion over the years; the Bucks County, Pennsylvania, house and studio of Japanese-American woodworker George Nakashima, who died in 1990; architect Frank Lloyd Wright’s home at the Taliesin estate in his native Wisconsin; and sculptor Donald Judd’s buildings at the Chinati Foundation in Marfa, Texas.

Houses of worship in need of restoration made the list including the Collegiale Sainte-Croix de Liege in Belgium; the churches of St. Merri and Notre-Dame de Lorette in Paris; and several wooden churches in the Romanian towns of Oltenia and Transylvania.

The complete Watch List is at http://www.wmf.org/watch.

Muse highlights include Manuela Hoelterhoff on birds, Jeffrey Burke on books.

To contact the writer on this story: Patrick Cole in New York at pcole3@bloomberg.net.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Manuela Hoelterhoff in New York at mhoelterhoff@bloomberg.net.

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