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MoMA’s Castle in the Air

THE MUSEUM OF MODERN ART’S latest plans to turn over its air rights to a condominium tower development should surprise few MoMA watchers. For years, the Modern has been examining the real-estate possibilities accruing from its midtown location and low-rise buildings. In its quest for larger spaces to display stashed-away art treasures and in its desire to attain financial solvency, the nonart-oriented assets become treacherously tempting. Like an aging belle convinced that she must soon cash in on what nature or circumstance has bestowed upon her, the Modern has taken to flirting with rich, dangerous men—private developers.

Economically the timing could be better to surrender her charms so docilely. But the other ingredients are there: the suitors, Arlen Development Company; the blessing of her wealthy parents, the Rockefellers, desirous of seeing her no longer so dependent on family

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