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Archive for June, 2016

MAS Testimony to the Committee on Land Use Regarding Reporting on the Compliance Statuses of Privately Owned Public Spaces

MAS Testimony to the Committee on Land Use Regarding Reporting on the Compliance Statuses of Privately Owned Public Spaces by the Department of City Planning and Department of Buildings. INT 1219-2016 June 29, 2016

Position

The Municipal Art Society of New York (MAS) supports Intro 1219, but proposes a series of modifications to strengthen the City’s oversight powers for New York’s privately-owned public spaces (POPS).

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7 New Landmarks for Manhattan & Staten Island

We’re back with another update on the Landmarks Preservation Commission’s (LPC) Backlog95 Initiative. Today, LPC designated seven new properties from the backlog:

Staten Island
George William and Anna Curtis House (234 Bard Avenue)*
St. John’s Protestant Episcopal Church Rectory (1331 Bay Street)*
92 Harrison Street House*
Prince’s Bay Lighthouse Complex (6204 Hylan Boulevard)*

Manhattan
315 Broadway Building*
St. Joseph of the Holy Family Roman Catholic Church (401-403 West 125th Street)*
St. Paul Roman Catholic Church (121 East 117th Street)

Together with the items designated on April 12th (read our blog post on those properties as well), we now have 15 new landmarks as a result of action taken on the Backlog. There are another 15 items that await a vote from LPC. Stay tuned!

*MAS delivered testimony in support.


MAS Celebrates Stonewall National Monument

MAS was delighted by the news on June 24, 2016, that President Obama would designate the first-ever national monument to the LGBT civil rights movement in New York’s Greenwich Village.
“I’m designating the Stonewall National Monument as the newest addition to America’s National Park System. Stonewall will be our first national monument to tell the story of the struggle for LGBT rights. I believe our national parks should reflect the full story of our country, the richness and diversity and uniquely American spirit that has always defined us. That we are stronger together. That out of many, we are one.”

Barack Hussein Obama 44th President of the United States

The Stonewall Inn became ingrained in American history on June 28, 1969, when a police raid ignited days of disturbance and demonstration. In previous interactions with police, bar patrons had been cooperative, even in the face of routine, government-sanctioned persecution; but on this night they rose up in defiance. The rebellion is credited with sparking the formation of LGBT civil rights organizations across the country. It also resulted in the annual Pride March, now part of Pride Month, which is celebrated by millions worldwide. The Municipal Art Society of New York (MAS) was proud to advocate for the designation of the Stonewall Inn as an individual New York City landmark in 2015. Conferring this status upon Stonewall last year was a step forward for our local Landmarks Preservation Commission and our field as a whole—it was the first landmark designated in New York City exclusively to recognize the LGBT rights movement. Now we celebrate our first national monument dedicated to this struggle. We hope you have a chance to stop by the Stonewall Inn and Christopher Park soon in honor of this legacy of change within our City.

Call for Art: Brownsville Matters

MAS is partnering with ArtBridge and the Brownsville Community Justice Center on an upcoming exhibition: Brownsville Matters, featuring works by local artists that emphasize East Brooklyn’s cultural and creative identity. Selected artists will receive an honorarium, and their works will be reproduced on billboard-sized vinyl mesh that will adorn the metal fencing on Thatford Ave at the Langston Hughes Houses in Brownsville, Brooklyn. Special consideration will be given to Langston Hughes residents. For more information please visit: http://art-bridge.org/project/brownsville/.

MAS Urges MIH for Adorama Project (38-42 West 18th Street)

MAS Testimony to NYC Planning Commission regarding ULURP Application No. C 160082, Adorama, 38-42 West 18th Street June 21, 2016 The Municipal Art Society of New York (MAS) welcomes the chance to comment on the application by 42 West 18th Street Realty Corp. for a special permit to facilitate a mixed-use development at 38-42 West 18th Street. MAS has carefully reviewed this application and opposes this project unless the requirements of the Mandatory Inclusionary Housing Program (MIH) are applied. Continue Reading>>

MAS Testimony to the Landmarks Preservation Commission regarding the Certificate of Appropriateness for 21 West 17th Street and 16 West 18th Street

MAS Testimony to the Landmarks Preservation Commission regarding the Certificate of Appropriateness for 21 West 17th Street and 16 West 18th Street, Block 819, Lot 26/5, Zoned C6-4A, Community District 5, Manhattan. June 21, 2016 Founded in 1893, The Municipal Art Society of New York (MAS) promotes intelligent urban planning, design, and preservation through education, dialogue, and advocacy. The MAS is acutely aware that demolition of any building in a historic district is a serious undertaking, not to be taken lightly. In the course of reviewing this project, the MAS Preservation Committee returned to questions posed during a previous application for 16 West 18th Street:
  1. Does this building contribute to the character and history of the district?
  2. Does this building have enough integrity to relay its own history?
Continue Reading>>

MAS Opposes Loss of Public Space on Water Street

MAS Comments Regarding the Zonings and Franchises Subcommittee Approval of the Water Street Upgrades Text Amendment N 160166 ZRM. June 21, 2016 The Municipal Art Society of New York (MAS) is deeply disappointed by the City Council Zonings and Franchises Subcommittee’s approval of the proposed Water Street Upgrades Text Amendment without any significant modification to the original plan. We urge Council Members representing districts across the City that also contain Privately Owned Public Spaces (POPS) to reject this proposal today as a dangerous precedent. As presently constituted, the modified proposal that was approved last Tuesday allows property owners within the Water Street Corridor not only the benefit of the initial additional floor area accorded to them under the 1961 Zoning Resolution’s POPS regulations, but also the financial benefits of the additional retail infill without any economic evaluation or a measurable benefit to the public. Continue Reading>>

Statement by MAS: Defeat of Assembly Bill A7807

MAS commends Assembly Member Keith Wright for committing to block changes to the Multiple Dwelling Law that would remove the 12 FAR cap from residential development in New York City. Last week, MAS issued a memorandum of opposition, calling on our elected officials to halt consideration of this bill until its full impacts could be studied and discussed. Together with our membership and fellow advocates, we were able to prevent this proposal from being rushed into law. We thank the State Legislature for hearing our voices, and State Senator Elizabeth Krueger in particular for first sounding the alarm. MAS looks forward to leading a continued public dialogue about the future of our city.

MAS Testimony to Land Use Committee regarding Water Street Upgrades Text Amendment N 160166 ZRM

MAS Testimony to Land Use Committee regarding Water Street Upgrades Text Amendment N 160166 ZRM. June 13, 2016 Position The Municipal Art Society of New York (MAS) is not aware of any revisions to the proposed Water Street Upgrades Text Amendment. As such, MAS reiterates that we are opposed to the proposed amendment without the inclusion of the recommended modifications outlined in our May 4, 2016 testimony, which are also included herein. Background MAS believes an abundance of high quality public space is essential to the well-being of our city. Truly accessible and connected public spaces that are well-designed and thoughtfully programmed add vibrancy to our streets, strengthens our civic culture, and enhances the value of neighborhoods. As such, MAS applauds the efforts of the Alliance for Downtown New York (ADNY), the Department of City Planning (DCP), and the Economic Development Corporation (EDC) to improve the Privately Owned Public Spaces (POPS) in the Water Street corridor. Continue Reading>>

William vanden Heuvel Honored with 2016 Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis Medal

(June 10, 2016 | New York, NY) On Wednesday evening, William J. vanden Heuvel received The Municipal Art Society’s 2016 Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis Medal in recognition of his role in building Four Freedoms Park, as well as his six decades of distinguished public service. The medal was presented by journalist Bill Moyers in a ceremony that included speeches by MAS President Gina Pollara and Chairman Frederick Iseman, as well as a video greeting from United States Ambassador to Japan Caroline Kennedy. Peter Duchin and His Orchestra provided live music for the evening. “It is an honor to celebrate Ambassador vanden Heuvel with the Onassis Medal. His life work has made this city and the world a far better place,” said Pollara. “Bill is a man of great intellect and unparalleled integrity, which he has focused on promoting civic values on many fronts, here in New York and beyond. From his work with the Department of Justice and the New York City Board of Corrections, to his diplomatic career, humanitarian leadership, and the unwavering passion that built the Four Freedoms Park, he has been an exemplar of the great legacy of Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt.” Continue Reading>>

MAS Opposes State Bill to Remove Residential FAR Cap

Bill: S5469 (Felder) / A7807 (Wright) Subject: Amends the Multiple Dwelling Law in relation to the floor area ratio (FAR) in the city of New York Date: June 8, 2016 Founded in 1893, The Municipal Art Society of New York (MAS) promotes intelligent urban planning, design, and preservation through education, dialogue, and advocacy. We have reviewed Senate Bill 5469 and Assembly Bill 7807 (collectively, the “Bill”) and strongly recommend that it be disapproved by the State Legislature. This Bill would eliminate a citywide cap on residential FAR, which has been set at 12 since 1961. This amounts to one of the most significant changes in zoning in more than 50 years, more impactful than the recent Zoning for Quality and Affordability (ZQA) or Mandatory Inclusionary Housing (MIH) initiatives, and could lead to dramatic citywide increases in bulk and density without sufficient public review. Continue Reading>>

Call for Nominations: International Jane Jacobs Medal

Medal Goes Global For Centennial of Jacobs’ birth (June 6, 2016 | New York, New York) The Rockefeller Foundation and The Municipal Art Society of New York (MAS) announced that the public nominating process for the 2016 Jane Jacobs Medal is open through June 30, 2016, at www.jj100.org. The 2016 Jane Jacobs Medal is open to international nominees for the first time in honor of the 100th anniversary of Jacobs’ birth. An international panel of judges will evaluate the nominations and the winner will be announced in the fall of this year and honored at a reception in Quito, Ecuador, during the United Nations Habitat III conference in October. This global search offers an opportunity to highlight and celebrate local leaders working in cities around the world to advance the Jacobsean principles of fostering local economies, building social capital, creating dense, livable neighborhoods, and promoting urban innovation through self-organization. Continue Reading>>