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A Message from the MAS Leadership

Media inquiries, please contact Meaghan Baron, VP for Communications & Public Affairs, mbaron@mas.org

From the MAS Executive Director

Dear Friends,

Early last year, as discussions around a new Mayoral administration were underway, I made my own transition from city government to join MAS. And there were many changes underway at MAS: a search for new offices, new Board leadership and appointments, and a considered look at the most vibrant of 21st century cities, New York, with all of its scrappiness and escalating challenges around both the environment and affordability.

It has been my great honor and privilege to serve as Executive Director during this time of substantial change. The talented and creative staff at MAS have taught me a great deal and together I think we have made a difference. However, I have felt for some time that I wanted to return to my work in architecture and design. I have spent a lifetime dedicated to building and designing for a better place, as a practicing architect, in my planning and policy work, and as an educator. It seems an appropriate time to return to private practice and to be able to engage in building again.

MAS has a rich heritage of work stretching back almost 125 years in service to the issues that make NYC such a glorious and compelling place to live. I am leaving MAS poised to move fully into the future with a larger social media network than ever before, fabulous new offices, and ongoing great work on substantial projects from a new Penn Station to managing the skyline.

I have had the wonderful opportunity to engage in energetic discussion, with our terrific members, our board, city officials, advocates, press, community, and private sector leaders. And for this I thank all of you. You have all taught me a great deal and I hope you will join me in celebrating the future as MAS continues its amazing work advocating for a stronger, better New York.

Best,
Margaret Newman FAIA
Executive Director

From the MAS Board of Directors

Dear MAS Community,

As we share with you that MAS Executive Director Margaret Newman has informed us that she will be stepping down next month to return to the architecture and design field that was her first calling, we want to wish her continued success in her notable career and thank her for her contributions and stewardship of MAS.

In her year and a half at the helm, Margaret advocated for MAS through her strong relationships with constituents at City agencies and in the development, architecture, and design communities. During her tenure, which began with her design of our new, modern offices in the landmark Look Building, MAS hosted its biggest and most successful Summit and gala to date and quadrupled its year-over-year press coverage. She guided the organization through the development and release of new reports on the future of Penn Station and the Accidental Skyline, and oversaw the creation of the “Who Gets It Done and How” toolkit for citizens to take action in city government. She played an integral role in shaping the outcomes of the East Midtown steering committee as MAS’s lead representative, and launched the Design First initiative, which will benefit from her continued engagement as a consultant in the months ahead.

The work of MAS will continue apace, including our sixth Summit, scheduled for this October, and our Next 50 project, a look at the future of preservation in New York City. Interim day-to-day management of MAS will be led by Mary Rowe, Executive Vice President, and by Robert Libbey, Vice President, Finance and Administration.

We are grateful for all of Margaret’s contributions to MAS, and look forward to all she will achieve in her return to private practice. Please join us in thanking Margaret for her incredible service to our organization and wishing her well in her next endeavor.

Sincerely,

Fred Iseman, Chair
Vin Cipolla, President

Victory: Stonewall Inn Is Landmarked

MAS Testimony to the Landmarks Preservation Commission regarding the designation of Stonewall Inn, 51-53 Christopher Street, Manhattan as an Individual Landmark Building
June 22, 2015

The Municipal Art Society (MAS) is a private, non-profit membership organization that advocates for intelligent urban planning, design, and preservation through education, dialogue and advocacy.

MAS supports efforts to preserve cultural landmarks that recognize and protect sites with rich social histories unique to New York City. To this end we support Individual Landmark Designation for the Stonewall Inn, at 51-53 Christopher Street, because of the integral role it played in sparking the modern gay rights movement. Continue Reading>>

MAS Reiterates Its Support for Pier55

Re: Civic Group Sues to Halt Hudson River Park Backed by Barry Diller [New York Times, June 12, 2015]

“MAS was proud to testify in support of Pier55 during its extensive public hearing and environmental review process this winter, and we remain strong supporters of the project.

From Brooklyn Bridge Park to the High Line, public/private partnerships have proven to be an indispensable tool for transforming New York’s untapped public spaces. The fact is, Pier 54 is crumbling and neither the State nor the City has the resources or the will to safely repair it.

To oppose this project is to favor inertia over action, caution tape over ribbon-cuttings. Pier55 was conceived in the spirit of cooperation and it deserves the same treatment, even from its detractors.”

-Margaret Newman, Executive Director, Municipal Art Society of New York

Building a Sustainable Civic Commons

Montreal marketLast year MAS, with the support of the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, conducted a series of workshops in various cities to Re-Imagine the Civic Commons. We found that a variety of factors have led to disinvestment in the commons. Many existing assets—post offices for example—have lost their usefulness as societal needs have shifted. These trends, combined with stretched city budgets, have resulted in decreased funds to libraries, reduced community center hours, reductions to park maintenance and programming, and sometimes the disposition of public land. Continue Reading>>

In Honor of Memorial Day: A Look at the Admiral Farragut Monument

DuringTreatment

Cleaning Admiral Farragut

On the morning of April 21, following a heavy spring shower, Wilson Conservation was in Madison Square Park cleaning the magnificent Farragut Monument. Thirteen years earlier, in 2002, the MAS restored the Farragut Monument, one of America’s most acclaimed works of art, through a generous grant to the Adopt-A-Monument program from the Paul and Klara Porzelt Foundation. The 1880 sculpture by Augustus Saint-Gaudens, the preeminent American sculptor of the 19th century, depicts the revered naval hero, Admiral Glasgow Farragut, whose lasting fame was won by wresting New Orleans from Confederate control during the Civil War. Saint-Gaudens shows the admiral in full regalia but by 2002 the sculpture had lost its original luster as well as its sword after years of neglect. Esteemed architect Stanford White designed the exquisite semi-circular granite exedra on which the monument stands. The base, bedecked with Art Nouveau- inspired allegorical reliefs, had also been marred over time. Both were returned to their former glory with this restoration. Continue Reading>>