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August 26th, 2015, 3:36 pm
The Times Square Pedestrian Plaza
The most famous of these plazas can be found at the “crossroads of the world,” Times Square. Recently, the media has reported at length on the influx of costumed characters and topless women, known as “desnudas.” In response, policymakers have proposed all sorts of solutions from licensing costumed characters, to outlawing topless individuals from Times Square, to even removing the Times Square plaza entirely.
These responses are aimed at solving the symptoms of the underlying problem, not its cause. The underlying issue is the lack of a legal framework for pedestrian plazas in general, and Times Square in particular. We have laws regulating activities on streets, sidewalks, and parks – but not plazas. This lack of a plaza framework creates confusion at best, and dysfunction at worst. Put simply, it is difficult to enforce the rules when it is unclear which rules to enforce.
Recently, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced a task force to tackle the issues facing the plaza at Times Square. The task force will include government agencies, local elected officials and external stakeholders from the Times Square community.
MAS supports the convening of this task force, but believes that it must be the first step, not the last, to provide clarity on how the plazas are to be managed, operated, and regulated. The task force should consider the following MAS recommendations: Continue Reading>>
August 20th, 2015, 12:56 pm
To kick off our new guest blog series, MAS guide Jean Arrington describes her interest in E. L. Doctorow’s work and the inspiration for her upcoming tour in the Bronx. We invite you to share your own tour adventures with us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and TripAdvisor!
E. L. Doctorow (January 6, 1931 – July 21, 2015)
August 18th, 2015, 11:03 am
As we head into the second half of 2015, our tours program is more robust than ever before and you’ll see some changes that we are pleased to announce along with the new walking tour schedule for September and October. We spent the summer reviewing the last several years of tours schedules to bring you the tours you want to see most, whether those are long-time favorites, Jane’s Walks you missed this past May (indicated by the JW photo icon), or all-new adventures. By popular demand, we’ve also added suggested public transportation directions for each of the fall tours (though of course we urge you to check MTA.info for any last-minute subway closures), approximate ending locations for tours, and more extensive information on the route you’ll take.
August 17th, 2015, 11:36 am
The NYC Department of Small Business Services (SBS) is partnering with the Municipal Art Society (MAS) to provide community-based organizations with a series of facilitated workshops designed to provide their neighborhoods with the knowledge and tools needed to advocate for change. MAS has been offering this community engagement-focused training—called the Livable Neighborhoods Program—since 2007, and has trained nearly 1,000 New Yorkers on basic concepts of zoning, city government, and community activism.
This new version of the Livable Neighborhoods Program will focus on commercial revitalization and community engagement strategies in four (4) communities with up to two (2) partner organizations—including local development corporations, merchants associations, business improvement districts, and others—in each community. Resources will be available to community-based organizations for outreach materials, space rental, and interpretation and translation.
Benefits to participating organizations include:
This program is free, but competitive and available by application only. For complete program guidelines, email SBS at the Neighborhood Development email or APPLY NOW through the online application.
August 13th, 2015, 4:00 pm
Spring cleaning the Rocket Thrower in Flushing Meadows.
This month, we hired the City Wide Monuments Conservation crew to perform maintenance work on the iconic “Rocket Thrower” monument by Donald de Lue. This 45-foot-high Promethean figure conceived for the 1964 World’s Fair, resides in Flushing Meadows Corona Park, celebrating America’s exploration into space.
The monument, restored in 2013, by Steve Tatti, began to show areas of wax loss (blanching) which merited attention. Overseen by MAS, the conservation workers performed a specialized treatment that will keep the statue in perfect shape. “The kind of treatment performed reinforces the base layer of wax as a protective coating and underscores the need for annual maintenance of such outdoor sculpture”, explained Phyllis Cohen, Director of the Adopt-A-Monument program.
With this monument and two others down, attention now turns to a dozen more artworks that will receive special treatment this year. Stay tuned as we help protect New York’s heritage!
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