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“Hamilton” and “In Jackson Heights” Named 2016 Brendan Gill Prize Winners

Hamilton: An American Musical & In Jackson Heights
Selected for The Municipal Art Society’s Brendan Gill Prize

(May 5, 2016 | New York, NY) – The Municipal Art Society has named Hamilton: An American Musical and In Jackson Heights as the winners of the 2016 Brendan Gill Prize. Representatives from both teams will be presented with the prestigious award by MAS President Gina Pollara and Board Chair Frederick Iseman during the organization’s Annual Meeting on Wednesday, May 11. The event, announced on April 19, will be held at the Ford Foundation office and is oversubscribed.

“We are delighted to honor these twin works of art from 2015 that celebrated the role of immigrants in shaping the history and culture of New York City,” said MAS President Gina Pollara. “The brashly revolutionary Hamilton: An American Musical and the quietly profound In Jackson Heights together reaffirm New York’s identity as the birthplace of the American dream and a city that is made ever stronger by its diversity.”
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Jane’s Walk Weekend is Back—and Bigger than Ever

Jane’s Walk Weekend is Back—and Bigger than Ever

Municipal Art Society Hosts 250+ Free Walking Tours Across NYC,
An Annual Tribute to Urbanist Jane Jacobs

On May 6-8, thousands of New Yorkers will walk the city’s streets for the 100th birthday of urban activist Jane Jacobs. Jane’s Walk NYC, hosted by The Municipal Art Society of New York (MAS), is an annual weekend-long celebration featuring 250+ free “walking conversations” throughout the five boroughs, led by urban enthusiasts and local experts who care deeply about their neighborhoods.

All of the MAS-sponsored walks combine the simple act of exploring neighborhoods with personal observations, local history, and civic engagement. A typical walk is 90 minutes and is free and open to the public.
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MAS Testimony to Subcommittee on Zoning and Franchises regarding Water Street Upgrades

MAS Testimony to Subcommittee on Zoning and Franchises regarding Water Street Upgrades Text Amendment N 160166 ZRM.
May 4, 2016

The Municipal Art Society of New York (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.
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MAS Testimony to LPC on LinkNYC Wifi Kiosks

MAS Testimony to LPC on LinkNYC Wifi Kiosks
May 3, 2016

“Proposed amendment to section 2-21 of the rules relating to the installation of public communication structures to provide free WiFi and phone service, pursuant to a city-wide
franchise, to replace existing public pay telephones.”

The Municipal Art Society of New York finds the proposed rules amendment to be appropriate. The standards for the approval of the installation of public communications structures (PCS) are similar to the existing approval for public pay telephones (PPT). In fact, PCS devices will replace existing PPT locations offering free rather than paid phone service. In the instance where a new location is desired, it will be presented to the local Community Board for review. The PCS kiosks will not be installed in historic paving or directly in front of individual landmark buildings, and advertising panels are prohibited in residential districts.

Like the telephone service of a previous era, free Wi-Fi is a public utility — one that should benefit all New Yorkers equally.

Download testimony (PDF) »»

MAS & RPA Joint Statement on Penn Station Proposal Deadline

MAS & RPA Joint Statement on Penn Station Proposal Deadline
April 22, 2016

Today is a critically important day for the future of Penn Station, our city and the tri-state region. Developer responses to New York State’s request for proposals to upgrade Penn Station and Moynihan Station are due at 4:00 PM today. The Municipal Art Society and Regional Plan Association commend Governor Andrew Cuomo for his leadership in focusing the public’s attention and motivating the private sector to improve this vital transit hub. As Governor Cuomo stated in January, Penn Station is a miserable warren. We welcome his efforts to bring light and air into the station.

But we need to do more.
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MAS Testimony to the Landmarks Preservation Commission regarding the Certificate of Appropriateness for the Ford Foundation

MAS Testimony to the Landmarks Preservation Commission regarding the Certificate of Appropriateness for the Ford Foundation, located at 320 East 43rd Street, Block 1335, Lot 5.
Zoned C5-2, Community District 6, Manhattan.
April 19, 2016

The Ford Foundation’s philanthropic mission is “to reduce poverty and injustice, strengthen democratic values, promote international cooperation, and advance human achievement.” An icon from the moment of its completion in 1967, the organization’s headquarters in New York became an individual landmark as soon as it was eligible. Written nearly 20 years ago, the designation report describes the unusual interior by Kevin Roche John Dinkeloo Associates: “It was the rare corporate client that would sacrifice so much rentable area, and turn so much over to a landscaped atrium. When asked why Ford did it, Roche replied “for no reason other than to make a public gesture.””

And so, the Municipal Art Society appreciates the purpose-built intention of this space, and the effort to further the Ford Foundation’s mission through the proposal at hand.
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Meet NYC’s 9 Newest Landmarks

Earlier this week, the Landmarks Preservation Commission voted on the first group of backlog properties prioritized for designation as individual New York City landmarks. This fall, MAS submitted testimony in support of 45 calendared sites, and we are pleased to see six of those receive landmark status this week.

65 Schofield Street House*
Green-Wood Cemetery Fort Hamilton Parkway Entrance and Chapel
Lady Moody-Van Sicklen House*
57 Sullivan Street House
St. Michael’s Episcopal Church, Parish House and Rectory*
Pepsi Cola Sign*
J. Williams Ahles House
Vanderbilt Mausoleum and Cemetery*
St. Augustine’s Roman Catholic Church and Rectory (as part of the Park Slope Historic District Extension II)*

* MAS supported designation

Chair Meenakshi Srinivasan reaffirmed the Commission’s “steadfast commitment… to address the backlog,” a process which is expected to conclude by the end of the 2016 calendar year. MAS will continue to follow the backlog hearings over the next several months.

TONIGHT, 4/14: MAS Celebrates Landmarks50 Lighting of the Empire State Building

Brownstoner RelaunchOur eyes will be on Empire State Building tonight, which will be lit with orange, white, and blue (New York State flag colors!) to celebrate the 50th Anniversary of the groundbreaking New York City Landmarks Law.

Visit us on Twitter and Facebook and tell us: What’s your favorite NYC landmark? What would like to see designated this year?

And check back tomorrow for a post about the newest NYC landmarks—11 properties designated off the LPC backlog this week. Cheers to 50 years of historic preservation!

MAS Testimony at the City Environmental Quality Review (CEQR) Public Scoping Meeting for the American Museum of Natural History Gilder Center for Science, Education, and Innovation

MAS Testimony at the City Environmental Quality Review (CEQR) Public Scoping Meeting for the American Museum of Natural History Gilder Center for Science, Education, and Innovation
April 6, 2016

The Municipal Art Society (MAS) finds that the proposed Gilder Center for Science, Education, and Innovation addresses the expansion needs of the American Museum of Natural History (the Museum) and the design by Jeanne Gang to be an improvement over the existing disparate assemblage of non-historic buildings that make up the west wing of the Museum. At the same time, we are aware that Theodore Roosevelt Park has become an important public asset to the neighboring communities and that the footprint of the proposed addition will encroach upon the existing park.

Looking to the future, and taking into account that a recent addition to the Museum built in 2001 will be demolished to accommodate the new Gilder Center, MAS feels strongly that the Museum must develop a well-considered master plan that sets out its vision, programmatic goals, and mechanisms for the protection and improvement of the park and its accessibility for the entire approximately 18-acre superblock site.
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Friday 4/8, AIA’s Cocktails & Conversation with Gina Pollara & Architect Bing Thom

This Friday at the AIA’s Center for Architecture, you’ll get a special chance to hear from MAS’s new president, Gina Pollara. Gina will be joined by renowned architect Bing Thom for a dialogue on the state of architecture in New York today and what’s to come.

Tickets are $15 for AIA members or $20 for non-members, and include one drink.
Visit the event page to register and see below for more information!>>

When: 6:30 PM – 8:30 PM FRIDAY, APRIL 8

Where: At the AIA’s Center for Architecture, 536 LaGuardia Place, New York, NY 10012

How do you spend your Friday evening? Do you join those who pack NYC’s cultural institutions like sardines or those crowds over populating film theaters? When the Center for Architecture, one of the City’s premier cultural institutions, hosts a pair of NYC’s most interesting and provocatively creative thinkers, it will certainly lift your spirits. Continue Reading>>