We invite you to read the letter, which details seven steps the Administration can take to make demonstrations and other gatherings of free expression, “safer, more effective, and even welcoming to all New Yorkers who want to participate in civic action.”]]>
To learn more about MAS’s advocacy on Penn Station, read our joint statement with Regional Plan Association.]]>
Thank you for your ongoing support of The Municipal Art Society of New York (MAS) and our work fighting for responsible growth in our city. As we begin 2017 and prepare for our upcoming 125th anniversary, we would like to recap some of the best work of the last year and offer a preview of our year ahead.
In February, MAS will welcome its new president, Elizabeth Goldstein. She is nationally-known as a tenacious and remarkably effective advocate for parks, open spaces, and historic preservation. If you have not yet been introduced to Elizabeth and her incredible track record of leadership in New York and as president of the California State Parks Foundation, we encourage you to read our special announcement of her appointment.
Elizabeth joins MAS on the heels of much activity in the last calendar year.
MAS continues to be a key force in shaping the discussion over the future of Penn Station and the West Midtown neighborhood. The Governor’s plan to address some of the most visible deficiencies at the station – low-slung ceilings, rundown public spaces, poor signage, limited amenities, and cramped corridors – is laudable, but we urge all parties to address the more difficult track-level improvements that are urgently needed. MAS submitted comments in December regarding the preservation of the landmark Farley Post Office as it is redeveloped into the new Moynihan Station. Later this month, we will advocate in support of the proposed closure of 32nd Street between 6th and 7th Avenues for pedestrian use at the Community Board 5 Transportation Committee meeting.
In November, we released Public Assets: City Owned and Leased Properties, a report and online mapping tool that found that the City controls a total of 14,000 properties around the five boroughs. Incredibly, 22% of them – an area double the size of Central Park – are classified as having no use. MAS will advocate for the City to make use of these spaces in 2017, maximizing their public benefit and equitable potential.
Our Accidental Skyline project has new releases planned for later this year, which will build on our last three years of analysis, mapping, and renderings that have helped shape the debate on supertalls and as-of-right development. We continue to fight for transparency and public review in large-scale development projects across the five boroughs.
The new rezoning of East Midtown, informed by the East Midtown Steering Committee’s work over the last two years, enters the City’s Unified Land Use Review Process this week. MAS served as a key stakeholder in the steering committee and will review the Final Scope of Work for comment later this month. During 2016, the advocacy of MAS and our preservation colleagues helped preserve 12 individual landmarks in East Midtown through Landmarks Preservation Commission designation.
In the fall, we updated the curriculum, materials, neighborhood selection criteria, and outreach strategies for MAS’s Livable Neighborhoods Program (LNP.) LNP workshops train community stakeholders and advocates on the fundamentals of New York City’s development process. Later this month, with support from the National Endowment for the Arts and New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, we will select neighborhood partners for a creative and cultural asset mapping workshop series. We are also developing a neighborhood-based series in Manhattan Community District 5 to launch later this year.
In October, MAS partnered with the Rockefeller Foundation to present the first-ever global Jane Jacobs Medal to Dr. Joan Clos, Executive Director of the United Nations Human Settlements Programme, and PK Das, a Mumbai-based architect and urban activist, at the United Nations Habitat III Conference in Quito, Ecuador. On May 5-7, we will host our annual Jane’s Walk festival, honoring Jane Jacobs’ legacy and leading thousands of New Yorkers on neighborhood walks celebrating the art, architecture, history, and culture of our great city.
MAS’s Adopt-A-Monument program has conserved 51 works of public art since 1987. In October, the elaborate marble Heinrich Heine Fountain by Ernest Herter in the South Bronx was cleaned and repaired thanks to a grant from the Anna-Maria and Stephen Kellen Foundation, long-time supporters of the fountain. Last summer, we restored one of the greatest statues in the American Renaissance style, Brooklyn’s famed Henry Ward Beecher Monument by John Quincy Adams Ward. This project was made possible by a generous grant from the Paul and Klara Porzelt Foundation. In 2017, the Porzelt Foundation’s support will also allow MAS to take on the conservation of the Grand Central Stones in Van Courtland Park. The “Stones” are thirteen pillars placed along the Putnam Trail before 1903 to test durability for the construction of Grand Central Terminal.
Finally, we will soon announce our events for the first half of 2017, including the Annual Members Meeting and the presentation of the Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis Medal.
This is an incredibly exciting time for MAS. Thank you for being part of it.
With warm regards,
Board of Directors
The Municipal Art Society of New York
We want to share some important information about the future of this extraordinary organization and its essential role fighting for the responsible growth of New York City. The Board believes it is fundamentally important that we continue to strengthen MAS’ position as a central player in shaping this city’s future. MAS will continue to be an advocate for all those who love New York and understand that the pursuit of great design, preservation and livability requires both vigilance and action.
Elizabeth Goldstein, nationally-known as a tenacious and remarkably effective advocate for parks, open spaces and historic preservation with deep roots here in New York, will become the next president of MAS.
Elizabeth will assume her new role in February, following a brief transition period that will be overseen by our CFO, Bob Libbey. Elizabeth’s appointment was approved at a meeting of current board members and emeriti yesterday.
Elizabeth grew up in the Soundview neighborhood in the Bronx and was a central player in New York’s parks, recreation and historic preservation sector for more than a decade. She served as director of planning for the City’s Department of Parks and Recreation, and later as New York City regional director of the State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation, where she oversaw the start-up of Riverbank State Park and served on the panel that developed the public-private land use plan for Hudson River Park.
Following a move to the West Coast, for the last 12 years Elizabeth has been the president of the California State Parks Foundation (CSPF), an independent organization dedicated to protecting, enhancing and advocating for California’s 279 state parks. The Foundation is tasked with building awareness about the parks system and its needs—with special focus on legislative and policy advocacy—and raising private funds for state parks projects in partnership with non-profit organizations that support the system. Elizabeth raised nearly $20 million for key capital projects, lobbied the California legislature to secure $90 million in deferred maintenance funding, and built and led coalitions that prevented closures of state parks and turned back incursions like energy lines and toll roads into state parks. Under her leadership, the Foundation dramatically increased its membership and doubled its operating budget.
Prior to her role at CSPF, Elizabeth managed San Francisco’s 5,400-acre recreation and park system and initiated and executed a $400 million capital plan. That followed a tenure as the director of the National Trust for Historic Preservation’s Western Regional Office, where she managed National Trust programs in California, in addition to eight other states and two U.S. territories.
The Board believes Elizabeth’s extensive experience as a passionate and forceful advocate, as well as a results-oriented executive and successful fund-raiser, make her an exceptional choice to lead MAS forward.
We are very proud of the work the MAS staff has done over the past year to position MAS for success in its upcoming 125th anniversary year and beyond.
As we look ahead to the future, we want to take the opportunity on behalf of the Board to thank you for your ongoing support of MAS and its advocacy on behalf of all New Yorkers, working to ensure a vital future for this great city.
We could not do this important work without you.
All the best in the New Year.
On behalf of the Board of Trustees of The Municipal Art Society of New York,
Frederick Iseman, Chairman of the Board
Christy MacLear, Chair, Executive Committee of the Board
The Immaculate Conception Church and Edgar J. Kaufmann rooms are now vulnerable to unchecked alteration and demolition. But Tuesday’s decisions (combined with the designated sites in April and June) bring the total to 27 landmarks listed since the start of the initiative last year.
*MAS delivered testimony in support.]]>
Intro 1316 would require EDC to include the City Comptroller or the Comptroller’s appointee on its board, share project data on the City’s open data portal, publicly release reports on the fiscal, social, and environmental impacts of projects, and hold public hearings in the communities affected by projects it undertakes.
Intro 1337 would require EDC to submit a project description and budget to the local Community Boards, Council Members, Borough Presidents for review before project agreements can be executed or projects can be approved by the Mayor.
In addition to its primary function of stimulating economic development in New York City, EDC plays a significant role in many of the city’s land use and planning projects and initiatives. Similar to the Department of City Planning (DCP) and the City Planning Commission (CPC), which are authorized under the City Charter to make discretionary planning decisions, EDC often serves as lead agency for actions subject to environmental review, coordinates with other city agencies, issues RFPs, selects consultants, facilitates public participation efforts, and represents the Mayor’s Office in negotiations for actions subject to ULURP.
In terms of its land holdings, according to the City-Owned and Leased Properties dataset maintained by the Department of Citywide Administrative Services (DCAS), EDC manages a total of 160 properties, encompassing over 17 million square feet of land. Fifty-five of these holdings are categorized as properties with “no current use” and 97 are committed for sale or long-term lease. The full list of these holdings is provided as an attachment to this testimony.
However, according to its asset management online map, EDC manages over 20 million square feet of property and a total of 108 sites. Based on these informational discrepancies, we feel the improvements proposed under 1316 with regard to EDC’s datasets are well warranted.
Although MAS believes that amendments proposed under Intro 1316 and 1337 will improve transparency and accountability for certain actions undertaken by EDC, we feel they do not go far enough. Therefore, we propose the following recommendations.
MAS is currently monitoring several ongoing EDC initiatives including the Brooklyn Queens Connector (BQX), neighborhood planning studies in Inwood and Downtown Far Rockaway, and transactions/leases for developments in the South Street Seaport.
We are hopeful that the Council will include our recommendations so that necessary regulatory changes would apply to these projects.
Thank you for this opportunity to testify on this important matter.]]>
This week MAS released a first-of-its-kind interactive tool to map the more than 14,000 city-owned and leased properties, amounting to a land area the size of Brooklyn. This online tool uses two datasets provided by New York City: MapPLUTO and City Owned and Leased Properties (COLP). MAS encourages the members of this committee and the public at large to examine these holdings with our new tool and identify opportunities for improving, protecting, and utilizing city-owned property. (Visit mas.org/colp)
MAS commends the Department of Parks and Recreation (DPR) for successfully managing a vast inventory of holdings. According to the COLP dataset, the Department of Citywide Administrative Services oversees 1,679 properties “with no current use,” the Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD) has 1,050, and DPR has just one! However, opportunities for improvement remain substantial.
According to the use codes provided by the COLP dataset, there are 90 city-owned park properties characterized as “undeveloped open space,” accounting for approximately 191 acres of land (see attachment). Seventy-four of these sites are located within the boundaries of the Community Parks Initiative, a program led by DPR aimed at redeveloping parks in underserved communities. This presents an opportunity to maximize each of these holdings for the communities that need them most.
Meanwhile, thirty-two properties classified as undeveloped open space are located along Southern Boulevard and Jerome Avenue in the Bronx. Both of these areas are undergoing neighborhood planning studies under the Department of City Planning (DCP) PLACES initiative. Another thirty-one properties labeled as undeveloped open space are in the Edgemere Urban Renewal Area in the Rockaways. Similarly, Edgemere is undergoing a planning initiative for redevelopment, an effort lead by HPD. MAS urges the city to closely examine underutilized city-owned park properties within the boundaries of these planning initiatives and explore possibilities for developing recreational facilities, cultural amenities, coastal protection, and other appropriate uses.
MAS is also concerned about incompatible or competing uses within park space. Specifically, storage facilities (both indoor and outdoor), extensive parking lots, and maintenance facilities often hamper user experience and limit accessibility. Improved interagency coordination among DPR, the Department of Sanitation (DOS), Department of Environmental Protection, and other city agencies can help mitigate the undesirable repercussions of sharing these uses within designated parkland.
All New Yorkers deserve a chance to experience and explore our city. MAS encourages the city to examine park properties on a case-by-case basis considering environmental concerns, landmark designations, economic feasibility, and other factors in order to determine “the highest and best use” of our shared open space.
Thank you for this opportunity to testify.]]>
By our count, the MTA owns at least 656 sites encompassing more than 41 million square feet of land across all five boroughs. 221 of those parcels are zoned for residential use. Without this bill, the MTA would have no requirement to adhere to the New York City zoning resolution. Quite literally, the sky is the limit for development of these sites.
This legislation will block the MTA from embarking upon virtually unrestricted development in your neighborhood. The Governor has until Monday, November 28 at midnight to sign this bill into law.
Here’s What You Can Do:
Call Governor Cuomo: Urge him to sign Senate Bill 8037 and Assembly Bill 10421. Call him at 1-518-474-8390.
Spread the Word: Use social media, email, and good old conversation to tell your neighbors, friends, family, and colleagues that this is happening. It’s not too late to have our voices heard.
MEMORANDUM IN SUPPORT
Bill: S8037 (Martins) / A10421 (Brennan)
Subject: Repeals the definition of “transportation purpose” for the purposes of the metropolitan transportation authority.
Date: November 21, 2016
The Municipal Art Society of New York (MAS) has been actively advocating for sound urban planning practices on behalf of New Yorkers since 1893. In this capacity, we strongly urge Governor Cuomo to sign Senate Bill 8037 and Assembly Bill 10421, repealing the current language that would allow the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) to develop land under its control for any purpose without adherence to local zoning regulations.
Download full memorandum »»
Download illustrations »»
MTA Property Case Study A
OWNER NAME: New York City Transit
Address: 1190 2 Avenue, MH
Current Zoning: R8B & C2-8 (C2-5 overlay)
Maximum Allowable FAR: 10
Maximum Build-Out Area: 121,200 SF
Current Built FAR: 0.15
Hypothetical Build-out Overriding Local Zoning
Currently Built FAR 0.15
Maximum Allowable FAR Under Current Zoning 10
MTA Property Case Study B
Owner Name: New York City Transit
Address: 40 Quay Street, BK
Current Zoning: C2-4/R6
Maximum Allowable FAR: 4.8
Maximum Build-Out Area: 398,485 SF
Built FAR: 0.9
Hypothetical Build-out Overriding Local Zoning
Currently Build FAR 0.9
Maximum Allowable FAR Under Current Zoning 4.8
Please Note: Current property information from Department of City Planning MapPluto 16v1 2016]]>
These upgrades will certainly improve the experience at the transit hub, but by themselves, they won’t go far enough. In order to provide capacity for future growth and unlock the economic development potential of our region, much more needs to be done by all the partners with a stake in our future. We call on all interest groups and decision makers — both public and private — to advance ideas that address long-term concerns while these new measures are being implemented.
Specifically, MAS and RPA ask our federal, state and local elected leaders; the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey; Amtrak; the U.S. Department of Transportation; NJ Transit; MTA, LIRR, NYCTA, and Metro-North; and business leaders and property owners to commit to the following:
Established in 1893, The Municipal Art Society of New York (MAS) advocates for excellence in urban design, planning, historic preservation, and community engagement. From saving Grand Central Terminal to fostering the establishment of innovative land-use laws, MAS is at the forefront of New York’s most important campaigns to improve and re-imagine our city’s built environment by promoting economic vitality, cultural vibrancy, ecological sustainability, and social diversity.
Regional Plan Association is an independent, not-for-profit civic organization that develops and promotes ideas to improve the economic health, environmental resiliency and quality of life of the New York metropolitan area. We conduct research on transportation, land use, housing, good governance and the environment. We advise cities, communities and public agencies. And we advocate for change that will contribute to the prosperity of all residents of the region. Since the 1920s, RPA has produced three landmark plans for the region and is working on a fourth plan due out in 2017. For more information, please visit www.rpa.org.]]>
The Rockefeller Foundation President Dr. Judith Rodin announced the first-ever global recipients of the 2016 Jane Jacobs Medal – Dr. Joan Clos and PK Das. The Medal is awarded to individuals whose work creates new ways of seeing and understanding cities, challenges traditional assumptions about urban life, creatively uses the built environment to make cities places of hope and expectation, and influences global understanding and application of Jane Jacobs’ principles. The 2016 Jane Jacobs Medal was open to international nominees for the first time, in celebration of the 100th anniversary of Jacobs’ birth and the impact of her ideas on cities around the world.
Dr. Clos is the Executive Director of the United Nations Human Settlements Programme (UN-Habitat), which promotes sustainable urban development around the world. Mr. Das is a Mumbai-based architect and activist, who has worked to revitalize open spaces, rehabilitate slums, and bring the voice of Mumbai residents into a participatory planning process.
The recipients will be honored at a ceremony on October 17 in Quito, Ecuador, during the United Nations Habitat III Conference. Along with the medal, the recipients will receive a cash award.
The Rockefeller Foundation Jane Jacobs Medal was created in 2007 to honor the author and activist who died in April 2006 at the age of 89. The Rockefeller Foundation’s relationship with Jane Jacobs dates back to the 1950s, when the Foundation made a grant to the then-obscure writer from Greenwich Village, for the research and writing of the book, The Death and Life of Great American Cities. Now more than fifty years later, Jane Jacobs’ work remains one of the most influential books ever written on urban design. In previous years the Medal has been awarded to honorees who have been undertaking work that advances the spirit of Jane Jacobs within New York City.
“It is a great honor to award The Rockefeller Foundation Jane Jacobs’ Medal to our first-ever global winners, Dr. Joan Clos and PK Das,” said Dr. Judith Rodin, president of The Rockefeller Foundation. “It is fitting that during the week of Habitat III, the effort spearheaded by Mr. Clos, we honor and recognize his tireless efforts to elevate the global discussion on resilience through smart urban development. And this is the perfect moment to honor Mr. Das, as we look ahead to implementing the New Urban Agenda, his vision for Mumbai and reimagining its citizens’ access to open space and improved affordable housing in one of the most densely populated cities on the planet serves as a model for all.”
“I am delighted to be nominated for this distinguished award. It is deeply gratifying to witness a developing worldwide consensus over the recognition of the power of urbanization as a driver for wealth, employment and human progress. The New Urban Agenda is an opportunity for achieving inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable cities for all,” said Dr. Joan Clos, Executive Director of the United Nations Human Settlements Programme (UN-Habitat).
“With the expansion of cities public spaces are sharply declining, both in physical and democratic terms. Cities are increasingly being divided. We are producing more backyards of discrimination, neglect and abuse of people and places, even natural areas are not spared. Our challenge is to integrate these fragmented and disparate backyards into unified, just and equal cities. For the achievement of this objective, planning and architecture are incredible democratic tools of socio-environmental change, that I actively pursue through collective endeavor. I am deeply motivated and honored by this prestigious first international Jane Jacobs Award being conferred on me,” said PK Das, Architect, Activist, Mumbai.
Throughout his distinguished career in public service and diplomacy, Dr. Clos has been leader in the global discussion of sustainable urban development. As Executive Director of the UN-Habitat since 2010, he has spearheaded UN-Habitat’s global conference in Quito, which will set the New Urban Agenda. Prior to this role, Dr. Clos served the Spanish Ambassador to Turkey and Azerbaijan, the Minister of Industry, Tourism, and Trade of Spain, and the Mayor of Barcelona. As Mayor of Barcelona, he spurred ambitious investment in Barcelona’s industrial zones. For his commitment to a better urban future, Dr. Clos is a 2016 recipient of the Jane Jacobs Medal.
Mr. Das works to democratize open spaces and urban planning in Mumbai. In addition to his architectural practice, he serves as the chairperson of the Mumbai Waterfronts Centre. Mr. Das and the Mumbai Waterfronts Centre organized the Open Mumbai Plan and exhibitions, which mapped, analyzed, and re-envisioned the city’s open spaces from coastline to parks and gardens and the vast extent of the natural areas. Mr. Das along with Nivara Hakk- a housing rights movement, of which he is the joint convener, has also advocated for the rights of slum dwellers and improved affordable housing. His primary concern has been to integrate the backyards of exclusion and abuse and integrate these disparate fragments for the achievement of just and equal cities. For his work to transform Mumbai and its open spaces, Mr. Das is a 2016 recipient of the Jane Jacobs Medal.
The selection of the Jane Jacobs Medalists and allocation of the prize money was determined by an internationally renowned judging panel chaired by Dr. Judith Rodin, President of The Rockefeller Foundation. The 2016 Jane Jacobs Medal is administered by The Municipal Art Society of New York (MAS).]]>
MAS congratulates Governor Cuomo for his leadership in taking an important first step toward a new Penn Station. Presented at the Association for a Better New York luncheon yesterday, the plan will address some of Penn’s most visible deficiencies: low-slung ceilings, rundown public spaces, poor signage, limited amenities, and cramped corridors. We look forward to learning more about how the proposed work will affect capacity at the track level as additional details become available. For now, visit the Governor’s website to learn more.]]>
MAS has been working with partners including the Brownsville Partnership, the Brownsville Community Justice Center and Friends of Brownsville Parks to support community-based planning and advocacy since 2013. On June 4th MAS helped plan and facilitate a community discussion about Betsy Head Park, resulting in a set of resident identified priorities around activities, safety, cleanliness, facilities, open space, furniture and equipment and circulation of the park.
You can read more about the June 4th discussion and other programs MAS has partnered on in Brownsville, here: http://www.mas.org/betsy-head-park-community-discussion/.
You can view an infographic containing a list of community priorities for Betsy Head Park here: http://www.mas.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/08/Betsy-Head-Park-Map-Infographic.pdf
Betsy Head Design Charrette
Betsy Head Park
Betsy Head Park Community Discussion. Photo Credit: Alanna Vaughns
Betsy Head Park Community Discussion. Photo Credit: Alanna Vaughns
For more information please contact Joanna Crispe, Director of Community Engagement and Education, at email@example.com.]]>
The Municipal Art Society commends the Council for making the appropriate decision for the Inwood community, reinforcing trust in the public review process. We hope the decision will encourage continued public engagement regarding the future development of the site and similar land use decisions.
The rezoning was the first project subject to the application of the City’s Mandatory Inclusionary Housing (MIH) requirements. Passed by City Council in March 2016, MIH is one of the key mechanisms designed to achieve the affordable housing goals to build or preserve 200,000 affordable housing units over a ten-year period, outlined in the Mayor’s Housing New York Plan. As such, the Broadway Sherman rezoning had the potential to be a precedent setting project with citywide implications.
Along with many civic organizations and neighborhood residents, MAS maintained its opposition to the project throughout the public review process. Despite design modifications made by Arcadia Sherman during negotiations, MAS argued that the project would still set a harmful precedent for inappropriate, out-of-scale development in the Inwood neighborhood. Furthermore, MAS argued that the selected income thresholds did not adequately reflect the socioeconomic conditions of the neighborhood. For more details on the project, see our technical summary.
The project had initially been scheduled for a vote by the Subcommittee on Zoning and Franchises on August 9. However, the decision was postponed to the last date of the public review process to allow local Council Member Ydanis Rodriguez more time to negotiate with Arcadia Sherman and the City. On August 15, the day before the Council was set to vote, Rodriguez, addressing a crowd of over 100 residents at the project site, stated “We’ve now been able to get to a point where I feel it is in the community’s best interest to not move this spot rezoning forward.”
In light of this decision, MAS understands that the City faces a tremendous challenge in achieving its affordable housing goals. MAS is encouraged by the level of public involvement in Inwood and hopes it carries over to the Inwood NYC Neighborhood Planning Initiative. We are confident the neighborhood can work with the City to address its affordable housing needs and manage its future growth on a community level. We also hope that the Broadway Sherman decision stimulates much needed public discourse citywide on critical land use decisions that have the potential for long-range environmental and socioeconomic impacts.]]>
If approved, the Broadway Sherman rezoning in Inwood would facilitate the City’s first development under the Mandatory Inclusionary Housing (MIH) zoning text amendment passed by City Council in March 2016. MIH is one of the key mechanisms utilized by the City to achieve the affordable housing goals to build or preserve 200,000 affordable housing units over a ten-year period as outlined in the Mayor’s Housing New York Plan. Under the proposed rezoning, the project developer Arcadia Sherman Avenue LLC (Arcadia) is proposing to construct a 369,000-square foot (sf), mixed-use, primarily residential building consisting of 15 stories on a site directly across Broadway from Fort Tryon Park in an ethnically diverse neighborhood characterized by 5- to 7-story residential buildings. As such, the Broadway Sherman rezoning has the potential to be a precedent setting project with citywide implications. This document summarizes the evolution of the project and the public review processes involved, and provides clarity on the various issues and the involvement of The Municipal Art Society of New York.
Initial proposal from Arcadia Sherman Avenue LLC certified by Department of City Planning January 19, 2016 (CEQR Negative Declaration and ULURP Certification)
*Note: The January 19, 2016 Environmental Assessment Statement (EAS) evaluated a 540,635-square foot (sf), 27-story, 280-foot building with 475 DUs in order to address the highest potential impact development scenario.
The Municipal Art Society delivered testimony in opposition to the City Planning Commission on May 25, 2016
**2010-2014 American Community Survey 5-year Estimates
Arcadia Sherman Avenue LLC revised its proposal after negotiating with elected Officials (Evaluated in revised EAS, dated June 20, 2016)
***Note: The June 20, 2016 EAS evaluated a 431,725-sf, 17-story, 175-foot building in order to address the highest potential impact development scenario.
The Municipal Art Society delivered testimony reasserting opposition to the NYC Council Subcommittee on Zoning and Franchises on July 12, 2016
NYC Council Subcommittee on Zoning and Franchises postpones vote
Since it was certified for ULURP in January 2016, the project has undergone several changes in terms of height, scale, levels of affordability, and the framework for the analysis in the environmental review process. As such, MAS reasserts that the City carefully examine all facets of the proposed development, including the potential long-term environmental and economic impacts on the neighborhood, including Fort Tryon Park before moving forward with this project. Accordingly, MAS strongly urges the Subcommittee to reject the proposed zoning map amendment and request an alternate design that minimizes environmental affects and includes an affordable housing component that accurately reflects the socioeconomic needs of the Inwood neighborhood.
Download testimony (PDF) »»]]>
The Municipal Art Society of New York is a non-profit committed to advocating for intelligent urban planning, design, and preservation policy. MAS has a particularly long and celebrated history in East Midtown, successfully leading the fight to preserve Grand Central Terminal.
When the Department of City Planning first released their plans to rezone a large portion of East Midtown Manhattan in 2012, MAS worked with area stakeholders and a variety of planning experts to help ensure the future vitality of this important neighborhood. Much of this effort culminated in a report, East Midtown: A Bold Vision for the Future, which laid out recommendations for an improved planning framework for the City.
In 2013, the Historic Districts Council, the New York Landmarks Conservancy, and MAS identified 16 buildings worthy of landmark designation and presented this list to the Landmarks Preservation Commission (LPC). In response, the LPC has calendared 12 buildings, and has held hearings for five items today:
We are grateful to the LPC for taking action on this selection of important historic resources. However, several of the buildings that we recommended for designation, and were identified as eligible by LPC, remain unprotected. In addition, many were identified as projected or potential development sites in the Final Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for the East Midtown Rezoning (denoted by an asterisk), virtually guaranteeing that these remarkable buildings would be demolished. LPC should immediately calendar the remaining six buildings it considered eligible for designation:
We would also urge that LPC reconsider the remaining two buildings on the joint list:
In sum, we strenuously ask the LPC to broaden their efforts to preserve the architectural legacy of East Midtown as embodied by these eight historic sites.
Download testimony (PDF) »»]]>