September 2002
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Archive for September, 2002

Plan Chosen for Redesign of a Plaza at 55 Water St. New York Times, Saturday, September 21, 2002

Amid the canyons of the financial district, it is hard to imagine how one could conceal an acre of public space that offered daylight, harbor breezes and a gull’s-eye view of the East River waterfront.

But the builders of 55 Water Street, New York City’s largest office tower, managed the feat three decades ago by elevating their plaza 35 feet above the street as part of a planned skyway system that never materialized. The isolated and barren plaza has drawn few visitors over the years, though it generated a development bonus of 410,000 square feet of office space in a 3.6 million-square-foot building.

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Lower Manhattan Emergency Preservation Fund

The Society is pleased to announce its partnership with the World Monuments Fund, the National Trust for Historic Preservation, the Preservation League of New York State, and the New York Landmarks Conservancy to create an emergency preservation fund for lower Manhattan’s historic structures. In all, there are 67 designated landmarks near the World Trade Center site and even more which are listed or may be eligible for listing on the National Register. The partnership is establishing guidelines and will soon invite grant applications for documentation, assessment, planning and conservation projects that alleviate the impact of the disaster. The Fund for the City of New York has generously agreed to hold the monies at no charge and your contributions, made out to The Fund for the City of New York, are welcome through the Society. For more information, please contact Vicki Weiner, the Municipal Art Society’s Kress Fellow for Historic Preservation, at or 212/935-3960.

Selections from the Winning Redesign of the Elevated Public Plaza at 55 Water Street

Renderings of new design by Rogers Marvel Architects And Ken Smith Landscape Architect:

The elevated public plaza at 55 Water street now.

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Images of the Seaview-Farm District in Staten Island

Images of the Seaview-Farm Colony Historic District in Staten Island Continue Reading>>

Protecting Community Gardens: There Oughta Be a Law

On April 25th, 2000, Council Members Kenneth Fisher (D-Brooklyn), Adolfo Carrion (D- Bronx) and Gifford Miller (D-Manhattan) introduced legislation in the City Council (Int. No. 742 and 743) that would help protect New York’s community gardens.

The legislation-based on a proposal drafted by the MAS and several greening organizations-would implement a citywide policy encouraging the preservation of existing gardens and the creation of new gardens. It would establish a planning process to ensure a balance throughout New York City between residential development and much-needed open space. In particular, it would encourage the City to develop its 11,000 vacant lots before looking toward community garden sites.

The MAS has long been concerned about the void in City policy regarding community gardens, resulting in needless conflict with gardeners-most dramatically, the proposed auction of more than 100 gardens in May 1999. The proposed new legislation would introduce a rational, balanced planning process, alleviating the misperception that community gardens and housing are mutually exclusive.

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