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February 2006
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Archive for February, 2006

Bill Would Have “Damaging Effect on Historic Preservation”

In testimony before the City Council Subcommittee on Landmarks, the MAS announced its opposition to “ill-conceived” pending legislation, Intro No. 705, which would profoundly alter the city’s landmark designation process and undermine the Landmarks Law, now celebrating its 40th anniversary. “We certainly do believe the [Landmarks Preservation] Commission’s designation process should be more transparent, but we don’t believe that amending the Landmarks Law will achieve this result.”

Two Columbus Circle: An Appeal to the Mayor

Seven major preservation organizations sent a letter to Mayor Michael Bloomberg asking him to support a Landmarks Preservation Commission hearing on 2 Columbus Circle. The groups range from city-wide to national and international organizations. The organizations are the New York/Tri-State Chapter of DOCOMOMO, Historic Districts Council, The Municipal Art Society of New York, National Trust for Historic Preservation, New York Landmarks Conservancy, Preservation League of New York State and World Monuments Fund. Continue Reading>>

Planning the New Frontier

Since the city began crafting proposals for redevelopment on the Far West Side, the Municipal Art Society has been fostering dialogue on the future of this often over-looked area of Manhattan. A year ago this month, MAS presented Planning for the New Frontier: The Economics of the Far West Side — a standing-room-only open forum on the economic implications of the city’s development plan, held at the Signature Theatre. Continue Reading>>

Public Access to the Hudson Waterfront

waterfrontThe Municipal Art Society is examining the effects of high-density office towers on the riverfront and their impact on how cities experience the water. The commercial development proposed by the city may have imposing effects on park users, and a disconnecting effect for people east of 10th Avenue. Continue Reading>>

New Light Rail Along 42nd Street

trolley grand centralThe Municipal Art Society is working to implement a proposal for a river-to-river light-rail system to run along 42nd Street. A team of some of the world’s top transit planners and financiers has proposed building this new system that will link some of New York’s most prominent landmarks like the United Nations, the Chrysler Building, Times Square, the New York Public Library and various Hudson River attractions. This supplement will be vital as the transportation alternatives being proposed for the Far West Side are not enough to accommodate the increased number of visitors that redevelopment plans will bring into the area. Continue Reading>>

Transportation Links to the Far West Side

Access is vital for any successful development on the Far West Side. The MAS supports the city’s proposed 7 line extension, but wants to consider an additional segment of the 7 along 34th Street back to Penn Station. This would link Manhattan’s three main transportation centers: Grand Central Terminal, the Port Authority Bus Terminal and Penn Station. Continue Reading>>

Progress on the West Side?

moynihan station current frontMonumental changes are coming to Midtown and points west. Two long-standing projects, both named for legendary New York senators, seem to be moving forward. Currently, plans are coming together that might fulfill Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan’s dream of a grand train station on the West Side, but new plans to expand the convention center named for Senator Jacob K. Javits would do more harm than good. Both projects should move ahead, but only with deliberate attention to the potential results. Continue Reading>>

Partial Action Plans — Funding Projects Using Community Development Block Grants

building landscape renderingThe Lower Manhattan Development Corporation gives money to projects, including those run by outside organizations, based on its board’s valuation of their merit. This funding comes from block grants given by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. The LMDC describes in “Partial Action Plans” how it will disburse the funds, requesting public comment on each. The most recent plan is No. 9, which proposes $51.44 million of spending, as laid out in this fact sheet. The plan was submitted to HUD on January 4, 2005. On April 12, the LMDC released a Draft Funding Allocation Plan to set priorities that will guide the distribution of its remaining $735 million of Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funds. The LMDC is accepting comments on Amended Partial Action Plan No. 8 through June 15.

Engaging Lower Manhattan, Memorials and Involved Organizations

Imaging New York: Engaging Lower Manhattan and Tribute in Light In its leadership of projects like Imagine New York and the Tribute in Light that have touched millions, the Municipal Art Society has been actively involved in Lower Manhattan redevelopment. A better, more livable Lower Manhattan depends on public involvement in planning; as a result, the Society has sponsored — and continues to sponsor — free programs, such as Imagine New York and Engaging Lower Manhattan, to engage the public. The Society also believes that the past must be preserved and honored, leading to its role in the creation and continued work of the Lower Manhattan Emergency Preservation Fund and the Tribute in Light. Continue Reading>>

Engaging Lower Manhattan, Plans and Projects

The World Trade Center Site Master Plan The World Trade Center Site Master Plan prepared by Daniel Libeskind of Studio Daniel Libeskind was originally selected in February 2003, and refined in September 2003. The master plan controls the placement of all components on the World Trade Center site as well as a few lots located immediately to the south of the site. The master plan features five towers spiraling upward to the Freedom Tower. In addition, the plan gives the placement of the memorial (in “the bathtub”), cultural buildings (next to the Freedom Tower and memorial), the PATH terminal (in “Wedge of Light Plaza”), and open space (various locations). Continue Reading>>

Engaging Lower Manhattan, Transportation Projects

Transportion Projects Governor Pataki and business leaders are proponents of creating a one-seat rail link from JFK Airport to Lower Manhattan. Such a link would also serve LIRR passengers who now travel to the LIRR’s Flatbush Avenue and Penn Station terminals. A joint agency study recommended in May 2004 that this service use a new tunnel under the East River that could be tied into existing or planned subway lines. The project would cost approximately $6 billion and open by 2013, with planning beginning in December 2004 and continuing until the start of construction in 2007. In its proposed federal budget for the next fiscal year, the White House has endorsed redirecting $2 billion of unused Lower Manhattan tax credits to the project. The Port Authority and MTA have jointly pledged about $1 billion. Other funding sources are as yet unknown. Continue Reading>>

A Better Plan for a Bigger Javits Center

javits center front smallThe MAS has proposed an alternative to the current plan to expand the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center northward. Our plan would expand the center west by decking over West Street. The design offers 83,000 more square feet of total space than the state and city’s proposal and keeps corridors to the waterfront open. Continue Reading>>