Site search

April 2006
« Mar   May »


Archive for April, 2006

Council Committee Gives Fieldston Historic District OK

fieldston bronx houseAfter careful consideration, the beautiful residential community of Fieldston, in the Bronx, was designated New York’s newest historic district by the Landmarks Preservation Commission on January 10. The council’s Land Use Committee voted, 18-0, with one abstention, on April 11 to uphold the designation, with the full council scheduled to vote on April 26. The MAS applauds the commission, both for looking outside Manhattan and for its extensive outreach and research, and the Land Use Committee, for supporting the preservation of New York City’s rich, varied architectural history. Continue Reading>>

Making Space for Manufacturing

buildingsSustainable cities are those that are able to maintain a healthy mix of jobs, housing and community services. New York’s ability to achieve this balance has recently been bolstered by the creation of the Mayor’s Office of Industrial and Manufacturing Businesses, which pursues innovative land use policies and supports the retention and expansion of manufacturing jobs. The MAS first called for the establishment of such an office in 2001. Continue Reading>>

Visit the Newly Restored Evangeline Blashfield Fountain at Bridgemarket

evangeline blashfield muralLong hidden from public view, the newly restored Evangeline Blashfield Memorial Fountain was rededicated on June 3 in a ceremony that also presented the first Evangeline Blashfield Award to the Honorable Patricia E. Harris, Deputy Mayor for Administration.

The Evangeline Blashfield Fountain was given by the Municipal Art Society to the City for the Queensboro Bridge Market in 1919. Commissioned by Evangeline Blashfield, the fountain’s design includes a mosaic of brilliant colored glass, depicting the allegorical figure of “Abundance,” designed by Edwin H. Blashfield. After decades of neglect and an earlier unsuccessful conservation effort, the mosaic became fragile and was in desperate need of proper restoration. Florence D’Urso provided a generous grant to the Society’s Adopt-A-Mural program for Wilson Conservators to restore the Blashfield fountain, now on display once more in Bridgemarket Plaza.

The Evangeline Blashfield Award is named after a founding member of the Society and champion of public art and civic amenities at the turn of the century. This award is to be presented annually to an individual in mid-career who has demonstrated Evangeline Blashfield’s ideals and spirit through his or her civic activism. The first award will be given to Patricia E. Harris. As Executive Director of the Art Commission (1983-1990), she helped facilitate the restoration of the fountain, along with countless other public art treasures through the Adopt-A-Monument and Mural programs, carrying the spirit and history of Evangeline Blashfield into the 21st Century.

Click here to read “At 59th and First, Outside Bridgemarket,” by David Dunlap, NY Times, June 1, 2003

Click here to read “Neighborhood Report: Queensbridge—City People; A Shadow From the Past, Back Into the Light,” by Erika Kinetz, NY Times, June 8, 2003

MAS Calls on Council for More Funding for Landmarks Commission

Armed with data dating back to the 1960s, the Municipal Art Society asked the City Council to increase funding to the Landmarks Preservation Commission by 16 percent over the mayor’s proposed budget for the upcoming fiscal year. In testimony before the City Council’s Land Use Committee, the MAS argued that “the single thing that would bring about the most fundamental change to historic preservation practice in New York City today would be to increase the commission’s budget enough so they have adequate staff to fulfill their mandate.” Such an increase would cause the commission’s share of the city’s overall budget to grow from 0.007 to 0.008 percent — still less than one-one-hundredth of one percent. Continue Reading>>

Fulfilling the Seaport’s Promise

front street south seaportThe Belgian-block streets of the South Street Seaport may no longer echo with the bustle of the Fulton Fish Market, but New York City’s rich maritime tradition is still inscribed in its buildings, its piers and, of course, its shore. The seaport embodies nearly the full history of New York City’s waterfront — it was the engine that drove the city before being cut off from people’s daily lives by industry, highways and pollution. Continue Reading>>

MAS to City Council: Save Bronx Terminal Market

The MAS has urged the City Council to reject plans for a new mall at the Bronx Terminal Market unless displaced merchants are relocated as a group to a suitable location. “The success of public markets hinges on the synergy between different vendors who would not be financially viable operating on their own,” the MAS argued in testimony before the City Council Subcommittee on Zoning and Franchises on January 23. (Read the full testimony here.) Continue Reading>>

MAS and NYC Team Up on CITI

my citi kids students classroomA new partnership between the Municipal Art Society’s Planning Center and New York City gives users of the city government’s website direct access to the interactive maps and data featured on the Planning Center’s CITI website. The current CITI website provides access to detailed property information including zoning, ownership, land use and lot dimensions. Over time, city officials will add new data and functions to the widely used map portal. Continue Reading>>

Tribute in Light Project History

On March 11, 2002, six months after the attacks on the World Trade Center, two great beams of light rose from Lower Manhattan and filled the night sky. Organized by the Municipal Art Society with support from the public art organization Creative Time, the Tribute in Light was meant to honor all those who were lost on September 11 as well as those who worked so hard to get our city through its greatest trial. Continue Reading>>

Streetscape Clearance Sale

streetscape clearanceAdvertising in our public spaces is already ubiquitous, and it’s getting more oppressive. And unlike with television ads, there’s no way to change the channel. For that reason alone, New York City must be able to effectively prevent its citizens from being bombarded with obnoxious ads — especially those ads that are illegal. The city is currently rewriting its regulations governing signage and awarding a $1 billion contract for street furniture, paid for by advertising revenue. These changes will have broad and long-lasting effects on how we experience our sidewalks and open spaces. It is imperative that these 3,650 newsstands, bus shelters, information kiosks and automatic pay toilets be sturdy, attractive and practical — they’ll be on our streets for at least 20 years, if not longer — and that the new regulations on signs be enforced. Continue Reading>>

Neighbors Building Neighborhoods

william johnson mayor rochester new yorkAt a time when New York is engaged in the most ambitious and widespread development planning in decades, the conflicting visions of city planners, developers and local neighborhoods have never been more apparent and the stakes have never been higher. The constant media attention and unparalleled public and private resources being devoted to examining and monitoring the city’s plans for the next 50 years provides civic organizations and the city with unique opportunities to consider new planning tools and methods that could usher in a truly participatory process. Continue Reading>>