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July 2006
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Archive for July, 2006

Shoot It Down! The Entries

Check out the entries to our shockingly successful Shoot It Down! photo contest in which we asked you to send us shots of illegal advertising across the city. Continue Reading>>

State Review of Atlantic Yards Plan Begins, and MAS Weighs In

atlantic yards aerial view planWith more than nine million gross square feet of development, 17 new buildings, one of which would rise up to 620 feet, an 18,000-seat sports arena, and seven acres of new open space, the Forest City Ratner plan for the Atlantic Yards and surrounding areas would change northern Brooklyn forever. It is among the largest development proposals in the history of New York City, and the MAS has begun its review of the plan. Continue Reading>>

Vanishing East River Industrial Heritage

new york industrial building death noticeDEATH NOTICE
The recent catastrophic fire at the Greenpoint Terminal Market emphasizes the fact that our industrial heritage is disappearing at an alarming rate. In November 2005, the Municipal Art Society mounted an exhibit titled Preservation on the Edge: Our Threatened East River Heritage, which highlighted six of the waterfront’s most historic industrial buildings and presented ways in which they could be protected and reused. In the six months following that exhibit, half of the buildings were destroyed. Continue Reading>>

City Increases Funding for Landmarks Commission

prospect heights street housesResponding to the Municipal Art Society’s advocacy campaign, the City Council has increased the budget of the Landmarks Preservation Commission by $250,000 in Fiscal Year 2007. This increase will bolster historic preservation throughout New York City, allowing the commission to add much-needed staff and thus to increase both the rate of designation of landmarks and historic districts and the efficiency with which permits are processed. The MAS applauds the council, especially Council Members Jessica Lappin, Tony Avella and Diana Reyna, and the mayor for providing this additional funding. Continue Reading>>

Javits Expansion Plan: Wrong for the West Side

javits center front smallAs Hudson River Park nears completion, new development is rapidly moving into the Far West Side, and New Yorkers are already being drawn to the light, air and magnificent views of one of the city’s greatest assets — the Hudson River waterfront. But the current, ill-conceived plan to expand the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center northward would do the neighborhood and the city irreparable harm. Continue Reading>>

30 Under 30: The Watch List of Future Landmarks

When, many years from now, we look back at the close of the 20th century, which buildings will we select to tell our story? An independent jury appointed by the Municipal Art Society of New York has just released a of 30 contemporary buildings that it believes to be potential future landmarks. 30 Under 30: The Watch List of Future Landmarks includes residential, cultural, religious and industrial buildings constructed between 1974 and 2004 . The list begins chronologically with Skidmore, Owings & Merrill’s Grace Building and its sibling 9 West 57th Street, completed in 1974; and ends with Richard Meier’s 173/176 Perry Street Condominium Towers, completed in 2002. Spearheaded by the Society’s Kress Fellow for Historic Preservation, Vicki Weiner, work on the Watch List of Future Landmarks began shortly after Mr. Meier’s 1977 Bronx Developmental Center disappeared under a radical alteration in 2002. Despite an international reputation as a late Modern masterpiece, the building was not yet 30 years old and therefore ineligible for landmark status and protection. The loss of the building served as a wake-up call for the Society to monitor — watch — these buildings today so they will survive long enough to help tell the story of the late 20th century. Over 150 buildings were nominated to the Watch List by design professionals and the public. The jury used a set of established criteria to judge the buildings based on their artistic, technological, historical and canonic merits, and weighed the influence they had on design and culture in the city and worldwide. Sherida Paulsen, an architect who was chairman of the Landmarks Preservation Commission from 2001 to 2003, chaired the jury, which included: Paola Antonelli, a curator at the Department of Architecture and Design, MoMA; New York magazine architecture critic Joseph Giovannini; interior designer Kitty Hawks; Paul Makovsky, senior editor of Metropolis Magazine; architect Greg Pasquarelli of the firm SHoP; architectural historian Nina Rappaport; David Sokol, managing editor of I.D. Magazine; and Jacob Tilove, architectural historian at Robert A.M. Stern Architects.

The City in the Age of Terror

times square bollardsIs New York losing important aspects of its urbanity? Does the proliferation of security bollards impede pedestrian use of sidewalks? Have Constitutional rights to free speech and protection from searches suffered as public spaces and facilities are restricted, closed, or made accessible only on condition of acquiescence to inspections of person and belongings? Does the redesign of the Freedom Tower — with its 200-foot concrete base, now covered in prismatic glass and set back 25 feet from Vesey and Fulton Streets and 90 feet from West Street — indicate a trend toward isolationist and non-street-friendly architecture? Continue Reading>>

Map Reveals Landmarking Disparity

Using GIS software and drawing on data from the Landmarks Preservation Commission and the Department of City Planning, the MAS Planning Center produced a map showing all the designated buildings and sites within each New York City Council district. The map is divided into council districts, each with marks indicating individual and interior landmarks, historic districts and scenic landmarks. The map shows what many know — there are fewer landmarks and districts in the boroughs outside Manhattan. What can be done to change this? Support an increased budget for the Landmarks Preservation Commission.

Fund the Landmarks Commission

New York’s Landmarks Law is the envy of cities nationwide, but despite the hard work of an increasingly overburdened staff, the Landmarks Preservation Commission is struggling to keep up with increasing demands on it. 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 it has adequate staff to fulfill its mandate and ensure that the best of the city is preserved for future generations. Continue Reading>>