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August 2006
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Archive for August, 2006

Livable Neighborhoods Needs Assessment Survey

The Planning Center would like to thank all those who participated in our needs assessment survey on the topic of land use planning. This survey, which is part of the Planning Center’s Livable Neighborhoods Program, was designed to help us asses the needs of community boards and community based organizations, in order to create resources and training curricula that are truly useful and beneficial. The feedback we received from people involved in making neighborhood-level planning decisions on a regular basis helped underscore the ongoing need for training and technical support for community-based planning. Continue Reading>>

A History of the Municipal Art Society of New York

2005 A new partnership between the MAS 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. CITI (Community Information Technology Initiative) was launched to demonstrate the usefulness of publicly accessible geographic information systems (GIS), and to provide 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>>

Place that Matters of the Week

place that mattersFrom local bakeries and hidden gardens to neighborhood sandlots and historic churches, New York is filled with places that matter to its residents. While architectural landmarks play an important role in creating the city’s sense of place, it is the historically and culturally significant places that hold memories and anchor traditions for individuals and communities. These places play a critical role in shaping the city’s character and promote the well being of New York’s many communities in ways that too often go unrecognized. Continue Reading>>

Corona’s Lemon Ice King, A Place that Matters

lemon ice king coronaThere are thousands of places to get an ice, but there’s only one Lemon Ice King of Corona. Since 1944, Peter Benfaremo’s shop has been delighting patron’s palates with ices in flavors that range from standard (lemon, chocolate) to unique (peanut butter – with real peanuts). The flavor’s may have changed since the 1940’s, but the cool pleasure of eating an ice on a hot day never will. Continue Reading>>

Sheepshead Bay Footbridge, A Place that Matters

sheepshead bay bridgeOpulent hotels, horse racing, auto racing, and gambling, lots of gambling — Sheepshead Bay and Manhattan Beach had it all. But betting was banned in 1910, and the twin neighborhoods became year-round residential neighborhoods with an emphasis on the sea. Continue Reading>>

Shoot It Down!

illegal outdoor advertising molson beerA month-long competition sponsored by the MAS and real estate blog Curbed has come to a close, with Liberty T. Rees winning the Shoot It Down contest by finding the best example of an outrageous oversized illegal ad. Her  picture of 1496 Second Avenue  (at left) shows a beer ad draped over a residential building on the Upper East Side. City regulations do not permit such ads in residential areas, and the sign would require a permit from the Department of Buildings, too. Continue Reading>>

52 Park, A Place That Matters

longwood 52 park music performers bronxIn the Longwood neighborhood of the Bronx, 52 Park on Kelly St. and Avenue St. John sits across from the school where a generation of distinguished Latin musicians such as Ray Barretto and the Palmieri brothers attended class and learned to play music. The former P.S. 52 (now M.S. 52) and its Kelly St. neighborhood rocked with the sounds of Latin music all through the 1950s and ’60s when Longwood and nearby neighborhoods helped give birth to a New York Latin music sound. Continue Reading>>

New Yorkers Respond to MAS Principles

Since the MAS announced its principles for the Atlantic Yards, several hundred New Yorkers have contacted us with their comments, a selection of which are below.
“Brooklyn is a precious and unique place that cannot be overwhelmed by an anti-community project. There needs to be openness, dialogue and transparency. Right now, there is no proper scrutiny or engagement by public officials.” – PW Continue Reading>>

Austin Nichols Warehouse: City Council Fails Preservation Test

austin nichols buildingBy a vote of 37-8, with two abstentions, the City Council overturned the landmark designation of the Austin, Nichols & Co. warehouse on the Williamsburg waterfront. The monumental Cass Gilbert-designed building will now be subject to inappropriate modifications that will spoil its unique façade and detract from the neighborhood’s character—ironically, one of the factors that make the building desirable to live in. Continue Reading>>

Resolution Reached for Landmark TWA Terminal at JFK; Preservation, Public Policy, Practicality Are Big Winners

twa saarinenThe Municipal Art Society (MAS), the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey and JetBlue Airlines have reached a tentative agreement on a plan for Eero Saarinen’s TWA Terminal at JFK Airport that will largely save the internationally acclaimed landmark while allowing it to be adapted to the needs of a 21st century airport. As part of a Federally mandated public review process for the redevelopment of the building, MAS, the Port Authority of New York & New Jersey, and JetBlue Airlines held a series of meetings during which they worked out a terminal expansion plan that preserves many of its original features and keeps the building in airline use.

New York’s WPA Pools, Places that Matter

astoria pool queensThis week’s heat wave is sending New Yorkers all across the city in search of relief. Seventy years ago, residents faced much the same dilemma when a punishing heat wave gripped the city in the summer of 1936. Fortunately for New Yorkers then and now, 1936 was also the year that Mayor Fiorello LaGuardia and Parks Commissioner Robert Moses opened eleven monumental pools across the five boroughs. Continue Reading>>

Governors Island, A Place that Matters

Take a five minute ferry ride from downtown Manhattan and visit Governors Island this summer. Or take a five minute trip to the Governors Island Alliance website and vote on the shape of the island’s future. Although much is happening at Governor’s Island these days, the story of the island in fact begins with the Canarsee Indians who utilized it as a seasonal oyster and nut gathering-ground in the seventeenth century and before. In 1776, when 400 British ships carrying 30,000 troops sailed into the New York harbor, colonial forces on Governors Island shot at them with cannon fire to allow General Washington and his troops time to retreat. Because of its strategic position, the island remained a defensive outpost for the next hundred years, proving so effective that during the War of 1812, the British avoided the New York Harbor altogether, choosing instead to land at the more lightly defended Chesapeake Bay. Continue Reading>>