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April 2007
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Archive for April, 2007

Opening Reception: Fabrication, On Display

fabrication on displayWednesday, May 16, 6:00 – 8:00 p.m. Full-scale, digitally fabricated prototypes by graduate students at the Yale School of Architecture explore the roles of material, form and decoration in defining the relationships between viewer and viewed, display and displayed, in the art gallery setting. Reservations are encouraged. RSVP to or 212-935-275. Credit: Ben Pell

Community Planners Celebrated at Awards Reception

Elizabeth Yeampierre, executive director of the United Puerto Rican Organization of Sunset Park, passionate advocate for the city’s environmental justice movement and community-planning activist, was honored with the second annual Yolanda Garcia Community Planner Award at a reception on April 18 at the Urban Center. The award was presented by Yolanda Gonzalez, daughter of the late Yolanda Garcia, and executive director of Nos Quedamos. Continue Reading>>

PlaNYC 2030: A Fine Start

The Municipal Art Society congratulates Mayor Bloomberg for his bold leadership and the unprecedented creativity he invested in PlaNYC 2030. Forward-looking proposals like congestion pricing, planting a million new trees in the city and the development of a public plaza in each community district are among the many thoughtful goals to begin planning for now.

Demolition for Parking Opposed in Brooklyn

atlantic avenue brooklyn aerialMore than 200 people braved torrential rains last week to rally against planned demolition at the Atlantic Yards development site in Prospect Heights. Elected officials, performers and community residents called on the state and the city to rethink plans to permit Forest City Ratner to demolish two city blocks — including the historic Ward Bakery — to create parking lots. Click here to watch a short video of the day’s events and to learn more about the campaign.

Shaping the City Series Continues with Douglas Durst and Helena Durst

Join us for the second in a unique series of off-the-record conversations with New Yorkers who are shaping the city. The Durst Organization is currently developing the Bank of America Tower at One Bryant Park, which is set to be New York’s most environmentally advanced office building. President Douglas Durst and his daughter and Assistant Vice President, Helena, will be interviewed by MAS board member Kitty Hawks. To take part in Shaping the City programs, become a Richard Morris Hunt Patron or an MAS Urbanist today. Contact Lisa Alpert, Director of Annual Giving, at 212-935-3960 or

Mandolin Bros, Staten Island, A Place that Matters

mandolin brothers staten island new york place mattersMandolin Bros, at 629 Forest Ave., Staten Island, nominated by Dave Knox. A modest, brown, nearly windowless building in the heart of Staten Island houses a store which many consider to be the center of the American fretted instrument world. It’s home to the world’s best guitars, banjos, ukuleles, and mandolins. Friends and partners Stan Jay and Harold “Hap” Kuffner founded the place in 1971. Thinking that mandolins could use some publicity, and poking fun at music store owners who name their stores after themselves, Stan and Hap became the Mandolin Bros. Kuffner left, but Jay remains, and moreover, he remains in Staten Island. He’s never been tempted to move. Why? He figures that anyone willing to take subway, ferry, and bus to his location “pre-qualifies” as serious and trustworthy. Continue Reading>>

Economy Candy, A Place That Matters

Economy CandyEconomy Candy, at 108 Rivington St. in the Lower East Side, nominated by both Lori Greenberg and Michael Hasselmann. Mary Janes, Tootsie Rolls, Sky Bars, Pez dispensers, Pop Rocks, and Pixie Stix. Halvah. Fox’s U-Bet. Chocolate jelly rings from JoMart, hand-dipped in Brooklyn. Economy is a quintessential NYC candy store. It’s worth a visit not only for the candy but also for the atmosphere. There are shelves piled nearly to the ceiling with chocolates and candy, bins full of penny candy, a gourmet international selection, and vintage children’s games and candy boxes lining the wall. The amazing variety of candy is matched by the diversity of customers. Family-operated since the 1930s, owner Jerry Cohen grew up working in the store, taking it over from his father and uncle in the mid-1970s. Economy is one of the last candy stores left in the neighborhood. So visit now, or if you must, shop online at

The Empire Roller Skating Center, A Place that Matters

empire roller skating center brooklyn new york signBefore the Empire became one of New York City’s best loved roller rinks, it was a parking garage for Ebbets Field. The Swanson family opened the rink in Crown Heights, Brooklyn, in 1941, and until the late 1990s the rink was family owned. Then, the nationwide chain United Skates of America took it over, and now, very unfortunately, the rink has been sold. It’s next life? Probably a storage facility. We are extremely sad to report that the Empire is closing. Its last day is April 23rd. Continue Reading>>

A Home for Survivors Stairway?

Thanks to the hard work of Governor Spitzer, the Empire State Development Corporation and the Port Authority, a temporary home for the only remaining above-ground remnant of the World Trade Center has been identified nearby. A long-term solution for preserving it is yet to be determined, but progress is being made that will allow redevelopment plans for Lower Manhattan to proceed. Click here to send notes of support and encouragement, and here to read an article from the Daily News.

Brooklyn is Booming

brooklyn construction

Photo: Giles Ashford

Brooklyn is booming these days with a flood of development that could permanently alter its character. Major developments in in Greenpoint and Williamsburg, at the Atlantic Yards site in Prospect Heights and in Coney Island are either underway or slated to begin soon, but less well-publicized areas adjacent to these developments are also experiencing significant changes to their built environment. According the Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce, an estimated 13 million square feet of development was planned for Brooklyn in 2005. Recently, The New York Times reported that of the 24,610 permits issued by the City Department of Buildings in Brooklyn in 2005, 1,740 were for new buildings — a rate of four new building permits each day. In that same time, the department issued 1,924 permits for demolition, or five per day. In the simplest terms, Brooklyn lost five buildings and gained four new ones every day in 2005. Continue Reading>>

ACTION ALERT: Historic Prospect Heights Needs Your Help

prospect heights historic row houses italianateMAS and the Prospect Heights Neighborhood Development Corporation recently submitted a survey of the historic architecture of Prospect Heights, Brooklyn, to the Landmarks Preservation Commission because we believe it is threatened by development pressures from the adjacent Atlantic Yards site. The survey, and an accompanying request for the area to be studied for designation as a historic district, is only the first step. Read on to find out how you can help us save Prospect Heights’ historic resources. Prospect Heights is an area rich with the historic architecture that helps shape Brooklyn’s special identity. The neighborhood contains blocks lined with beautiful Italianate and neo-Grec rowhouses, interspersed with churches, small commercial buildings and multi-family structures. Originally a quiet farm area crossed by the historic Flatbush Turnpike Road, Prospect Heights became a residential neighborhood in the second half of the nineteenth century after the completion of nearby Prospect Park. The area is widely recognized as an important historic neighborhood, and indeed, part of the neighborhood is listed on the National Register. With the Atlantic Yards proposal moving ahead, it is crucial that Prospect Heights gain protection through historic district designation before development pressures resulting from the project permanently alter the its intact historic character. Continue Reading>>

Weeksville Heritage Center and the Richmond Barthé Frieze at the Kingsborough Houses, Places That Matter

weeksville heritage centerThe Weeksville Heritage Center and the Richmond Barthé frieze at the Kingsborough Houses, are both connected to African American history and culture, located steps away from each other in Crown Heights, Brooklyn. Weeksville Heritage Center, at 1698-1708 Bergen Street, includes the wood-frame Hunterfly Road houses—the last remaining residential artifacts of a 19th century African American community, built in the years of slavery’s demise in New York. Continue Reading>>