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August 2007
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Archive for August, 2007

Urban Center Books Announces Its HUGE End-of-Summer Sale!

Markdowns of up to 80% off! Prices as low as $5, $10 and $20. Just a few of the OVER 600 BOOKS on sale! Beneath the Metropolis: The Secret Lives of Cities, Alex Marshall, 240 pages, $29.95, $10 Birkhäuser Architectural Guide France (Out of print), 352 pages, $35, $10 Mappetite New York, All-in-One Guide and Map to the Best Restaurants, Food and Landmarks, $12, $5 Continue Reading>>

Jane Jacobs and the Future of New York Exhibit to Open

On September 25, the Municipal Art Society’s exciting new exhibition Jane Jacobs and the Future of New York opens in Urban Center Galleries. Sponsored by the Rockefeller Foundation, this innovative show reevaluates the legacy and values of renowned New York activist Jane Jacobs through the lens of the city of today and tomorrow using images, text and multimedia. It is the centerpiece of a major MAS campaign aiming to energize a new generation of New Yorkers to observe and recognize the best of their city and become citizen activists advocating for positive change. Continue Reading>>

New York Woman Wins Seven-Day Access for Disabled at Farley Post Office

The New York Post runs a follow-up article [Post Office ‘Stair Down’] describing the United States Postal Service’s decision to keep open throughout the week a Farley Post Office annex with wheelchair access after learning of the complaints of a New York patron. The Post article notes:
Weeks after a gutsy granny complained that the iconic Eighth Avenue post office was all but off limits to the disabled on weekends, the U.S. Postal Service has seen the light — and will keep an annex with the building’s only wheelchair ramp open seven days a week.
The original article [Granny Goes Postal Over Accessibility] ran in the Post two weeks ago.

Is New York Losing Its Soul? – SOLD OUT!!

jane jacobs future new yorkWednesday, October 3, 6:30 p.m., at Donnell Library Center, 20 W. 53rd St. Today’s New York City is safer and more economically robust than anyone could have imagined in the gritty 1970s, or even the early 1990s. But there is more to city life than economic success. As blocks and neighborhoods begin to respond to success, some have lost elements of the character that made them distinctive. Continue Reading>>

Kent Barwick Gothamist Interview

Kent Barwick Municipal Art Society President Kent Barwick is featured in a short interview [Kent Barwick, Municipal Art Society] by Gideon Fink Shapiro in today’s Gothamist. Highlights include:
How important is the outcome of this project to the future of New York, compared to other large projects on your radar? This is probably the most important transportation project on the agenda of New York, and has the most promise for the future. We think the redevelopment of Penn Station as Senator Moynihan envisioned will be the greatest catalyst to the Far West Side. It is as important to the development of the West Side as Grand Central Terminal was to Midtown. How should the public get involved in order to have a voice in the planning process? Our poll showed there was not as much knowledge as one would have thought. The public cannot really be involved until the government shows us what the plan is. We insist the plan be made public and reviewed by the public before the major decisions are made. Could the Penn Station project mimic the rushed planning of the Atlantic Yards project in Brooklyn, which also was led by the ESDC and a large developer? I think the Atlantic Yards project is a good example of how not to involve the public. There was no city review. This was all under Pataki. We’re optimistic that Governor Spitzer’s administration will approach this project in a different manner.
Read the latest information on Moynihan Station here.

The Municipal Art Society and the Rockefeller Foundation present Jane Jacobs and the Future of New York

block future of new york jane jacobs campaignOn view Tuesday, September 25, through Saturday, January 26, 2008 at the MAS Coming at a time of unprecedented growth and redevelopment in the city, this exhibit aims to encourage New Yorkers to observe the city closely and to empower them, with a combination of tools and resources, to take an active role in advocating for a more livable city — the shared goal of Jane Jacobs and MAS. Continue Reading>>

Meet a Developer: Stephen Ross Profiled in New York Observer

Moynihan StationThe New York Observer, in a profile [Stephen Ross, King of Columbus Circle] by Matthew Schuerman describes Stephen Ross and his development company, The Related Companies:
Lately, Mr. Ross and Related have been sitting on top of it. In 2004, the 750-foot-tall, 53-story, $1.7 billion twin-towered Time Warner Center opened, its condominiums sold out, its retail rents broke records, and its design, by and large, received critical accolades. The experience turned Related from merely a large, successful development company into a huge, successful development company, to the point where it can partner with the publicly traded Vornado Realty Trust on the Moynihan Station project, a series of several buildings in the West 30’s that would involve moving Madison Square Garden and constructing two new train stations.
The article also notes that Related is likely to bid on the West Side Railyards in October, and that Ross “hired Vishaan Chakrabarti, a former city planning official who now heads the Moynihan Station project for the Related-Vornado partnership.” [Photo by James Hamilton from the New York Observer.]

City Begins Environmental Review for Domino Site

domino sugar refinery brooklynThe developer CPC Resources proposes to redevelop the former Domino Sugar Refinery site on the Brooklyn waterfront and an upland parcel by constructing new residential buildings containing 2200 apartments (of which 660 would be affordable) while adaptively reusing the main refinery buildings. The City Planning Commission recently held a hearing for the scope of the forthcoming environmental review, and the MAS submitted comments focusing on the need to explore reusing more of the historic resources on the site, building shorter and less dense buildings, retaining industrial jobs in the surrounding area, greater use of sustainability strategies in light of the Mayor’s PlaNYC initiative, and maximizing the public quality of the open space and waterfront access in the proposal while maintaining the commitment to the project’s affordable housing component. Resources: MAS Comments on Draft Scope of Work for an Environmental Impact Statement for the Proposed Domino Sugar Rezoning Additional details about the Domino Sugar Refinery site

Pataki to Launch Environmental Consulting Firm, Related Companies a Client

Former New York Governor George Pataki, in a partnership with his former chief of staff, John Cahill, will soon announce the launch of the Pataki-Cahill Group (site coming soon), an environmental consulting company, reports the New York Sun in an article [Green Pataki Taking a Cue From Giuliani] by Jacob Gershman. The article notes:
One of the former governor’s first clients is Related WestPac, an operating unit of the Related Companies, a development company headed by Stephen Ross responsible for a variety of multibillion-dollar projects, including the Time Warner Center and part of the planned Moynihan Station. It is also said to be preparing a bid for the West Side rail yards.
The article reports that Pataki-Cahill has been providing advice to Related WestPac for its 80-acre, $2 billion ski village development in Snowmass, Colorado.

Brooklyn’s Industrial Heritage: Now Less Endangered

save industrial brooklyn heritageOn June 14, 2007 the National Trust for Historic Preservation named the industrial heritage of the Brooklyn waterfront to its annual list of the nation’s 11 Most Endangered Historic Places, based on a nomination made by the Municipal Art Society. Since that announcement, the Landmarks Preservation Commission has taken action to protect some of the most significant places on the waterfront and have held hearings on three of the sites highlighted in the MAS nomination. Continue Reading>>

Jill Jonnes, Author of Penn Station History to Speak 4 October 2007

Jill Jonnes, author of Conquering Gotham: A Gilded Age Epic: The Construction of Penn Station and Its Tunnels, will speak 4 October 2007 at Polytechnic University in a session sponsored by the American Society of Civil Engineers. Jonnes will tell the story and show slides of the early 20th century engineering feat of constructing a monumental system of electrified railroad tunnels under the Hudson River, Manhattan, and the East River to Long Island, capped with the crown jewel of Pennsylvania Station. For ten years, engineers and legions of “sand hog” laborers battled the crushing forces of two rivers as they burrowed through treacherous glacial soils, suffering blow-outs, explosions, labor troubles and mounting fatalities. For more information and reservations, see the American Society of Civil Engineers. Download ASCE flyer for speech. [PDF] Thanks to Streetsblog for its mention.

Blogs, Papers, Websites Feature New Penn Station

We’re pleased to be mentioned in the following publications over the last few days. An article [Riders want Voice in Penn Station Plans: Study] by Philip Newman in the in Queens notes the importance of Penn Station to commuters:
“Mass transit patrons overwhelmingly want an expanded and renovated railroad terminal to replace Penn Station through which tens of thousands of Queens commuters pass daily, but they want to be better informed on progress and given some say in development of the project, according to a new poll.”, in the “Around the Web” section on the home page: “New Penn Station: The Municipal Art Society just launched this website to promote its vision for moving and expanding the train station.” National Railroad News blog: “Join The Municipal Art Society’s Campaign for a Grand Moynihan Station