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November 2007
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Archive for November, 2007

Civic, Business and Elected Leaders Announce Principles for Moynihan Station

Tomorrow morning at 10:30 a.m., the Municipal Art Society will be joining elected officials, the Friends of Moynihan Station, labor associations, and urban planning and preservation groups, to announce principles for the design and construction of Moynihan Station East and West. The public is welcome to join us on the steps. The group will symbolically “nail the principles to the door” by nailing them to a freestanding column. The principles – announced just prior to the public hearing for the project – contain planning, design and preservation principles that the civic and business communities believe the City, State and transit agencies should follow as they oversee the project with the real estate developers and Madison Square Garden. Earlier this month, the New York Times urged developers to build “a station worthy of New York” and to ensure that the Farley building becomes a truly public space, not merely the passageway for people going to events at the Garden.” We couldn’t agree more. NEWS ADVISORY For More Information, Contact: George Shea at (212) 627-5766 WHERE: Steps of the Farley Post Office building, East Side of 8th Avenue at 31st Street, Manhattan WHEN: Wednesday, November 28, 2007 TIME: 10:30 am WHO & WHAT: An unprecedented alliance of leading civic and business organizations and elected officials will hold a news conference to announce principles for the design and construction of Moynihan Station East and West, the new train station that will rise on the site of Penn Station, Madison Square Garden and the current Farley Post Office building. Friends of Moynihan Station Regional Plan Association, Municipal Art Society, New York Landmarks Conservancy, the Honorable Scott Stringer, the Honorable Richard Gottfried, the Honorable Tom Duane, Partnership for New York City, General Contractors Association, New York Building Congress, New York State Laborers, Tri-State Transportation Campaign, Permanent Citizens Advisory Committee, National Trust for Historic Preservation, Preservation League of New York State, Transportation Alternatives, American Planning Association New York Chapter

Imagine Flatbush Community Meeting

Come and participate in a special dialogue about the future of Flatbush. The Flatbush Development Corporation (FDC) and the Municipal Art Society (MAS) are inviting you to take part in Imagine Flatbush 2030 — a community visioning and dialogue process—designed to get you together with other Flatbush community members to collectively create a more sustainable neighborhood. If you care about the environment, community health, protecting diversity, ensuring affordable housing and a whole host of other community issues, this is the meeting for you! Continue Reading>>

MAS Members-Only Holiday Sale at Urban Center Books: December 12th & 19th

Kick-start your holiday gift buying and receive 20% off – as an MAS member – all purchases at Urban Center Books on Wednesdays, December 5, 12 & 19, 6:00 – 9:00 p.m. Enjoy refreshments as you browse and take advantage of this special opportunity. Over 6,000 titles available! Here are just a few: Continue Reading>>

Panel Discussion: Changing Perspectives on Preservation

Thursday, November 29, 7:00 – 9:00 p.m., at The Municipal Art Society MAP Accompanying the publication of Anthony Wood’s new book Preserving New York: Winning the Right to Protect a City’s Landmarks, this panel will explore the theme of changing perspectives on preservation from the 1940’s and 50’s — when hundreds of potential landmarks were demolished in the absence of protection mechanisms, to the present — when many of the buildings that replaced them are now themselves of interest for landmark designation. Continue Reading>>

Winner of OUTRAGE! Nasty Newsracks Competition Announced

The Municipal Art Society Streetscapes Committee today announced the winner of its OUTRAGE! Nasty Newsracks photo contest, held during the summer and early fall. The winning photograph (at right – click to enlarge) is by Laura Dodd and depicts several newsracks near a bus-stop on the southeast corner of 4th Avenue and 9th Street. The photo was judged to be the winner because it shows multiple violations of the City’s ordinances regulating newsracks: the newsracks are less than 15 feet away from a fire hydrant and all within a bus-stop zone; the bus is forced to discharge passengers outside of the bus-stop to avoid depositing them amid the racks; the newsracks are also dirty and unkempt, with one being used as a trash receptacle, and the glass door of another having been smashed in. Ms. Dodd received a $100 gift certificate to the Urban Center Books store at 457 Madison Avenue as first prize. Violations of the city’s ordinances regulating newracks have been of concern to several BIDs, civic groups and neighborhood associations, which formed the NYC Newsrack Committee in order to find out why current laws are not working and how they can be improved and tightened. View the ten finalist photos of the OUTRAGE! photo contest.

Ten Finalists of OUTRAGE! Photo Contest Announced

The Municipal Art Society of New York announced the top ten finalists in the “OUTRAGE!!! Nasty Newsrack Photo Competition” today in advance of the selection of the winner scheduled for Tuesday, November 13, 2007 at the next Newsrack Committee meeting. MAS launched the “OUTRAGE! Nasty Newsrack Photo Competition” to highlight the rampant legal violations of the City’s ordinance regulating newsracks in New York City, and received more than 200 submissions. The winner will receive a $100 dollar gift certificate to the Urban Center Bookstore at 457 Madison Avenue as first prize. Photo entries that illustrate flagrant and widespread violations of the current NYC newsrack law include a photo that reveals an empty, dirty newsrack chained to a pole less than three feet away from a fire hydrant. Another photo shows six newsracks (one of which with broken plexiglass that is being used as a trash can) in a bus stop zone less than 15 feet from a fire hydrant. The bus in the photo is forced to discharge its passengers outside of the bus stop zone to avoid depositing them amidst the racks. All 10 finalists are attached. The NYC Newsrack Committee, a coalition of civic organizations and BIDs, is focused on a discussion of why the current laws regulating newsracks are not working and what can be done to improve them. A survey conducted by several BIDs in the Committee (full list below) counted hundreds of violations. The Flatiron 23rd Street Partnership BID counted eighty-five violations in October, 2007 alone. The Committee is exploring new newsrack policies and designs that have been successful in other cities, such as Houston, Dallas and San Diego. Unlike New York, these cities limit the number of newsracks at any given corner, have strict criteria regulating their design, and allow only steel boxes; plastic boxes are prohibited. The Committee has called on the NYC Department of Transportation to enforce the current laws and urged the City Council to enact more effective legislation. NYC Newsrack Committee Members include: The Municipal Art Society, 34th Street Partnership, Alliance for Downtown NY, Association of Residential Boards, Brooklyn Heights Association, Carnegie Hill Neighbors, Carroll Gardens Neighborhood Association, CIVITAS, Columbus Avenue BID, East 60th Neighborhood Association, East 86th Street Merchants & Residents Association, East 60’s Neighborhood Association, Fashion Center BID, Grand Central Partnership, LANDMARK WEST!, Murray Hill Neighborhood Association, New Yorkers for Parks, Times Square Alliance, Transportation Alternatives, Union Square Partnership (list in formation) BIDs that were surveyed include: 34th Street Partnership, Lower East Side BID, Metrotech BID (survey conducted done by 34SP), East 86th St. (survey conducted done by 34SP), Flatiron BID, Kingsbridge BID (Bronx), Grand St. BID (Bklyn), Downtown Alliance, Sunset Park BID (Bklyn), Columbus Avenue BID, Sunset Park BID, Fashion Center BID, 5th Avenue BID, Times Square Alliance. Finalist Photos

Modernism and the Public Realm: Planning and Building in New York

Wednesday, November 28, 6:30 p.m., at Museum of the City of New York, 1220 Fifth Avenue at 104th Street  MAP Hilary Ballon of New York University will moderate a panel including Nathan Glazer of Harvard University, Kent Barwick of MAS, and Fred Siegel of the Progressive Policy Institute to explore whether modernism in architecture and urban design has failed our cities. For reservations and program information: (212) 534-1672, ext. 3395.

Imagine Flatbush 2030: a Community Visioning Project

imagine flatbush smallThe Mayor’s PlaNYC2030 is a citywide sustainability agenda that lays the groundwork for achieving and maintaining affordable housing, open space, good transportation, clean air, water, and land and reliable energy. It affords an enormous opportunity to rethink the development of the city. As part of Jane Jacobs and the Future of New York, MAS will work with the residents, business owners, and civic leaders of Flatbush, Brooklyn, with the partnership of the Flatbush Development Corporation, to assist in creating neighborhood sustainability goals and tools to measure progress toward consensus-based goals. Continue Reading>>

The Oversuccessful City, Part 2: Neighborhood Character in the Face of Change – SOLD OUT

Tuesday, December 4, 7:00 p.m., at the Municipal Art Society, 457 Madison Ave. Every neighborhood in New York is in want or need of something that it does not have. Pursuit of convenience or a better life motivates a great deal of development and growth. And yet, as Jane Jacobs warned, the satisfaction of these desires — actually achieving the careful balance that defines a great urban neighborhood — itself can imperil existing communities, both physically and socially. Continue Reading>>

Audio and Video Podcasts of Jane Jacobs Panel Discussions Now Online

One Neighborhood, Two Plans

manhattanvilleOn October 3, the City Planning Commission held a hearing on two plans for the expansion of Columbia University into Manhattanville. One was the university’s plan, the other was Manhattan Community District 9’s 197-a plan — a community-based plan for the same area. The challenge is that the plans contain, in some part, contradictory visions. In the 19th century, the village of Manhattanville, situated around 125th Street and the Hudson River, grew to be a center of manufacturing and industry with a concentration of milk pasteurization and bottling companies, and later, auto showrooms and meat-packing. Continue Reading>>

The Oversuccessful City, Part 1: Developers’ Realities

Tuesday, November 27, 6:30 p.m., at The Times Center Stage Auditorium, 242 W.41st Street       MAP There are economic realities that underlie development and change in the city, all the more so in flush times. In facing the challenges of the growing city, New Yorkers need to consider these truths and their implications. This, the first of two panels on what Jane Jacobs called “oversuccess,” will consider these issues primarily from the developer’s perspective — with the objective of opening up a conversation about economics, land value and other issues that shape the city. Continue Reading>>