April 2009
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Archive for April, 2009

MAS Joins David McCullough to Protect the Brooklyn Bridge

david mccullough speech

Yesterday, the Municipal Art Society joined author & historian David McCullough and several other organizations and individuals (including the DUMBO Neighborhood Association, the Brooklyn Heights Association, the Historic Districts Council, the Roebling Chapter of the Society for Industrial Archeology, Council Member David Yassky, Council Member Bill DeBlasio’s office, and Council Member Tony Avella) in asking the City Council to reject a plan for an 18-story building on Dock Street in DUMBO, directly adjacent to the Brooklyn Bridge. The development would encroach upon the Bridge, affecting iconic view both of and from the Bridge.

The Brooklyn Bridge, as David McCullough has so eloquently articulated, is one of the most beloved structures in New York City, if not in America and the world. It is one of only 11 National Historic Landmarks in Brooklyn — as such it has been afforded the highest level of recognition in our country.

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Landmarks Hearing for IRT Powerhouse Planned for Bastille Day

con ed irt powerhouse front portion

Preservation advocates received good news last week regarding the future of the Con Ed Powerhouse, located in the northern reaches of Hell’s Kitchen, on the block bounded by 11th Avenue and 59th Street, and 12th Avenue and 58th Street in Manhattan. The Landmarks Preservation Commission (LPC) announced plans to hold a public hearing, to consider the individual landmark designation of the building, on July 14th, 2009.

The former Interborough Rapid Transit (IRT) Powerhouse was designed by acclaimed architect Stanford White, of McKim, Mead & White, and was built in 1904 in the Renaissance Revival style. The splendidly detailed, industrial building has been considered by the LPC twice before — once in 1979 and again in 1990 — but was never granted landmark status. Earlier this year, in keeping with our commitment to the preservation of New York City’s industrial heritage, MAS sent a letter to the LPC supporting the proposed designation.

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How to Manufacture a Greener New York in Focus at MAS Tonight

gowanus canal

A few years ago, many believed that manufacturing was dead in New York City. But now it is widely understood that manufacturing jobs are critical to a diverse, decentralized, and healthy economy as well as to a greener New York. Manufacturing jobs are also good jobs, which pay $10,000 more per year than restaurant work or entry-level retail jobs. Plus, over 60% of manufacturing jobs come with health care coverage, unlike most restaurant and retail work.

Join us tomorrow night and listen to an outstanding panel discuss opportunities and challenges ahead from their varied perspectives.

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The Cage, A Place That Matters

west village west 4th street basketball courts cage shot

The West 4th Street Courts, aka “the Cage,” at West 4th Street and Avenue of the Americas, was one of ten 2008 Place Matters honorees for creating public space.

The site now occupied by the West 4th Street Courts was originally acquired by the City in the 1920s as a result of the widening of Sixth Avenue. Though the site was not formally assigned to the Parks Department until 1953, a playground had opened at the location in 1935. Some time during the 1950s, the lot was paved and basketball hoops were installed.

This court, only half of regulation size and literally encaged by a 20-foot high chain-link fence (hence its nickname), draws basketball lovers from all over the city, and moreover the world. These basketball aficionados come both to play and watch some of the best street-ball there is.

Each year, the Cage hosts the West 4th Street Summer League.  Founded by Kenny Graham in 1977, the league is the oldest summer basketball program in New York City and the only tournament that runs seven-days-a-week from Memorial Day to Labor Day.

The Cage is world renowned as a training ground for those who may eventually make the jump to the pros, like Mario Ely, Anthony Mason, Rod Strickland, Jason Williams, Stephan Marbury, and Smush Parker. But more importantly, it is a place where many who love the game can come to play at the highest level or press against the fence to watch in awe.


Don’t Sit on the Sidelines: Learn How to Plan Your Neighborhood’s Future Today

sidewalk people fruit cart

While the recession cuts deep into New Yorker’s pocketbooks and neighborhoods, we can take strength from the fact that the city has weathered hard times before. Many of our neighborhoods — Melrose, Park Slope, Tribeca, Bushwick — have come to symbolize the enormous regenerative power of the city — power that comes about when when communities are actively involved in planning.

Developers know that times of recession are times to plan for the comeback — communities know this, too. New York City is changing and the Livable Neighborhoods Program is designed to help communities plan for equitable and sustainable change — now and into the future.

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