May 2009
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Archive for May, 2009

Wall Street Rising and MAS Announce Strategic Alliance

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Julie Menin, founder and board member of Wall Street Rising, and Vin Cipolla, president of the Municipal Art Society of New York, announced today a strategic alliance to bring new planning and public programming resources to Lower Manhattan. Wall Street Rising was established immediately after the September 11, 2001 to help restore vitality to the financial district.

“With the explosive population growth that has occurred in Lower Manhattan over the past several years, the community is facing enormous infrastructure challenges,” said Ms. Menin, Chairperson of Community Board 1. “After considering several organizations, the board of Wall Street Rising was delighted to partner with MAS, the city’s premier planning and advocacy organization, as we begin to focus attention on new planning initiatives.”

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Proposed Admiral’s Row Compromise Revealed

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Today, the National Guard Bureau recommended that the Brooklyn Navy Yard be required to preserve two of the historic Admiral’s Row buildings if it purchases the site. Admiral’s Row is a collection of 11 19th century buildings that hold an important place in America’s naval history. MAS had proposed a compromise that would allow for the Navy Yard to develop the site with a grocery store and industrial space while retaining the historic buildings. MAS has also requested that the National Guard lower the sale price of the property to reflect the cost required to rehabilitate the buildings (law requires that the land is sold at fair market value).

“MAS developed feasible plans that show that we can have preservation and development at the Admiral’s Row site. We have hoped, and continue to hope, that more of these very significant historic buildings will be retained and incorporated into the development (see our video feature on Admiral’s Row),” said MAS director of advocacy and policy Lisa Kersavage.

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Urban Parks in the 21st Century Tonight at MAS

Join MAS President Vin Cipolla and an expert panel tonight for a fascinating discussion of the future of parks in New York City. The city’s parks system is currently undergoing an ambitious expansion that seeks to intertwine natural and designed environments, and the primary focus of this panel is a trio of exciting new parks that have been developed through a variety of innovative approaches in this regard.

Concrete Plant Park in the Bronx would never have been created without the hard work and thoughtful programming of the community; Riverside Park South offers 21st century design, telling references to the past, and private financing; and Freshkills Park, at two and a half times the size of Central Park, was a beautiful wetland that became a despised landfill, and is now being transformed into a place for play and pleasure.

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City Council Considers Dock Street Project

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MAS testified last week before the Zoning and Franchises Subcommittee of City Council in opposition to the Dock Street project in DUMBO. The proposed 18-story building would be located directly adjacent to the Brooklyn Bridge, and, if approved, will alter views of the Bridge from DUMBO’s streets and block views of the East River, Manhattan Bridge, and Williamsburg Bridge from the Brooklyn Bridge’s public walkway.

The Brooklyn Bridge is an indisputable icon of New York City, and protecting it from encroaching large-scale development is of utmost importance to MAS. No ordinary historic structure, the Brooklyn Bridge has been afforded the highest level of recognition and protection in the United States, National Historic Landmark status. MAS therefore asked the Council Members to reject the zoning changes which would allow this development.

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City Launches New Street Design Manual at MAS

MAS was delighted to host Transportation Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan on Wednesday night for the premiere presentation of the city’s first truly comprehensive set of guidelines for street design, Designing Streets in New York City. David Burney, Commissioner of the Department of Design & Construction, Adrian Benepe, Commissioner of the Department of Parks & Recreation, and Amanda Burden, Chair of the New York City Planning Commission, were also in attendance.

Constituting 26% of the total area of the City, the streets and sidewalks are by far its largest public space, and the Department of Transportation’s (DOT) new manual represents a rethinking of the way city government works with regard to this vital resource.

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