July 2009
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Archive for July, 2009

History and Weather Combine for an Illuminating MAS Boat Tour

On Wednesday night, 300 courageous souls boarded the Circle Line for the MAS Annual Boat Tour, braving wind, rain, and ominous darkness. In honor of the 400th anniversary of Henry Hudson’s historic voyage, the boat tour featured the upper Manhattan and Bronx sections of the mighty Hudson River. Architectural historian and MAS tour guide Francis Morrone expounded upon many architectural jewels of this stretch of the Hudson, including the Wave Hill, in the Bronx, the George Washington Bridge, and the magnificent 1904 IRT Powerhouse, which the Landmarks Preservation Commission is currently considering landmarking after much urging from MAS. Continue Reading>>

MAS Boat Tour Sails Along the Historic Hudson Tonight, Rain or Shine

hudson river boat view from new jerseyTonight, in honor of the 400th anniversary of Henry Hudson’s historic voyage, we are heading up the river that bears his name. A limited number of tickets are still available ($75, $50 MAS members), but advanced sales are now closed. Please show up at Pier 83, at 42nd Street and 12th Avenue (MAP) to buy your tickets. Please note: The Circle Line boat will sail on time at 6:00 p.m., rain or shine. To ensure that you are boarded in good time, we recommend that you arrive at Pier 83 (at 42nd St. & 12th Ave.) by 5:30 p.m. if you purchased tickets in advance — and earlier if you need to buy them on-site — as we cannot delay departure for late-comers. Those who purchased your ticket/s online in advance, please remember to bring your e-mail receipt with you: it is your ticket. If you reserved over the phone, please check-in at the desk (look for the yellow balloons) to obtain your ticket before trying to board. You may bring a picnic supper with you, though food and beverages, including wine and beer, are available for purchase on board. Guests are not permitted to bring their own alcoholic beverages. Please call Katie Skelly on 212 935 2075 before 4:00 p.m. today (July 29) with any questions.

Full City Council to Vote on Coney Wednesday; Negotiations for Expanding Open-Air Amusement Area Ongoing

“I have been actively discussing this [expanding the area available for open-air amusements] with the administration. Those discussions have been fruitful and are ongoing. I hope that by the time the entire City Council votes on this plan, on July 29th, I will have great news for everyone.”New York City Council Member Domenic M. Recchia, Jr. MAS believes that Coney Island has extraordinary potential and we strongly support the City’s goals towards revitalizing it. Over the past year, we commissioned an economic study; convened a charrette (an intense design workshop) of entertainment experts; held an call for ideas; held numerous public meetings and workshops; and submitted extensive testimony and a massing study to the City. Continue Reading>>

Gantry Plaza State Park, a Place that Matters

Directly across the East River from the United Nations, Gantry Plaza State Park has stunning views of Manhattan, but it was nominated to the Census of Places that Matter for its main attraction: restored gantry cranes. Now dramatic industrial sculptures, these gantries were the nexus for providing goods and supplies to Long Island via the Long Island Rail Road tracks that used to run to the water’s edge. Built in the 1920s, the gantries hoisted rail cars from floats and barges onto land and vice versa, opening up the Long Island waterfront for industrial activity and inland for residential communities. But the gantries are just one feature that pays homage to the Long Island City waterfront’s industrial past, which is quickly giving way to residential buildings. The Long Island City waterfront was originally a site for tanneries and other factories, including the Pepsico bottling plant in Hunters Point. The iconic ruby-red Pepsi Cola sign was dismantled late in 2008 to be re-situated further north in the newest section of Gantry Plaza State Park, which just opened July 1, 2009. Continue Reading>>

Frances Goldin Receives 2009 Yolanda Garcia Community Planner Award

“A renewal effort has to be conceived as a process of building on the inherent social and economic values of the community. Neglecting these values through programs of massive clearance and redevelopment can disrupt an entire community.” These words could easily have been written by South Bronx activist Yolanda Garcia. In the early 1990s, she founded an organization known as We Stay/Nos Quedamos, and led a movement of residents who wanted to remain in their neighborhood despite the City’s plan to redevelop it with low-density, mixed-income housing.  They created an alternative plan for affordable housing development at Melrose Commons that is still being implemented today. However, the words above are actually the opening statement of the Cooper Square Alternate Plan, written in 1961 by a group of activists from the Lower East Side, including Frances Goldin. Known as the Cooper Square Committee, they opposed Robert Moses’ urban renewal plan to demolish and redevelop more than 2,500 housing units in their neighborhood. On July 13, the Municipal Art Society celebrated the kindred spirits of these two community activists by presenting the annual Yolanda Garcia Community Planner (YGCP) Award to Ms. Goldin.  Continue Reading>>