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August 2009
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Archive for August, 2009

New This Fall:
Weekly MAS Walking Tours of Downtown

lower manhattan skyline aerial 516pxNeed a lunchtime break? Entertaining out of town visitors? Starting Tuesday, September 1, join us for a walking tour of Downtown on Tuesdays at 12:30 p.m. Each hour and a half tour will be led by a knowledgeable MAS guide, either Tony Robins, Marty Shore, or Joe Svehlak. Architectural historian Tony Robins is especially known to MAS tour takers for his Deco and Broadway theater tours, but also wrote the text for the Downtown Heritage Trail and authored a book on the World Trade Center. Urban historian Marty Shore leads popular MAS tours of Jewish Harlem and is a regular at Grand Central Terminal. He’s been leading Downtown tours for the last nine years. As a teenager, urban historian Joe Svehlak’s first job was as a messenger for a Downtown printing firm. His passion for preservation began as he saw great Downtown buildings lost to the wrecking ball. Joe’s recent “When New York was Nieuw Amsterdam” walking tour was a smash (and even made Dutch television). Each tour leader will offer his individual perspective, but all will provide an overview of Downtown’s rich and varied history. New Weekly MAS Walking Tour Downtown: Where New York Began Tuesdays at 12:30 p.m. Tours begin at the Downtown Information Center, 55 Exchange Place, Suite 401 (adults, please bring your photo id) MAP. No reservations are necessary. Like our Wednesday Grand Central Terminal tours, there is a suggested donation of $10 per person.

In A City So Young, Where’s the Youth Voice in Planning?

foreign born youth map nyc 2009 New York is a young city. With a population of over eight million people, 27 percent are below the age of 19, with 10 percent between the ages of 12 and 19. Young people are an integral part of the fabric of New York, representing more than a quarter of the population in neighborhoods such as the South Bronx, East New York, and Corona. Teens, particularly, make intensive use of the public spaces, businesses, and parks and playgrounds in their own neighborhoods and in neighborhoods where they attend school. Issues critical to the quality of life for young people, such as public safety, public health, and a clean environment are part and parcel of debates over urban planning and development, but youth participation in neighborhood decision-making is rare. The obstacles to their participation are considerable, but not insurmountable. Across the city young people and their adult allies are working together to ensure that young voices are heard. Continue Reading>>

Cool Off in These Ten Cultural Hotspots

Just in time for the last few weeks of summer, Place Matters has identified 10 Great summertime spots, spanning all five boroughs. These summertime spots might not be the city’s most popular or most well-known summertime destinations, but they have demonstrated cultural significance, hold memories and anchor traditions for individuals and communities. We urge New Yorkers to visit these places, and take in the flavors, the history and the cultural traditions that help make New York such a special and livable city. See Slideshow below. 1. Jahn’s Ice Cream at 81-04 37th Avenue in Jackson Heights, Queens, Continue Reading>>

Dixon Place, A Place that Matters

dixon place indoors lightsDixon Place only recently opened its doors on Chrystie Street, but it has had a distinctive presence in the downtown theater scene since 1986. A veritable living room-cum-rehearsal and performance space, Dixon Place has been and remains one of the few New York City venues committed to featuring new and original works as well as nurturing dancers, actors, and literary artists during various stages of their creative process. Just as artists produce developing works at Dixon Place, so the theater itself has been a work-in-progress. Formally established in 1986, founder Ellie Covan brought the spirit of the impromptu salons she used to hold in Paris to a store front in the East Village. Its opening act was a six month reading series of original works called “Tuesdays at Dixon Place.” Soon outgrowing its space, Ms. Covan moved Dixon Place to her larger, though modest home, on the Bowery. Continue Reading>>

Automobile Row Buildings on the Road to Landmarks

bf goodrich building midtownMAS testified on Tuesday before the Landmarks Preservation Commission in support of the landmark designation of two buildings in Midtown built in 1909 for the B.F. Goodrich Company. The buildings, both designed by Chicago architect Howard Van Doren Shaw, occupy an L-shaped site fronting the east side of Broadway (pictured here) and the north side of 57th St (both pictured after the jump). Unfortunately, the buildings’ owner only supports the designation of the Broadway building and is opposing the designation of the 57th St. structure.  MAS joined our colleague NYC preservation groups, as well as several groups based in Shaw’s home state of Illinois, in urging the LPC to designate both buildings. Founded in Akron, Ohio, in the 1870s, B.F. Goodrich rapidly grew in the early 20th c. with the rise of the automobile industry.   As a leading automobile tire and rubber manufacturer in the United States at the time, the company wanted a New York presence for its new corporate headquarters.  The company selected an L-shaped location on Broadway and 57th Street, at the heart of what was then considered “automobile row.”  Running along Broadway and its side streets, from north of Times Square to north of Columbus Circle, automobile row held a concentration of showrooms, repair shops, offices, and other uses all associated with automobile companies like B.F. Goodrich, General Motors, Ford, and Fisk Tires. Continue Reading>>

Assistance for Developers Responding to Navy Yard’s Admiral’s Row RFP

rendering admirals rowThe Brooklyn Navy Yard recently released its RFP for the redevelopment of the Admiral’s Row site. MAS sees the RFP process as an opportunity to provide practical information to developers interested in responding to the RFP and to encourage the retention and rehabilitation of more than just the required two historic buildings on the site. As part of our Admiral’s Row work, MAS has developed several site plans showing how additional historic buildings can be integrated into new development on the site. In addition, we have gathered many resources on the history and potential future of the site.We are eager to work with developers in tailoring our initial site plans to the information provided in the RFP and to aid in identifying tax credits and financial incentives to help fund the preservation of these buildings. We hope that our experience and information will be helpful to responders looking to create an exciting new development at Admiral’s Row that combines both new construction and the preservation of the incredibly-significant historic buildings. Continue reading for downloadable resources and further information Continue Reading>>

Amalgamated Housing Cooperative, a Place that Matters

amalgamated housing cooperative fountainThe Amalgamated Housing Cooperative abutting Van Corlandt Park in the Bronx, is the oldest limited-equity housing cooperative in the United States. While it was not the first co-op in the United States, the Amalgamated was nominated to the Census of Places That Matter as an early and enduring model for cooperative housing in New York City throughout the 20th century. In the late 1920s, population densities in New York City – especially in immigrant-heavy neighborhoods like the Lower East Side – were among the highest in the world and people were looking for alternative housing, often outside of Manhattan. Continue Reading>>