February 2010
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Archive for February, 2010

Langston Hughes Community Library and Cultural Center, a Place that Matters

langston hughes

Langston Hughes Community Library and Cultural Center in Corona, Queens, was nominated to the Census of Places that Matter because it houses the largest circulating Black Heritage reading collection in New York State. The facility was established as a result of local community efforts in the 1960s to form a community-controlled library and cultural center focusing on the history and needs of the African American community in the Corona neighborhood.

The library originally opened in 1969 in a former Woolworth’s store on Northern Boulevard. According to its Place Matters nomination, the original location provided the library with a storefront presence and also served “as a reminder of an earlier moment in history [when] this Woolworth’s was the site of a local civil rights struggle to break the color barrier for hiring in Queens.” Opening just two years after Langston Hughes’ death, the library was the first public institution named for the poet. The library’s Black Heritage Reference Center has grown over the years to more than 40,000 volumes of materials “written by, about, for, with and related to Black Culture.” In addition, the library has a special collection of works by and about its namesake, including Hughes’ own published works, analyses of his work, and even musical settings composed by Hughes.

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More Good News: Amtrak and NYS Make Moynihan Agreement Official

amtrak

Yesterday, Governor Paterson issued a press releaseannouncing the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with Amtrak. That document secures the agreement that Amtrak will operate the new intercity passenger station in the Farley Post Office, named Moynihan Station.

This announcement comes on the heels of the announcement that the Moynihan Station project was awarded an $83 million Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) grant from the U.S. Department of Transportation. With that award, Phase 1 of the project is fully funded and work can begin this year.

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Green Light for Moynihan Station

Moynihan Station

One of the Municipal Art Society’s most urgent priorities for New York – the transformation of the James A. Farley Post Office to Moynihan Station – took a significant step forward today, when US Senator Charles Schumer announcedthat the federal government will award $83 million in stimulus funds to begin the first phase of the project.

MAS President Vin Cipolla welcomed the news. “With today’s announcement, the federal government is recognizing what the Municipal Art Society has long known, that the construction of a new train station is critical to the future economies of New York City and State. The new station will create construction jobs in the near term; improve the capacity of Penn Station and the whole Northeast Corridor; and, once complete, will be a catalyst for development on Manhattan’s far West Side,” he said.

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MAS and Design Trust Collaborate on Garment District Study

MAS has partnered with the Design Trust for Public Space to analyze the fashion industry’s presence in Manhattan’s Garment District. As the City begins to evaluate its policies for retaining garment manufacturing in Manhattan, the Design Trust and its fellows are investigating the fashion industry ecosystem of designers, patternmakers, wholesalers, and others to get a better understanding of its composition to help inform the debate.

The MAS/Design Trust collaboration is an exciting new venture in which we will provide research support for the Design Trust’s Made in Midtown report and website launching in April. Additionally, MAS will host a series of programs this summer to publicize the report’s findings and shape this issue into a public discussion. Learn more about this project here.


A Broadway Closing We Can All Applaud

times square people chairs

MAS is pleased at the City’s announcement today that the two portions of Broadway around Herald and Times squares closed to vehicular traffic since June of last year are to be made into permanent pedestrian plazas.

The goal of the Department of Transportation (DOT) pilot program was to reduce travel times around Times Square and Herald Square by eliminating the congestion where Broadway meets Sixth and Seventh avenues. This goal was achieved in part, but other direct consequences of reclaiming these streets for pedestrians, including a 35 percent reduction in pedestrian injuries, and the creation of 2.5 acres of new public space in one of the city’s densest neighborhoods, are the most exciting outcomes.

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