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July 2010
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Archive for July, 2010

Sunset Tour of New York Harbor

sunset water guard towerThe 19th Annual MAS Summer Boat Tour Toward a Sustainable Upper Bay Wednesday, July 28, 6:00-9:00 p.m. Come along as the sun goes down for a boat tour of the Harbor Islands, the Buttermilk Channel and Gowanus Bay—the scenic and the hidden parts of New York’s Upper Bay. We’ll hear about successes and challenges on the way to a sustainable future—from imaginative and dedicated individuals who are helping to lead the way. Our Host: Vin Cipolla, president, Municipal Art Society. Devoted to preservation, conservation and the arts, Mr. Cipolla has consistently provided civic leadership in these areas throughout his adult life. He was appointed president of the MAS in early 2009. Continue Reading>>

2010 Jane Jacobs Medal Recipients Announced

2009 masterworks winners (Left) Joshua David and Robert Hammond. (Right) Elizabeth Barlow Rogers. The Rockefeller Foundation and MAS proudly congratulate the recipients of the 2010 Jane Jacobs Medal—Joshua David and Robert Hammond, co-founders of Friends of the High Line and Elizabeth Barlow Rogers, longtime and founding President of the Central Park Conservancy and current president of the Foundation for Landscape Studies. The medal, which is administered by MAS, was created in 2007 to honor the author and activist who died in April 2006. It is awarded annually to New Yorkers whose work creates new ways of seeing and understanding the city. “MAS is delighted the Rockefeller Foundation has chosen Joshua David, Robert Hammond and Elizabeth Barlow Rogers as Jane Jacobs Medalists,” said MAS President Vin Cipolla. “All three recipients embody Jane Jacobs’ tenets and demonstrate true dedication to New York City. With their innovative stewardship and activism, these medalists have created a more livable city for all to enjoy.Continue Reading>>

MAS President: Preservation Is Key to Sustainability

climate-change-preservation-cloudsIn an article that was posted today on Huffington Post, MAS President Vin Cipolla took aim at critics who believe that New York City is taking landmark preservation too far. He argued that preservation is a key ingredient in maintaining sustainable cities. “There is no reason why we have to choose between protecting our historic resources and developing New York City,“ he writes. “With comprehensive planning, we can balance the city’s growth while preserving the places that give New York City its identity and soul.” To view the full article, click here. For more information on the Municipal Art Society’s inaugural Summit for New York (October 21-22), where people will gather to discuss the present and future of New York’s sustainability and livability, click here.

Rand School, A Place That Matters

The former Rand School of Social Science, at 7 E. 15th St., Union Square, Manhattan, nominated by Israel Kugler.One’s choice of politics in NYC hasn’t been limited to Democrats and Republicans. In 1906, the American Socialist Society founded the Rand School to promote the understanding and practice of socialism. The school’s offerings in the social sciences, humanities, and the trades sought to attract working New Yorkers and provide them with a broad education from a Left perspective. Continue Reading>>

Quick, Where is the Nearest National Park?

bout tour maria burks (left) Governors Island. (right) Maria Burks, Commissioner, National Parks of New York Harbor When you think of National Parks, it’s unlikely that New York Harbor is the first thing that pops into your head but several of the nation’s most significant parks are located in our maritime backyard. Think Liberty Island, Ellis Island, Governors Island National Monument, Gateway National Recreation Area and more. Come along on the MAS boat tour on July 28 in the knowledgeable company of Maria Burks, Commissioner of the National Parks of New York Harbor, to look and learn about the key role the National Parks play in our local economy, the ways their carbon footprint is being reduced and the sociological and cultural challenges to their long term sustainability. Continue Reading>>

The Lenox Lounge, A Place That Matters

The Lenox Lounge at 288 Lenox Ave. in Harlem. Operated continuously since 1941, except for a seven-month interruption for renovation in 1999-2000, the Lenox Lounge is one of New York’s historic jazz clubs. Alvin Reid, Sr. found the club a bit too elegant for his taste when he first encountered it as a youngster in the 1950s. But when he bought it from the Greco family in 1988, he thought a revived Lenox Lounge would be just the thing to revitalize his beloved neighborhood and its signature music at one and the same time. It hasn’t been easy. Locals use the club as a hang-out more than a place to hear live music, and the ratio of tourists to residents in the famous Zebra Room is not what Reid hoped for. But the author of our new profile on the Lenox Lounge, a young jazz vocalist herself, has discovered that the Sunday and Monday night jam sessions — where jazz veterans and up-and-comers meet — are continuing the legacy of jazz as “exciting entertainment, creative art form, and collective learning process.” Find the profile on the PlaceExplorer, and visit the Lenox Lounge for lunch, dinner, and music.

This Wednesday: Land Use & Local Voices Conference

new york city aerial brooklyn dumbo manhattan skylineJoin community board members, city planners, land use lawyers, real estate developers, elected officials, community activists, and others interested in New York City’s land use process this Wednesday, July 21, 2010, for a one-day conference, Land Use and Local Voices: Is the City’s Land Use Process in Need of Reform? The conference, sponsored by MAS and Manhattan Community Board 1, will explore various perspectives on New York City’s land use process and consider proposals to improve it.  Architects, lawyers, and planners are eligible to receive professional continuing education credits.  Visit for more information. Registration 8:30 am; Conference 9 am – 4 pm. Pace University’s Michael Schimmel Center for the Arts, 3 Spruce Street (east of Park Row, near the corner of Gold Street) FREE. Reservations Required: Register Online or call 212 935-2075 Continue Reading>>

MAS Board Members Helm the Future of Governors Island

governors island benches grass skylineMAS proudly congratulates board members Ronay Menschel, Elizabeth H. Berger and Julie Menin for their appointment to the Trust for Governors Island. Now that Governors Island ownership has officially been turned over to New York City, the Trust will be responsible for guiding the future development of the island, including a new 40 acre park. The Trust will ensure Governors island retains its historic character while making it a destination for all New Yorkers. “Ronay, Julie, and Liz have been invaluable members of MAS’ board over the years,” said MAS President Vin Cipolla. “I know they will lend the same level of insight and commitment they have given MAS to the future of Governors Island.” Ms. Menschel, who will chair the Trust, is is Chairman of Phipps Houses, and has been a MAS board member since 1992. Ms. Berger is president of the Alliance for Downtown New York; she has been a member of MAS’ board since 2002. Ms. Menin is chair of Community Board 1, host of Julie Menin’s Give and Take, and a MAS board member since 2008. To learn more about Governors Island, click here.

19th Annual MAS Summer Boat Tour

battery park waterfront lower manhattanToward a Sustainable Upper Bay: Islands, Bays, Channels & Canals Wednesday, July 28, 6:00-9:00 p.m. Join us for a scenic boat ride and lively commentary on the present and future of the Upper Bay of New York Harbor. We’ll get up-close views of Ellis, Liberty and Governors islands, take the Buttermilk Channel past Red Hook and visit assorted basins and canals. Along the way, we’ll learn about the Upper Bay’s changing environment, the preservation and conservation challenges facing its extraordinary National Parks and look to the future—including a waterfront public high school that will offer an education built upon New York City’s maritime experience. Continue Reading>>

MAS Summit for New York City

MAS is proud to announce the inaugural Summit for New York City, a unique gathering of civic-minded New Yorkers and leaders in the fields of urban planning, urban design, housing, economics, and research and development. This cross-section of accomplished thought leaders will gather on October 21 and 22 to discuss key issues and challenge the current thinking about New York City’s livability. The program, currently in formation, will include thought-provoking presentations, panels and keynotes, as well as smaller sessions that will enable the audience to participate more fully in the debate about our city’s future. For more information, updates, and registration, click here.

MAS Praises Court Decision on First Avenue Estate Buildings

city suburban first avenue estateMAS applauds last week’s decision of the New York Supreme Court, Appellate Division, which upheld the Landmarks Preservation Commission’s re-designation of two buildings on the Upper East Side. The buildings, which were built at the turn of the 20th century, are part of the City and Suburban Company’s First Avenue Estate model tenement complex and are important for their innovative design as well as in their role in social housing reform. MAS filed an amicus brief (that is, a brief filed as a friend of the court) in support of the designation. “MAS is very pleased with the court’s decision to uphold the LPC’s designation,” said MAS President Vin Cipolla. “It is crucial that we celebrate both our architectural and social heritage, and the lasting impact of the City & Suburban Company’s efforts to improve low income housing through projects like the First Avenue Estate. Continue Reading>>

Made in Midtown: The Garment District Today and Tomorrow

Last month’s Spotlight on the Garment District programs were a resounding success, with more than 400 audience members joining in on the discussions on the future of New York City’s fashion industry. See slideshow below. The first panel, moderated by Tim Gunn, reinforced the significant findings of the Made in Midtown study conducted by the Design Trust for Public Space and the Council of Fashion Designers of America. The speakers highlighted the district’s role as a fashion research and development hub, where the city’s fashion industry nurtures new talent while making significant contributions to the city’s economy. The second panel, moderated by Deborah Marton of the Design Trust, dealt more generally with the unique qualities of creative urban districts and how they might be sustained. MAS plans to continue focusing on how the city’s built environment, the fashion ecosystem that interconnects the users and uses that make the Garment District so important, affects entrepreneurship and how the Garment District can be used more effectively to secure New York City’s position as a fashion capital of the world. Future programming planned for the fall will reflect on the ways in which foreign countries are reacting to the globalization of the industry, and how existing fashion capitals can stay competitive when emerging economies offer cheaper labor and lower production costs. MAS will look at the garment industry in several nascent fashion capitals in Asia to better understand the composition of the industry there and the national policies that promote it. Check back with MAS for more on the developments of the Made in Midtown study and for future related events. [AFG_gallery id=’32’]