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September 2010
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Archive for September, 2010

Guided Tours: AM Walk or Bike to Summit, PM Visit Farley Building and Ugly Streets


Walk to the Summit | 7:30 AM sharp.

Join architectural historian Matt Postal for an examination of the varied streetscape that lies south of Pennsylvania Station and Madison Square Garden.  Explore the neighborhood’s evolution from residential to commercial use, with brief stops to discuss sites associated with fashion and the fur trade, 20th Century urban renewal, and mass transit.  Meet at southwest corner of 8th Avenue & 24th Street.   Space limited.  Tour reservation required.

Bike to the Summit  | 7:30 AM sharp; for free bike rental, arrive at 7:15 AM sharp.

Join Paul Steely White, executive director of Transportation Alternatives, for a ride from Battery Park to the Penn Plaza Pavilion on 33rd Street.  Along the way, gain a representative experience of what it is like to bike in New York City, with greenways, painted lanes, protected median lanes and Copenhagen-style cycle track lanes.  Hear his views on why certain designs are more desirable than others and on the controversy that still shrouds some bike lanes.  Summit registrants only.  Meet at Bike n Roll – Battery Place and West Street, just west of Pier A.   Tour reservation required. Space and free bike rental are limited.


Farley Building: Past, Present & Future | 1:00 PM sharp

Join Mehul Patel, vice president of Moynihan Station Development Corporation, for a behind-the-scenes tour of the Farley Building as Phase I of its transformation into Moynihan Station begins. Phase I will improve circulation infrastructure and provide two new entrances through the Farley Building to the Penn Station tracks.  In the future, the great courtyard of the historic building will become a sky-lit train hall larger than the main concourse at Grand Central Terminal and a second sky-lit space will become an intermodal hall. The Farley Building also provides impressive private development opportunities. See the enormous potential, now beginning to be realized, of this landmarked McKim, Mead and White structure. Meet in the North Rotunda of the Farley Building (climb the Eighth Ave. steps and turn right as you enter the post office lobby). Space limited.  Tour reservation required.

“Ugly” Streets Tour | 1:00 PM sharp

Stroll through the Penn area with Frank Addeo, member of the Municipal Art Society’s Streetscape Committee, who will lead a tour through the Herald Square/ Pennsylvania Station area. Though billed as the “Ugly Streets Tour,” participants may discover that “ugly” is in the eye of the beholder. Find out how these vibrant streets in the area attract New Yorkers and tourists alike and greatly contribute to what makes New York City a great walking city. Along the way learn about fascinating streetscape issues that have been a focus of the MAS’s Streetscape Committee. Meet in the lower lobby of the Penn Plaza Pavilion. Space limited.  Tour reservation required.

Meet the Panelists: Civic Activism in the Spirit of Jane Jacobs

summit nyc 2010 mini collageSince 2007, the Rockefeller Foundation has awarded the annual Jane Jacobs Medal to outstanding New Yorkers whose activism emulates the principles of urban design and planning advocated by Jane Jacobs. 

On October 21, past and present Jane Jacobs Medalists will participate in the MAS Summit for New York City to share the tools and strategies they have used to effect change. Continue Reading>>

MAS To Unveil First Livability Survey at Summit for NYC

summit nyc 2010 logoNew York is considered one of the most desirable places to live in the world, but how do city residents – those of us who brave the subways, crowded sidewalks and noisy streets each day – feel about life in the Big Apple? Continue Reading>>

Happy Birthday to You, Penn Station

small old penn station black whiteIn September 1910, the inaugural Long Island Rail Road train departed from Pennsylvania Station, powering through freshly-built East River tunnels and on into Queens. This fall marks the 100th anniversary of the construction of McKim, Mead, and White’s original Beaux-Arts style structure, with its staggering, cavernous concourse crisscrossed daily by travelers until its demolition, in 1963. Continue Reading>>

Conference on Preservation & Climate Change in New York City

Can old buildings help make New York a more sustainable city? How will climate change affect the city’s historic buildings and neighborhoods? How can we make the city’s landmarks more energy efficient? Speakers will address these questions and more at the Conference on Preservation and Climate Change in New York City. Co-sponsored by The Municipal Art Society of New York and Columbia University’s Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation, the all-day conference on Saturday, October 16th will be kicked off by an opening lecture and reception on October 15th, and be followed by special tours on October 17th. (Click here to see the agenda and list of speakers and here to register). Panels and lectures include: Continue Reading>>

This Week’s Highlights: September 24, 2010

penn stationEach week we will bring you news on issues related to New York City’s livability. Feel free to comment or post a link to other interesting articles about our city.Daniel Patrick Moynihan, adviser to three presidents, a four-term United States Senator from New York and a prolific author, posthumously reveals his insights Continue Reading>>

Mr. Cipolla Goes to Washington

Yesterday, MAS President Vin Cipolla participated in the “Building Livable Communities: Goals for a Common Agenda” conference in Washington, D.C. The conference was hosted by Partners for Livable Communities, a non-profit whose mission is to “improve the livability of communities by promoting quality of life, economic development, and social equity.” Continue Reading>>

Tour South Street

ships at south street seaportA Fresh Look at South Street Saturday, October 2, 2:00 p.m. We will explore the nooks and crannies of the old South Street Seaport area, which through much of the 19th century defined the New York economy and created many of the city’s greatest fortunes. We’ll look at historic buildings (some landmarked, others not), discuss historic buildings no longer standing, talk about the lives of the legendary South Street merchants, look at the 20th-century changes, peer into the future of the district, and consider the area’s literary associations. For more information, click here. Architectural historian Francis Morrone writes about his first impressions of South Street: Continue Reading>>

This Week’s Highlights: September 17, 2010

old poster hotel pennsylvaniaEach week we will bring you news on issues related to New York City’s livability. Feel free to comment or post a link to other interesting articles about our city. The New York Observer reflects on the oft-overlooked history of the Hotel Pennsylvania, once the largest hotel in the world. This site is also home to the Penn Plaza Pavilion, where we will be hosting the Summit for New York City on October 21 and 22. In an effort to preserve its extraordinary view of New York Harbor, Green-Wood Cemetery has hired lawyers to help block new developments in its sightline. The Architects Newspaper reports that the proposal could potentially halt new development on the Red Hook waterfront and in Sunset Park. Continue Reading>>

Kingsbridge Armory, A Place That Matters

kingbridge-armory-new-york-cityThe northwest Bronx isn’t the first place you’d go looking for an enormous medieval French castle. But that’s where such a castle—or an early 20th c. American version of a 19th c. French version of a 14th c. French castle—was built to house the Eighth Coastal Artillery in 1912. Its massive towers and crenelated parapets (those notched tops that scream “castle”), was designated a New York City landmark in 1974 for its military architecture. Read more about the Kingsbridge Armory in a new profile on the PlaceExplorer. To get there, take the 4 train to the Kingsbridge Road stop. The site is bounded by Jerome Avenue, West 195th Street, Reservoir Avenue, and East Kingsbridge Road. The National Guard used the Armory until 1996, but today, it is closed off by a chain link fence that hides the enormous drill hall—a major feat of engineering in its time—and the bowling alley, rifle range, gymnasium and auditorium that once were tucked underneath it! Continue Reading>>

Tribute In Light 2010

tribute-in-light-nyc-9-600x420At dusk last Saturday, MAS presented its 9th annual Tribute In Light, twin blue beams of light honoring the victims of the September 11 World Trade Center attacks. At a private ceremony held on the site of the memorial, MAS Senior Advisor Frank Sanchis spoke about the beginning of Tribute In Light. “We took a parking lot, built scaffolds, found 88 lights which we had to get from around the country, and set it up that year on the six-month anniversary of the attacks on March 2002,” he said. “The Tribute immediately became popular and caught the public’s imagination, and the Municipal Art Society was inspired to produce it again the next year.” Continue Reading>>

Museum of the City of New York Extends Special Member Discount to MAS Family for Lindsay Programs

Over the years, the Museum of the City of New York (MCNY) and MAS have partnered to bring New Yorkers fascinating programs on our great city and its notable characters. MCNY has generously offered to extend their members’ discount on all public programs to the MAS family, through September. MCNY is continuing their speaking series on Mayor Lindsay with tomorrow night’s program, Who Broke New York? John V. Lindsay & the Fiscal Crisis, moderated by Sam Roberts of the New York Times. More information on this panel, and other upcoming MCNY programs, follows below. “MCNY is an esteemed institution that celebrates the heritage and future of New York City, an objective MAS strongly supports. In May, MAS was a proud co-sponsor of the Museum’s symposium on The Lindsay Years. These Lindsay programs are a wonderful opportunity for all of us to learn more about a mayor who truly redefined our city,” said MAS President Vin Cipolla. Continue Reading>>