April 2011
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Archive for April, 2011

MAS Fetes DvF

MAS Annual Gala 2011 at the New York Public Library

Hundreds of civic minded and philanthropic New Yorkers gathered last night as MAS presented the 2011 Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis Medal to Diane von Furstenberg at our annual gala.  The black tie event, held at The New York Public Library, honored the fashion icon for her work as an urban pioneer, civic activist and preservationist.

Tim Gunn, Caroline Kennedy, and Chair of The New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission, Robert B. Tierney, were the evening’s honorary chairs.

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MAS: Demystify Fair Share

Barge on Newtown Creek - Photo by Nadia Chaudhury

The Municipal Art Society testified at a recent New York City Council Subcommittee on Landmarks, Public Siting and Maritime Uses’ hearing on Fair Share. The Fair Share provision of the New York City Charter, added in 1989, was intended to include community participation in the siting of burdensome city facilities, such as sewage treatment plants and solid waste transfer stations, and to promote the equitable distribution of these facilities. Brooklyn Councilmember Brad Lander convened this hearing to explore the effectiveness of Fair Share in the 20 years since it was implemented and to identify opportunities for improvements.

Historically, undesirable city facilities, such as homeless shelters, waste transfer stations, and hazardous waste facilities, have been sited disproportionally in low-income communities of color. During hearings for the 1989 charter revision, communities complained that the siting process took place with little to no notice to local residents. Fair Share was designed to both encourage equitable siting while also involving local communities in the siting process.

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MAS Launches Energy Demonstration Project with Henry Street Settlement

Thumbnail - Henry Street Settlement - Photo by Hazel Balaban

Can historic, landmarked buildings – perceived by many as energy hogs–be transformed into energy efficient properties, without compromising their iconic character?

The Municipal Art Society of New York (MAS) is embarking on a demonstration project to show that the city’s most treasured historic buildings can improve their energy efficiency without significant aesthetic changes or large capital outlays.

MAS selected the landmarked headquarters of the Henry Street Settlement as the site for the project.  Located at 263-67 Henry Street on Manhattan’s Lower East Side, the three c. 1830 Federal-style row houses were among the first buildings to be designated as landmarks by the newly-formed Landmarks Preservation Commission in the mid-1960s. See photos below. The buildings are also National Historic Landmarks, the nation’s highest-ranking historic buildings (less than 2,500 historic places in the United States bear this national distinction). The buildings are ideal for the project because of their age, relative lack of alterations and, in terms of size, configuration and ubiquity in New York City.

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Livable Neighborhoods Training Travels to the Bronx

livable neighborhoods podium

In response to our 2010 Livability Survey, which found that Bronx residents were the least satisfied with their neighborhoods than other city dwellers, we went north with our highly regarded Livable Neighborhoods training program to more than 200 members of the twelve Bronx community boards.

Through a partnership with Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz, MAS provided hands-on instruction in understanding the city’s Uniform Land Use Review Procedure—a highly technical review process that can be difficult for communities to navigate. Instructors included MAS staff and land use experts from the Department of City Planning.

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Announcing Gala After Party at the NYPL: April 28

New York Public Library - Gala

Come celebrate your love for New York City by dancing the night away with MAS!

Following the presentation of the Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis Medal to Diane von Furstenberg on Thursday, April 28, the MAS Urbanists are pleased to host the first annual MAS After Dark Benefit. This is the first time MAS will be extending the scope of the Gala evening to reach its dedicated, younger supporters. The event, featuring light fare, drinks and dancing, will support MAS’s ongoing fight to make New York a more livable city for all.

The Urbanists are MAS members in their 20s and 30s who are passionate about New York City. They are committed to improving the quality of the city’s built environment, preserving the best of its architectural and cultural past, and seek to educate themselves and others about the issues that will shape the city’s future. The 2011 Urbanist Committee includes Andrew Dart, Rebecca Birch, April Bovet, Olivia Cipolla, Rebecca Dalzell, George de Brigard, Florian Feder, Caroline Finger, Emily Gold, Mark Hochberg, Jonathan Hoffman, Abe Jasinowski, Josh Levin, Lauren Manthripragada, Manasvi Menon, Julia Noran, Jessica Pleasants, Ash Williams, and Nancy Wong.

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