September 2011
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Archive for September, 2011

MAS and Pratt Institute Train Brooklyn Based Community Planners

brooklyn pratt mas urban community planning training

On Saturday, September 24, MAS and the Pratt Institute Graduate Programs for Sustainable Planning and Design teamed up to host the fall session of Livable Neighborhoods. The day-long event brought together community activists from Brooklyn neighborhoods such as Brownsville, Flatbush, and Sunset Park, along with graduate planning students, to learn from professionals in the fields of city planning, economic development and historic preservation.

Instructors included city officials, non-profit leaders, and experienced community activists. The fast-paced day left those who participated with new tools and insight to become better involved in the major planning and policy issues facing their communities.

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2011 Jane Jacobs Medalists Announced

jane jacobs medal new york city culture leadership

MAS proudly congratulates the recipients of the Rockefeller Foundation’s 2011 Jane Jacobs Medal – Robert De Niro and Jane Rosenthal, film producers and founders of the Tribeca Film Festival, Janette Sadik-Khan, commissioner of the New York City Department of Transportation (DOT) and Paul Steely White, executive director of Transportation Alternatives.

The Jane Jacobs Medal was created by the Rockefeller Foundation in 2007 to honor the author and activist who died in April 2006. The Medals, administered by MAS, are awarded annually to recipients whose work creates new ways of seeing and understanding New York City, challenges traditional assumptions and creatively uses the urban environment to make New York City a place of hope and expectation.

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Landmarks Approves Brooklyn’s Skyscraper District

Borough Hall Skyscraper

This week, the Landmarks Preservation Commission (LPC) recognized the historic and architectural significance of Downtown Brooklyn by designating the Borough Hall Skyscraper Historic District. The downtown district that once rivaled Lower Manhattan’s includes an exceptional concentration of late nineteenth and twentieth century commercial skyscrapers ranging from Romanesque to Gothic. These buildings, which include the 22-story Colonial Revival style building at 32 Court St and Brooklyn’s 1926 Municipal Building, illustrate Brooklyn’s contribution to New York City’s commercial history and stand out as the jewels of the borough’s iconic skyline.

While the LPC did hear some arguments that the designation could hinder future development, MAS and others argued that those concerns haven’t been realized in the city’s 105 historic districts. In fact, historic district designation is often the lynchpin for a neighborhood’s revitalization and increase in property values. At the time the Ladies’ Mile Historic District was designated in 1989, it was virtually a no man’s land of forgotten former department stores and commercial buildings. Since its designation it has become one of the city’s most vibrant shopping and commercial districts commanding high rents and demonstrating the positive impact historic designations can have on economic development.

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The Architecture of Literacy

charles bj snyder architect

Jean Arrington had wanted to live in New York most of her life, but had a tenured position teaching English in Raleigh, North Carolina. Her daughter moved to New York City and offered an irresistible inducement, “If you come, I’ll have a baby.”

She discovered the school designs of Charles C.J. Snyder while job hunting, and was amazed at the quality of the 19th and early 20th century buildings—full of light and air, made of fire-resistant materials and handsome, too. Jean was “astounded” however, to find no book on Snyder. Through the internet, she tracked down Christopher Gray’s New York Times columns on Snyder and gave him a call.

“You know more than anyone on the planet about C.B.J. Snyder. May I came over and talk with you?” Gray’s reply: “Of course.”

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MAS Testifies on East River Waterfront Greenway

con-ed plot, east river waterfront new york

On September 8, 2011, State Senator Liz Krueger, State Assembly Member Brian Kavanagh and City Council Member Dan Garodnick held the second of three public hearings regarding the proposed United Nations Expansion Plan and development of the East River Waterfront Esplanade from East 38th to 60th Streets. To read MAS’ full testimony, click here.

MAS’ advocacy for this project is part of our longstanding commitment to open up access to the waterfront across the city and on the East Side in particular.

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