December 2011
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Archive for December, 2011

Update on the Brooklyn Skyscraper District

On December 7, the City Council’s Subcommittee on Landmarks, Public Siting and Maritime Uses held a public hearing on the designation of the Borough Hall Skyscraper Historic District. MAS, along with many preservation groups, including the Brooklyn Heights Association and the New York Landmarks Conservancy, testified in support of the historic district, stating:

“The City has made serious investments into the revitalization and rejuvenation of this part of Brooklyn,  from the Downtown Brooklyn rezoning to the creation of Brooklyn Bridge Park. Preservation of the buildings in the Borough Hall Skyscraper District is an important part of those planning efforts and will help foster Brooklyn’s continued renaissance. MAS strongly believes that the buildings in the historic district merit protection under the Landmarks Law and that the LPC has correctly drawn the district boundaries, which has been borne out in the rigorous review of this district. We urge the City Council to uphold that agency’s designation and approve this district with the boundaries put forward by the Landmarks Preservation Commission.”

The subcommittee delayed their vote to a future meeting, so there is still time to email or call your Council Member, and the Chair and members of the subcommittee. There is some opposition to this district, so it’s important for the City Council Members to hear from supporters. Let them know that you believe that the district is worthy of historic district designation and that they should uphold the LPC’s boundaries.

What Does the Cornell/Technion Proposal Mean for Roosevelt Island?

Cornell/Technion Proposal new-york-urban-design

Last week, it was announced that the Cornell University-Technion-Israel Institute of Technology Consortium was chosen from seven applicants who this past summer responded to the New York City Economic Development Corporation (EDC) Request for Proposals (RFP) for Applied Sciences NYC. The RFP called for a university or partnership to develop and operate an applied science campus in New York City in exchange for access to city-owned land on Roosevelt Island, as well $100 million in city capital for infrastructure upgrades. The Cornell/Technion proposal includes plans for an eleven-acre campus with more than two million square feet of space for two thousand students. The hope is that this investment of money, time and talent will breathe new life into the city’s economy as well as Roosevelt Island.

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Follow Up: “New York’s Next Great Waterfront Park” In the News

east river waterfront pier new york city

Last week’s release of the MAS report, New York’s Next Great Waterfront Park garnered a fair amount of media attention. A synthesis of the lively and insightful discussions that took place at our July 2011 charrette, the report was prepared in conjunction with noted New York landscape architect Barbara Wilks and her firm, W Architecture and Landscape Architecture.

Check out the press about New York’s Next Great Waterfront Park below:

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Moynihan Moves Forward

moynihan station current front

On December 13, AECOM, the global design, engineering and planning firm, announced that they received a $19 million contract by the Moynihan Station Development Corporation and the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey to complete the first phase of work to transform the Farley Post Office building into Moynihan Station – a new inter-city rail hub for New York City.

A recent article in Bloomberg News discusses the critical role that Moynihan Station will play in the expansion of the Northeast Corridor. Ridership on the Northeast Corridor has grown 30 percent from 2000 to 2011. According to Amtrak, however, the only way that additional passengers could be accommodated along the Northeast Corridor in the future is if the federal agency moves its operations in New York City from the currently overcrowded Penn Station across the street to Moynihan Station.

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MAS Releases “New York’s Next Great Waterfront Park”, A Report on the Future of East Midtown’s Waterfront

waterfront park east river new york urban design

On December 13, 2011, MAS released the report New York’s Next Great Waterfront Park to help guide the transformation of the former Con Ed pier along the East Midtown Waterfront into a thriving public space. New York’s Next Great Waterfront Park was prepared in conjunction with MAS Planning Committee member and noted New York landscape architect Barbara Wilks and her firm W Architecture and Landscape Architecture.

The report offers a set of community driven design principles for the East Midtown Waterfront, exploring how to maximize the site’s adjacency to the East River, what kind of physical infrastructure and community involvement are needed to ensure the success of the park, and how to both leverage and respect the local ecosystem. The recommendations grew out of a charrette, or design workshop, convened by MAS in July 2011. The purpose of the all-day session was to bring attention to the East Side’s pressing need for publicly accessible open space and to articulate a community-driven vision for a new waterfront park. For more information on the July 2011 charrette, you can read The New York Times event recap here.

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