April 2013
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Archive for April, 2013

Letter to Robert Tierney

East Midtown aerial looking SW

In a joint effort, MAS, the Landmarks Conservancy and Historic Districts Council sent a letter to Robert Tierney, Chairman  of the Landmarks Preservation Commission. In response to the organizations’ lists of potential landmarks located within the city’s East Midtown rezoning area,  the Commission had identified buildings potentially worthy of landmark designation.  We asked that these historic buildings be calendared as quickly as possible.

Calendaring is the first step in the formal designation process and would serve as interim protection for these buildings.  We noted that a building already  under consideration by the Commission had already had its façade altered so it is clear that the city should act quickly to avoid unnecessary destruction going forward.

What Can the American Folk Art Museum Teach Us?

“Modest” and “Midtown Manhattan” are rarely joined together.  Architects Tod Williams and Billie Tsien used the term “modest” to describe their six-story American Folk Art Museum. But with a façade of Tombasil, a white bronze alloy used architecturally for the first time, the building is truly unique, seemingly hand-hewed; there is no mistaking it for anything else. Acknowledging its distinctiveness and elegance, the building won a host of awards including our MAS Masterworks (2002) and honors from the American Institute of Architects.  While we understand the need for the Museum of Modern Art to expand, a happy problem to have stemming from its extraordinarily successful efforts to attract new audiences, we regret that it comes at this cost.

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Commission Certifies City’s East Midtown Proposal

The NYC Planning Commission certified the City’s proposed zoning strategy meant to encourage the development of taller, more modern office buildings throughout a 78 block section of East Midtown. The certification launches the City’s formal landuse review process. Over the next 160 days affected Manhattan Community Boards, the Manhattan Borough President and the City Planning Commission will develop their position on the proposal, which will then head to City Council for a final vote.

The City has made minor modifications to their plan first announced last summer. One modification would require new buildings to outperform the city’s current energy conservation codes. While MAS commends this revision, a principle proposed in the MAS report: “East Midtown: A Bold Vision for the Future,” released in February, the City’s overall strategy continues to ignore the many factors that need to be in place in order to ensure the future success of this crucial business district.

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Jury Announced for Pitching the City

MAS and Architizer are pleased to announce the jury that will help choose the next great idea for New York at Pitching the City on Friday, May 3rd at 7:00 PM.  Joining us will be: Nick Denton, Gawker.com; Pat Kiernan, NY1; Roy Kim, Extell; Nazli Parvizi, Mayor’s Community Affairs Unit; Christopher Sharples, SHoP Architects; Megan Sheekey, Mayor’s Fund to Advance New York City; Yeohlee Teng, designer.

This signature event of the New Museum’s Ideas City Festival will take place on Friday, May 3rd at 7:00 PM. Pitching the City will bring you five fresh ideas that use New York’s untapped capital—the theme of this year’s festival—in inventive ways.

At the end of the presentations then YOU, the audience, will vote to select your favorite urban innovation.

Pitching the City
St. Patrick’s Old Cathedral
Corner of Mott and Prince Streets
Friday, May 3 at 7:00 PM

MAS Livable Neighborhoods Training: Register Today!

On Saturday, May 11, MAS will host the Spring 2013 Livable Neighborhoods Training. This year, Livable Neighborhoods is co-sponsored by the Pratt Institute’s Programs in Sustainable Planning and Development. The day-long workshop series will be held at Pratt Manhattan, located at 144 West 14th Street.  Everyone is welcome to attend.

Livable Neighborhoods is a semi-annual event that brings together a diverse group of participants – community board members, community based organizations, community activists, students and concerned citizens – to learn from experts with practical experience in city planning, economic development, zoning and more. Instructors include city officials, non-profit leaders, and experienced community activists.

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