May 2013
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Archive for May, 2013

Spotlight on the Arts in Communities

Bronx Music Heritage Center

Through Spotlight on the Arts in Communities, MAS will highlight the organizations and individuals making New York City a more livable city through arts and cultural work.  We invited the Women’s Housing and Economic Development Corporation (WHEDco) to contribute the inaugural post for this new series on the MAS blog.

WHEDco has worked for twenty years to build a more beautiful, equitable and economically vibrant Bronx. Reaching over 35,000 people annually, WHEDco employs a holistic approach that includes developing and operating affordable, green housing; providing early childhood education, youth development and family support services; advancing community and economic development; and promoting the role of arts and culture in fostering vibrant communities. 

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Alliance for a New Penn Station Commends Time-Limited Permit for Madison Square Garden, Warns of Loophole That Could Override City’s Recommendation

Below is today’s press statement from the Alliance for a New Penn Station:

May 22, 2013 — The Alliance for a New Penn Station welcomes the decision by the City Planning Commission to grant Madison Square Garden a 15-year permit to occupy the arena’s current site, setting the stage for the eventual creation of both a world-class Penn Station and a world-class sports and entertainment arena. But we are deeply concerned that an apparent loophole in the commission’s recommendation could still allow Madison Square Garden to occupy its current site above the country’s busiest rail station in perpetuity.

Today’s City Planning Commission vote to grant Madison Square Garden a 15-year permit to operate at its current location reflects a recognition that our city and region need to address significant issues regarding the nation’s busiest transit station. But a provision contained in the commission’s recommendation would allow Madison Square Garden to obtain a permit in perpetuity by striking a deal with the railroads that operate within Penn Station. Such an agreement would only require the signoff of the planning department, avoiding any public review of a deal that could permanently saddle our city and region with an overcrowded, grim transit hub.

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Remembering Henry Hope Reed by Francis Morrone

Francis Morrone

Guest blog post by Francis Morrone.

Henry Hope Reed died on May 1, in his own bed, at the age of 97. His New York Times obituary appeared on May 3. In quoting me, the Times described me as Henry’s “friend and protégé,” and no description of me has ever pleased me as much. For without Henry I would probably not be doing what I do, and there was never a man I admired so much.

Most MAS tourgoers know of Henry’s importance to the New York City walking tour. In 1956, when he was only 40, Henry was working with MAS on preservation issues, many years before the passage of the Landmarks Law. In Henry’s view, MAS needed to do something to ignite the interest of the public. Op-eds and exhibits were all well and good. But Henry had less than a decade earlier lived in Paris, where he’d been a student at the École du Louvre, and where he had experienced his first walking tours—the visites-conferences, as they were called. His 1956 brainstorm was to lead New Yorkers on guided walks through the streets of New York to discuss the history and architecture of the city’s buildings, and to alert people to recent and potential losses. And, indeed, putting people face to face with the architecture of the city, making the experience of it as immediate and palpable as could be, without question propelled the preservation movement into a new gear. A hundred people signed up for Henry’s first walking tour, on April 8, beginning in Madison Square, which was a bit of a backwater back then, a place few New Yorkers knew and an unlikely place for anyone to go in search of an aesthetic experience. For the seasoned tourgoer, such a thing is unimaginable today. It’s unimaginable precisely because of Henry Hope Reed.

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Design Challenge for a New Penn Station and the Next Madison Square Garden

MAS asked four of New York’s most well-known and respected design firms to re-envision New York’s Penn Station – the busiest train station in North America – and Madison Square Garden.  Be there when they reveal their designs LIVE for the first time Wednesday, May 29 at 9:00 AM.  This event is $15 for members and $20 for non-members.

Details: Design Challenge for a New Penn Station and the Next Madison Square Garden
Wednesday, May 29, 2013
Doors open at 8:30 AM
Program from 9:00 AM – 11:00 AM
TimesCenter (242 W. 41st Street)

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Global Urban Resilience

Hurricane Sandy street

Over the next several weeks MAS will be participating in a number of international convenings, focusing on urban resilience and livability. On May 16, MAS Managing Director Mary Rowe will be part of CityAge conference in Toronto titled The Modern Metropolis, and will discuss MAS’s experience building a global network of urban resilience practitioners to share granular approaches that improve the livability and resilience of local neighborhoods.

Toronto and New York City share many defining characteristics. Both are financial centers, immigrant ‘gate-way’ cities, with strong post-secondary education sectors, cultural and design industries. And both cities are challenged by aging and/or inadequate hard infrastructure, affordability issues, and jurisdictional challenges coupled with limited locally-controlled revenue sources.

A month later on June 18 and 19, CityAge will host The Global Metropolis, at the Skirball Center at NYU, where MAS President Vin Cipolla will discuss approaches to urban resilience, with MAS Board Member Vicki Been, who will moderate the session.