January 2015
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Archive for January, 2015

Statement to City Council Regarding Airbnb

MAS Executive Director Margaret Newman submitted a comment regarding Airbnb for today’s City Council hearing.

The Municipal Art Society is committed to making New York a more livable city for its residents. Global cities around the world allow Airbnb to promote affordable choices for travelers, visitors and residents.

MAS supports the integration of new technologies into the life of our city and Airbnb’s efforts in NYC. We hope that a solution permitting Airbnb to operate here can be explored allowing visitors to experience the diversity and variety of NYC’s neighborhoods along with an appropriate framework protecting residents and visitors alike.

MAS Testifies in Support of Controversial Pier 55

Excerpted from testimony (PDF) given to Manhattan’s Community Board 2 Parks & Waterfront Committee Meeting:

We support the Hudson River Park Trust’s proposal to transform an unsound pier along the Hudson River into a new waterfront park space. We believe that the proposed Pier 55 park and performance spaces will be an exciting addition to Manhattan’s west side, and we appreciate HRPT’s promise of community involvement in programming and design choices.

This project, and the public-private partnership that will make it possible, comes at a crucial moment for New York City and New York State’s approach to parks funding. We need look no further than the crumbling Pier 54 to see the impact that decades of steady decline in maintenance dollars have had on our parks and public spaces.

Rendering of Pier 55

Rendering of Pier 55

This proposal does more than promise the transformation of a neglected pier into a celebrated public space; it also includes a pledge by its backers to maintain the park and performance spaces for the next twenty years.

MAS applauds HRPT for devising an innovative plan to restore and enhance this stretch of our public waterfront. And we call on the city and state, not just to approve this proposal, but to treat its 20-year pledge as a call to action. Let the new Pier 55 serve as a deadline: we have two decades to get our house in order and devise a funding plan that meets the needs of all our parks, from vast Flushing Meadows to the bustling Highline to the unsung playgrounds of Bed-Stuy and Hunt’s Point.

MAS is pleased to offer its support to this project and the new civic asset it will create for our city.

Michael Beschloss on the Original Penn Station

The demolition of the original Penn Station. Norman McGrath, NY Times

The demolition of the original Penn Station. Norman McGrath, NY Times

Michael Beschloss’ look back at the original Penn Station is a reminder that West Midtown was once a gateway to the city that New Yorkers could be proud of. With Madison Square Garden’s operating permit set to expire in 2023, we are in the midst of the most promising opportunity yet to reimagine this neglected neighborhood and create a train station—and a sports arena—worthy of our great city. We hope you will read Mr. Beschloss’ piece and join MAS in the Alliance for a New Penn Station.

Penn Station: A Place That Once Made Travelers Feel Important (NY Times) »»