November 2015
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Archive for November, 2015

Eyes on the City: The Palace Theatre

MAS Testimony to the Landmarks Preservation Commission regarding the Certificate of Appropriateness for the Palace Theatre, located at 1564 Broadway, Block 999, Lot 63. Zoned C6-5.5, C6-7T – Community District 5, Manhattan

The Palace Theatre was designated in 1987, a year before the famous slate of 28 Broadway theatres were designated by the Landmarks Preservation Commission. If that alone did not indicate the importance of the Palace, the designation report is positively exuberant in its statement of significance:

If one theater in New York’s Broadway theater district were to be named the most famous, the privilege would fall virtually uncontested to the Palace. It is one of the oldest theatres to survive on Broadway, designed not as a legitimate stage theater but as a vaudeville house…

The Palace’s reputation has not faltered since its conversion in 1966 to the legitimate stage, offering one box office sensation after another amid the splendor of its baroque, Beaux-Arts interior. In addition to its configuration, much of its extravagant ornamental plasterwork remains intact, evoking the history of the Palace as one of New York’s great theaters. As a national symbol of vaudeville, currently housing Broadway theater, the Palace continues to help define the Broadway theater district, the largest and most famous concentration of legitimate stage theaters in the world.

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Brookfield Receives 2015 MAS Livable City Award

Real estate firm recognized for creative place-making around the globe

(November 19, 2015 | New York, NY) In recognition of the significant contributions Brookfield has provided to the livability and vibrancy of New York City for the past 25 years, the Municipal Art Society of New York (MAS) named Brookfield as the 2015 Livable City Award honoree. The award was presented today at MAS’s “Global Cities at the Crossroads” symposium that explored the impact of investments by the corporate real estate sector toward art and culture.

Across ten cities for nearly three decades, Arts Brookfield has created free arts and cultural programming that has improved the lives of millions of people. Brookfield plays an integral role in stimulating the development of the neighborhoods in which their buildings exist by cultivating relationships with artists who then create works and installations that inhabit the company’s public spaces.

Among the 400 performances, exhibitions, and installations Arts Brookfield has presented globally in 2015 are these New York City highlights:

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Testimony: Intro 737

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Testimony of Municipal Art Society
New York City Council, Parks Committee
November 12, 2015
Intro 737

Thank you for the opportunity to testify today. My name is Kate Slevin and I’m the Senior Director of Advocacy and Policy at the Municipal Art Society of New York, a 123-year-old organization that works for a more livable city.

We strongly support Intro 737, and applaud Council Member Levine for taking a lead on addressing the impacts of new buildings on our treasured public spaces.

MAS’s longstanding concern about protecting our parks has been heightened by the supertall towers rising south of Central Park. Most of them are being constructed as-of-right, without any public or environmental review even though they will be among the tallest structures in the Western Hemisphere and cast shadows deep into Central Park. Beyond Central Park, out-of-scale development can shadow entire playgrounds or pocket parks while providing limited benefits to the nearby residents.

We are not anti-development. New York City must grow and change, but we believe new development should positively contribute to surrounding communities.

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Eyes on the City: Two Events for AMNH/Teddy Roosevelt Park

MAS continues to follow the issue of the American Museum of Natural History’s expansion, which is the subject of two events this week.

On Tuesday, October 10, from 10:00am-3:00pm, Defenders of Teddy Roosevelt Park will host a “Breath-In to Save Our Park.” Organizers invite you to, “Bring your kids, your signs, your voices . . . and your lungs! Let the American Museum of Natural History know how important Teddy Roosevelt Park is to our community. Parkland and stately shade trees are too important to lose to the museum’s proposed expansion.” Meet at the park entrance at 79th Street off Columbus Avenue. View the flyer for more information.

On Thursday, November 12, at 6:30pm, the Museum will host an informational meeting on the project. On November 5, the AMNH released drawings and renderings of the proposed expansion. The Museum will host an information session on these new details and the overall proposal for interested members of the community. Enter 77th Street entrance.

As we wrote in our October 9 statement:

MAS urges decision-makers at AMNH to:

  • Demonstrate the rationale for expansion: The Museum has presented a programmatic need for an expansion. But will the project produce any additional benefits to the community? Are the benefits worth the potential diminishment of other public amenities, including reduced green space and tree cover?

  • Explore alternative proposals: Has the Museum explored alternatives to the current expansion? This might include creative ways of using the existing museum space, or a possible satellite location. An outer borough location would have the added benefit of acting as a social and economic neighborhood catalyst. Are there potential institutional partnerships that would provide AMNH with the added capacity it requires?

  • Ensure an open community process: The Museum should continue to be forthcoming and open about the details of the process going forward. They should actively engage with stakeholders from the nearby neighborhood to solicit their input on ways to meet the needs of both the Museum and the local community.

Global Cities at the Crossroads: Commerce, Art & the Captivating Power of Place

On November 19, the Municipal Art Society of New York (MAS) and Columbia University’s Paul Milstein Center for Real Estate will host a thought-provoking and lively series of discussions on the value of creative place-making featuring leading minds in the urban planning, real estate, and arts industries.

“For years, arts and cultural programming were seen as investments the government might make in publicly-owned spaces,” said Mary Rowe, Executive Vice President of MAS. “We’re witnessing a remarkable industry shift right now as more and more private developers are demonstrating that investing in creative place-making makes their projects more desirable for tenants and better integrated into their neighborhoods. It’s a classic case of doing well by doing good.”

“The Paul Milstein Center for Real Estate is proud to co-host this event and underscore the role that the real estate industry can play in making our cities more beautiful and engaging,” said Lynne Sagalyn, Earle W. Kazis and Benjamin Schore Professor of Real Estate and Founding Director of the Paul Milstein Center for Real Estate at Columbia Business School. “Buildings that enliven our streets as well as our skyline make for good neighbors and good investments.”

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