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February 2016
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Archive for February, 2016

Eyes on the City: What We’re Reading

Honorees Announced: 2016 MASterworks Awards

Annual Awards by the Municipal Art Society Recognize Excellence in Architecture and Urban Design
Media Contact: Meaghan Baron, Municipal Art Society of New York | (212) 935-3960, ext. 1229 (February 25, 2016 | New York, NY) The Municipal Art Society of New York (MAS) announced the winners of the 2016 MASterworks Awards, a competition hosted annually by MAS to recognize projects completed in the preceding year that made a significant contribution to New York’s built environment. The awards will be presented on the evening of March 3 at 45 Rockefeller Plaza, 7th Floor.
“New York’s built environment is at its best when it serves and connects with the community around it. From a salt shed whose crystalline shape reminds us that there is beauty to be found even in sanitation efforts, to a new museum that is as much a neighborhood anchor as a cultural magnet, the 2016 MASterworks honorees demonstrate the lasting value of good design,” said Gina Pollara, President and CEO of MAS. “Next month we will gather to celebrate our 2016 winners and thank them for enhancing New York one project at a time.”
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MAS Statement on Landmarks Backlog Decisions

Today, the Landmarks Preservation Commission recommended that 30 of the “backlog” properties move toward designation, while 60 were removed from consideration without prejudice and five were removed from the calendar based on a lack of merit. MAS submitted favorable testimony on 45 sites, 23 of which will be designated within the year. Although we congratulate the Commission on the hard work put forth in conducting this public process, we regret that more properties are not headed for landmark status. In particular, the Sailors’ Snug Harbor Historic District and the Douglaston Historic District Extension are a grievous loss. See the full list of actions taken by the Commission here: BRONX Prioritize for designation 65 Schofield Street House* Immaculate Conception, Church of Blessed Virgin Mary* Remove from calendar, not a priority 6 Ploughman’s Bush Building* First Presbyterian Church of Williamsburg and Rectory* Remove from calendar, lack of merit Samuel D. Babcock House   BROOKLYN Prioritize for designation 183-195 Broadway Building* Greenwood Cemetery Lady Moody-Van Sicklen House* St. Augustine’s Roman Catholic Church and Rectory* St. Barbara’s Roman Catholic Church* Williamsburg Trust Co. Building* Remove from calendar, not a priority Coney Island Pumping Station*   MANHATTAN  Prioritize for designation 315 Broadway Building* 412 East 85th Street* 57 Sullivan Street House Bergdorf Goodman Edgar J. Kaufman Conference Rooms, Lecture Hall and Elevator Lobby* Excelsior Power Company Building Interborough Rapid Transit Powerhouse* Loew’s 175th Street Theater* St. Joseph’s Church* St. Michael’s Episcopal Church, Parish House & Rectory* St. Paul’s Church and School Young Men’s Christian Association Building, Harlem Branch* Remove from calendar, not a priority 138 Second Avenue House 143 Chambers Street Building* 150 East 38th Street House 2 Oliver Street House* D.G. Yeungling Brewery Co. Complex* Empire Theater (Interior and Exterior) Hotel Renaissance, later Columbia Club* James McCreery & Co. Liberty Theater (Interior and Exterior) Lyric Theater (Interior and Exterior) Mission of the Immaculate Virgin West New Apollo Theater Interior Osborn Apartment Building Interior President Chester A. Arthur House Selwyn Theater (Interior and Exterior) Sire Building St. Paul’s Rectory Times Square Theater (Interior and Exterior) Union Square Park Victory Theater (Interior and Exterior)   QUEENS Prioritize for designation Bowne Street Community Church* Lydia Ann Bell and William Ahles House Pepsi Cola Sign* Remove from calendar, not a priority Fairway Apartments* First Reformed Church and Sunday School of College Point* Old Calvary Cemetery Gatehouse* Proposed Douglaston Historic District Extension* Spanish Towers   STATEN ISLAND Prioritize for designation 92 Harrison Street House* Brougham Cottage* George W. Curtis House* Lakeman House* Prince’s Bay Lighthouse and Keeper’s House* St. John’s Episcopal Rectory* Vanderbilt Mausoleum and Cemetery* Remove from calendar, not a priority 122 Androvette Street House* 3833 Amboy Road House* 5466 Arthur Kill Road House* 6136 Amboy Road House* Cunard Hall, Wagner College Nicholas Killmeyer Store and Residence Nicholas Muller House* Richmond County Country Club Sailors’ Snug Harbor Historic District* School District #3 Building* St. Mary’s Episcopal Church, Rectory and Parish House* St. Mary’s Roman Catholic Church and Rectory* St. Paul’s Methodist Episcopal Church* William T. and Mary Marcellite Garner Mansion* Woodbrook  Remove from calendar, lack of merit Crocheron House Dorothy Day Historic Site Fountain Family Graveyard Sunny Brae House   *Supported by MAS

LPC Backlog: Fifty Years of MAS testimony

As recently highlighted in the NY Times, the Landmarks Preservation Commission will decide the fate of 95 “backlog” items at a public meeting tomorrow. Last fall, MAS submitted favorable testimony on 47 of those properties, which you can read here: MAS has a long history of supporting new landmarks. In fact, we testified on many of these proprieties at their original designation hearing! Click through to read testimony for 2 Oliver Street from 1966, the Loew’s 175th Street Theater in 1970 (written by none other than James Marston Fitch!), the Vanderbilt Mausoleum and Cemetery in 1980, the Pepsi-Cola Sign in 1988, and more!

Eyes on the City: What We’re Reading

Now Accepting Applications for the 2016 Docent Class

IMG_5021MAS is now accepting applications to join the April 2016 Tour34: Empire to Penn docent class. From railroads to retail, sidewalks to skyscrapers, expertly trained MAS docents lead Tour34 guests on an exploration of the untold history and unfolding future of this bustling hub of transportation and commerce. Tour-goers will hear firsthand the latest plans to reimagine this historic neighborhood, including ideas for building a new Penn Station, re-drawing the street grid, and adding a new business district the size of downtown Minneapolis to the shores of the Hudson. The class is comparable to a graduate level introduction to the history of New York City and takes place in our office, located at 488 Madison Avenue on Saturdays April 2, 9, 16, 23, and 30 from 10am to 4:30pm. Apply today! Continue Reading>>

Eyes on the City: What We’re Reading

We’ve been extolling the virtues of cozying up to some weekend reading for a while, and with temperatures plummeting this weekend to the single digits (and down to as low as negative twenty degrees with wind chill), we hope you’ll take our suggestion! Here are this week’s top stories: John L. Tishman, Builder Who Shaped American Skylines, Dies at 90, New York Times »» 900-Foot Sutton Place Tower Will Get Major Height Cut, Curbed »» The law that created the billion-dollar scaffold industry has turned city sidewalks into an obstacle course, Crain’s »» Preservationists Worry About the Future of 2 Manhattan Spaces, New York Times »» Lapsed 421-a controversy resurfaces with unprompted email, Politico New York »» 79-Story Tower Planned At 23-15 44th Drive In Long Island City, New York Yimby »» How to Build a Streetcar That Works, New York Times »» These architects are in the process of reshaping New York City’s skyline, Quartz »» Winners of the 2016 Building of the Year Awards, Architecture Daily »» Q&A with Former US Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood, City & State »» Official Renderings Revealed Of Nordstrom Tower’s Retail Base Under Construction At 217 West 57th Street, New York Yimby »» Finally, MAS continues to be concerned about construction safety threats, especially as taller-than-ever towers rise along our skyline. Last week’s tragedy on Worth Street should be remembered as a wake-up call: It’s not just cranes: The overlooked surge in construction site deaths, New York Post »» And a flashback link to 1995, when the New Yorker covered a startling tower safety discovery, from an unlikely source The Fifty-Nine Story Crisis, New York Magazine »» And one last piece of advice: Before you hunker down, go out and find an electric blanket! Happy reading.

The Municipal Art Society to Honor Ambassador William J. vanden Heuvel with the 2016 Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis Medal

Award to be presented at the annual MAS gala on June 8, 2016, celebrating Ambassador vanden Heuvel’s decades of public service to our country
Contact: Meaghan Baron The Municipal Art Society of New York | (212) 935-3960 (February 11, 2016 | New York, NY) Gina Pollara, president of The Municipal Art Society of New York (MAS), announced today that the 2016 Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis Medal will be presented to Ambassador William J. vanden Heuvel. The award will recognize the Ambassador’s role in building Four Freedoms Park as well as his six decades of distinguished public service to New York and our country. Ms. Pollara said: “We acknowledge with this award the herculean effort led by Ambassador vanden Heuvel in building the Four Freedoms Park on Roosevelt Island, a project begun in 1973 by New York State Governor Nelson Rockefeller and New York City Mayor John Lindsay. Forty years later the completed Park was dedicated and more than 500,000 visitors have joined in the acclamation of this memorial to President Franklin Delano Roosevelt, a memorial of which the great Louis Kahn served as architect. The New York Times, in a front page critique at the time of the dedication, described the Park as giving New York “nothing less than a new spiritual heart.” Ambassador vanden Heuvel was singularly responsible for the successful completion of this extraordinary addition to New York’s beauty and purpose.” “We honor Ambassador vanden Heuvel,” said MAS Chairman Frederick Iseman, “for the creation of Four Freedoms Park and for countless other contributions to our City and country which sustain and define the mission of MAS. Combining private sector achievements in the law and investment banking, Ambassador vanden Heuvel at the same time has created a career in public service that has won him national recognition and appreciation.” “It is an honor to celebrate Ambassador vanden Heuvel with the Onassis Medal. His life work has made this city and the world a far better place,” said Pollara. “Bill is a man of great intellect and unparalleled integrity, which he has focused on promoting civic values on many fronts, here in New York and beyond. From his work with the Department of Justice and the New York City Board of Corrections, to his diplomatic career, humanitarian leadership, and the unwavering passion that built the Four Freedoms Park, he has been an exemplar of the great legacy of Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt.” Continue Reading>>

MAS Testifies on MIH and ZQA Zoning Proposals

MIH_ZQA_200wOn Wednesday, Kate Slevin will deliver testimony on behalf of MAS for the second of two public hearings of the City Council Subcommittee on Zoning and Franchises and a subgroup of the Land Use Committee. The joint hearing is an opportunity for New Yorkers and civic groups to advise the Council subcommittees on the current zoning proposals of the Mayor’s housing program: Zoning for Quality and Affordability (ZQA) and Mandatory Inclusionary Housing (MIH.) The Subcommittee must vote on the proposal, followed by the Land Use Committee, and then the full City Council. For more information on this week’s hearings and the ongoing debate around ZQA and MIH, read Gotham Gazette’s February 9 article by Ben Max “At Hearings, City Council to Examine Mayor’s Zoning Proposal”. Read our 2/10 testimony now for a preview of the discussion tomorrow (PDF) »»

Eyes on the City: What We’re Reading

Opportunity: Become a Forefront Fellow

This week, the Urban Design Forum launched Forefront, a new initiative dedicated to cultivating emerging leaders in urban design, planning, and policy. forefront-both_150wThe Forum is inviting 20 individuals under the age of 40 to become Forefront Fellows. Participants will meet monthly for dedicated conversations and site visits in New York City, share projects, and receive feedback from their peers and established leaders in the field. In addition, Forefront Fellows will enjoy two free years of membership to the Urban Design Forum. Learn more and apply »»

Op-Ed by MAS Chair Fred Iseman: Redevelop Penn Station Without MSG



Published in The Daily News, February 1, 2016 View the original »» Unsafe, grossly inefficient, and asphyxiated by Madison Square Garden, Penn Station was built in the 1960s as a sorry proxy for the grand Roman rail-temple designed by McKim, Mead & White in 1910. The philistines who tore down the old Penn Station believed that cars and planes were the only future of transit. Sixty years later, the northeast region’s powerful economy depends heavily on rail travel, which is now channeled through a stygian labyrinth underneath the Arena. Some 650,000 daily passengers on Amtrak, New Jersey Transit, Long Island Rail Road and the subways need wider, safer platforms and unfettered access to the transit maze below. And New York City needs a train station worthy of New York. Last month, Gov. Cuomo presented what he called “a transformational redesign of New York Penn Station.” He is soliciting bids for a public-private partnership to end this “blight on the greatest city in the world.” Respondents are asked to consider specific design changes, including new entrances and closing 33rd St. between 7th and 8th Aves. to create skylights. Most dramatically, the RFP asks developers to redevelop the James A. Farley Post Office, both the imperial front building and the annex behind. Also by McKim, Mead & White, Farley looks out in silent rebuke across 8th Ave. at the stupifyingly banal complex designed by Charles Luckman Associates. To nudge contestants in the right direction, the governor provided drawings. These present future travelers bathed in ethereal light gliding through new halls and retail spaces. Very nice, but not enough. Continue Reading>>