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March 2016
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Archive for March, 2016

MAS Testimony to the City Planning Commission regarding Water Street Upgrades Text Amendment N 160166 ZRM

MAS Testimony to the City Planning Commission regarding Water Street Upgrades Text Amendment N 160166 ZRM March 30, 2016 The Municipal Art Society of New York (MAS) believes abundant high-quality public space is essential to the welfare of our city. Truly accessible public spaces that are well designed and thoughtfully programmed add vibrancy to our streets, strengthen our civic culture, and enhance the value of neighborhoods. As such, MAS applauds the efforts of the Alliance for Downtown New York (ADNY), the Department of City Planning (DCP), and the Economic Development Corporation (EDC) to improve Privately Owned Public Spaces (POPS) in the Water Street corridor. Continue Reading>>

MAS Testimony to the Landmarks Preservation Commission regarding the Certificate of Appropriateness for the Tin Building

MAS Testimony to the Landmarks Preservation Commission regarding the Certificate of Appropriateness for the Tin Building, located at 95 Marginal Street, Block 73, Lot 11. Zoned C4-6, Community District 1, Manhattan. March 22, 2016 The Municipal Art Society has had a long engagement with the Seaport, dating as far back as the creation of the South Street Seaport Museum in 1967. Since that time we have testified on every land use action in the district, from the designation of Schermerhorn Row at the Board of Estimate in 1968 to the most recent redevelopment of Pier 17. For nearly 50 years, we have been dedicated to the preservation of the authentic maritime character of New York City’s first financial district. In 1838, the Fulton Fish Market opened in a simple wooden structure fronting South Street. The rear of the shed was built on pilings over the river, so that cargo could be unloaded directly from ship to shore. In all, four different fish market buildings have called this same stretch of the East River home. The original shed was replaced in 1848 and then again in 1868. By 1907, the construction of the “Tin Building,” modeled on the earlier wooden structure, was completed where it still stands today. In 1910, a new wing of the market was built northeast of the Tin Building on Pier 18, but this addition only lasted until 1936, when it collapsed into the East River and was then replaced with the New Market Building in 1939. Continue Reading>>

MAS Welcomes the New

Brownstoner RelaunchIf you haven’t already seen it, we invite you to visit to see its newly relaunched platform, which went live today! In the words of publisher Kael Goodman, “With this redesign, we kept intact what makes Brownstoner great, while adding significant new services and features. While attention has been on digital publishers seeking national scale, Brownstoner remains committed to serving one market, Brooklyn.” Editor in Chief Cate Corcoran has an article up outlining the changes you’ll see on the new site, including expanded editorial features, a robust commenting platform, and faster navigation: Congrats to the team at Brownstoner!

New transit hub a fiasco? The crowds say otherwise

The following op-ed was written by Gina Pollara, new President of The Municipal Art Society of New York, and was published in Crain’s New York Business on March 20th, 2016. New York City finally has a new transit hub worthy of this city’s stature on the international stage. Despite all the criticism regarding the construction timeline and cost overruns, Santiago Calatrava has delivered an extraordinary piece of architecture; the care and artistry with which the Oculus was envisioned, then executed, are visible in every detail. No wonder it has already become a tourist destination. But, more important, the station serves as a reminder of what great architecture delivers to the people it serves. It is everything, for instance, that the current Penn Station is not. Continue Reading>>

Get ready for Jane’s Walk 2016

Get Ready for Jane Jacobs 2016Each year, in the spirit of the great urban activist Jane Jacobs, MAS hosts 100+ free guided walks that celebrate New York City’s diverse neighborhoods. This year, to honor what would have been Jane Jacobs’ 100th birthday, we’re aiming for the biggest, and best, Jane’s Walk yet. We’re looking for energetic people to lead Jane’s Walks, bringing New Yorkers’ eyes to the street, throughout the five boroughs, on May 6-8. You don’t have to be an expert; you just need to have a passion for New York City. You’re convinced? Great! Here are your choices: We look forward to seeing you soon! Check out more details about Jane’s Walk NYC »»

The New, Spectacular World Trade Center Transportation Hub Opens

WTC-oculus-openingToday as we prepare to host our annual design awards, MAS celebrates the opening of the new World Trade Center Transportation Hub, a structure as beautiful as it is ambitious. Please join us in applauding the opening of a true “people’s cathedral” for Lower Manhattan.
“But the real point is that in a city that has built few noble public works in the last half century—a city that in our time has rarely even aspired to grandeur in public space, let alone achieved it—this project stands as a reminder that we have not given up entirely.” Paul Goldberger, Vanity Fair
“You are building with bricks and marble, but ultimately you are building something far greater and the investment in the human spirit and potential is priceless,” Gina Pollara, president of the Municipal Art Society of New York. “We have to take the long view.” Andrew Tangel & Keiko Morris, Wall Street Journal
“I wanted to celebrate New York City, and those people who work so hard in it every single day. I built it to such a scale for those daily commuters. Maybe they live in very modest apartments, or work in a small cubicle. I want for them to suddenly arrive to the station by train and, twice a day, for ten minutes or so, stand before an immaculately fashioned station that was built just for them. I want for them to enjoy it, to feel important and part of something bigger, more grand.” Architect Santiago Calatrava Nick Mafi, Architectural Digest
And with a soaring bird like structure, it’s a totally different feel than Grand Central. It’s airy and luminous, white and peaceful, with a lengthy retractable skylight. It’s a way to honor those who died in the September 11th attacks. It’s not just a place to pass through, but a place that’s meant to inspire. “I think it’s a really beautiful building. I mean, the train station is like the nicest one, a lot nicer than going to Penn Station, so I prefer taking the PATH to here,” another commuter said. Lauren Glassberg, ABC New York