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

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.

Many of the POPS in this area were built during an era that subscribed to different principles of urban planning‎ and architecture of public space than we employ today. As a result, most of the POPS in the Water Street corridor are considered uninviting, lifeless, impediments to investment, and, in some cases, unsafe. Thus, we are in favor of reimagining these POPS to ensure they are welcoming places for residents, workers, and visitors that offer space for respite and contemplation while also activating the streetscape.

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

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.

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MAS Welcomes the New

Brownstoner Relaunch

If 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.

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Get ready for Jane’s Walk 2016

Get Ready for Jane Jacobs 2016

Each 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 »»