April 2016
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Archive for April, 2016

MAS & RPA Joint Statement on Penn Station Proposal Deadline

Today is a critically important day for the future of Penn Station, our city and the tri-state region. Developer responses to New York State’s request for proposals to upgrade Penn Station and Moynihan Station are due at 4:00 PM today. The Municipal Art Society and Regional Plan Association commend Governor Andrew Cuomo for his leadership in focusing the public’s attention and motivating the private sector to improve this vital transit hub. As Governor Cuomo stated in January, Penn Station is a miserable warren. We welcome his efforts to bring light and air into the station.

But we need to do more.

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MAS Testimony to the Landmarks Preservation Commission regarding the Certificate of Appropriateness for the Ford Foundation

The Ford Foundation’s philanthropic mission is “to reduce poverty and injustice, strengthen democratic values, promote international cooperation, and advance human achievement.” An icon from the moment of its completion in 1967, the organization’s headquarters in New York became an individual landmark as soon as it was eligible. Written nearly 20 years ago, the designation report describes the unusual interior by Kevin Roche John Dinkeloo Associates: “It was the rare corporate client that would sacrifice so much rentable area, and turn so much over to a landscaped atrium. When asked why Ford did it, Roche replied “for no reason other than to make a public gesture.”

And so, the Municipal Art Society appreciates the purpose-built intention of this space, and the effort to further the Ford Foundation’s mission through the proposal at hand.

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Meet NYC’s 9 Newest Landmarks

Earlier this week, the Landmarks Preservation Commission voted on the first group of backlog properties prioritized for designation as individual New York City landmarks. This fall, MAS submitted testimony in support of 45 calendared sites, and we are pleased to see six of those receive landmark status this week.

  • 65 Schofield Street House*
  • Green-Wood Cemetery Fort Hamilton Parkway Entrance and Chapel
  • Lady Moody-Van Sicklen House*
  • 57 Sullivan Street House
  • St. Michael’s Episcopal Church, Parish House and Rectory*
  • Pepsi Cola Sign*
  • J. Williams Ahles House
  • Vanderbilt Mausoleum and Cemetery*
  • St. Augustine’s Roman Catholic Church and Rectory (as part of the Park Slope Historic District Extension II)*

* MAS supported designation

Chair Meenakshi Srinivasan reaffirmed the Commission’s “steadfast commitment… to address the backlog,” a process which is expected to conclude by the end of the 2016 calendar year. MAS will continue to follow the backlog hearings over the next several months.

TONIGHT, 4/14: MAS Celebrates Landmarks50 Lighting of the Empire State Building

Our eyes will be on Empire State Building tonight, which will be lit with orange, white, and blue (New York State flag colors!) to celebrate the 50th Anniversary of the groundbreaking New York City Landmarks Law.

Visit us on Twitter and Facebook and tell us: What’s your favorite NYC landmark? What would like to see designated this year?

And check back tomorrow for a post about the newest NYC landmarks—11 properties designated off the LPC backlog this week. Cheers to 50 years of historic preservation!

MAS Testimony at the City Environmental Quality Review (CEQR) Public Scoping Meeting for the American Museum of Natural History Gilder Center for Science, Education, and Innovation

The Municipal Art Society (MAS) finds that the proposed Gilder Center for Science, Education, and Innovation addresses the expansion needs of the American Museum of Natural History (the Museum) and the design by Jeanne Gang to be an improvement over the existing disparate assemblage of non-historic buildings that make up the west wing of the Museum. At the same time, we are aware that Theodore Roosevelt Park has become an important public asset to the neighboring communities and that the footprint of the proposed addition will encroach upon the existing park.

Looking to the future, and taking into account that a recent addition to the Museum built in 2001 will be demolished to accommodate the new Gilder Center, MAS feels strongly that the Museum must develop a well-considered master plan that sets out its vision, programmatic goals, and mechanisms for the protection and improvement of the park and its accessibility for the entire approximately 18-acre superblock site.

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