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Archive for May, 2017

MAS Comments on RKO Keith’s Flushing Theater Restoration

RKO Keith’s Flushing Theater’s ornamental interior was designated in 1984 due to its architectural and historical importance as one of the city’s last remaining movie palaces in good repair. RKO Keith’s was designed by New York City-trained architect Thomas Lamb, one of the most prominent and productive theater architects of his time. His theaters, most often built for Loews, were varied in style and reflected the newest trends in theater architecture. Lamb has the distinction of designing both the first and the last movie palaces in New York City, as well as over three hundred more around the city and world.

RKO Keith’s Flushing Theater, completed in 1928, was one of the few that Lamb designed in the atmospheric style, featuring blue domed ceilings, electric starlight, and projection machines that moved clouds across the sky. The theater walls, built as a stage set, featured an asymmetrical Churrigueresque Spanish townscape. Ornate movie palaces like Lamb’s became the premier entertainment center of neighborhoods across the United States, due as much to the captivation and delight of their architecture as to the excitement of seeing a movie. RKO Keith’s was open for over fifty years and could seat 3,000 guests each night.

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Honorees Announced: 2017 MASterworks Awards

The Municipal Art Society of New York (MAS) announced the winners of the 2017 MASterworks Awards, an annual competition recognizing 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 15 at El Museo del Barrio.

“From rolling hillsides to decommissioned shipyards, the projects honored this year have created new venues for New Yorkers to work, play, and interact with the city,” said Elizabeth Goldstein, President of MAS. “We applaud the 2017 MASterworks winners for enhancing New York one design at a time.”

The 2017 honorees placed in seven categories:

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MAS Responds to Questions about BQX & Jane’s Walk

MAS has received questions about our position on the Brooklyn Queens Connector (BQX) project and the Jane’s Walk being organized by Friends of the BQX. We are sharing the letter below with our correspondents, as well as any MAS members who may be following the topic.

Elizabeth Yeampierre
Executive Director, UPROSE
166A 22nd Street
Brooklyn, New York 11232

Dear Elizabeth,

Thank you for our conversation today.

As we discussed, MAS has in no way endorsed the BQX project and we share many of your concerns that the proposal is badly flawed. We are concerned about the BQX’s alignment, finances and the potential for displacement of residential and manufacturing communities.

In a letter to the New York City Economic Development Corporation and the Department of Transportation last summer, we outlined a series of critical questions about the project.

So far, we have not received a response from the City about those concerns. Staff from MAS – myself included – will attend Friday’s walk, in part because we are still seeking answers to these questions. We expect to issue a formal position on the BQX project soon.

Meanwhile, MAS continues to think that further discussion amongst community and citywide voices is needed. Intended as a festival of “walking conversations” we hope that Jane’s Walk can provide a platform to invite – not discourage – that dialogue.

We welcome UPROSE and others critical of the project raising your concerns at the walk tomorrow. Indeed, MAS believes that Jane’s Walks are enriched when they serve as a forum for debate. We also encourage you to host a Jane’s Walk of your own to express your critiques of the BQX project. Dueling Jane’s Walks have been a common – and celebrated – phenomenon in Jane’s Walk NYC over the years.

Finally, we welcome your feedback that perhaps Jane’s Walk should be a more selective event. We are happy to discuss that suggestion with our international partners in planning next year’s festival.

It is our sincere hope that MAS and UPROSE will continue to discuss the BQX and our shared concerns.

Yours truly,

Elizabeth's signature

Elizabeth Goldstein
The Municipal Art Society of New York

200+ Free NYC Walking Tours for Jane’s Walk Weekend

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Municipal Art Society Hosts Annual Tribute to Urban Activist Jane Jacobs

On May 5-7, thousands of New Yorkers will explore their city in honor of urban activist Jane Jacobs.  Jane’s Walk NYC, hosted by the Municipal Art Society of New York (MAS), is an annual weekend-long celebration featuring 200+ free “walking conversations” throughout the five boroughs, led by urban enthusiasts and local experts who care deeply about their neighborhoods.

In 2017, Jane’s Walks can introduce you to a 1906 movie studio that made Brooklyn the brief capital of silent film, a seedy Manhattan hotel where Woody Guthrie wrote This Land Is Your Land, a vast glacial forest hiding in Queens, a Bronx street modeled on the Champs-Élysées, a Himalayan architectural enclave in Staten Island, and more.

All of the MAS-sponsored walks combine the simple act of exploring neighborhoods with personal observations, local history, and civic engagement. A typical walk is 90 minutes and is free and open to the public.

The full list of tours is available online at, including:

Members of the press, please contact Meaghan Baron at