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This Week’s Highlights: Friday, January 7

Red HookOn Friday, The Alliance for the Arts announced that Randall Bourscheidt would step down as chief executive, following over two decades of civic leadership. Broadway World reports that Mr. Bourscheidt will become President Emeritus and continue working with the Alliance in a consultant role. He is Chairman of the Municipal Art Society’s Brendan Gill Prize Jury, which will present its 2010 award to Michael Van Valkenburgh, landscape architect and designer of Brooklyn Bridge Park, later this month. Many of us only wonder what goes on in New York’s subterranean spaces where humans seldom tread; Steve Duncan and Erling Kagge are out to discover (or rediscover) them. A New York Times reporter, as well as other media members, joined the duo for a five-day trek into the city’s underbelly. The purpose? To “render visible its invisible marvels.” Read Duncan’s blog about his journeys. Red Hook residents are calling for changes to cruise ships’ idling at the Brooklyn Cruise Terminal. At a press conference last weekend, Councilmember Brad Lander noted “a cruise ship docked at port with its diesel engine running emits as much pollution in a day as 10,000 idling cars.” Understandably, residents are demanding a cleaner solution to reduce idling. On the Bowery, high-rise development is a concern for local advocates, who this week began to increase efforts to preserve sections they see as vulnerable to rapid development. DNAinfo.com reports that, while there are height limitations on the west side of the Bowery due to overlapping historic districts, the east side does not have a similar designation. The Historic District Council’s executive director Simeon Bankoff noted that it “has been neglected [among] many of the very vibrant neighborhood preservations efforts.” On Thursday, New York’s Department of Design and Construction revealed the latest redevelopment plans for Astor Place and Cooper Square to local residents. According to Curbed.com, the architecture team at Weisz + Yoes has some dramatic changes planned, including a significantly larger plaza near the Astor Place Subway stairwell and new plantings by Piet Oudolf, whose work you may remember from the High Line.
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