Photo courtesy of the Library of Congress
Did you know the nation’s first public Christmas tree went up in NYC? Or how about the fact that Santa Claus was born here in both literature and drawing? And have you seen the famous restaurant decorated with 15,000 Christmas ornaments, 10,000 lights? Join 6sqft’s managing editor Dana Schulz for her Christmas in Gramercy tour with the Municipal Art Society to see and learn about all this and more. Taking place, Saturday, December 15th, the two-hour event will reveal the surprising origins of our most beloved holiday traditions.
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This January, the Landmarks Preservation Commission released a series of amendments that would overhaul how the commission reviews certain applications–with the idea to cut down the time it takes to approve routine applications. And later this month, on Tuesday, March 27th, the Commission will hold a public hearing on how these changes would affect the city’s landmark process. In advance of the meeting, the Municipal Art Society of New York created a pair of interactive maps to better inform New Yorkers on the LPC’s process. One map, the Commission Review Map, shows what type of alterations have been permitted or denied by the full LPC commission. The other, the Staff Review Map, shows what type of alterations have been permitted by the LPC staff or withdrawn by the applicant. As MAS puts it, “We hope these maps help bring to light how the LPC fulfills its ‘purpose of safeguarding the buildings and places that represent New York City’s cultural, social, economic, political, and architectural history’ through regulation.”
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With cleanup efforts underway along the notoriously polluted Canal and a slew of new developments rising, Gowanus is undoubtedly one of the top neighborhoods to watch. But we can’t talk about its future without also looking back at its history. On October 28th, the Municipal Art Society is hosting a walking tour of Gowanus led by architectural historian Matt Postal that will explore the area’s past as an industrial shipping center and its transformation into a trendy, artistic enclave. Not only will the two-hour tour take you to the city’s oldest concrete structure and oldest retractile bridge, but it’ll make stops at the new residential and commercial spaces. Interested in attending for free? MAS is giving away two tickets to “Gowanus Grows in Brooklyn,” but today is the last day to enter!
Find out how to enter here
6sqft has reported previously on the increasing alarm caused by New York City’s future skyline and its growing army of skyscrapers-to-be, with community groups expressing deep concern about the shadows cast across the city’s parks by the tall towers. The Municipal Art Society (MAS) has been leading the pack when it comes to thorough analysis of the issue, which they see as having its roots not only in the sheer height of the new buildings but in a lack of regulation of how and where they rise in the larger context of the city. This “accidental skyline” effect reflects the fact that New York City currently has no restrictions on the shadows a tower may cast–the city doesn’t limit height, it only regulates FAR (floor area ratio). At this week’s MAS Summit for New York City, the organization released its third Accidental Skyline report, calling for immediate reform in light of an unprecedented boom in as-of-right–and seemingly out-of-scale–development. MAS president Elizabeth Goldstein said, “New York doesn’t have to settle for an ‘accidental skyline.’”
See more future NYC skyscrapers, mapped
As we approach the one-year anniversary of the Second Avenue Subway’s long-awaited opening, it’s the perfect time to step back and marvel at the $4 billion infrastructure project. Join 6sqft senior editor Dana Schulz for a tour with the Municipal Art Society about the history, art, and architecture of the Second Avenue Subway. Taking place on Saturday, September 16th, the two-hour event will explore why it took nearly 100 years for the train’s wheels to get rolling, how it was designed, and what engineering feats set it apart. Guests will also view the impressive collection of public art from Chuck Close, Sarah Sze, Vik Muniz, and Jean Shin, learning about these contemporary artists and the significance of their work.
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The Municipal Art Society of New York sent out a press release today that announces their new interactive map of the more than 14,000 city-owned and leased properties. Fittingly titled “The Sixth Borough,” it shows how these sites amount to 43,000 acres, a land area the size of Brooklyn or one-third of the city’s total land area, and the extent to which these public holdings–22 percent of which are listed as having no current use–affect the environment, infrastructure, landmarks, population, and neighborhood rezonings.
All the findings ahead
As part of the Municipal Art Society’s (MAS) 2014 Summit for NYC, the Jane Jacobs Forum: Projects That Ignite will showcase three unique urban interventions with the potential to positively impact the city. This free session, taking place on Thursday, October 23, was inspired by Jacobs’ passion for livable cities and the ability of all people to change them.
The three projects that will be highlighted are: Startup Box, a social enterprise and tech incubator prototype designed to increase opportunities for South Bronx community members; 9×18, a proposal that considers the city’s parking lots as opportunities to help with the affordable housing crisis; and the Boogie Down Booth, a vibrant public space in a previously forlorn area under the low and loud 2 and 5 trains in the South Bronx.
More on the projects and the event here