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Archive for 'Downtown Brooklyn'

Update on the Brooklyn Skyscraper District

On December 7, the City Council’s Subcommittee on Landmarks, Public Siting and Maritime Uses held a public hearing on the designation of the Borough Hall Skyscraper Historic District. MAS, along with many preservation groups, including the Brooklyn Heights Association and the New York Landmarks Conservancy, testified in support of the historic district, stating:

“The City has made serious investments into the revitalization and rejuvenation of this part of Brooklyn,  from the Downtown Brooklyn rezoning to the creation of Brooklyn Bridge Park. Continue Reading>>


MAS Urges Council Support of Skyscraper District

Borough Hall Skyscraper Despite being named the “Coolest City on the Planet” by GQ, Brooklyn hasn’t been an independent city for more than a century. But it has a celebrated architectural heritage that equals cities across the country, including a skyscraper district that once rivaled equaled Lower Manhattan’s.  That district, which was designated a historic district by the City’s Landmarks Preservation Commission (LPC), includes an exceptional concentration of late nineteenth and twentieth century commercial skyscrapers ranging from Romanesque to Gothic styles.

On Wednesday, the City Council’s Subcommittee on Landmarks, Public Siting and Maritime Uses will hold a public hearing on the designation of the Borough Hall Skyscraper Historic District. MAS will be testifying in support of the historic district, and invites readers to join us at the hearing, or contact their Councilmember and urge them to uphold the LPC’s designation and the district’s boundaries. Continue Reading>>


Watch List Highlights, Friday, March 25, 2011

Disaster Planning: New York City’s “All Hazards Plan”
After the recent earthquake and tsunami in Japan, The New York Times took a look at how New York City would respond in a disaster and how it could best distribute protocols and information to other agencies and the public.

Changing Streets: Happy Birthday, NYC Grid!
Tuesday marked the 200th anniversary of the creation of the Manhattan street grid. Also known as Continue Reading>>


MAS April/May Newsletter/Calendar Now Available

Henry Hogg Biddle House - Photo by Emilio Guerra The MAS April/May newsletter and calendar is hitting mailboxes across the city right now. This issue features MAS Streets Month programs and tours, and our May 11 program on the future of New York City’s skyline.

In addition to our Streets Month tours, there’s a daylong visit to Tottenville in Staten Island, as well as our annual tour of Jane Jacob’s West Village, in honor of Jacobs’ birthday—this year would have been her 95th! Continue Reading>>


Watch List Highlights, Friday, March 18, 2011

Watch List Highlights - Rowing in New York Waterfront: New York’s Sixth Borough
The Bloomberg Administration has released the Vision 2020: New York City’s Comprehensive Waterfront Plan, which seeks to create and enhance waterfront access, improve sewage systems and water treatment facilities, and add more natural waterfront features. The proposed East River ferry service for the summer is integrated as well. Vision 2020 also includes the “blue network” which will connect the city’s waterways for small boaters and swimmers. Continue Reading>>


This Week’s Highlights: November 19

This Week's Highlights - The High Line Each week we will bring you news on issues related to New York City’s livability. Feel free to comment or post a link to other interesting articles about our city.

Gothamist remembers preservationist Robert Makla, the founder of Friends of Central Park and Friends of Prospect Park. Continue Reading>>


Gage & Tollner, a Place that Matters

gage tollnerThe former Gage & Tollner restaurant on Fulton Street near Brooklyn’s Borough Hall is now the most beautiful Arby’s in the world, thanks in large part to its designation as both an exterior and interior landmark. Gage & Tollner was nominated to the Census of Places that Matter because for over 100 years it “gave diners a taste of old Brooklyn”. Although Gage & Tollner closed in 2004, its Victorian interior remains intact and open to the public, now as home of Brooklyn’s first Arby’s.

The restaurant that became Gage & Tollner was originally opened by Charles M. Gage in 1879.  When Gage partnered with Eugene Tollner a few years later, the restaurant was renamed for the two of them.  In 1892, Gage & Tollner moved from its original location near present-day Cadman Plaza to the 1870s Italianate row house at 372 Fulton Street. The building’s wooden Neo-Grec storefront, which is still intact, was likely added at this time. Gage & Tollner’s clientele were among Brooklyn and Manhattan’s elite, and throughout the next century, the restaurant was renowned for its food quality and excellent service.  The Landmarks Preservation Commission’s 1974 designation report for the building’s exterior refers to Gage & Tollner as “one of Brooklyn’s best known restaurants.” Continue Reading>>


Demolition=Wasteful; Reuse=Green

Joining founder of the Waterfront Preservation Alliance of Greenpoint and Williamsburg Ward Dennis were: moderator and president of the Society for Industrial Archaeology Mary Habstritt; MAS director of advocacy and policy Lisa Kersavage; president & chief operating officer of the Brooklyn Navy Yard Andrew Kimball; and preservation consultant to the Austin, Nichols, warehouse rehabilitation Robert Powers. Continue Reading>>


Show the Love at Tomorrow’s LPC Prospect Heights Hearing

prospect heights historic row houses italianate brooklyn new york architectureNow is your chance to tell the Landmarks Preservation Commission (LPC) that you support the designation of the Prospect Heights Historic District. The LPC will hold a public hearing on Tuesday, October 28, 1:30 – 3:30 p.m. at the Municipal Building. This hearing is the second step in protecting one of Brooklyn’s finest – and most endangered – historic neighborhoods.

Prospect Heights is threatened by the Atlantic Yards project, a proposal by the developer Forest City Ratner to build 16 towers and a sports arena on a 22-acre site that abuts the boundaries of the proposed historic district.

Encompassing roughly 870 properties, the proposed Prospect Heights Historic District is rich in historic architecture, with blocks of beautiful Italianate and neo-Grec rowhouses, interspersed with churches, small commercial and apartment buildings. Located just north of Prospect Park, the neighborhood has seen few changes since it was first developed in the late-19th Century. Click here to read more about the history.

MAS has worked in partnership with the Prospect Heights Neighborhood Development Corporation (PHNDC) in advocating for the designation of this neighborhood since 2006 Continue Reading>>


MAS Launches Imagine Coney on Monday

astroland coney island signOn Monday, October 27, 9:00 a.m. – 12:00 noon at Brooklyn Borough Hall,MAS will launch Imagine Coney,an initiative bringing together a world-class team of designers, engineers, producers and economists to develop new ideas for Coney Island – for amusement rides, structures, events and interim activities.

Coney Island was once one of the most astonishing places on earth – from the minarets and lights of Luna Park to the water chute rides and freakish sideshows of Dreamland. However, over the last several decades, it has declined and the area needs revitalization.

The City has taken several critical steps towards that goal. Last November, it announced a rezoning initiative, which you can view here, but it will take more than the efforts of the City alone to restore Coney Island to its greatness. It will require the focus, creativity and entrepreneurship of New Yorkers and Coney Island fans like you. Continue Reading>>


More Security for Ground Zero and Polshek Addition Completed

ground zero wtc construction

Credit: Ray Devlin

MAS Issues in the Press:
- The security zone planned for Ground Zero, once completed, will inhibit active pedestrian streetscapes (New York Times). A new survey has found that 57 percent of small businesses were closed or displaced as a result of the 2004 Downtown Brooklyn Rezoning (New York Daily News).

- Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer has approved the Lower East Side rezoning (New York Observer). As the proposed Coney Island rezoning is yet to be certified, amusement park operators wonder whether they will be granted another year extension on their leases (Brooklyn Pape

- The Polshek addition to the Museum of the City of New York is complete (New York Times). Manhattan Community Board 2 has developed an inventory of possible new sites for public green spaces (Villager).


Mobile Art Pavilion to Come to Central Park and Keeping Climbers off NYTimes Building

sterling place romanesque prospect heightsMAS Issues in the Press:
- Preservationists and anti-Atlantic Yards groups are hoping the proposed Prospect Heights Historic District will act as a tool to preserve other areas against development pressures from the Atlantic Yards development (Brooklyn Paper). Plans to build a condominium at the site of the Kean House on Lexington Avenue is the impetus for petitioning the expansion of the Upper East Side Historic District (New York Sun).

- The mobile art pavilion , designed by London architect Zaha Hadid, will reside at Rumsey Playfield in Central Park this fall (New York Times). The Tribeca section of the Hudson River Park is complete and will open to the public on Wednesday (New York Times).

- At Coney Island USA President Dick Zigun’s “State of Coney” address last Sunday, he considered advocating a single-ownership/gated theme park model for Coney Island (Brooklyn Paper). Continue Reading>>


Brooklyn is Booming

brooklyn construction

Photo: Giles Ashford

Brooklyn is booming these days with a flood of development that could permanently alter its character. Major developments in in Greenpoint and Williamsburg, at the Atlantic Yards site in Prospect Heights and in Coney Island are either underway or slated to begin soon, but less well-publicized areas adjacent to these developments are also experiencing significant changes to their built environment.

According the Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce, an estimated 13 million square feet of development was planned for Brooklyn in 2005. Recently, The New York Times reported that of the 24,610 permits issued by the City Department of Buildings in Brooklyn in 2005, 1,740 were for new buildings — a rate of four new building permits each day. In that same time, the department issued 1,924 permits for demolition, or five per day. In the simplest terms, Brooklyn lost five buildings and gained four new ones every day in 2005. Continue Reading>>


MAS Works to Preserve Buildings in Downtown Brooklyn

liebman brothers buildingThe Municipal Art Society’s Preservation Committee, working with the Brooklyn Heights Association, has identified 28 buildings in the Downtown Brooklyn rezoning area that are worthy of designation as New York City landmarks. Continue Reading>>


MAS Weighs in on Downtown Brooklyn Plans

With a broad reaching redevelopment plan underway, Downtown Brooklyn and its surrounding neighborhoods are at a crossroads. The Municipal Art Society’s planning and preservation committees have been monitoring the Department of City Planning’s proposals and recently at a hearing held by Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz.