Lecture: The Politics of Urban Beauty: New York and Its Art Commission

Who keeps the City beautiful? Who decides what the municipal built environment should look like, what belongs where, and what the city’s public realm should mean? This lecture illuminates these issues through examination of the activities of the Art Commission of the City of New York — the city’s official design review board — past and present.

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Pay Phones May Be a Bad Call for City

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An article in today’s New York Times looks at the city’s most prominent — and profitable — form of street furniture, the pay telephone: The phone kiosks generate $62 million in advertising revenue annually — and last year the city got $13.7 million of the take, triple what it pulled in from calls. Over all, […]

Planning Experts Call for an Overhaul of NYC Zoning Rules

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New York City’s zoning regulation turns 50 this year. Though the zoning ordinance has been amended extensively over the last half-century, land use in New York is still governed under a basic framework established under Mayor Robert Wagner. In a panel discussion held last Friday by the Municipal Art Society, experts put forward a vision […]

City Planning Commission OKs Excess St. Vincent’s Parking

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The City Planning Commission approved a Rudin family request to build 50 percent more parking than allowed at the site of the former St. Vincent’s Hospital in Greenwich Village. The commission’s unanimous approval came last Monday despite opposition to the parking garage from the local community board and evidence that Rudin hadn’t met the city’s […]

Planners Tackle Big Questions About How to Shape NYC Development

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New York City’s unpassed 1969 comprehensive plan. Photo: Historic Districts Council Though the Charter Revision Commission looks likely to take a pass at reforming the city’s land use process this year, the door will remain open in the years to come to tackle the complex and controversial issues that surround planning and development in New […]

Why Is There So Much Traffic in NYC? It’s the Free Roads, Stupid

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Since the de Blasio administration attempted to cap for-hire cars this summer, the debate over Manhattan traffic has gotten louder, but not more productive. Uber claimed it definitely wasn’t the problem. Some council members wondered if bike lanes were slowing down cars. Amid all the noise, something important got lost. At a hearing about Manhattan traffic this morning convened by Borough President Gale Brewer, a simple […]