Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Tuition-Free Program in Historic Preservation at Mechanics' Institute

For Immediate Release

New Tuition-Free Program in
Historic Preservation

New York, NY – Summer 2007. Mechanics’ Institute is now accepting applications for its new program in Historic Preservation.

The two-year certificate program in Historic Preservation is comprised of eight courses, which cover a wide range of topics, from Building Typology to Case Studies in Preservation. Tuition-free classes are offered on Tuesdays and Thursdays, from 5:00pm to 7:00pm, and 7:00pm to 9:00pm (to accommodate students’ daytime work schedules.) Each class session meets twice per week, two hours per evening, for thirteen (13) weeks. The next semester begins September 10.

The program is open to women and men currently working in historic preservation or related fields. Instruction focuses on architectural history, preservation processes and policies, methods and techniques of historic preservation, and case studies of New York City buildings and landmarks (see below.)

Curriculum Breakdown

Introduction to Historic Preservation
Visual Literacy
Building Typology – Architecture
Building Typology – Construction
Restoration Techniques
Building Pathology
Construction Materials & Methods
Case Studies in Historic Preservation

Mechanics’ Institute is located at 20 West 44th Street, in the heart of midtown Manhattan. Registration is taking place now and space is limited to 20 new applicants. For more information visit the school website at
www.mechanicsinstitute.org. To register, call the Admissions office at 212.840.7648.

20 West 44th Street New York, N.Y. 10036
Telephone: (212) 840-7648 Facsimile: (212) 764-5058

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

What's Going On At Congregation Shearith Israel?

Congregation Shearith Israel Update

Wednesday, August 15, 2007, came and went. The significance? That was the deadline imposed by the Board of Standards and Appeals in their June 15, 2007, letter to Congregation Shearith Israel (CSI). "The Board desires to process applications on a timely basis and requests that applicants notify the Board if they are unable to make a complete submission within sixty (60) days. Failure to respond in a timely manner could lead to the dismissal of the application for lack of prosecution."

As of today, almost a full week after the deadline passed, CSI has yet to submit materials addressing any of the 47 objections raised by the Board in June. (Remember, CSI is asking for 8 variances exempting their proposed 124-foot-tall building from the area's contextual, brownstone-scale "R8-B" zoning. Much of the proposal's noncompliance results from CSI's desire to stack luxury apartments on top of a new community house.)

It is our understanding that the Board will not act immediately to dismiss CSI's application. The process may well drag on for many weeks, perhaps months. Yet, CSI's failure to meet the August 15 deadline, not to mention the fact that it took them over a year to file with the Board after getting the Landmarks Preservation Commission's design approval back in March 2006, suggests that CSI knows just how far they are from making a case that their project merits exemption from the zoning laws designed to protect the low-rise character of West 70th Street and hundreds of other blocks on the Upper West Side and thousands throughout the city.

And so, we continue to wait...and watch.

We are not alone. On a parallel track in Brooklyn, Cobble Hill neighbors are "fighting for their skies" against a developer seeking City Planning Commission approval for a new building that would break the brownstone area's 50-foot height limit for the first time ever. (As with CSI, the Landmarks Commission approved the developer's too-tall proposal.) Preservation advocate and current NYC Art Commissioner Otis Pratt Pearsall wrote in a recent letter to Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz, "If, our 40 year unbroken history notwithstanding, one developer on some rationale or another is now permitted an exception, can anyone believe that henceforth every developer will not also seek his own exception?...Please, make no mistake. The dam will be broken." This just in... BP Markowitz said "No" to the proposed Brooklyn building's height!

To learn more about the Brooklyn proposal, click
here. For background on Congregation Shearith Israel, click here.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Last Chance for the Music Series at the Naumburg Bandshell!

Last free outdoor concert of the summer!

Join the Naumburg Orchestral in Central Park for:
The Naumburg Orchestra
Jean-Marie Zeitouni - conductorJennifer Rivera - mezzo soprano
On Wednesday, August 15, 2007 at 7:30pm

Jean-Marie Zeitouni won a 2007 JUNO award (Canadian Grammy) with Les Violons du Royfor
Astor Piazzolla: Works for StringsA Simple Symphony - Benjamin Britten (1913-76)Il Tramonto (with Jennifer Rivera) - Ottorino Respighi (1879-1936)5 Greek Dances - Nikos Skalkottas (1904-1949) ~ intermission ~Serenade for Strings - Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky (1840-93)

The Naumburg Bandshell is located on the Concert Ground in Central Park,
south of the 72nd Street cross-drive. Admission is free. No rain
dates. For information log on to

See you at the Bandshell