Municipal Art Society president abruptly fired; recent controversy over direction includes Ratner award
The Municipal Art Society of New York, long a leading voice in efforts to preserve the city’s history and elegant skyline, has ousted its new president less than a year after her hiring and replaced her with a former city and state parks administrator.
Gina Pollara, the former president, said in an interview that she joined the organization last year with the belief that she had a mandate to increase activism in the face of criticism that it had not been as vocal a development watchdog in recent years.
...The society’s most renowned preservationist campaign came in the mid-1970s, when it joined forces with Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis to block a plan to build a skyscraper atop Grand Central Terminal. More recently, though, there was an outcry [my coverage] in 2014 when the society gave its signature Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis Medal, meant to recognize “an outstanding contribution to New York City,” to executives of Forest City Ratner, the company responsible for the controversial Atlantic Yards development in Brooklyn, which used eminent domain to pave the way for a basketball stadium and apartment buildings. (It also handled such notable projects as a downtown apartment tower by Frank Gehry and the headquarters of The New York Times.)Here's earlier coverage by the Architect's Newspaper, which was ahead of the story.
Update: a letter from the City Club of New York, via Architect's Newspaper:
More than that, she seized upon MAS’s apparently recovered will to engage in its traditional advocacy function. She conducted a series of public policy forums. She worked to promote better governance of privately owned public spaces. She spoke out in support of the City Club’s position on Pier 55. She participated in meetings of the City Club’s Urban Design Committee. And we participated with her on MAS projects.
In short, she generated a sense of institutional revival and a spirit of cooperation that the City Club warmly welcomed.