Event - Reviewing Renewal:

Reviewing Renewal:

01.18.15, 12:15 pm


596 Acres will present 155+ urban renewal plans that the City has ever adopted in an intervention directly on the Panorama of the City of New York, realizing the online Urban Reviewer map on a 1:1200 scale of the 9,335 square foot Panorama.

New York City began to adopt “urban renewal plans” in 1949 to get federal funding to acquire land, relocate the people living there, demolish the structures and make way for new public and private development. The legacy of these neighborhood master plans remains active across the city, from sites like Lincoln Center to the many vacant lots cleared in East New York and Bushwick for projects that were never completed. Even after federal funding for the program was cut in 1974, New York City continued to adopt renewal plans for neighborhoods “82 plan areas, where the city has eminent domain power to take private property for the public purpose of eliminating blight and economic” under-performance, came into being between 1975 and the present.


Urban renewal transforms the city, and changes the lives of many New Yorkers, for better or worse. Over 60 plan for areas of the city remain active today. Some communities are taking advantage of active plan areas to make community aspirations into official plans.


What can we learn from the continuing story of urban renewal in NYC?


Curator: Paula Z. Segal, Esq., 596 Acres, Inc.
Exhibition Design: Mary Bereschka, Greg Mihalko, Stephen von Muehlen
Design: Partner & Partners
Event Production: Amy Fitzgerald, Oksana Mironova


Exhibition made possible thanks to the support of Mapzen and the Queens Museum.

Programming takes place every Sunday Jan 11-Feb 8, 2015. All events are free. Some RSVPs required.


Sunday, January 18, 2015


12:15pm – 1:45pm, 2nd floor theater
Reviewing Renewal: Takings
A discussion of the law of eminent domain with Michael Rikon, Esq. & Paula Z. Segal, Esq. Continuing Legal Education (CLE) credits for free to attorneys who attend provided by the CUNY Community Legal Resource Network. All welcome.


Michael Rikon is a shareholder in Goldstein, Rikon, Rikon & Houghton, P.C., which has concentrated its practice in eminent domain cases since 1925. From 1973 to 1980, Mr. Rikon served as a Law Clerk to the Honorable Albert A. Blinder of the New York State Court of Claims. He began his legal career as an Assistant Corporation Counsel for the City of  New York, a position he held from 1969 to 1973, where he was a senior trial attorney in the Condemnation Division. From 1973 to 1975, Mr. Rikon was a consultant to the New York State Commission on Eminent Domain, which drafted the EDPL. He earned his B.S. at the New York Institute of Technology; his J.D. from Brooklyn Law School, and a Masters of Law from New York University School of Law. Michael Rikon is a frequent lecturer on the Law of Eminent Domain. He is rated “A.V.” by Martindale-Hubbell, “Best Lawyer” and “Super Lawyer.” He is listed in Who’s Who in American Law.


Paula Z. Segal, Esq. is the founding director of 596 Acres, New York City’s land access advocacy organization. She is a graduate of CUNY School of Law at Queens College, where she was a Haywood Burns Fellow in Human and Civil Rights.






2pm – 4pm, 2nd floor workshop
Reviewing Mitchell Lama: The Past, Present and Future of Affordable Housing in NYC

Planners Network NYC hosts a discussion on the past, present and future of the Mitchell Lama program, one of New York’s most important and embattled affordable housing initiatives. With Charles Chawalko on the history of the program and the experience at Southbridge Towers; Jackie Peters, of the Putnam Coalition, on organizing against predatory equity in a Harlem Mitchell Lama rental; and Alexis Smallwood on the experience of tenants at Ocean Village in the Rockaway. Moderated by  Katie Goldstein, Executive Director of Tenants & Neighbors. RSVP & more details here: https://www.facebook.com/events/731406833609811/


Planners Network is an association of professionals, activists, academics, and students involved in physical, social, economic, and environmental planning in urban and rural areas, who promote fundamental change in our political and economic systems.


Charles Chawalko performed digital cartography and data corrections on the Urban Reviewer map. His interest in the project came from his own thesis work and struggle concerning the potential privatization of his Mitchell-Lama cooperative (South Bridge Towers) that was born out of the Brooklyn Bridge Southwest Urban Renewal Plan.


Jackie Peters has long been a tenant organizer and a leader in the Putnam Coalition, a group of residents fighting to keep their homes affordable.


Alexis Smallwood is the Community Outreach Coordinator at Rockaway Wildfire and a resident of Ocean Village/Arverne View, a Mitchell Lama development recently transitioned to a private owner.


Katie Goldstein is the Executive Director of Tenants & Neighbors, a grassroots organization that helps tenants build and effectively wield their power to preserve at-risk affordable housing and strengthen tenants’ rights in New York.




4pm – 6pm, 2nd floor theater
Reviewing Renewal Film Presentation: It Took 50 Years: Frances Goldin and the Struggle for Cooper Square
(2014, Kathryn Barnier, Ryan Joseph & David Powell, 15 min)


A preview of It Took 50, followed by a discussion about lessons for organizers about the urban renewal process from members of the Cooper Square Committee.
It Took 50 Years: Frances Goldin and the Struggle for Cooper Square, 2014, Kathryn Barnier, Ryan Joseph & David Powell, 15 min clip
Robert Moses was New York City’s “€œMaster Builder”€, a force of nature that transformed the built environment and the lives of millions of New Yorkers. When Moses came to the Lower East Side of Manhattan in 1959, he intended to level the area known as “€œCooper Square”€ in the name of urban renewal. Little did Moses know that he would meet his match in the Cooper Square Committee (CSC) and in Frances Goldin, the committee’s tenacious co-founder.
In addition the filmmakers, Val Orselli of the Cooper Square Mutual Housing Association, Harriet Putterman of the Cooper Square Community Land Trust, and a representative from Picture the Homeless will lead the discussion.

Dave Powell was raised and still lives in Brooklyn, NY. He has worked as an organizer for the Metropolitan Council on Housing, the New York State Tenants & Neighbors Coalition and the Southern Bronx River Watershed Alliance. He is currently the Director of Organizing and Advocacy at the Fifth Avenue Committee in Brooklyn. Dave has been quoted on housing issues by the New York Times, The New York Daily News, Crain’s New York Business, The Village Voice, City Limits and other media. The Village Voice recognized his activism on behalf of New York City tenants in its “€œBest Of 2003″€ issue. Dave is a former member of the National Writers Union (UAW local 1981) and has been a collective member of ABC No Rio on the Lower East Side for over 20 years. He holds a BA in film production from and a Masters in Urban Planning, both from Hunter College.


Ryan Joseph was born in Trinidad, West Indies and now resides in Jersey City, NJ.  As a freelance documentary photographer and filmmaker his work focuses on documenting and bringing to light marginalized communities and subcultures. Ryan has displayed at Aljira Center for Contemporary Art in Newark, New Jersey and The John Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, in Baltimore, Maryland, among other venues. He has been published in The New York Times, Jet Magazine, En Foco Photography Magazine, Urban Ink Magazine and has worked as a still photographer for Asante film production, The Black Candle.  His cinematography credits include The Rink which he co-produced.
Kathryn Barner, editor of It Took 50 Years, has over 20 years of documentary post-production experience. Her credits include My Brooklyn (2012), Banished: How Whites Drove Blacks Out of Town in America (2006) and The Gun Deadlock (2001.)


Cooper Square Committee‘s mission is to work with area residents to contribute to the preservation and development of affordable, environmentally healthy housing and community/ cultural spaces so that the Cooper Square area remains racially, economically and culturally diverse. The Cooper Square Mutual Housing Association and Cooper Square Community Land Trust were created in furtherance of that mission.


Picture the Homeless is a lead organization in the New York City Community Land Initiative (http://nyccli.org), which is working to expand the opportunities for putting NYC land in community trust.