Event - Reviewing Renewal:

Reviewing Renewal:

01.25.15, 12:00 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 25, 2015


12pm – 1pm, Panorama
Reviewing Renewal: The Manhattan Projects Tour
“Around the city” tour of four completed NYC urban renewal projects (United Nations, Stuyvesant Town, Lincoln Square/Center, East Harlem) on the panorama with Samuel Zipp, author of Manhattan Projects: the Rise and Fall of Urban Renewal in Cold War New York.



Samuel Zipp is an Associate Professor of American Studies and Urban Studies at Brown University and the author of Manhattan Projects: The Rise and Fall of Urban Renewal in Cold War New York. He has written articles and reviews for a number of publications, including The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Nation, The Baffler, Metropolis, Cabinet, and In These Times.



1pm – 2:30pm, 2nd floor theater
Reviewing Renewal: Before Lincoln Center
Organized by Oksana Mironova


Screenings of films Rompierdo Puertas (Break and Enter) (1971) & The Case against Lincoln Center (1968), both from Third World Newsreel, framed and followed a discussion with  Jennifer Hock and Mariana Mogilevich on the city-facilitated transformation of the Upper West Side.


Rompierdo Puertas (Break and Enter), 1971, Third World Films, 42 min
Rompierdo Puertas details the takeover of buildings by Latino families in New York City slated for urban renewal. The film highlights the community’s struggle against displacement and their determination to obtain equality and decent housing.


The Case Against Lincoln Center, 1968, Third World Films, 12 min
The Case against Lincoln Center depicts the building of Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts, that displaced 20,000 Latino families. Juxtaposing the atmosphere of Lincoln Center with the vibrant street culture of a displaced neighborhood, the film correctly predicts the process by which the West Side was to be turned into a high-rent area for the upper middle class.


Mariana Mogilevich is an urban and architectural historian and native New Yorker. She writes about the design and politics of the built environment in general and on public space and open space in New York in particular, and has taught urban studies and architectural history at Harvard and New York University.


Jennifer Hock is an architectural and urban historian with an interest in the impact of social movements on design and planning practice and the creation of urban space. She received her PhD from Harvard University in 2012. She has lectured and published on Jane Jacobs, mid-century American architecture, and urban renewal, and is working on a book on architecture, planning, and the civil rights movement in Boston. She currently teaches at the Maryland Institute College of Art.Oksana Mironova is a researcher and writer focused on housing policy, urban development, and alternative economies. She was born in the former Soviet Union and grew up in Coney Island, Brooklyn. Her work has appeared in Urban Omnibus, BKLYNR, Progressive Planning, and Shelterforce.





2:30pm – 4pm, Unisphere Gallery 2nd floor
Reviewing Renewal: Williamsburg’s South Side
With Deputy Brooklyn Borough President Diana Reyna, Shekar Krishnan, Anusha Venkataraman and The Broadway Triangle Community Coalition.


Diana Reyna is the Deputy Brooklyn Borough President and has demonstrated an outstanding commitment to communities across Brooklyn through government service and advocacy since 2001.  As a New York City Council Member representing the 34th District (that includes the neighborhoods of Williamsburg and Bushwick in Brooklyn as well as Ridgewood, Queens) she garnered citywide attention for her efforts in championing affordable housing, economic development, improving equity in education, park space and waste as well as expanding youth and senior services.  As the first woman of Dominican descent elected to office in New York State she focuses on ways she can advocate for the over 2.6 million residents of New York City’s most diverse borough. Reyna supports innovation and high-tech job creation, investing in women or minority owned small businesses, as well as business incubators that facilitate the critical work of entrepreneurs in creating start-up companies.  Reyna was born and raised in Williamsburg’s “Southside,” and now lives in Bushwick with her husband, a sergeant in the New York City Police Department, and two boys. She attended the Transfiguration School in Williamsburg and Pace University in Pleasantville, New York.


The Broadway Triangle Community Coalition (BTCC) represents the authentic voices of community residents from Williamsburg and northern Bedford-Stuyvesant calling for an inclusive public planning process and integrated affordable housing in response to the city’s efforts to rezone the Broadway Triangle in Brooklyn. This coalition includes over 40 church, civic, educational and community-based organizations that represent the area’s largely Latino, African-American, and Hasidic communities.  The coalition formed six years ago to advocate for fair housing and a transparent, participatory rezoning process for this Urban Renewal Area”€”the largest plot of vacant land in the borough for affordable housing.  The BTCC advocates for a comprehensive plan for the Broadway Triangle, one that ends longstanding residential segregation in this area of Brooklyn, maximizes the affordable housing that can be built given the great need in this area, and provides sustainable resources for the surrounding low-income communities.


Shekar Krishnan is the Director of the Preserving Affordable Housing Program at Brooklyn Legal Services Corporation A (“Brooklyn A”).  He leads its fair housing and community-based advocacy on behalf of tenant and neighborhood groups in North Brooklyn.  He is one of the lead lawyers on Brooklyn A’s Broadway Triangle fair housing case against the City of New York, which the organization started five years ago.  Shekar was also an associate at Weil, Gotshal & Manges LLP and Patterson Belknap Webb & Tyler LLP, serving as pro bono counsel to Brooklyn A and as a member of its board.  He clerked for Senior United States District Court Judge Jack B. Weinstein in the Eastern District of New York.  Shekar received his law degree from the University of Michigan Law School, where he was a Clarence Darrow Scholar and contributing editor of the Michigan Law Review, and his undergraduate degree from the Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art.  He is a member of the board of directors of Citizens Union and El Puente.  Shekar’s publications include “Advocacy for Tenant and Community Empowerment” (CUNY Law Review), “Lock Up Crooked Landlords” (N.Y. Daily News Op-ed), and “Without an Attorney, the Scales of Justice Are Weighted Against the Poor” (New York State Bar Association Pro Bono News).


Anusha Venkataraman is a hybrid urban planner, writer, artist, and activist, whose work focuses on empowering communities to lead change rather than respond to it. She is currently Director of the Green Light District initiative at El Puente, a community human rights institution in Brooklyn, NY. The Green Light District is a grassroots ten-year campaign for sustainability, equity, community wellness, and Latino cultural expression in the Southside or “Los Sures” neighborhood. Anusha edited the books Intractable Democracy: Fifty Years of Community-Based Planning (2010)and Beyond Zuccotti Park: Freedom of Assembly and the Occupation of Public Space (2012, with colleagues), and is a contributing editor and writer for Outpost Journal, an annual publication that features art and activism in small and medium-sized U.S. cities. Anusha completed her masters degree in City and Regional Planning at the Pratt Institute, with a focus on arts and community development, and a bachelors degree in International Relations at Brown University.







4pm – 6pm, walk through the Panorama and conversation in the Unisphere Gallery, 2nd floor 
Reviewing Renewal: Queens
with Queens Borough Historian Dr. Jack Eichenbaum, Kalin Callaghan from the United Peninsula Working to Achieve Responsible Development (UPWARD) coalition in Rockaway and others to be announced.


Dr. Jack Eichenbaum holds the title of Queens Borough Historian, and a Ph.D. in urban geography (University of Michigan, 1972), where his dissertation was titled Magic, Mobility and Minorities in the Urban Drama. On the empirical level, it involved a study of the urban renewal of a multi-ethnic neighborhood in Detroit. He is a lifelong observer of NYC and other large cities around the world. Eichenbaum’s expertise lies particularly in quantitative methods, historical urban geography, migration, ethnicity, and technological change. More information can be found at: www.geognyc.com


Kalin Callaghan, an organizer with Rockaway Wildfire, grew up amongst artists and activists in Rockaway Beach. She studied fine art and children’s  studies at Brooklyn College, and has worked as an artistic instructor for the Rockaway Artists Alliance for 10+ years. Peripherally involved in political activism since her teen years, the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy thrust her into purposeful community  organizing on a larger scale. The destruction of her hometown, and rebuilding and redevelopment efforts to follow, compelled Kalin to  work to ensure that her community would both lead and benefit from the recovery process. She has coordinated a campaign to develop a Community Benefits Agreement for Arverne East. She is raising two boys in the Rockaways.


The United Peninsula Working to Achieve Responsible Development (UPWARD) coalition is based in Rockaway, Queens. The grassroots coalition is focused on equitable development in the 81-acre portion of the Arverne Urban Renewal Plan Area that has been empty for over 40 years.