05/21/2010 05:07 pm ET Updated May 25, 2011

Recognizing the Best of NYC's Built Environment

When The Municipal Art Society of New York was founded by Evangeline Blashfield in 1893, she and her City Beautiful colleagues were inspired by the wonderful public places and public art of other cities, and believed that New York could and should be even more beautiful and livable. That's why our non-profit organization, which works to ensure a more livable New York City, developed the annual MASterworks Awards to recognize excellence in architecture and urban design in New York City. We at MAS are continually impressed and delighted by how our urban environment is enhanced by visionary people with extraordinary ideas, every day.

For the 2010 MASterworks Awards, we've chosen seven provocative, innovative architecture and urban design projects that celebrate, and augment, New York's built environment. A distinguished five-member committee of experts from the fields of architecture, culture, and academia chose the winners. Without further ado, I present to you the winners.

Best New Building: 41 Cooper Square. Designed by Thom Mayne, this stunning work amplifies and energizes its surrounding neighborhood.

Best Historical Restoration: The Empire State Building Lobby. This is one of the few New York City interiors designated as an historic landmark. Its restoration brings greater visibility, consistency and historical accuracy to important public corridors.

Best Redesign: Alice Tully Hall at Lincoln Center. Tucked under the Juilliard School at 1941 Broadway, the opaque base of Peitro Belluschi's building was stripped away by architecture firm Diller Scofidio + Renfro to reveal the renovated Alice Tully Hall to the street, introducing new interior and exterior public spaces to Broadway.

Best Storefront Design:
Reef, at Storefront for Art and Architecture. Reef was a 2009 installation that redefined the relationship between a public sidewalk and a storefront interior.

Three park projects share the 2010 award for Neighborhood Catalyst. They are prime examples of neighborhood projects achieved through hard-fought community activism. The High Line transformed a successful art community into an exciting place for residents and visitors, helping make Chelsea a destination for high-style contemporary architecture. The Concrete Plant Park on the Bronx River became an attraction for an active community that had not recognized that a river ran through it. West Harlem Piers Park reconnects Harlem to the Hudson River and marks the culmination of a 30-year struggle by the community to renew its connection to the waterfront.

The 2010 Awards will be presented at a ceremony this fall, thanks to a sponsorship by international banking and investment group Helaba, Landesbank Hessen-Thüringen, but New Yorkers and visitors to this great city can enjoy the winners right now, and every day.

I invite you to join MAS as we advocate for a more livable New York. To learn more about this years' and previous years' winners, visit

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