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Landlord of 919 Third transforms lobby into gallery of children's holiday art.

The massive Christmas Tree, the strings of bright, colorful lights, Hanukkah Menorahs and bright red poinsettias that adorn most of New York City buildings are gone from 919 Third Avenue. No, the spirit of the holiday season was not lost, it was just spread in a new way.

Possibly the only office building in the city to snub the display of traditional holiday decorations, 919 Third chose for the third consecutive year to showcase the original holiday artwork of New York City's innercity children throughout its lobby rather than spending a significant amount on elaborate decorations. The money saved was used to make a donation to the New York City Mission Society and the Educational Alliance of the Sol Goldman YM-YWHA.

The ownership of 919 Third Avenue and the managing agent, Insignia/Edward S. Gordon, Inc. are continuing a holiday tradition they launched two years ago that is far more beneficial than the typical eye-catching ornaments. Yet this time around, they are not settling for simply spreading goodwill - this year the 919 Third Avenue building management and ownership wanted to extend the reach of its philanthropy. So they are challenging every building in New York City to make a similarly generous donation next year and put their money to good cause.

"Our original approach to holiday decorating was such an inspiration to the community and our tenants the past two holiday seasons, that we decided to make it bigger and better this year, as well as the years to come," said Matthew Leaycraft, the Insignia/ESG account executive heading the 919 Third Avenue management team. "What could be better during the holiday season than to give back to the community and spread cheer to some of New York City's under-privileged children?"

Hundreds of inner-city kids participated in an art contest for a chance to have their creations prominently displayed in the lobby of 919 Third Avenue, located between 55th and 56th streets in the Plaza District. The contest was sponsored by the New York Mission Society, the oldest private social services organization in New York City dedicated to improving the lives of our city's children, and it included children from the Community Achievement Project at CES 28 and the Minisink Townhouse Afterschool Program. The second co-sponsor, The Educational Alliance of Sol Goldman YM-YWHA, a social service agency that provides innovative programs and services for people of all races and religions on the Lower East Side, submitted artwork from children in its programs.

Founded in 1812, the New York Mission Society is committed to enabling poor and under-served New Yorkers to achieve lives free of poverty to develop their fullest potential.

Chosen as winners of the contest for a special display in the building's lobby, 15 drawings were blown up to 6 x 8 foot replicas and framed. All of the children received a certificate of participation, giving them their hard-earned recognition and praise. The honors continued as the building management threw an opening party and awards ceremony on December 15th for the tenants and the 15 children whose art work was selected in the contest. The reception featured cast members Aubrey Lynch and Philip McAdoo from the Disney Broadway musical "The Lion King" and performers from The Inspirational Singers, who celebrated the holiday season with the children in song and dance, and presented them with awards during the festivities. In addition, 919 Third Avenue presented the New York City Mission Society and the Educational Alliance with a sizable contribution - a gesture that has become an annual tradition.

The exhibit, designed by ABS Designs, will be open from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. weekdays through January 15th. The property at 919 Third Avenue is a 1.4 million square-foot 47-story Class A office building owned by J.P. Morgan.
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Publication:Real Estate Weekly
Article Type:Brief Article
Geographic Code:1U2NY
Date:Jan 13, 1999
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