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July 2007

More on the Milstein Mess

This coming from MetaEzra reader JO:

Aside from the question of building over a public right-of-way, there is at least one other issue germane to the position of Milstein Hall in relation to the Foundry:

The Foundry is listed as a locally-designated historic landmark by the Ithaca Landmarks Preservation Commission; while Sibley Hall is part of the Cornell Arts Quad Historic District. The Commission's Powers and Duties seem to include an evaluation of the impact the proposed building would have on any adjacent landmark structures: "In considering architectural and cultural value, the [Ithaca Landmarks Preservation] Commission shall consider whether the proposed change is consistent with the historic value and the spirit of the architectural style of the landmark or district..."

The plot gets thicker...

Matthew Nagowski | July 26, 2007 (#)

Milstein Hall: A Programmatic Necessity?

The Ithaca Journal
chronicles yet another chapter in the Milstein Hall saga:

Regardless of who owns the title, the city owns a public right-of-way along the street, which guarantees the rights of pedestrians, bikes and cars to continue using it, a right that Cornell does not dispute.

“The question is how wide is the public right-of-way and how high above the road does it extend?” Hoffman said. “And does the proposed Milstein Hall encroach upon the public right-of-way?”

Cornell planners have argued that the particular design they want for Milstein Hall is important because it will help connect the three separate buildings that house Architecture college departments -- two of which are south of University Avenue, and one of which is north of it.

I have a hard time believing that Milstein Hall will help to connect the Foundry with the rest of the AAP complex. And if this is the best argument Cornell can come up with for encroaching upon a public right of way, maybe they should stop drinking the Rem Koolhaas-aid. Here's a picture:

With or without Milstein Hall, one will still have to cross University Avenue to get to the Foundry.

And here is a question to all those architects reading this: How distracting will it be to have a cars, buses, and trucks driving a mere 15 feet under your studio or while you are taking a prelim?

Matthew Nagowski | July 24, 2007 (#)

New Cornell Blog Runs Circles Around MetaEzra

There’s a new student-run blog on East Hill, and it is everything that MetaEzra is not. Smart, suave, and sassy.

Off The Record – Cornell University, has been cranking out hilarious and irreverent posts for the past couple of weeks, basically covering everything The Sun, The Ithaca Journal, IvyGate, and this humble blog should be covering -- including, but not limited to, top prospects for the hockey team, Al Gore's Cornell connections, and, um, the best place to relieve oneself on campus.

In truth, we have been waiting for this for a long time. A place as exciting and as crazy as Cornell just begs to be blogged about with wit, wisdom, and tough love by current students. We have heard rumors of another Cornell-centric blog being launched this fall, but until then, this blog takes the cake. The blog is supposed to be anonymous, but one editor appears to be Zack Mast '10.

So we’re going to have to have to wave the white flag on this one. If you desire aging alums writing dry treatises on Cornell’s role in Upstate New York, tidbits of Cornell history, way more data on Cornell admissions than you would ever want to know, or exclusives on things like the capital campaign, the salary of Cornell’s CIO, or the wives of former Cornell presidents, come to MetaEzra. But if you are looking for a daily dose of Cornell-related hilarity, dial up OTR: Cornell.

And if posting is light around here, it’s only because we are too busy reading the blogs of others.

Matthew Nagowski | July 19, 2007 (#)

More Delays For Milstein Hall

Apparently nobody knows who owns University Avenue, Cornell or the City of Ithaca:

The Ithaca Board of Public Works postponed a decision on approval for Cornell University's proposed construction of Milstein Hall at its meeting Wednesday night.

The building, which would house the College of Art, Architecture and Planning, would connect Sibley and Rand Halls and jut out over the top of University Avenue.

Shirley Egan, Cornell's associate university counsel, said research she's done shows that University Avenue is a unique circumstance, and may not even belong to the city at all. The road that makes up University Avenue has been in use since before the city was formed, which makes it nearly impossible to determine ownership.

Maybe this explains why University Avenue is always in such a state of disrepair. Neither Cornell nor the City of Ithaca thinks that they are the responsible party.

I still want to know how smart it is to dig so close to a 100 foot gorge.

Matthew Nagowski | July 12, 2007 (#)

Cornell CIO Starting Salary: $400k/year

This may be of interest to all of you navel gazers out there…

MetaEzra has obtained freely available government data concerning H-1B visas which indicate that Cornell’s recently hired Chief Investment Officer, British national James Walsh, was offered a starting salary of $400,000 a year to manage Cornell’s $5 billion dollar endowment.

But before people start begrudging Walsh’s high salary (easily that of three or four full professors or enough to provide 10 undergraduates with full scholarships), consider this: Walsh’s salary appears to be a really good bargain compared to some of his peers: For instance, Harvard recently paid its top money manager $7.2 million dollars for an endowment of $20 billion – 0.036% of the total endowment. Walsh, in comparison, only earned 0.008% of Cornell’s $5 billion dollar endowment last year.

There is one caveat, however: Due to the nature of the data, there is no indication of whether or not Walsh has any incentive clauses in his contract, such bonuses could increase his pay substantially.

At any rate, it appears that Cornell’s endowment is in good hands under Walsh. In the first quarter of 2007, Cornell’s endowment posted a 5.8 percent gain, besting the fund’s “benchmark” index by close to 4 percent.

Now let’s just hope that Cornell’s money managers aren’t making any highly leveraged bets on subprime mortgages, a la Bear Stearns.

Matthew Nagowski | July 10, 2007 (#)

Other Recent Posts

-- WSJ: Cornell Wins NYC Tech Campus Bid (EBilmes)

-- Barrier Update: City Approves Nets (DJost)

-- Big Red Cymbal Guy (Nagowski)

-- New York Times Survey on Campus Recruiting is Flawed (KScott)

-- Barrier Update: Legal precedent suggests City of Ithaca will not be held liable for gorge suicide (DJost)

-- Despite MSG Loss, Big Potential for Big Red Hockey (EBilmes)

-- City Council Will Vote on Suicide Nets (DJost)

-- An Encounter on the Upper East Side (Nagowski)

-- Showing Off Your School Spirit (Nagowski)

-- Chipotle Ithaca? (KScott)

-- Cornell at the ING NYC Marathon (KScott)

-- Crossing Over a Fine Line: Commercial Activity on Campus (KScott)

-- Milstein's Downfall (Nagowski)

-- Can any Cornell-associated organization really be independent of the University? (Nagowski)

-- Slope Media Revisited (EBilmes)

-- Slope Media Group Approved for Byline Funding (KScott)

-- Occupy AEM? (KScott)

-- New campus pub to be good for both Greeks and non-Greeks (Nagowski)

-- Gagging the Election (Nagowski)

-- The Changing Structure of Rush Week (Nagowski)

-- Ivy League Humility in the Midwest (EBilmes)

-- Of Median Grades and Economics Minors (Nagowski)

-- Homecoming Recap (Nagowski)

-- My Cornell Bookshelf (Nagowski)

-- The Sun's Opinion Section Has Suddenly Gotten Good (Nagowski)

-- Remembering the 11th (Nagowski)

-- Cornellian Tapped as Top Economic Advisor (Nagowski)

-- Cutting Pledging, and the Good Which Comes With It (EBilmes)

-- Why Cornell Should Not Close Fall Creek Gorge (Nagowski)

-- Welcome to the Class of 2015 (Nagowski)