For over 120 years, the Municipal Art Society has been an important organization in New York City’s efforts to promote a more livable environment and preserve the best of its past. It’s successful preservation campaigns and advocacy for better architecture—such as its advocacy to rebuild a better Penn Station—are well known. Now the organization has announced its annual MASterworks Awards, and of the nine buildings selected this year as honorees, many are in Brooklyn, confirming that borough’s continuing upgrading evolution.
Construction has started on two towers set to rise in the BAM Cultural District in Fort Greene, Brooklyn. Unlike most new projects in the area, one of the buildings to rise off Flatbush Avenue, a 32-story structure designed by Brooklyn-based architect Thomas Leeser, will not be luxury apartments, but a 200-room boutique hotel run by Marriot. The tower is one of the most architecturally distinct high-rises to arrive in Brooklyn in quite some time, with prominent, asymmetrical carve-outs along its glass facade that make it appear as if someone—or something—has slashed through its skin with a knife.
A compromise has been reached in the heated battle over the fate of Brooklyn’s iconic Kentile Floors sign. The New York Times reported that the sign’s owner will dismantle the structure and donate its red letters to the Gowanus Alliance, a local group which plans to reinstall the sign nearby. For that to happen, though, the eight-story, 50-year-old sign must first be removed from its current rooftop home without breaking. “There are some hurdles to clear,” reported the Times. “The permits require that the 20-foot-high letters be reduced to four-by-four-foot sections and sent down a debris chute off the roof.” City Councilman Brad Lander, who recently launched a petition to save the sign, told the paper he hopes the letters can be removed with a pulley and not “crammed down a chute.”
New York City’s Office of Emergency Management has opened a full-scale prototype of its temporary housing units that would shelter those displaced from the next Sandy-like storm. The OEM describes “The Urban Post-Disaster Housing Prototype Program,” as a “multi-story, multi-family interim housing solution that will work in urban areas across the country.” The prefabricated structures are designed by Garrison Architects and intended to be dispatched quickly after an emergency and assembled on-site.
Friday the 13th just got a whole lot scarier. Tomorrow, on the tail of The World Naked Bike Ride in Portland, Oregon (NSFW Link), a similar clothing-optional bicycle boosting event is coming to Brooklyn. Topically dubbed Vision Zero Clothing (in what must be an honest homage to New York Mayor Bill de Blasio’s Vision Zero plan, which proposes to stop people from getting run over by cars), the event is scheduled to get underway at 6:00 p.m. at Grand Ferry Park in Williamsburg (which, incidentally, is a favorite hangout of the Hasidic Jewish community).
A rendering has been released for a Morris Adjmi-designed apartment building in South Williamsburg, Brooklyn. Curbed reported that the 13-story building contains 82 rentals and 26,000-square-feet of landscaped space; the base of the building has about 30,000-square-feet for retail, and a nearly 7,000-square-foot community space. The under-construction structure is located just steps from the J,M,Z subway lines, and only a few block inland from the Domino Sugar Factory.
Brooklyn’s newest, tallest tower could rise on the site of one of the borough’s—nay the the city’s—most famous restaurants: Junior’s. TheNew York Times reported that bidding on the Downtown Brooklyn site, which houses some of the world’s best cheesecake and notably hosted President Barack Obama on a recent trip, begins this week. Crunching the numbers, the newspaper found that developers could assemble enough air rights to build a 1,000-foot-tall tower on the lot. This part of Brooklyn has seen a surge in new towers in recent years, but, as of now, the tallest building—388 Bridge—tops out under 600 feet.
A new, mid-rise, rental building on Pacific Street in Boerum Hill, Brooklyn looks like many of the new, mid-rise, rental buildings in the borough—at least from the front. The GF55-designed building’s brick and glass facade is fairly nondescript, but around the corner, on the building’s eastern flank, a new 45-foot-wide, 75-foot-tall mural could become one of the most iconic—certainly the most Instagrammed—pieces of public art in the neighborhood.
As Brooklyn Bridge Park opens two new piers, a planned green space five miles south continues to sit empty. Work began on Bush Terminals Piers Park in Sunset Park in 2009—just months after Brooklyn Bridge Park got started—but has been behind construction fencing ever since. The park was slated to start opening last fall, but that did not happen. And it’s still not clear when it will.
The opening of a new pier and beach at Michael Van Valkenburgh’s Brooklyn Bridge Park this week marks the halfway point in the transformation of the celebrated 85-acre site. Local elected officials and community leaders—including Deputy Mayor Alicia Glen and Parks Commissioner Mitchell Silver—appeared on the new Pier 2 to mark the occasion. They used words like “amazing” and “unbelievable” to describe the new six acres of space, but didn’t need much help selling the project.