[Editor’s Note: The following are reader-submitted responses to a pair of articles about the opening of an urban Whole Foods in Gowanus, Brooklyn, “Suburbs Meet City” (AN 03_03.05.2014), and the pending redevelopment of the Coignet Building on the site, “Set in Stone” (AN 03_03.05.2014). Opinions expressed in letters to the editor do not necessarily reflect the opinions or sentiments of the newspaper. AN welcomes reader letters, which could appear in our regional print editions. To share your opinion, please email firstname.lastname@example.org. ]
Thanks for the article (“Suburbs Meet City” AN 03_03.05.2014). About the note at the end referring to the project’s intent—is it possible that what could be a corporate marketing ploy on the front end positively contributes to a vibrant local culture? If consumers keep demanding this type of sensitive response from national corporations, I hope with time this business strategy evolves and matures from just local products and signs that say “Brooklyn” all the way to careful stewardship of a community, i.e. good use of the Coignet Building, etc. Thanks again.
Gresham Smith & Partners
Vision Zero is coming to Brooklyn and Queens‘ Atlantic Avenue. Nearly eight miles of the notoriously dangerous thoroughfare will be transformed into the first of 25 planned “arterial slow zones.” Last Wednesday—at the busy corner of Atlantic and Washington avenues—Department of Transportation Commissioner Polly Trottenberg announced that the city is taking immediate steps to save lives by reducing the street’s speed limit from 30MPH to 25.
New York City is more jam-packed than ever. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the city’s population is 8,405,837, which is up more than 230,000 from 2010. The Bureau reports, “the increase is fueled by people continuing to move to the city, a decline in the number of people leaving the city, as well as the continued surplus of births over deaths due to life expectancy in the city reaching new record highs.” Every borough experienced population growth, but none as significantly as—duh—Brooklyn.
The $1.5 billion redevelopment of Brooklyn’s Domino Sugar Factory has reached a potential breaking point just days before a vote to seal its fate. It’s New York Mayor Bill de Blasio against developer Jed Walentas in what can best be described as an old-fashioned standoff. The lines are drawn—here’s where things stand.
Brooklyn, New York
Through March 2, 2014
Traverse is an exhibition of new works by Melissa Murray and Erica Stoller at A.I.R Gallery in Brooklyn’s DUMBO neighborhood. Murray’s work focuses on pausing her daily life to examine personalized images that are swiftly tucked away in her subconscious. Stoller makes wall related sculptures that relate to the plane of the wall and garners meaning from the surrounding area.
New York City has been adjusting to its new Mayor Bill De Blasio, who took office at the beginning of the year. The new mayor has been slowly revealing his team of commissioners who will guide the city’s continued transformation. As AN has noted many times before, De Blasio’s predecessor Michael Bloomberg and his team already left a giant mark on New York’s built environment.
With little more than paint, planters, and a few well-placed boulders, Bloomberg and former Transportation Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan‘s street interventions have been some of the most evident changes around the city. Whether it’s at Brooklyn’s Grand Army Plaza, above, or at Snøhetta’s redesigned Times Square, these road diets shaved off excess space previously turned over to cars and returned it to the pedestrian realm in dramatic fashion as these before-and-after views demonstrate.
As we continue to learn more about our new Transportation Commissioner Polly Trottenberg, take a look back at 25 of the most exciting road diets and pedestrian plaza conversions across New York City from the Bloomberg era.
First proposed in 2011, Brooklyn’s Silent Light installation has finally become a reality. Located at the intersection of Park Avenue and Navy Street under the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway (BQE) in Red Hook, the series of gates frames a pedestrian walkway that passes through an area of heavy vehicular traffic. The structures are covered in LED lights activated by surrounding noise from cars to create fleeting light shows of various colors and patterns.
After several false-starts, plans to re-open the landmark building as a hotel appear to be underway. Jeffrey Holmes of Australian Architecture firm Woods Bagot is the latest figure attached to the project. Developers David Bistricer and Joseph Chetrit of the Chetrit Group purchased the Brooklyn property for $81 million from Watchtower Society in November 2012 but progress subsequently stalled.
Selldorf Architects and Gene Kaufman have both at times been tipped to lead the rennovation, but neither is currently affiliated with the project. While initial prospects looked grim, the city has recently approved plans to change the building’s certificate of occupancy, allowing for construction to begin with an eye towards a summer re-opening, a year later than expected.
Last Thursday, the first mods of the SHoP Architects’ prefabricated skyscraper—the B2 tower at Brooklyn’s megaproject, Atlantic Yards—were hoisted up and assembled into place. The 32-story residential tower, which will be half affordable housing, will rise within the Atlantic Yards development adjacent the Barclays Center. The modular components are being built locally in a 100,000 square foot facility in the Brooklyn Navy Yard. When construction is complete by end of 2014, it will be the world’s tallest pre-fabricated building.
Last week was a big week for development in the already condo-saturated area of north Brooklyn. Brownstoner reported that City Council gave the massive Greenpoint Landing proposal the green light to construct 10 towers along the East River waterfront. While the project already had the approval to build as of right, the developers made a few concessions including an agreement to build a public school, offer free shuttle service to transit nodes from the complex, bump up the number of affordable housing units, and allocate money towards Newton Barge Park.
In Williamsburg, the SHoP-designed Domino Sugar Refinery proposal (pictured) received Community Board One’s approval. Two Trees also had as of right to build its string of towers, but the developer is now seeking to increase the height of the buildings and add more green space. Board members requested a few tweaks to affordable housing options and retail.
For some, a portrait of Queen Elizabeth hearkens to days of “Long live the Queen!” but a recent design intervention could edit that phrase to “Long live Warhol!” Brooklyn-based Flavor Paper recently launched a collection of proprietary designs from the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts‘ store of works in PVC-free, water-based ink formats that can be customized for a variety of applications.