Regional Plan Association’s Bob Yaro steps down as leader of New York planning group

Robert Yaro, left, and Tom Wright, right. (Courtesy Regional Plan Association)

Robert Yaro, left, and Tom Wright, right. (Courtesy Regional Plan Association)

The Regional Plan Association has announced that its president Bob Yaro is retiring and will be succeeded by its executive director Tom Wright. Yaro has been with the association for 25 years and served as its president since 2001. “I have been privileged over the last quarter century to guide RPA and help address some of the New York metropolitan region’s most pressing challenges,” Yaro said in a statement. “While I will miss working with the extraordinarily talented researchers and policy experts at RPA on a daily basis, I am thrilled to be leaving the organization in the hands of someone as accomplished and visionary as Tom Wright.” 

Slideshow> The Manhattan Tunnels of East Side Access

East Side Access underneath Manhattan.  (Courtesy Metropolitan Transportation Authority / Patrick Cashin)

East Side Access underneath Manhattan. (Courtesy Metropolitan Transportation Authority / Patrick Cashin)

The MTA has released a new batch of images of the under-construction tunnels for its “East Side Access” project. For the uninitiated, East Side Access is the agency’s $10.8 billion plan to connect the Long Island Railroad with Grand Central Terminal. The project was initially scheduled to be completed by 2009, but, like so many large infrastructure projects, the East Side Access has been delayed. The project is now scheduled to open in 2023. All told, the project is expected to be $6.5 billion over budget.

Many more construction photos after the jump.

Brooklyn Bridge Park unveils 14 tower designs amid community debate

Proposal from Alloy Design + Bjarke Ingels Group. (Courtesy Alloy Design + Bjarke Ingels Group)

Proposal from Alloy Design + Bjarke Ingels Group. (Courtesy Alloy Design + Bjarke Ingels Group)

All the top names in New York City architecture are vying for a piece of Brooklyn Bridge Park, but whether any of their designs will be realized still remains to be seen. As community groups try to block Mayor de Blasio’s controversial plans to bring affordable housing to Michael Van Valkenburgh‘s celebrated park, the Brooklyn Bridge Park Corporation has unveiled 14 design proposals for two coveted development sites on Pier 6. Those proposals were unveiled just hours before a Brooklyn Bridge Park Corporation meeting that was packed with community members voicing their strong opposition to any new development in the park.

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Improv Everywhere Turns Humid Subway Station into a Relaxing Spa

The 34th Street sauna. (Courtesy Improv Everywhere)

The 34th Street sauna. (Courtesy Improv Everywhere)

Between June and August, a New York City subway platform is a pretty awful place to find yourself. Over those summer months, the subway has all the smells, crowds, and delays you’re used  to with the unwelcome addition of a shockingly stubborn heat that couldn’t care less that you’re on your way to a job interview.

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Unveiled> Singaporean Architect Brings Wavy Design to the High Line

515 High Line. (Courtesy SCDA Architects)

515 High Line. (Courtesy SCDA Architects)

Singaporean architect Soo K. Chan of SCDA Architects is the latest to join an internationally renowned group of architects building along New York’s High Line in Chelsea. Chan isn’t settling for just one building, however. Two new buildings are set to rise just blocks from towers by Norman Foster and Zaha Hadid, and feature differing aesthetics that tap into the luxury market that has skyrocketed in the area.

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SOFTlab creates a flowery vortex for a New York City couture shoe shop

Melissa We Are Flowers (Courtesy SOFTlab)

Melissa We Are Flowers (Alan Tansey Photographer / Courtesy SOFTlab)

Forget about the Sharknado, New York–based designers at SOFTlab have created a vortex of flowers that has taken over one Manhattan shoe store, bringing SOFTlab’s signature parametric forms to the modern shoe brand, Melissa. The Soho store already grabbed design headlines when it opened its flagship location decked out in a custom-fabricated Corian interior by architecture firm Eight and Associated Fabrication. This latest design intervention is part of Melissa’s “We Are Flowers” campaign that used organic shapes and colors to inform its shoe line.

Continue reading after the jump.

Department of Buildings Approves Aby Rosen’s Plans for 67 Vestry

67 Vestry in Tribeca. (Courtesy CARLOS CHIOSSONE)

67 Vestry in Tribeca. (Courtesy CARLOS CHIOSSONE)

In yet another round of preservationist vs. developer, it appears developer has won again. This time, the fight took place at 67 Vestry Street in Tribeca—the site of an 11-story palazzo building that came to life as a warehouse for the Great Atlantic and Pacific Tea Company in 1897. 

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New York City and Investors Make Multi-Million Dollar Bet on Sunset Park in Brooklyn

The Brooklyn Army Terminal. (Flickr / Der_Krampus)

The Brooklyn Army Terminal. (Flickr / Der_Krampus)

With tens of millions of dollars, New York City hopes to jumpstart a transformation of Brooklyn’s Sunset Park neighborhood into a hub for artists and tech companies. As the Wall Street Journal reported, the city is spending $100 million to transform part of the Brooklyn Army Terminal—an old navy-supply hub—into space for light manufacturing. That investment is just one piece of the millions of dollars flowing into the neighborhood from real estate investors.

While the money will be significant, giving new life to Sunset Park’s industrial corridor will take more than artisanal pickles and startups. It will take great public space and significant improvements to the neighborhood’s streetscape. At this point, however, it’s not clear if that type of investment is in the cards.

Continue reading after the jump.

Port Authority asks store to stop selling merchandise with New York City skyline

The Twin Towers printed on Fishs Eddy's "212" collection. (Courtesy Fishs Eddy)

The Twin Towers printed on Fishs Eddy’s “212” collection. (Courtesy Fishs Eddy)

In what may or may not be performance art, the Port Authority of New York & New Jersey—an organization charged with overseeing the region’s bridges, tunnels, and airports—recently told Fishs Eddy—a small home goods store in Manhattan—that printing a pre-9/11 New York City skyline rendered in cartoon-like drawings on its merchandise was of “great concern.” Specifically, the authority would like the store to immediately stop selling all mugs, plates, bowls, and dish towels that depict any of its “assets” including the Twin Towers, One World Trade Center, and even the tunnels Holland and Lincoln.

Continue reading after the jump.

How New York’s “Poor Door” was allowed to exist in the first place

40 Riverside's facade. (Courtesy Extell)

40 Riverside’s facade. (Courtesy Extell)

In the past week, those two words—”poor door”—have quickly come to signify the vast inequality embedded in New York City’s housing market. At issue is a separate entrance for tenants living in subsidized rental units in a luxury condo building on the Upper West Side known as 40 Riverside. The property, developed by Extell, was financed through the city’s inclusionary housing program, which grants a tax abatement and additional bulk to developers who include a certain portion of “affordable” units in a project.

Continue reading after the jump.

New York’s Port Authority Bus Terminal to get $90 million band-aid

Port Authority terminal. (Flickr / rosebennet)

Port Authority terminal. (Flickr / rosebennet)

Nobody likes the Port Authority Bus Terminal in Midtown Manhattan. Nobody. And an infusion of $90 million probably won’t change that. According to the New York Times, the money, which was approved by the authority last week, will be used for fairly minor improvements including better cell phone service, improved restrooms, and more legible signs.

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With Some Cash From Related Companies, Citi Bike Could Expand Next Year

Citi Bike dock. (Flickr / shinya)

Citi Bike dock. (Flickr / shinya)

The latest piece in the ongoing saga of Citi Bike actually contains some good news. The Wall Street Journal first reported that Related Companies, through its affiliate, REQX Ventures, is close to finishing a deal that would inject millions of dollars into the struggling, but popular, bike share system.

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