On View> Robert Neffson’s Urban Landscapes

East
Friday, April 20, 2012
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Neffeson's painting of 57th Street with Skidmore Owings & Merrill's Number 9 building at left. (Courtesy Bernaducci Meisel)

Neffson's painting of 57th Street with Skidmore Owings & Merrill's Number 9 building at left. (Courtesy Bernaducci Meisel) (56x79 inches)

Until about the mid 20th century, there was a tradition for New York’s urban landscape painters to split time between New York and Paris. It was not uncommon for collectors to hang dual streetscapes side by side. It’s surprising then to see the digitally inflected work of Robert Neffson tweak the tradition for the 21st century. Neffson’s paintings of 57th Street and Notre Dame embrace a multimedia studio process for hyperrealistic results.

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Video> Ben & Jane Thompson Tour Seaport, circa 1981

East, Newsletter
Thursday, April 19, 2012
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The video shows the bad old days before the Thompson plan for the seaport was complete.

While combing the web for info on the early days of the South Street Seaport‘s Pier  17AN came across a Youtube video of Ben & Jane Thompson discussing plans for redeveloping the upland and the piers near Fulton Fish Market.  The short video, circa 1981, certainly puts the current debate on SHoP’s new design into historical focus, particularly when Ben Thompson speaks of retaining the now long gone market.

Watch the video after the jump

Big Bucks for Big Dredge.  A $250 million influx will make way for ever-larger cargo vessels. As we reported yesterday, New York’s Vision2020 plan is well on its way toward becoming a legal reality. Mayor Bloomberg has now backed up the plan with substantial infrastructure. Together with Port Authority Director Patrick Foye, the mayor today announced a $250 million economic development package to facilitate dredging the Harbor and dropping the water main that runs from Brooklyn to Staten Island to 100 feet underground. The deeper channels will accommodate the mega cargo ships that fit through the expanded Panama canal that will be completed in 2014. The next generation of boats are about double the size of todays ships.

 

South Street Seaport Preservationistas: Oh no! PoMo Don’t Go!

East, Newsletter
Wednesday, April 18, 2012
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Detail of the model presented by SHoP at yesterday's Landmarks hearing. (AN/Stoelker)

Detail of the Pier 17 model presented by SHoP at yesterday's Landmarks hearing. (AN/Stoelker)

The PoMo aficionados were out in force at yesterday’s Landmarks Preservation hearing for the new proposal for South Street Seaport’s Pier 17. It would seem that just as debate on the value of 1970s Brutalism shifts into high gear, the 1980s PoMo crowd is revving its engines. As preservationists and developers whacked it out, some larger questions about context and neighborhood integration arose.

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Charlie Rose: Mayors Roundtable.  Baltimore's Mayor Stephanie Rawlings Blake on Charlie Rose yesterday. Charlie Rose held a roundtable with four American mayors on last night’s program. Chicago’s Rahm Emanuel joined Louisville’s Greg Fischer, Baltimore’s Stephanie Rawlings-Blake, and Jacksonville’s Alvin Brown. From infrastructure, to education, to public private partnerships, the crew parsed the pressing issues. They even delved into the tricky tango that cities must dance with the federal and state governments.

 

Blanc’s Bronx Vertical Garden

East
Thursday, April 12, 2012
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Patrick Blanc's cube installation at the New York Botanical Garden.

Patrick Blanc's cube installation at the New York Botanical Garden. (AN/Stoelker)

As architects like Herzog & de Meuron and Jean Nouvel tap into the potential of vertical gardens, they’ll often seek the expertise of Patrick Blanc. For the past thirty years Blanc developed vertical gardens while researching adaptive strategies of plants at the National Center for Sceintific Research in France. His research of plant growth in nature’s more hostile environs, such as hanging off of stone cliffs or springing from rocks next to waterfalls, has yielded a uniquely urbanistic solution for gardening. For the next ten days there’s a small window of opportunity left to see the work of Blanc at its most luxurious. The botanist designed the New York Botanical Garden‘s annual Orchid Show which ends on April 22. As a bonus, this also happens to be the moment that the Gardens’ 250 acres are at the height of their springtime burst.

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NYU Takes a Shave; Locals Still Not Pleased

East, Newsletter
Wednesday, April 11, 2012
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The NYU expansion plan as seen from above will not change drastically. (Courtesy NYU)

The NYU expansion master plan as seen from above will not change drastically. (Courtesy NYU)

As was largely expected following comments from Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer‘s office leaked to the press last month, officials from NYU announced that the university has agreed to shave off 370,000 square feet from their 2,275,000 square foot expansion plan, The New York Times reported.

In a telephone interview with AN, Andrew Berman, of the Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation, said that even with those changes the project is still out of scale for the neighborhood. Berman added that he was disappointed that the Borough President (BP) didn’t hold public meetings for the ULURP, as was done for the Columbia University expansion in Morningside Heights. “If there was ever a ULURP to hold a public hearing for, it was this,” he said.

Continue reading after the jump.

Christie’s ARC Accounting Questioned.  New Jersey Governor Chris Cristie's tunnel numbers are being questioned (Courtesy crooksandliars.com). The accounting methods that New Jersey Governor Chris Christie used to put the kibosh on new cross Hudson train tunnel were called in to question in a report released today, the New York Times reports. Christie said that the project, called the Access to the Regions Core (ARC), could run up to $14 billion, but independent Congressional investigators found that it would cost no more than $10 billion. He also claimed that New Jersey would foot more than 70 percent of the bill, but investigators said it would have been more like 14 percent. It should be noted that a constant Christie critic, Senator Frank R. Lautenberg, commissioned the report. No matter, it seems to be no skin off the governor’s nose. NJ.com grabbed a quotable quote from the governor speaking in New York this morning at the George W. Bush Institute Conference on Taxes and Economic Growth: “So when they want to build a tunnel to the basement of a Macy’s and stick the New Jersey taxpayers with a bill of $3 to $5 billion over, no matter how much the administration yells and screams, you have to say no.”

 

Sadik-Khan Serves Up Some Mumford

East
Friday, April 6, 2012
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DOT Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan in City College's Shephard Hall after the lecture.

DOT Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan in City College's Shephard Hall after the lecture. (AN/Stoelker)

Last night was a night of tough decisions. ArchNewsNow threw its tenth anniversary party at the Center for Architecture and DOT Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan gave the Mumford Lecture at City College—on opposite ends of town at the same time. Impossible to do both, our Publisher Diana Darling partied down with ArchNewsNow and we headed for the Mumford Lecture, sending hearty congratulations to ArchNews editor Kristen Richards. Despite missing the party, the trip Uptown was well worth it…

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Tragedy and Trials for Number 7.  Scene of where the crane collapsed at the Number 7 train extension (AN/Stoelker).Scene of where the crane collapsed at the Number 7 train extension (AN/Stoelker). It was a tragic day for the Number 7 train extension project yesterday. A crane collapse killed one worker and injured four others on Manhattan’s far west side. According to The New York Times the accident occurred around 7:30PM killing Michael Simermeyer of New Jersey. The accident occurs less than one month after crane collapse at One World Trade sent steel beams tumbling forty stories. Regional transportation also suffered a significant blow. Earlier in the day MTA chairman Joseph Lhota said that the proposed extension to Secaucus was not going to happen. The Wall Street Journal reports that Lhota gave the bad news to a group of construction industry officials. “I know there’s an effort afoot to try to get the subway system to go to New Jersey. I told the mayor this, I told the deputy mayor this: I can’t see this happening in our lifetime,” he said.

 

Willets Point to Rise from Ashes

East, Newsletter
Tuesday, April 3, 2012
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The city's plans for Willets Point took a giant step forward with federal approval of highway ramps (Courtesy NYCEDC).

The city's plans for Willets Point took a giant step forward with federal approval of highway ramps (Courtesy NYCEDC).

In Fitzgerald’s Great Gatsby the billboard eyes of Doctor T. J. Eckleburg kept watch over the ash heaps near Willets Point. For the past four years Mayor Bloomberg has had his eyes steadfastly fixed on the site and it looks as though he may realize his vision of the area as a mixed use development. Today Crain’s reports that a key part of the redevelopment plan, ramps connecting to the Van Wyck Expressway, was approved by the Federal Highway Administration.

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Pictorial> Ennead Grows a Garage in the Bronx

East
Monday, April 2, 2012
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Ennead calls the forked columned facade a "vertical garden." (Courtesy Ennead)

Ennead calls the forked columned facade a "vertical garden." (Courtesy Ennead)

While it is more restrained than many of the  high designed garages currently popping up in Miami, the new garage at New York Botanical Gardens, designed by Ennead‘s Suzan Rodriguez with Desman Associates, marks a distinct departure for bland lots frequently found around New York. The garage opened to the public last Friday and promises to sport a vertical garden on all four sides once the plantings catch on to and climb up the Greenscreen wire trellis. The trellis wire rests between ‘V’ shaped vertical columns that derive inspiration from tree-limbs. But one can also detect a modernist influence, perhaps Pier Luigi Nervi‘s George Washington Bridge Bus Terminal? The effort goes a bit beyond the call of greening duty, as its not actually located in the the gardens. It sits on a former industrial site across the street and over the bridge of the MTA’s North Harlem local line.

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