Cooper-Hewitt Director-in-Waiting

East, East Coast
Thursday, July 2, 2009
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Smithsonian Sec Wayne Clough, Design Award winner Scott Stowell, Cooper Hewitt trustee John Maeda, then deputy director Caroline Baumann, design award winner Charles Harrison, and chairman of the board Paul Herzan at Octobers gala for the Natinal design Awards.

Smithsonian Sec Wayne Clough, Design Award winner Scott Stowell, Cooper-Hewitt trustee John Maeda, then deputy director Caroline Baumann, design award winner Charles Harrison, and chairman of the board Paul Herzan at October's gala for the Natinal Design Awards.

Last November, Paul Thompson announced he was giving up directing the Cooper-Hewitt and heading back to London to take over at the Royal College of Art. Ever since then, the speculative interest has been anything but wild, and frankly tepid, about who was going to lead the nation’s only and reputedly arduously bureaucratic National Design Museum, the only New York museum in the Smithsonian’s crown. MoMA’s Paola Antonelli? Cincinnati’s Aaron Betsky? Design’s Everywoman Chee Pearlman? Why not, Mark Robbins? Those who have been watching were expecting an answer, after hearing for months about the interviews. Well, we can now wait some more as the museum has just announced that longtime deputy director Caroline Baumann, who joined the museum as development director in 2001, has been named acting director, effective July 13.

Washington Lights

East, East Coast
Wednesday, July 1, 2009
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The Port Authority has swapped the bridges mercury vapor lamps for more energy-efficient LED fixtures (Courtesy sharpshoota.com)

The Port Authority has swapped the bridge's mercury vapor lamps for more energy-efficient LED fixtures (Courtesy sharpshoota.com)

The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey has completed the installation of LED fixtures on the necklace of the George Washington Bridge. The 156 light emitting diode fixtures replace the span’s mercury vapor lamps and are expected to save $49,000 in energy and maintenance costs annually. The LED fixtures have 80,000-hour, or 15-year, life spans, while the mercury lamps only lasted one year on average. The Port Authority also expects the new energy-efficient fixtures to reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 220,000 pounds per year. The capital project was approved by the authority’s board of commissioners in 2007 as part of an initiative to reduce green house gas emissions at Port Authority facilities.

Stuytown Gets Reatard-ed

East, East Coast
Wednesday, July 1, 2009
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Jay Reatard comes to, of all places, Stuytown. (Courtesy Brooklyn Vegan)

Jay Reatard comes to, of all places, Stuytown. (Courtesy Brooklyn Vegan)

Among the amenities–Oval Lounge, Oval Kids, lots and lots of trees–Tishman Speyer has rolled out at Stuytown to justify the ever-higher rents is a new summer concert series. And performing tonight is none other than… Jay Reatard? Kaki King and Budos Band we kinda get, though really, wouldn’t the Klezmonauts have made more sense? Or perhaps that is the genius behind bringing in this would-be-Ozzy Memphis garage punk Jay Reatard (the name alone says it all). This is a man, after all, who punched a fan for being too rowdy at a Toronto show, who regularly poses for pictures drenched in blood. What better way to drive out what’s left of Stuytown’s intractable, crotchety, and old (i.e. rent-controlled) residents than to have hundreds if not thousands of sweaty hipsters descend on your quaint little park and cause mayhem. Video evidence after the jump. Read More

The Emerald Coast of Queens

East, East Coast
Tuesday, June 30, 2009
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A view of the new section of Gantry Plaza State Park in Queens. (Images courtesy ESDC)

A view of the new section of Gantry Plaza State Park in Queens. (Images courtesy ESDC)

On Thursday, we wrote about a new park that had been unveiled as part of the city’s plans for Hunter’s Point South. Not to be outdone, Gantry Plaza State Park, Queens West’s original greenway, is expanding, with a new 6-acre stretch opening tomorrow. Designed by Abel Bainnson Butz, the new section of park brings Gantry Plaza to 10 acres of waterfront open space. With Macy’s fireworks moving north up the Hudson this year, those new lounge chairs and hammocks could be a perfect place to watch. Check ‘em out after the jump. Read More

See Bruce in Court!

East, East Coast
Tuesday, June 30, 2009
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We barely knew yee, Ellerbe arena. (Courtesy ESDC)

We barely knew yee, Ellerbe arena. (Courtesy ESDC)

We recently wrote above how opponent’s best hope of stopping Bruce Ratner’s Atlantic Yards Project was not the departure of Frank Gehry but lawsuits. There was a good possibility the “sweetheart” deals the state had crafted to make Ratner’s project easier to move forward could have triggered further litigation, but it seems it may not even come to that, as the Court of Appeals, the state’s highest court, has decided to hear Develop Don’t Destroy Brooklyn’s challenge to the state’s use of eminent domain. With oral arguments not due until October, the outcome of the suit may not even matter, as it will likely further delay a scheduled fall groundbreaking on the new arena and could make it even harder for Ratner to secure tax-exempt financing before year’s end. Read More

Taking Back the Streets x2

East, East Coast
Monday, June 29, 2009
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Before closing Broadway got her branded a car-hating communist, DOT commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan was already well on her way to transforming the city’s streets. One of the most memorable events–and a sign of things to come–was last year’s Summer Streets program, which, for three Saturdays last August, closed off a large swath of Manhattan from the Brooklyn Bridge to 72nd Street, with most of the course running up Park Avenue. (There was also a less publicized closure of Bedford Avenue in Williamsburg.) Never one to stand (or bike) still, Sadik-Khan and the mayor announced today the expansion of the program throughout the summer and across all five boroughs this year. Details after the jump, but first two quick thoughts: Brooklyn, with seven sites, is the obvious winner; and why no Park Avenue this year? Read More

White Love Lair in Foreclosure

East Coast, Other
Thursday, June 25, 2009
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You naughty, naughty architect. (Courtesy The Real Deal)

You naughty, naughty architect. (Courtesy The Real Deal)

Sure, there are lots of foreclosures sweeping the city, sadly to say, but none is quite like 22 West 24th Street. Beyond the property’s current $82,987 in back taxes, an ownership fight between an infirm mother and her mentally challenged son, a 2003 fire and 2007 collapse, the property is also the location of renowned architect Stanford White‘s dalliances with a married 16-year-old girl over 100 years ago, according to an article in The Real Deal today. Read More

Up on the Roof

East Coast, Other
Wednesday, June 24, 2009
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The party is definitely pool (noodle) side. (Photos by Matt Chaban, except where noted)

The party is definitely pool (noodle) side. (Photos by Matt Chaban, except where noted)

Last night was the opening party for No Soul For Sale a (very) temporary show (it closes Saturday night) at the old Dia space on West 22nd Street organized by X Initiative. The crowning achievement–literally–is a lounge designed by LA-based architect Jeffery Inaba and his eponymous firm. An amusing if uncertain follow-up to Dan Graham’s former installation, the new piece, entitled Pool Noodle Roof, is meant to provide both comfort and unease. Read More

Going Up

East Coast, Other
Monday, June 15, 2009
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During our interview with André, the renowned hotelier talked about how he likes to give each of his hotels its own personality, a reflection of himself. Well, as the hotel continues its soft opening, it has gotten another personal touch, namely the above video by Marco Brambilla installed in the elevators. If you can’t already tell, it’s a trip from hell to heaven in concert with the elevator’s ascent up the Standard New York’s 20 stories. Which begs the question: If you’re staying on the lower floors, are you trapped in purgatory?

Welcome to Biodome

East Coast, Other
Friday, June 5, 2009
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Reef, an installation by Rob Ley and Joshua Stein, just opened at the Storefront for Art and Architecture. (All photos by Kevin Greenberg)

Reef, an installation by Rob Ley and Joshua Stein, just opened at the Storefront for Art and Architecture. (All photos by Kevin Greenberg)

Architect and man about town Kevin Greenberg sends along this dispatch from Kenmare Street.

Reef, a new kinetic installation at the Storefront for Art and Architecture, exists at the intersection of “the super-exclusive and the trite,” according to its creators, Rob Ley and Joshua Stein. Composed primarily of densely-packed rows of lightweight fins anchored by Shape Memory Alloys (SMAs) across a metal armature, Reef simulates the unmistakable movement of muscle on bone, eschewing the jerky mechanical inelegance of a previous age in favor of bio-mimesis and the “semi-conscious willfulness” of a school of startled guppies or a field of flowers in thrall to the sun. Read More

You Windermere Some, You Lose Some

East Coast, Other
Tuesday, May 26, 2009
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The Windermere has seen better days, but will hopefully see them once again soon. (Courtesy LPC)

The Windermere has seen better days, but will hopefully see them once again soon. (Courtesy LPC)

The Observer is reporting that Windermere, an individual landmark dating from the late 19th Century located on West 57th Street, was recently purchased for $13 million, or an astounding $181-per-square-foot. The sumptuous red brick apartment building had fallen into disrepair some years ago after its Japanese owner apparently lost interest in it, leading to a lawsuit we covered last year. Read More

A Standard Affair (VIDEO)

East Coast, Other
Tuesday, May 19, 2009
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André explains the world to Julie and the crowd. (All photos Matt Chaban)

André explains the world to Julie and the crowd. (All photos Matt Chaban)

Last Thursday, AN hosted the kick-off event for Meatpacking District Design ’09, a conversation between executive editor Julie V. Iovine and hotelier André Balazs at his latest creation, the Polshek Partnership-designed Standard, New York (which Julie wrote about back in February). If you couldn’t make it, though, no sweat. For your vicarious pleasure, we’ve posted a highlight video, plus the full talk, both in video and audio formats–here at AN we’re platform agnostic–plus a slew of photos of the party, the swanky new digs, and the now-in-bloom High Line. Read More

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