Everybody Wants a Bailout

East, East Coast
Monday, July 6, 2009
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Money pits.

Money pits: World Trade Center and Atlantic Yards.

With the news today, reported by The Observer, that Larry Silverstein has begun legal proceedings against the Port Authority to end the gridlock at Ground Zero, as well as the developments two weeks prior at Atlantic Yards, it seems obvious to us what’s going on here. Having witnessed the financial titans across town receive hundreds of billions of dollars in bailout money, these developers now want theirs. Granted, so did Larry Flint and the porn industry, but the comparison bears consideration. Read More

Prospecting for Landmarks

East, East Coast
Thursday, July 2, 2009
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Last week, Prospect Height’s became the city’s newest landmark district. At 850-odd buildings, it is the largest district to be created since the Upper West Side Historic District was created in 1990. Clearly, a lot of work went into the three-year effort championed by locals and the Municipal Art Society and driven largely by the nearby Atlantic Yards project and the undue development it spurred on one of Brooklyn’s last unprotected brownstone neighborhoods. To highlight just how hard it is, but also what a triumph, MAS put together this thoughtful little video. Hopefully it will inspire you to do something civic minded as well on this patriotic weekend or beyond.

Eminent Decision at Coney?

East, East Coast
Thursday, July 2, 2009
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How much longer will Coney Island lay in ruin? (TheMikeD/Flickr)

How much longer will Coney Island lay in ruin? (TheMikeD/Flickr)

When the City Planning Commission barely altered the city’s plans–plans that remain diametrically opposed to those of chief landholder Joe Sitt–we couldn’t help but wonder whether the Bloomberg administration would some how grossly undermine its plan, or let it fall on the sword at the City Council, at least part of which is firmly under the sway of Sitt. Thus far, the Bloomberg administration has yet to allow a single one of its nearly 100 rezoning fail at the council, often crafting 11th hour deals. Would, could things be different this time? Read More

The Bigger Apple?

East
Thursday, July 2, 2009
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(sabatoa/flickr)

(sabatoa/flickr)

Lately, it seems like there have been a lot of going away parties for friends leaving New York to escape the high cost of living or to find jobs elsewhere. But maybe that’s just me. Yesterday, the Census Bureau released figures from 2007-2008 showing a surge in new residents in New York, as well as in other cities. Read More

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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

The Porch That Swings

East
Friday, June 26, 2009
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The Southwest Porch at Bryant Park, a summer-long lounge sponsored by Southwest Airlines, officially opens next week and will offer small dishes and cocktails provided by Tom Colicchio’s ‘wichcraft. Designed by Nancy Thiel, principal of Thiel Architecture + Design, the Porch includes adirondack chairs, porch swings, and enclosed sings that resemble birdhouses, under a pergola. Read More

Sesame Street or P.S. 1?

East
Friday, June 26, 2009
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Could this years Young Architects pavillion give the children of Queens nightmares? (Courtesy MOS)

Could this year's Young Architect's pavillion give the children of Queen's nightmares? (Courtesy MOS)

MOS just posted a picture of its nearly completed pavilion at P.S. 1. We’d say more, but Archinect really put it best: “Somebody Skinned Snuffleupagus.” The pavilion, winner of the 10th annual Young Architects Program competition, opens this Sunday.

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