Big Plans Rolled Out for MassDOT Transportation Improvements

East
Wednesday, January 16, 2013
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Boston MBTA, "the T" (Courtesy of Ccarlstead/Flickr)

Boston MBTA, “the T” (Courtesy of Ccarlstead/Flickr)

Massachusetts Department of Transportation Secretary Richard Davey announced plans for expanding and maintaining the state’s transportation system on Monday. The improvements outlined in the proposal would require an estimated $1.02 billion a year reported Masslive.com, and include everything from adding new tracks at South Station and implementing a commuter rail to South Coast, to major road repairs in Western Massachusetts and a pedestrian and bike program.

One critical component remains rather vague, however—how the state intends on funding this costly agenda. MassDOT suggests a number revenue sources in its proposal such as a green fee (a fee assessed by the amount of carbon emissions released), an increase in tolls and fares, and an income tax that would increase the tax rate from 5.25 percent to approximately 5.66 percent. Governor Deval Patrick is expected to address the transportation plan in his State of the Commonwealth speech tonight, and the Boston Globe reports that he will likely come out in support of a raise in income tax.

Kickstarting Greenpoint: Crowd-Funding Site Begins Office Renovation in Brooklyn

East
Monday, January 14, 2013
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A rendering of Kickstarter's new Brooklyn Headquarters (Courtesy of Ole Sondresen Architect)

A rendering of Kickstarter’s new Brooklyn headquarters (Courtesy of Ole Sondresen Architect)

Brooklyn has increasingly become home to a number of internet start-ups, and now the crowd-funding site, Kickstarter, is the most recent one to put  roots down in the borough. Greenpointers reported today that Kickstarter has already started construction on its new 29,000-sq-ft headquarters at the former Eberhard Faber Pencil Co. Factory in Greenpoint.

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Guests Could Soon Check in at Brooklyn’s Hotel Bossert

East
Monday, January 14, 2013
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Hotel Bossert (Courtesy of Paul Kieper/Flickr)

Hotel Bossert (Courtesy of Paul Kieper/Flickr)

The Italian Renaissance Revival-style Hotel Bossert, once one of the swankiest hotels in Brooklyn, will soon be welcoming guests once again. Two developers, David Bistricer and Joseph Chetrit of the Chetrit Group, bought the property from the Watchtower Society this past November for $81 million, and now have the go-ahead to turn the property back into a hotel. On Friday, the Board of Standards and Appeal granted the developers a variance to change the certificate of occupancy. According to Brownstoner, Gwathmey Siegel Kaufman + Associates Architects is the architect of record. But, we just heard that Selldorf Architects will lead the renovation of this 1909 building designed by Palmer & Hornbostel, which will involve preserving the facade, lobby, and reception area, updating the rooms with new design finishes and amenities, and reviving the Marine Roof back to a restaurant and lounge. If all goes well, the hotel will be up and running by this summer.

New York City Breaks Ground on High Bridge Restoration

East
Friday, January 11, 2013
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(Courtesy New Yorkers for Parks)

(Courtesy New Yorkers for Parks)

Officials broke ground today on the long anticipated restoration of New York’s High Bridge connecting the Bronx with Manhattan. Built in 1848 and today the city’s oldest bridge, the 1,200-foot-long span had long been a popular strolling bridge, even making an appearance in Edith Wharton’s 1913 novel Custom of the Country. The landmarked bridge was closed to the public in the 1970s, but after construction wraps up on the $61 million rehabilitation, strolling New Yorkers and bicyclists can once again cross high above the Harlem River—116 feet—and connect with the city’s growing waterfront Greenway. (See also: Photos of High Bridge before renovation.)

Improvements include pedestrian safety measures like accessibility ramps, viewing platforms, and new lighting. An eight-foot-tall cable mesh fence to prevent jumpers and throwing trash will also line each side, a point that drew criticism from some in the community who believe it’s unnecessary and will spoil views. In a statement released at the groundbreaking ceremony, Mayor Michael Bloomberg called High Bridge “one of our city’s great treasures.” He continued, “It will bring people here from all over the five boroughs, and even all over the world, to see some of the most spectacular views in the city.”

A Battle Lost for Neutra’s Gettsyburg Cyclorama Building

East
Friday, January 11, 2013
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Photograph of Richard Neutra's Gettysburg cyclorama building. (Lawrence S. Williams Photography/Courtesy Docomomo)

Photograph of Richard Neutra’s Gettysburg cyclorama building. (Lawrence S. Williams Photography/Courtesy Docomomo)

After years of litigation, preservationists have lost the battle to save Richard Neutra’s Gettysburg cyclorama building, an iconic example of modern architecture from the 1960s. The bulldozers could raze this circular visitor center as early as February, the Philadelphia Inquirer reported. The National Park Service commissioned the glass and concrete building as part of its Mission 66 initiative—a billion-dollar program to update park services across the country—at the Gettysburg Battlefield site.  The rotunda was designed specifically to house the 1883 panoramic painting of the Battle of Gettysburg by Paul Philippoteaux.

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Aurora Borealis-Inspired Lighting Display to Fill the World Financial Center Winter Garden

East
Friday, January 11, 2013
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Rendering of LightCycles at the World Financial Center. (Courtesy Brookfield Properties)

Rendering of Light Cycles at the World Financial Center. (Courtesy Brookfield Properties)

Beginning on January 22, Pelli Clarke Pelli’s glass Winter Garden at Manhattan’s World Financial Center will be twinkling with strands of LED lights. Lighting artist and theater designer Anne Militello designed the Light Cycles installation, inspired by the jewel-tone color of lights found in nature such as the Aurora Borealis. LED lights will be attached to strings of mirrored discs hanging from the ten-story barrel-vaulted ceiling. The lights will feature “shifting movements and patterns” programmed by the artist. According to the World Financial Center, “Like charms on a bracelet, the jeweled discs entrance through a softly evolving manipulation of color and texture.” The installation runs through March 30, 2013.

Photo of the Day: Central Park Aerial Panorama

East
Friday, January 11, 2013
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(Courtesy AirPano)

(Courtesy AirPano)

We’ve all become accustomed to seeing aerial photography from apps like Google Maps, but this aerial panorama by Russian photographer Sergey Semonov presents Manhattan’s Central Park and its surrounding cityscape with fascinating new detail. The Atlantic found the image, submitted as part of the Epson International Photographic Pano Awards. Created in collaboration with aerial-panorama-makers AirPano, the team photographed the park from a helicopter and later stitched the various images together creating the unique, albeit slightly distorted, view of the city.

Friday> AN Talks with Snøhetta’s Craig Dykers at the Center for Architecture

East
Thursday, January 10, 2013
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Craig Dykers.

Craig Dykers.

Join AN this Friday, January 11 at the Center for Architecture for the next Cocktails & Conversations discussion between AN‘s Editor-in-Chief William Menking and Snøhetta principal Craig Dykers. The program pairs a leading architect with a critic, journalist, or curator for an evening of conversation. Bartender Toby Cecchini will be preparing special cocktails inspired by the unique architecture of Snøhetta. We’re guessing it might be called the Fjord with a shot of Blue Curacao and big, craggy mountains of ice.

As Congestion Builds Downtown, Brooklyn Seeks Infrastructure Solutions

East
Thursday, January 10, 2013
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A map with recommendations from The Gateway Vision (Courtesy of Tri-State Transportation Campaign)

A map with recommendations from The Gateway Vision (Courtesy of Tri-State Transportation Campaign)

Downtown Brooklyn is growing at a fast pace, but it looks like transit is having trouble keeping up with the spike in population and increased congestion that has resulted from the Barclays Center and the onset of new commercial and residential developments.

The Tri-State Transportation Campaign, along with the help of Councilwoman Letitia James and local civic groups, have put together a report called “Brooklyn Gateway Transportation Vision,” which outlines a variety of transit problems and potential solutions, including: enhanced bus service, residential parking permits, congestion pricing, improved safety and access for pedestrians, and more cycling amenities such as a bike share program and parking.

Plug Pulled on Brooklyn Bridge Park Velodrome

East
Thursday, January 10, 2013
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Site of the Brooklyn Bridge Park Fieldhouse. (Courtesy Brooklyn Bridge Park Corporation)

Site of the Brooklyn Bridge Park Fieldhouse. (Courtesy Brooklyn Bridge Park Corporation)

An ambitious plan to build a $50 million velodrome in Brooklyn Bridge Park has been scrapped due to budget problems. Philanthropist Joshua Rechnitz had committed funds for the project to be built inside the footprint of an old one-story industrial building sitting within the park boundaries but, despite scaling the project back, site requirements like an aesthetic roof and the risk of flooding at its waterfront site made the proposed building too expensive.

Continue reading after the jump.

Situ Studio Salvages Hurricane Sandy Debris for Valentine’s Day Installation in Times Square

East, Newsletter
Thursday, January 10, 2013
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Rendering of Heartwalk in Times Square. (Courtesy Situ Studio)

Rendering of Heartwalk in Times Square. (Courtesy Situ Studio)

The fifth annual Times Square Valentine Heart Design has been awarded to Situ Studio. The Brooklyn-based architecture firm presented a design that features “boardwalk boards salvaged during Sandy’s aftermath—from Long Beach, New York; Sea Girt, New Jersey; and Atlantic City, New Jersey. ”

The project titled Heartwalk is described “as two ribbons of wooden planks that fluidly lift from the ground to form a heart shaped enclosure in the middle of Duffy Square.” The competition was cosponsored by Times Square Arts, the public art program of the Times Square Alliance, collaborated with Design Trust for Public Space. The installation opens on Tuesday, February 12, and remain on view until March 8, 2013.

Another view after the jump.

A Win for NYC Tenants: A New Bill Holds Landlords Accountable

East
Thursday, January 10, 2013
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Workers repair a water leak. (Courtesy Enokson/Flickr)

Workers repair a water leak. (Courtesy Enokson/Flickr)

It will now be increasingly difficult and costly for New York landlords to flip properties by making quick fixes to buildings that require major structural repairs and improvements. The New York City Council passed a bill yesterday that will allow the Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD) to clamp down on landlords who don’t “repair underlying conditions that lead to repeat violations” stated the City Council in a press release.

These violations could include leaks or damaged roofs that lead to mold, which could have a deleterious effect on a tenants “quality of life, health, and safety.” The new legislation will give the owner a four-month period to take the proper measures to fix the problem and provide proof of their compliance. Landlords could face penalties of $1,000 per unit or a minimum of $5,000 if they fail to comply with the order by deadline.

Continue reading after the jump.

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