Brooklyn’s Gowanus Canal is a Superfunded mess, filled with contaminants and often overflowing with sewage. But a new plan from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) says that with proper dredging to remove contaminants and a mere $500 million, the former industrial hub could potentially become the borough’s inland waterfront.
The EPA proposes targeting the canal cleanup in three phases to minimize disruption to the neighborhood. According to the NY Times Green blog, “For the first two, more heavily contaminated segments, the agency plans to dredge or ‘stabilize’ the sediment in some areas by mixing it with concrete or a similar material and then capping it with layers of clay, sand and gravel. The third segment would be dredged and capped with sand.” Additional improvements to the city’s sewer outflows at the canal could drastically improve sewage discharges by up to 74 percent. Two public meetings have been scheduled for late January to discuss the plans.
Boutique hotel pioneer Ian Schrager plans to expand his newest hotel concept, Public, to New York with a new 25-story hotel and residential tower on Manhattan’s Lower East Side. The Wall Street Journal reported today that Schrager and investors paid $50 million for the site at 215 Chrystie Street, once a garden for an adjacent low-income tower at 10 Stanton Street. The land was sold after tenants and the tower owner struck a deal to build a rooftop recreation area and extend affordability of the units. Schrager gained fame in the 1970s for operating the famous Studio 54 nightclub and has more recently developed the Gramercy Park Hotel and the Herzog & de Meuron-designed 40 Bond condo building, where he lives in the penthouse.
While waterfront development continues uninhibited in some parts of New York City, it looks like Hurricane Sandy has put the kibosh on Donald Trump’s plan for a large catering hall-restaurant complex at Jones Beach dubbed Trump on the Ocean, replacing a former Robert Moses-era restaurant once on the site. From the beginning, Trump faced opposition from the state over the design of the project and spent several years locked in legal battles. Many lawsuits later, Trump and New York State finally came to an agreement this summer.
But just when Trump got the green light to move the project forward, Sandy swept the east coast and flooded the construction site. Jones Beach State Park suffered serious damage from the storm and only some areas have been reopened. This past Wednesday, Trump and state parks Commissioner Rose Harvey announced that they will be abandoning the project altogether. The Parks Department hasn’t given up on the idea of building something at the former Boardwalk Restaurant site, but Commissioner Harvey said that “we have concluded that building a major new facility directly on the oceanfront, on the scale of the Trump project, is not prudent policy.”
New York Governor Cuomo might have just tipped the scale in the heated dispute over a 3.5-mile stretch of abandoned railroad track in Queens with his donation of nearly a half-million dollars to the Trust for Public Land to conduct a feasibility study for a High Line-style linear park called the QueensWay. Slated to begin in January and February of next year, the study could take up to eight months to complete. But some Queens residents are pushing to restore train service on the elevated viaduct, and in the wake of Hurricane Sandy, a faster and more efficient connection between the Rockaways and Midtown Manhattan is winning the support of some local advocates and politicians. As Crain’s mentioned in a recent story, it would be no easy feat to rebuild the Long Island Railroad’s Rockaway branch, and could likely cost up to half-billion dollars.
Last week, AN reported on Norman Foster’s newly-rendered plans to transform the landmark New York Public Library at Bryant Park. Foster’s $300 million plan will, most dramatically, gut the off-limits-to-the-public book stacks and replace them with a light-filled atrium and reading space. The NYPL has now released a video fly-through of the project, above. Enjoy!
Diagramming Schematic Intangibility
Robert Henry Contemporary
56 Bogart Street
Through January 6
Robert Strati’s work uses everyday materials to expose overlooked and unseen parts of our everyday lives. Employing ink-jet prints, wire sculptures, balloons, and packaging tape, Strati blends art with architectural theory, music, and science. His prints imitate scientific formulas, on top of astrological maps, on top of musical staffs, creating an interaction between formal shapes—points, lines, and planes—and metaphysical visualizations. Three-dimensional space is explored through wire sculptures and balloons that reveal invisible forces, like air and wind. The use of simple materials to reveal complex “dimensions of reality” was inspired by the works of Kasimir Malevich, Agnes Marin, Eva Hesse, Guglielmo Marconi, Leslie J. “Airplane” Payne, Gego, and Leonardo da Vinci’s notebooks.
Do radically small apartments automatically beget a transient population and all that entails? That’s the fear of residents in the Kips Bay neighborhood of Manhattan, the pilot site for a new building that will be 75 percent micro-units, or apartments that total about 300 square feet each. Community Board 6 finds it hard to imagine that anyone other than students or elves would be game, but City Planning Commissioner Amanda Burden is charmed by the diminutive plans, stating at a recent presentation, “I think you’ll all agree that the apartment behind me is some place that one and two [person] households would be delighted to live in.”
Yossi Milo Gallery
245 10th Avenue
Through January 19
Chris McCaw’s continuing work on Sunburned, a series of photographs that began in 2006, will be displayed in his solo exhibit Marking Time. By combining a large-format camera with a high-tech lens normally used for military surveillance and inserting expired gelatin silver photo paper, McCaw captures images of the sun, exposing the paper from anywhere between 15 minutes to 24 hours. The extended exposures intensify the sun’s rays on the photo paper burning holes on the photographs. Thus, McCaw is able to capture and track the earth’s orbit around the sun. His photographs are taken at various locations across the globe including the Galapagos, the Sierras, and the Arctic Circle, enabling him to capture different rotations of the sun due to solar eclipses or equinoxes. In his image Sunburned GSP #429 (North Slope Alaska, 24 hours) McCaw captures the trajectory of midnight sun during the Arctic Circle’s summer solstice. The sun’s path dips to the horizon line then rises, marking the beginning of a new day.
Manhattan Community Board 8 has approved the Cornell Tech Campus plans and launched it one step further in NYC’s public land use review process. The plan for the 12-acre site now moves forward exactly one year after Cornell University, in partnership with the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology, was selected by the City to develop the applied science and engineering campus.
Stuck with the post-Sandy realization that buried waterfront highways are unlikely to be buried for fear of flooding, designers are looking to spruce them up, instead. The emerging “funderpass” movement hit Brooklyn last week, and now Manhattan’s Upper West Side has its own proposal, the leafy “Vine Line.”
Architect Laurence Tamaccio has proposed hiding, or rather masking, an elevated section of the West Side Highway between 61st and 72nd streets with a green scheme of vines and waterfalls. Plans had been on the table to bury the highway once and for all after a collapse in the 1970s and the contentious process of rebuilding it, but after Hurricane Sandy, that option seems in doubt. So far, Tamaccio’s plan, which also offers a grey water filtering system and a café, has been greeted with support from the community board and many local residents.