There are many reasons to love Summer Streets in New York—or open streets programs in most cities across the country—but one of the best is the opportunity to stand in the middle of Park Avenue, Fourth Avenue, or Lafayette Street gawking up at the city’s architecture without becoming roadkill. Walking Off the Big Apple presents a list of notable buildings along the route in easy to use Google map form. Summer Streets is back again tomorrow and the following Saturday from 7:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m., so look for Mies’ Seagram Building, Stanford White’s 23 Park, or, of course, Grand Central Terminal.
Also be on the lookout for this crazy bike-powered musical instrument called the Cyclo-Phone (above) by Marcelo Ertorteguy and Sara Valente. Curbed New York spotted the crazy contraption made of kiddie pools and PVC pipes at Astor Place.
Joseph Albers Painting on Paper
The Morgan Library & Museum
225 Madison Avenue
Through October 14
Josef Albers (1888–1976) was both a student and professor at the Bauhaus, one of the most influential art and design schools of the 20th century. Known for his precise use of line and unparalleled sense of color, Albers meticulously worked through his ideas in successive studies on paper. Josef Albers in America: Painting on Paper is an opportunity to see Albers’ process at work. The exhibition features approximately 60 studies spanning most of Albers’ career, from the 1930s through the 70s, many of which include hand written notations, including architectural inspirations. The studies, evidence of his mind and hand working toward final painting, are expressive and moving in their own right. The Morgan exhibition is the only US venue for the show, which will travel to several European cities.
Every day, an average 4,000 pedestrians and 3,100 cyclists cross the upper-level pathway of the Brooklyn Bridge. Commuters, tourists, and joggers vie for space on the congested path, whose width varies from 16 feet to as little as 8 feet—creating a bottleneck for two-way bike traffic. For years observers have recounted harrowing tales of near collisions on the overcrowded span, like the bike-phobic Post pitting reckless cyclists against merely oblivious tourists and the Times calling for the appropriation of a traffic lane for bike use. But now a proposal to double the width of the path could offer a solution to the overcrowding.
The Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) debacle in New Jersey over a unilateral decision to destroy a sculpture by landscape artist Athena Tacha has begun to slip into the public consciousness. The irony that the plaza piece, titled Green Acres, is to be destroyed by a department with environment in its name has not been lost on many.
Apparently, the DEP has a $1 million EPA grant burning a hole in its pocket and plans to replace the sculpture with eco-friendly pavers. The waste has not gone undetected. Philadelphia Inquirer critic Inga Saffron writes in today’s column: “There is nothing wrong with the DEP’s making its property more sustainable. But why start with the little plaza when its offices are surrounded by sprawling parking lots paved with the usual impervious asphalt?” Now it remains to be seen whether the agency will be impervious to its critics.
Take a minute to imagine what you would do if you had to cram your life into 270 square feet. In a typical ranch-style home, 270 could be a master bedroom, or a small living room, or a one-car garage. Now how about 220 square feet? It might make a shed or a bedroom. Now imagine this 15 by 18 foot or 15 by 15 foot space as your home.
Though it might sound more like another Ikea advertisement, two high-rent cities—New York and San Francisco—have been playing with the concept of permitting very small “micro-apartments” to alleviate high rents. By creating smaller housing, the idea goes, prospective renters will have a less expensive option and the city will be able to increase the density of residential units without increasing building size, always a contested point in neighborhood planning.
Urban rooftop farming is on the up-and-up in New York City and across the country. Putting his official stamp of approval on the movement, New York Mayor Bloomberg stopped by the city’s largest rooftop farm, the 43,000-square-foot Brooklyn Grange atop a building in the Brooklyn Navy Yard. With the growing season in full swing, the plants were towering nearly as high as the Manhattan skyline in the distance.
Saturdays in August, Manhattan is made for pedestrians and cyclists. The fifth season of Summer Streets, New York City’s spectacularly popular open streets program where a major thoroughfare is closed off to traffic and opened up to just about everything else, kicks off tomorrow, August 4 from 7:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. Lafayette Street and Park Avenue will play host to thousands of New Yorkers experiencing the city in a way normally only someone with a death wish might, and this year, the NYC Department of Transportation is stringing out new attractions along the nearly seven mile route.