Ride, Baby, Ride: Senator Chuck Schumer Caught Pedaling in Contested Bike Lane

East, Newsletter
Monday, March 19, 2012
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Senator Chuck Schumer rides on Prospect Park West. (Paul Steely White)

Senator Chuck Schumer rides on Prospect Park West. (Paul Steely White)

A shocking cellphone pic of New York’s senior Senator has transportation circles abuzz across the Internet today. While not so much a scandal as a beautiful bike ride in the park, Senator Chuck Schumer was photographed pedaling down a contested bike path in Brooklyn on Sunday by Paul Steely White, director of Transportation Alternatives.

Given his close ties to a group fighting the bike lane—his wife and former NYC DOT commissioner Iris Weinshall was among the most outspoken opponents to the path—a hypothetical snapshot of the senator biking had previously been called the Holy Grail of livable streets activism and been the punch line of April Fool’s jokes, but Schumer, who had never taken a public stance on the protected lane, sure appears to be enjoying himself in New York’s unseasonably warm weather.

Continue reading after the jump.

Video> Jane’s Carousel: Your Thoughts?

East
Wednesday, October 5, 2011
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It’s been a couple of week’s since Jane’s Carousel opened to the public on the Brooklyn Waterfront, allowing us time to reflect on the rainy opening day and see just how the new attraction is being received. It’s seems Jean Nouvel’s pavilion is a study in contrasts, particularly on cold gloom of the opening ceremony when we first stopped by. We made a short impressionistic collage of our observations including the carnivalesque merriment going on inside the pavilion set against the sober geometry outside. (You might also spot Nouvel himself taking a ride or an overly-excited Marty Markowitz astride one of the wooden horses.)

Granted the acrylic-paneled doors of Nouvel’s pavilion can be thrown open to the surrounding park, but the celebratory atmosphere seems contained, anchored even. Viewed from across the park, the riverside building takes on the feel of a ferry terminal. Inside, however, the playful carousel offers distorted views through the giant door panels that give downtown Manhattan and the Brooklyn Bridge a fun-house-mirror effect.

Have you been to the carousel yet? What are your thoughts of Nouvel’s contrasting design?

Pictorial> Loew’s King Theater in Brooklyn, Before

East, Newsletter
Thursday, August 11, 2011
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An old curtain falls within the proscenium. (AN/Stoelker)

There’s an old expression that perfectly describes the current condition of the Loew’s King movie palace on Flatbush Avenue: “regal rot.” There’s beauty in the decay, yet no one wants to see the the rot take the upper hand. At the moment the dank smell foretells the considerable work that lies ahead for the Houston-based ACE Theatrical Group, the developer selected by NYCEDC and Borough President Marty Markowitz to restore and operate the 1929 building.

Check out the gallery (and a video) after the jump.

On View> Made in China With A Human Touch

East
Friday, July 15, 2011
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Courtesy 0.00156 Acres/Lorena Turner

Lorena Turner: Made in China
0.00156 Acres
114 Smith Street
Brooklyn, NY
Through July 31

Product packaging started primarily for hygienic reasons. General stores used to stock sugar, crackers, and pickles in huge barrels, and for every order the grocer would dip in his scoop. Not only was it unsanitary, but customers also might leave wondering if they got what they paid for (“Was his finger on the scale…?”). Food packaging guaranteed sterile products and standardized portions—in a word, purity.

Continue reading after the jump.

Video> The Guggenheim′s Mute Button Dials Down the Urban Din

East, Newsletter
Wednesday, June 1, 2011
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The Guggenheim teams up with Improv Everywhere in Prospect Park. (Video still)

The Guggenheim teams up with Improv Everywhere in Prospect Park. (Video still)

The Guggenheim has been blurring the boundaries of what makes a traditional museum lately, and among their latest forays into the streets of New York is stillspotting nyc, a series investigating urban life (a previous program, Sanitorium, explored what keeps city dwellers sane as they rush about their hectic lives). Now, The Mute Button, a collaboration between the Guggenheim and Improv Everywhere, continues this trend by staging 23 under-cover actors and two dogs at the entrance to Prospect Park at Grand Army Plaza. The troup is a noisy bunch, until–presto!–the din of the city turns silent. A camera was on hand to catch the reactions of befuddled passers by. (Via Gothamist.)

Watch the video after the jump.

Guggenheim′s Newest Exhibit to Offer Therapy

East, Newsletter
Tuesday, May 17, 2011
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Pedro Reyes's rendering of the Sanatorium

The stereotypes of New Yorkers are that they’re rude, they only wear black, and they all have therapists. Sanitorium, the first installation of Guggenheim’s new program, stillspotting nyc, explores the smorgasborg of therapies that help the city’s neurotic residents keep their lives together.

Continue reading after the jump.

Quick Clicks> Pruitt Igoe Today, Ciclovia Strategies, Brooklyn Drama, and Legos!

Daily Clicks
Monday, April 11, 2011
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Former Dickson Street at Pruitt Igoe (Courtesy Preservation Research Office)

Overgrown Dickson Street at former site of Pruitt Igoe (Courtesy Preservation Research Office)

Pruitt Overgrown. Thirty three acres in the middle of St. Louis are now densely overgrown with forest, but the site was once home to the infamous Pruitt Igoe homes. Preservation Research Office led a tour of the site last week and took some great photos on the way to a screening of the Pruitt-Igoe Myth documentary.

Ciclovia Transformations. While LA shut down city streets over the weekend for its first CicLAvia of 2011, Project for Public Spaces imagines how such car-free events can invite new thinking about the use of public space in cities across the world.

Tobacco Troubles. On Friday, the latest round of drama surrounding Brooklyn’s Tobacco Warehouse played out, and it wasn’t the latest performance by the indie theater troupe of St. Ann’s Warehouse, who plans to renovate the abandoned building. A judge has issued an injunction against developing the property on grounds that a public hearing wasn’t conducted. Brownstoner and the Brooklyn Paper have the latest.

Lego Love. The Overhead Wire spotted a lego train with an actual operating sliding door. OW says it best: “I like legos, I like trains, and I like them together.” In other Lego news, Curbed found the world’s tallest Lego tower in Sao Paulo, Brazil standing 102 feet high, and Unbeige reports that Mies’ Farnsworth House is the newest architectural icon to become a Lego set.

Celebrating Coney Island′s Most Curious

East, East Coast
Wednesday, April 6, 2011
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(Courtesy Vivienne Gucwa/Flickr)

(Courtesy Vivienne Gucwa/Flickr)

The Congress of Curious Peoples has touched down in Brooklyn. Part symposium, part festival, and part freak show, the event celebrates Coney Island’s rich history as a vacation and amusement destination. Starting on April 8th, the 10 days of freaky fun begins with Coney Island USA’s annual Sideshow Hall of Fame Inductions and ends on the 17th with Alumni Weekend, where you can catch legendary sideshow performers from the Coney Island Circus Sideshow as well as a scholarly conference on the past, present, and future of this unique and historic part of NYC.

Check out a gallery after the jump.

Gowanus On My Mind

East
Friday, March 11, 2011
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A view of the Gowanus Canal (all images courtesy of Gowanus By Design)

 

The Gowanus Canal has been in the news a lot lately, with its superfund designation and sunken schooner. The canal and surrounding neighborhood have long fascinated architects and urbanists, and has been the subject of numerous architecture school design studios. A new ideas competition looks to develop that fascination into a series of proposals for the site, which would improve connectivity across and around the polluted waterway and take better advantage of the area’s unique history, character, and economic potential.

Read More

Prospect Park West Bike Lane Target of Lawsuit

East, East Coast
Thursday, March 10, 2011
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Dedicated bike lane along Brooklyn's Prospect Park West (Courtesy Steven Vance)

Dedicated bike lane along Brooklyn's Prospect Park West (Courtesy Steven Vance)

That thin ribbon of green paint along Brooklyn’s Prospect Park West sure is a touchy subject for residents of the Park Slope neighborhood, and beyond–they’re even talking about it in London. Many love the new separated bike lane installed in June 2010–the “pro-laners”–but a vocal group packing some political power would rather see the lane removed–the “anti-laners.”

Read More

Ahoy! Treasure in the Gowanus Muck!

East
Thursday, February 10, 2011
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(EPA via The Brooklyn Paper)

The Enviornmental Protection Agency is beginning its analysis and cleanup of the filthy yet fascinating Gowanus canal. It’s proving to be full of all kinds of junk, including horrendous carcinogenic chemicals and, as the Brooklyn Paper reports, a 60 foot long sunken ship!

Located where Fifth Street meets the canal, the wooden ship likely dates from the 19th century, the channel’s shipping heyday. What we’re calling the S.S. Superfund was discovered through sonar scanning, its outline is clearly visible in the image above.

This is the second time in a year that New York’s maritime past has resurfaced. Last summer another submerged ship was found buried at the World Trade Center site.

Quick Clicks> Piano, Plazas, Babbling, Budget Cuts

Daily Clicks, East Coast
Wednesday, February 2, 2011
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Updated plans for Columbia's Jerome L. Greene Science Center in Manhattanville (Via NY Observer)

Updated plans for Columbia's Jerome L. Greene Science Center in Manhattanville (Via NY Observer)

Manhattanville’s Piano. While tallying who is the biggest landlord in New York (it’s still the church by a hair), The Observer uncovered a few new views of Renzo Piano’s Jerome L. Green Science Center at Columbia’s Manhattanville campus, seen here next to a train viaduct.

Pedestrianizing New York. The remaking of New York’s public spaces continues its forward march. Brownstoner has details on the planned pedestrian plaza on Myrtle Avenue in Brooklyn and StreetsBlog highlights DOT’s plans to create a permanent block-long Plaza de las Americas in Washington Heights.

Archi-babble. Witold Rybczynski talkes issue with architecture’s professional jargon in Slate, including a beginner’s guide to commonly used words from assemblage to gesamtkunstwerk. What’s your favorite word from the language of architecture?

Subway Squeeze. We’re not talking about your crowded commute, but New York Governor Andrew Cuomo’s proposal to trim $100 million from transit. Transportation Nation and StreetsBlog have the details and implications for getting around New York.

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