Wright or Wrong? Debate over Massaro House Authenticity Rekindled

East
Friday, November 16, 2012
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Frank Lloyd Wright's Massaro House. (Ahalife)

Frank Lloyd Wright’s Massaro House. (Ahalife)

The story goes like this: In 1949 an engineer named A.K. Chahroudi commissioned Frank Lloyd Wright to design a home on Petra Island in Lake Mahopac, New York, which Chahroudi owned. But the $50,000 price tag on the 5,000 square foot house was more than Chahroudi could afford, so Wright designed him a smaller, more affordable cottage elsewhere on the island.

Fast forward to 1996 when Joseph Massaro, a sheet metal contractor, bought the island for $700,000, a sale that also included Wright’s original yet unfinished plans. Though he says he only intended to spruce up the existing cottage and not build anything new, one can hardly fault Massaro for wanting to follow through on a home Wright once said would eclipse Falling Water. In 2000 Massaro sold his business and hired Thomas A. Heinz, an architect and Wright historian, to complete and update the design, a move that incensed the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation, who promptly sued him, stating he couldn’t claim the house was a true Wright, but was only “inspired” by him.

Continue reading after the jump.

Sky-High Amusement Parks, Both Imagined and Real

East
Wednesday, July 25, 2012
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Have you ever gazed upon the New York skyline and thought to yourself, there’s an amusement park missing from this picture. Have you ever dreamed of twirling around the top of New York’s fourth-tallest building while strapped into flimsy carnival swings? While it’s certainly not for the faint of heart, these fantasies have been imagined, and now they’ve been rendered into a beautiful new video.

Check out more videos after the jump.

Coney Gets a Gateway

East, Newsletter
Tuesday, March 27, 2012
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The city's plans for a new $11 million entrance to Coney Island beach (Courtesy NYC EDC)

The city's plans for a new $11 million entrance to Coney Island beach (Courtesy NYC EDC via Gothamist)

The New York Post says the city’s plans for the new entrance to Coney Island are just “beachy” and “spectacular” while Gothamist tells readers to “behold …a grand beachfront entrance fit for pharaohs.” The plan replaces the sixty-year-old Eighth Street Bridge with a sweeping new plaza at Tenth Street. The change may be welcome compared to the decayed structure that greets visitors now, but does it have anything to do with the Coney of ‘ol New York? Read More

@MikeBloomberg: #SocialMedia is Complicated! SMH

East
Monday, March 26, 2012
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Demonstrators at the Design Commission Meeting mobilized on their Save Coney Island Facebook page.

Demonstrators at the Design Commission mobilized on their Save Coney Island Facebook page. (Stoelker/AN)

Mayor Bloomberg was in Singapore last Wednesday to accept the Lee Kuan Yew World City Prize for sustainable planning, but it was the mayor’s comments on social media got the most play in The New York Times and the New York Post.

“I think this whole world has become a culture of ‘me now,’ rather than for my kids later on,” he was quoted as saying. “Social media is going to make it even more difficult to make long-term investments. We are basically having a referendum on every single thing that we do every day, and it’s very hard for people to stand up and say, ‘No, no. This is what we’re going to do’ when there’s constant criticism and an election process.”

Continue reading after the jump.

Hysteria on Coney Island

East
Friday, August 12, 2011
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The old Child's Restaurant has been home to Coney Island USA since 1980.

The old Childs Restaurant has been home to Coney Island USA since 1980. (AN/Stoelker)

It’s almost time to face the mid-August blues, that moment when the back-to-school copy books hit the drug store shelves. Well, there’s still time to cram in a few summer day trips. One item at the top of the list should be a visit the recently landmarked Childs Restaurant building, better known as the headquarters for Coney Island USA.  There, the freak shows still reign and Zoe Beloff’s small show on toy theater dioramas has an extended its run till mid-September.

Continue reading after the jump.

QUICK CLICKS> Prism Problems, LinkedGreen, Boardwalk, Critic Kvetch

Daily Clicks
Friday, May 13, 2011
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At 65 stories , One World Trade is still experiencing growing pains.

Prismatic Schmatic. After the NYPD criticized the security measures at One World Trade back in 2005, David Childs responded by losing the glass on the bottom 20 floors and creating a bunker like base to be hidden behind prismatic glass panels and welded aluminum screens. Now the Times reports that plan has to be scrapped because the Chinese manufacturer can’t prevent the prismatic panes from bowing. Childs is back at the drawing board.

Green Empire. Sustainable Cities says that LinkedIn signed a 31,000 square foot lease at the Empire State Building because it’s too green to pass up. The building is undergoing a $550 million makeover and shooting for LEED Gold. Via Planitzen.

Say It Ain’t So! Gothamist reports that Coney Island is going concrete, or at least part of the famed boardwalk is. The community board has decided to allow a 12-foot wide concrete path for vehicular traffic to run straight down the middle of the famed wooden way.

Critic Shortage. The LA Times’ Christopher Hawthorne took to the pages of Architectural Record bemoaning the damage “internet culture” has done to criticism. He takes aim at bloggers in particular, though he allows that Geoff Manaugh‘s BLDGBLOG is a stand out. But for every BLDGBLOG there are ten whose work is “overlong, prone to self-absorption, and still struggling to get a handle on the it’s/its dilemma — appears to exist only to prove the old adage that it’s the editor who makes the writer.” Via Archnews.

 

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.

Quick Clicks> Boardwalk, High-Speed, Archives 2.0, the Street

Daily Clicks, East Coast
Wednesday, April 6, 2011
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Wood is good, say residents of Coney Island of their historic boardwalk (Courtesy Intiaz/Flickr).

Boardwalk Empire. The Brooklyn Paper reports that Coney Island will not be getting a concrete boardwalk, at least not if Community Board 13 has a say in the matter. The board members recently voted down a proposal from the Parks Department that would cement over parts of the historic Riegelmann Boardwalk while covering some of the famed seaside path with recycled plastic lumber.

Express Train. The Van Alen Institute wants to know what you think of the future of high-speed rail in the United States. Check out its call for design ideas here.

Digital Architectural History. The Chicago Tribune’s Blair Kamen brings news that the good folks at the Ryerson and Burnham Archives at the Art Institute of Chicago have digitized 5,000 images from Archpaper’s late 19th century predecessor, the Inland Architect and News Record, offering up photos and drawings from a pivotal period in US architectural history.

Sharing is Caring. New York’s Municipal Art Society kicked off its second annual “Streets Month” with a program about the city’s new and innovative place-making efforts, including a presentation by DOT Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan. Check out a recap and analysis from MAS over here.

 

Quick Clicks> Anti-Mies, Timber, Thunder, Head Start

Daily Clicks
Friday, March 4, 2011
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An indoor/outdoor water pool fantasy for Chicago's Navy Pier. Courtesy Ian Dingman/Time Out

 

Mies Bashing. For all the glory of Modernist Chicago, there are still those who mourn the loss of the White City‘s Beaux Arts influence. Historian David Garrard tells WBEZ of the “sterile” Daley Center‘s ruinous effect on The Loop. One has to wonder what he’d make of Time Out Chicago’s “Fifteen Fanciful Ways to Fix Navy Pier.”

Tiiiimmmmbeeeeerrrrr! Meanwhile, at another Navy locale…Chuck Schumer is hopping mad about contorting being done by the U.S. Army to get out of repairing the 158-year-old Timber Shed at Brooklyn’s Navy Yard. The Brooklyn Paper reports that the senator is pressing army brass, which still has control over the building, to fix it or get out of the way and let the city do it.

For Sale: Beach front property, water views, lively neighborhood. WSJ reports that the land where Coney Island‘s famed Thunderbolt roller coaster scared the bejesus out of generations of New Yorkers can now be had for $75 million to $95 million.

Way Head Start. NYC Department of Buildings launched their Junior Architects and Engineers Program this week at PS31, reports NY1. (The news clip, starring fifth grade Frank Lloyd Wright fan Thomas Patras, is just too cute to pass up.)

A Castle Near the Sand

East
Tuesday, February 9, 2010
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The Shore Theater was calendared today, the first step in the landmarks process. (vanz/Flickr)

With snowpocalypse about to descend on the city, summer feels a long way away. But there is cause for sun-soaked celebration today, as the Landmarks Preservation commission calendared the Shore Theater, the first step in the public review process to make the building an official city landmark. The calendaring is actually the first fruits to bear from the Bloomberg administration’s 13th hour deal with developer Joe Sitt. It will be months before amusements return to a saved Coney Island, but a major negotiating point for the community—and the amusement community in particular—was more landmarks in Coney to protect the area’s historic buildings from the flood of development the city’s rezoning hopes to create. So far, there are no other buildings in the docket besides the 1920s theater-and-hotel building, though, which could be cause for concern—especially after the area’s oldest building recently suffered water damage. Still, after decades of deterioration, any progress is good. In other landmarks news… Read More

Retracting the Retractable Roof Retraction

East
Tuesday, November 10, 2009
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Could this roof someday retract?

Could this roof someday retract?

Brooklyn has been called the borough of blogs, which probably explains why that’s where the big city papers are all launching their hyperlocal efforts. First there was the TimesFort Greene blog, and now the Post is getting in on the act—not surprisingly, we were notified about the new venture by the king of Brooklyn blogs, Brownstoner. While the Times has wound up with some odd, interesting mix of community driven news, the Post remains, at least in its first two posts, a decidely top-down affair, though this is not exactly a bad thing. Indeed, the inaugural post for the Post looks at borough president Marty Markowitz renewed efforts to include a retractable roof at the Grimshaw-designed concert pavilion at Asser Levy park, which we first unveiled back in April. Read More

TMI Too Late

East, East Coast
Thursday, July 9, 2009
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Earlier today, the Municipal Art Society posted an incredibly informative presentation that the group gave at the recent City Council hearings on the Bloomberg administration’s plans for rezoning Coney Island. The presentation, which can be found above, pretty succinctly explains what’s wrong with the city’s plan, why it won’t work, and alternatives–proposed, of course, by MAS–that could be undertaken. So why has this presentation surfaced so late in the process, when it will have little, if any impact on the rezoning? Read More

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