East Harlem Getting Ready For Rezoning

East
Thursday, January 31, 2013
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Metro-North Viaduct along Park Avenue in East Harlem (Courtesy of Harlem + Bespoke/harlembespoke.blogspot.com)

Metro-North Viaduct along Park Avenue in East Harlem. (Courtesy of Harlem + Bespoke)

Changes are brewing in East Harlem. DNAinfo reported this week that Community Board 11 just approved a new rezoning plan for a 60-block stretch that runs along Madison, Park, and Lexington avenues between East 115th and East 132nd streets.

The proposal is a collaborative effort between Community Board 11’s Land Use Committee, the planning firm George M. Janes & Associates, and Civitas, a local advocacy group.

Instead of recommending uniform changes, the proposal addresses the needs and character of each specific area in East Harlem whether it be residential, light industrial, mixed-use, or commercial. According to DNAinfo, taller buildings will be permitted  “in exchange for permanently affordable housing units.” The proposal also looks at possible solutions for the foreboding Metro-North viaduct that extends over Park Avenue.

Renzo Piano’s Brain Behavior Institute Breaks Ground at Columbia’s Manhattanville Campus

East
Tuesday, January 29, 2013
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Rendering of Mortimer B. Zuckerman Mind Brain Behavior Institute by Renzo Piano (Courtesy of Columbia University)

Rendering of Renzo Piano’s Zuckerman Mind Brain Behavior Institute. (Courtesy Columbia University)

Construction of Columbia University’s 17-acre Manhattanville campus is now underway in northern Manhattan. The Wall Street Journal reported that work has already started on the foundation of the Jerome L. Greene Science Center that will house the Mortimer B. Zuckerman Mind Brain Behavior Institute. This 450,000-square-foot glass building, designed by Renzo Piano, is the first of 15 new buildings to be built on the campus and is slated to open in 2016.

Future plans for Columbia’s expansion include new homes for the Columbia Business School and the Lenfest Center for the Arts. Developer and Boston Properties CEO Mortimer Zuckerman has pledged $200 million to the endowment of the institute. The tab for the entire campus should run up to $6.8 billion.

The Story Behind New York’s Steamy Streets.  The Story Behind New York's Steamy Streets If you’ve been to New York, you’re sure to have seen the ubiquitous orange-and-white striped chimneys spewing steam from the middle of Manhattan’s busiest streets. Slate digs into the story behind the steam, and the 105 miles of pipes that distribute the commodity to buildings around the city for heating and other purposes. According to Slate, these street chimneys are put in place when repairs are being made and excess steam is released through the system’s 3,000 manhole covers. (Photo: Eric Wüstenhagen / Flickr)

 

When New York’s East River Froze Over

East
Friday, January 25, 2013
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"Crossing the East River on the Ice Bridge," 1871. (Courtesy New York Public Library)

“Crossing the East River on the Ice Bridge,” 1871. (Courtesy New York Public Library)

It’s been a mild winter so far in New York, and with the first onset of below-freezing temperatures, city folk are donning their heavy jackets and gloves. And while the winds whipping around the glass and steel towers of Manhattan might feel as if it’s as cold as it’s ever going to be, consider a century ago when temperatures were low enough to freeze the East River from the banks of Brooklyn to the Manhattan waterfront, still two different cities at the time, providing thrill-seeking pedestrians with an instant new crossing years before the Brooklyn Bridge was built.

The above view was engraved in 1871 and titled, “Crossing the East River on the Ice Bridge,” depicting dozens of New Yorkers walking across what would normally have been a busy maritime thoroughfare. While such a natural feat seams unlikely today, Gothamist has collected clippings to show that the phenomenon was known to occur around once a decade on the East River during the 19th century and there have been reports of similar frozen-river bridges along the Mississippi and Ohio Rivers as well. For instance, in 1851, an estimated 15,000 pedestrians, horses, and sleighs crossed the frozen river.

Video> Renzo Piano’s Whitney Museum Time-Lapse Construction Along the High Line

East
Thursday, January 24, 2013
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Renzo Piano’s new Whitney Museum and adjacent maintenance building have been quickly rising between the High Line and the Hudson River in Manhattan, topping out on December 17, 2012. Now, the Whitney has condensed the entire construction sequence from its groundbreaking in October 2011 up through January 14 into one easy-to-watch time-lapse video. And if you just can’t get enough of the Whitney under construction, you can watch live on this webcam or take a virtual fly-through of the new museum here. [Via Curbed.]

Foster’s Exterior Changes Green-Lighted at the New York Public Library

East
Wednesday, January 23, 2013
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Rendering of Foster + Partners' proposed renovation of the New York Public Library. (Courtesy Foster+Partners / dbox)

Rendering of Foster + Partners’ proposed renovation of the New York Public Library. (Courtesy Foster+Partners / dbox)

Preservationists who have waged a battle against Foster + Partners’ planned renovations of the New York Public Library received bad news Tuesday: The Landmarks Preservation Commission approved the library’s application for changes to its Beaux-Arts exterior, mostly on the side facing Bryant Park, in a six-to-two vote.

The $300 million renovation calls for removing seven floors of stacks beneath the famous Rose Main Reading Room to accommodate a large workspace and the collections from the Mid-Manhattan and the Innovative Science, Industry, and Business Libraries. This might be a major step forward for the library, but the approval process is not yet over. The Wall Street Journal reported that the Landmarks Commission can only vote on changes proposed to the landmarked exterior—the decision about the stacks is out of their hands.

Proposed Development Threatens Historic Palisades Views

East
Tuesday, January 22, 2013
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Rendering of HOK's design for LG's New Jersey headquarters. (Courtesy LG)

Rendering of HOK’s design for LG’s New Jersey headquarters. (Courtesy LG)

The Cloisters museum and gardens, the Metropolitan Museum’s outpost for Medieval architecture and art in northern Manhattan, faces the tree-lined cliffs of the Palisades across the Hudson River in New Jersey. The view is picturesque, uninterrupted by the built environment—nary a single building in sight. But soon, a 143-foot-high office complex designed by HOK could rise above the treetops, a change some say will spoil the idyllic natural view. The New York Times reported that LG Electronics USA’s plan to build an eight-story headquarters in Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey, has sparked protests from environmental groups, the Met, and Larry Rockefeller—whose grandfather donated four acres of land for the museum and park in New York and purchased 700 acres along the cliffs on the other side of the river to keep the view unmarred.

Continue reading after the jump.

Manhattan West’s Railyard-Spanning Platform Breaks Ground

East
Monday, January 21, 2013
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Manhattan West. (Courtesy Brookfield)

Manhattan West. (Courtesy Brookfield)

Manhattan’s far west side is about to become one of the busiest construction sites in the country. Last Tuesday morning, officials gathered at the corner of 9th Avenue and West 33rd Street to celebrate the second major groundbreaking in the Hudson Yards District, Brookfield Properties’ trio of new SOM-designed towers comprising the Manhattan West development to be built over a large rail yard serving Penn Station. The $4.5 billion project’s first phase, construction of the north portion of the railroad-spanning platform that will eventually support development, is now underway, and New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg speculated that the second half of the platform could be underway in coming months. Excavation has been ongoing since the fall of 2012.

Continue reading after the jump.

New York City’s First New Synagogue in Five Decades Opens in Manhattan

East
Monday, January 21, 2013
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The newly completed Lincoln Square Synagogue. (Courtesy CetraRuddy)

The newly completed Lincoln Square Synagogue. (Courtesy CetraRuddy)

Congregation members of the Lincoln Square Synagogue stepped inside their new $50 million facility this weekend. It is the first new synagogue to be built from the ground up in New York City in five decades according to DNA Info. The four-story structure, designed by Cetra Ruddy, has a 450-seat sanctuary, a large ballroom in the basement level, classrooms, an in-house kosher catering company, and a prayer space. Senior Rabbi Shaul Robinson told DNA Info that the old synagogue “didn’t age well” and “was cramped and restrained.” There will be no dearth of space in this new 52,000-square-foot facility.

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.”

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.

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