A good portion of our editorial staff just boarded an airplane headed for the Venice Biennial, so AN headquarters is pretty quiet this afternoon. For your Friday afternoon enjoyment, check out this time-lapse video of the Manhattan skyline viewed from the Empire State Building being drawn with amazing detail by illustrator Patrick Vale. [h/t E Minor]
There’s a scene in Edith Wharton’s 1913 novel Custom of the Country, where the wicked vixen Undine Spragg insists on speeding across the High Bridge in a “horseless carriage” before making her grand entrance at a party so as to rouge her cheeks with a cold snap of air whipping up from the Harlem River. The romantic fascination accorded the then-65-year-old bridge quietly slipped from New York’s consciousness as bigger engineering marvels usurped its quiet dignity.
Now approaching 165 years, renovations are about to get underway to finally restore the bridge to its former glory as a 1,200-foot-long pedestrian bridge, uniting neighborhoods of High Bridge and Washington Heights in the Bronx and Manhattan. New Yorkers for Parks stopped by the span Monday afternoon to document current conditions before construction is in full swing, giving us a hint of Undine’s views. Though controversial netting integrated into the design might mildly disrupt the vista, Monday’s photos show it the way it was, albeit slightly overgrown.
The U.S.S. Intrepid looks visibly pregnant, and it seems as though she still hopes to give birth to an offshoot of the museum in a parking lot directly across the street. About nine months ago, New York’s Intrepid Sea, Air and Space Museum revealed that it had its eye on a prime parcel owned by New York State adjacent to the museum on 12th Avenue to house its newest attraction, the Space Shuttle Enterprise.
Most of the recent attention on the shuttle has focused on the herculean effort to get it onto the deck, where it rests in a temporary pavilion that sits on the bow looking like a bulbous balloon about to burst. A spokesperson for City Planning said that the city’s zoning laws extend out to piers but requirements for permanently docked structures are a bit nebulous.
The hanging gardens inside the atrium of Jean Nouvel’s 100 Eleventh Avenue sound idyllic: “From planting boxes built into the structure, trees soar upward and plants cascade down the walls, lending their scent to the atmosphere,” states the building’s website. But the smell may not be so sweet. A source familiar with the project told AN that the huge suspended planters lack proper drainage, leading to standing water and the early onset of rust. Maybe Nouvel can argue that he’s taking a cue from the Cor-ten laden High Line next door?
Design studio Diller Scofidio+Renfro (DS+R) has certainly had a very good week. As we noted yesterday, the firm’s designs for the Columbia University Medical and Graduate Education Building in Washington Heights have just been released, and now today, the Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum has announced that DS+R will be working with museum staff on the redesign of the museum’s exhibition spaces that are currently under renovation on Manhattan’s Upper East Side.
It’s a bird! It’s a plane! No, it’s actually a plane. On the corner of 60th Street and 5th Avenue in Manhattan, a six-seat, twin-engine Piper Seneca aircraft balances on two vertical steel posts positioned at the end of its wings, playfully rotating on its own axis and likely confusing visitors to Central Park. After doing a double take on the surreal scene, find a plaque located nearby and you’ll learn that this mysterious aircraft is actually an installation by artist Paola Pivi, whose portfolio includes scenes of zebras on snowy mountaintops and arenas of screaming people. Working with the Public Art Fund, an organization dedicated to present artists’ work throughout New York City, Paola Pivi opened her newest installation featuring the Piper Seneca, How I Roll last Wednesday, June 20th.
News Paper Spires
The Skyscraper Museum
39 Battery Pl.
Through July 2012
Focusing on the years between 1870 and 1930, News Paper Spires at the Skyscraper Museum considers the buildings where the most important events of the day were committed to the public record with ever-increasing speed. Just after the Civil War, The New York Times, The New-York Tribune, and The New York Post all were headquartered on the so-called “Newspaper Row” to the east of City Hall Park (above), each headquartered in early skyscrapers, where writers and editors worked above, while below typesetters and steam-engine powered printing presses churned out morning, afternoon and evening editions. In this exhibition, the history of these vertical urban factories—including their migration from downtown to midtown—is considered through films, architectural renderings, photographs, typesetting equipment, and the archival newspapers themselves.
The Greatest Grid:
The Master Plan of Manhattan, 1811–2011
Museum of the City of New York
1220 Fifth Avenue
Through April 6, 2012
In 1807, to head off health threats and a growing lack of habitable space, New York City’s Common Council commissioned a three-year project to organize massive land development north of Houston Street. The Museum of the City of New York presents The Greatest Grid: The Master Plan of Manhattan, 1811–2011 in honor of the bicentennial of the 1811 Commissioners’ Plan for New York, which established the iconic street grid from Houston to 155th Street. Along with the original, hand-drawn map of New York’s grid plan, other historic documents demonstrate the city’s physical development due to the grid’s application and evolution over time. Co-presented by the Museum of the City of New York, the New York Public Library, and The Architectural League of New York, and sponsored by the Office of the Manhattan Borough President, The Greatest Grid will be on display until April 6.
If Bjarke Ingels‘ ascension into starchitecture hasn’t been dramatic enough, the Danish architect is again moving up in the world. On Friday, Ingels’ firm BIG threw a party to christen their new office space in Manhattan. BIG has expanded its Chelsea presence, moving up from the third to the twelfth floor of the Starrett-Lehigh Building. A press preview of the new space preceded the party a couple floors above. Among those in attendance were Crown Prince Frederik and Princess Mary of Denmark, who earlier this month awarded Ingels the $90,000 Culture Prize—the MacArthur of Scandinavia—for his emerging work in architecture.
Now it looks like Ingels’ October has just been getting started. The Wall Street Journal Magazine will declare the Danish architect among its inaugural Innovators of the Year. Read More