Before & After> 25 of New York City’s Most Transformative Road Diets

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New York City has been adjusting to its new Mayor Bill De Blasio, who took office at the beginning of the year. The new mayor has been slowly revealing his team of commissioners who will guide the city’s continued transformation. As AN has noted many times before, De Blasio’s predecessor Michael Bloomberg and his team already left a giant mark on New York’s built environment.

With little more than paint, planters, and a few well-placed boulders, Bloomberg and former Transportation Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan‘s street interventions have been some of the most evident changes around the city. Whether it’s at Brooklyn’s Grand Army Plaza, above, or at Snøhetta’s redesigned Times Square, these road diets shaved off excess space previously turned over to cars and returned it to the pedestrian realm in dramatic fashion as these before-and-after views demonstrate.

As we continue to learn more about our new Transportation Commissioner Polly Trottenberg, take a look back at 25 of the most exciting road diets and pedestrian plaza conversions across New York City from the Bloomberg era.

See more transformations after the jump.

Scott Stringer to Give Harlem’s Historic Fire Watchtower an Expensive Makeover

East
Tuesday, September 3, 2013
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The Harlem Fire Watchtower (Courtesy Paul Lowry)

The Harlem Fire Watchtower is in an extremely dilapidated state. (Courtesy Paul Lowry)

Earlier this week, Manhattan Borough President and City Controller candidate Scott Stringer announced his $1 million pledge to restore a historic Harlem fire watchtower at the heart of Marcus Garvey Park. In the 19th century, the 47-foot tower served as a lookout point and the bell was raised in case of imminent danger. Today, the tower no longer protects the community but threatens it, showing substantial signs of decay and neglect.

Running a tight race against Eliot Spitzer, Stringer lags behind the former governor in terms of African American votes and is thus seeking to salvage one of the community’s most valued landmarks. The past few days, he has generated good publicity from his ability and desire to fund this restoration project.The $1 million provided by Stringer, along with the $1.75 million contributed by Councilmember Inez Dickens and $1.25 million by Mayor Bloomberg will be used to preserve the tower. The project includes a full restoration of the tower’s cast-iron structure, the removal of deficient parts, and the additional construction of a stainless steel support system.

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HUD Secretary Announces a Comprehensive Hurricane Sandy Rebuilding Strategy

City Terrain, East
Tuesday, August 20, 2013
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HUD Secretary Donovan and Mayor Bloomberg announce Hurricane Sandy rebuilding strategy. (Nicole Anderson / AN)

HUD Secretary Donovan (right) and Mayor Bloomberg (left) announce Hurricane Sandy rebuilding strategy. (Nicole Anderson / AN)

On the roof of a construction site in Greenpoint, Brooklyn Monday, U.S. Department of Housing & Urban Development (HUD) Secretary Shaun Donovan announced the release of a new report outlining 69 rebuilding strategies designed to both help Hurricane Sandy–ravaged communities and to serve as a model for coastal regions across the country that are vulnerable to storm surges and rising sea levels. Close to the waterfront, the site overlooked the Newtown Creek Wastewater Treatment Plant—one of the few sewage treatment facilities to survive Sandy intact. It was a fitting place for Secretary Donovan, who also serves as chair of the Hurricane Sandy Rebuilding Task Force, to introduce this bundle of new recommendations that address both immediate and long-term needs of coastal communities, including resilient and region-wide approaches to rebuilding and infrastructure investment. A number of the initiatives in the report, such as HUD’s “Rebuild by Design” competition, are already underway.

Continue reading after the jump.

Bloomberg Urges New Yorkers to Take the Stairs

East, Newsletter
Tuesday, July 23, 2013
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(Ludovic Bertron / Flickr)

(Ludovic Bertron / Flickr)

When confronted with the option to ride the elevator or muster up enough energy to walk up multiple flights of steps to a destination, most of us opt for the elevator. But according to the Bloomberg Administration, we might choose differently when surrounded by a built environment that encourages physical activity. In response to our country’s mounting obesity crisis, Mayor Bloomberg has recently changed design standards, launching a new series of pro-health and anti-obesity initiatives that promote physical activity in buildings and public spaces.

Continue reading after the jump.

Via Verde 2.0? Bloomberg Seeks Developer For Last City-Owned Lots in the Bronx

East
Thursday, April 4, 2013
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The Site of the Bronxchester Project located at Bergen Street, Brook Avenue and East 149th Street

The Site of the Bronxchester Project at Bergen Street, Brook Avenue and East 149th Street. (Courtesy Bing Maps)

With his time in office coming to a close, Mayor Bloomberg is moving swiftly ahead with his administration’s affordable housing plan, and calling on developers to submit proposals to build on the last sizable stretch of vacant city-owned land in the Melrose and HUB area of the South Bronx. The NYC Department of Housing Preservation & Development (HPD) is overseeing the Bronxchester Project, and yesterday announced a Request for Proposal (RFP) to develop two parcels into affordable housing and mixed-use space.

Continue reading after the jump.

Providence Takes Top Award in Bloomberg Mayors Challenge

National
Thursday, March 14, 2013
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Bloomberg gives Providence $5 million to implement system to monitor low-income families. (Martha Heinemann Bixby / Flickr)

Bloomberg Philanthropies gives Providence $5 million to implement system to monitor low-income families. (Martha Heinemann Bixby / Flickr)

Bloomberg Philanthropies has announced the winners of its Mayors Challenge, a competition meant to generate innovative ideas for the improvement of city life. Out of the 300 cities that submitted proposals, the giving institution created by New York City Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg gave the Grand Prize for Innovation to Providence, RI, and its mayor, Angel Taveras. The city was awarded $5 million to implement its project, what Bloomberg Philanthropies called a “cutting-edge early education initiative.” Under the initiative, participating children will wear a recording device home that will monitor the conversations they have with their parents or other adults. The transcripts of these conversations will then be used to develop weekly coaching sessions in which government monitors or someone will coach the grownups on how better to speak with their children.

Continue reading after the jump.

NYCHA Ticks Off 73,000 Work Orders from Its Backlog.  NYCHA Maintenance & Repair Action Plan (Courtesy of NYCHA) The New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) is starting to make a dent in its epically long backlog of repairs. The agency just announced that that it has completed 73,000 work orders, which leaves them with 349,479 to go. Mayor Bloomberg and NYCHA launched an action plan back in January to reduce the backlog, and with $10 million from City Council, the agency has be able to hire 176 workers to specifically help with maintenance and repairs. [Image: Courtesy NYCHA]

 

After Hurricane Sandy, Thousands of Buildings Added to FEMA’s New Flood Maps

East
Wednesday, January 30, 2013
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Damage from Hurricane Sandy. (David Sundberg / ESTO)

Damage from Hurricane Sandy. (David Sundberg / ESTO)

In post-Hurricane Sandy New York, it looks like Zone A is expanding, and stretching beyond waterfront properties to encompass buildings farther inland. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) released preliminary new maps on Monday revealing that an additional 35,000 homes and buildings are now listed in flood zones. Business and homeowners included in these new zones will likely see their insurance rates rise.

Continue reading after the jump.

Restoration of Brooklyn’s 3,200-Seat Loew’s Kings Theater Underway

East
Thursday, January 24, 2013
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Inside Loew's Kings Theater. (Courtesy NYC Mayor's Office)

Inside Loew’s Kings Theater. (Courtesy NYC Mayor’s Office)

The lights on the Loew’s Kings Theater’s marquee have been dark for over 35 years since the last showing of Islands in the Stream in 1977. In fact, the entire king-size, 3,200-seat, French-Baroque movie palace is looking quite dim these days, much of its ornate plasterwork worn, damaged, or missing from years of decay and neglect and its terra-cotta facade in need of cleaning. City officials had to string ropes of temporary construction lights through the still grandiose, if a little shabby, lobby, just to make the announcement on Wednesday that Brooklyn’s largest indoor theater is coming back to life in a big way thanks to $93.9 million in new investment from public and private sources.

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 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.”

To Rebuild or Relocate? Cuomo Offers Options.  Houses damaged by Hurricane Sandy (Courtesy of David Sundberg) Over the last few months, there’s been much talk about rebuilding smarter after Hurricane Sandy to prepare for the next super storm. But one alternative has gone under the radar until today’s State of the State Address when New York Governor Cuomo proposed the Recreate NY-Home Buyout Program that would provide funds to buy out homeowners who wish to sell their properties and relocate elsewhere. Capital New York reported that a resident estimated that 60 percent of his Fox Beach community in Staten Island wants a buyout, and through FEMA’s Hazard Mitigation Grant Program, that just might be possible. But for a buyout to happen, it requires a several-step process that would need the “Bloomberg administration to petition the state for grant money.” If Cuomo follows through on his proposal, residents of Fox Beach and other waterfront communities who want to relocate might get their wish. (Photo: David Sundberg/ESTO)

 

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