An interesting trend to hit landscape architecture in recent years is borderless fountains, where water flows flush with the pavement. If so inclined, visitors can kick off their shoes and stroll though damp pavers. Such fountains can be found by Field Operations with Diller, Scofidio + Renfro on the High Line, Digsau’s Sister Cities Park in Philly, and Field Operations’ recently completed plaza fronting New York by Gehry. The trend seems to speak to city dwellers need to touch water.
There are many reasons to love Summer Streets in New York—or open streets programs in most cities across the country—but one of the best is the opportunity to stand in the middle of Park Avenue, Fourth Avenue, or Lafayette Street gawking up at the city’s architecture without becoming roadkill. Walking Off the Big Apple presents a list of notable buildings along the route in easy to use Google map form. Summer Streets is back again tomorrow and the following Saturday from 7:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m., so look for Mies’ Seagram Building, Stanford White’s 23 Park, or, of course, Grand Central Terminal.
Also be on the lookout for this crazy bike-powered musical instrument called the Cyclo-Phone (above) by Marcelo Ertorteguy and Sara Valente. Curbed New York spotted the crazy contraption made of kiddie pools and PVC pipes at Astor Place.
Joseph Albers Painting on Paper
The Morgan Library & Museum
225 Madison Avenue
Through October 14
Josef Albers (1888–1976) was both a student and professor at the Bauhaus, one of the most influential art and design schools of the 20th century. Known for his precise use of line and unparalleled sense of color, Albers meticulously worked through his ideas in successive studies on paper. Josef Albers in America: Painting on Paper is an opportunity to see Albers’ process at work. The exhibition features approximately 60 studies spanning most of Albers’ career, from the 1930s through the 70s, many of which include hand written notations, including architectural inspirations. The studies, evidence of his mind and hand working toward final painting, are expressive and moving in their own right. The Morgan exhibition is the only US venue for the show, which will travel to several European cities.
Take a minute to imagine what you would do if you had to cram your life into 270 square feet. In a typical ranch-style home, 270 could be a master bedroom, or a small living room, or a one-car garage. Now how about 220 square feet? It might make a shed or a bedroom. Now imagine this 15 by 18 foot or 15 by 15 foot space as your home.
Though it might sound more like another Ikea advertisement, two high-rent cities—New York and San Francisco—have been playing with the concept of permitting very small “micro-apartments” to alleviate high rents. By creating smaller housing, the idea goes, prospective renters will have a less expensive option and the city will be able to increase the density of residential units without increasing building size, always a contested point in neighborhood planning.
Urban rooftop farming is on the up-and-up in New York City and across the country. Putting his official stamp of approval on the movement, New York Mayor Bloomberg stopped by the city’s largest rooftop farm, the 43,000-square-foot Brooklyn Grange atop a building in the Brooklyn Navy Yard. With the growing season in full swing, the plants were towering nearly as high as the Manhattan skyline in the distance.
Saturdays in August, Manhattan is made for pedestrians and cyclists. The fifth season of Summer Streets, New York City’s spectacularly popular open streets program where a major thoroughfare is closed off to traffic and opened up to just about everything else, kicks off tomorrow, August 4 from 7:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. Lafayette Street and Park Avenue will play host to thousands of New Yorkers experiencing the city in a way normally only someone with a death wish might, and this year, the NYC Department of Transportation is stringing out new attractions along the nearly seven mile route.
We already knew that DDG Partners could pull together a classy “product,” as they say in real estate parlance. But now the group has upped the ante by teaming with Yayoi Kusama, the 83-year-old Japanese show-stopping pop artist. Kusama’s blockbuster at the Whitney has already spilled over into cross-marketing at Louis Vuitton with her ubiquitous dots climbing up the facade of their 57th Street Store. Downtown the artist’s Yellow Trees will sprawl across protective netting on construction scaffolding at DDGs 345meatpacking, the group’s new 14th Street project which could rival their comparatively quiet 41 Bond Street project. 345 promises to make a much splashier entrance, but with a hand laid Danish Kulumba brick facade, it could be Bond Street’s equal in craftsmanship. The public won’t see the results until September 30th, when the Kusama curtain will fall and the Kulumba will be revealed.
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.
If everything had gone according to plan, New York’s highly anticipated bike-sharing system called Citi Bike would be in full swing. Unfortunately, earlier this month the city announced that a computer software glitch had pushed the opening back until August. While we can handle waiting one more month, rumors that the planned 10,000 bright blue Citi Bikes might not hit the street until next year had us alarmed.