Move over Woolworth Building. Another iconic Lower Manhattan skyscraper is slated for a residential conversion, this time by Deborah Berke Partners and architects of record Steven B. Jacobs Group. The 66-story art deco landmark at 70 Pine Street was built in 1932 as the Cities Service Company, and more recently served as the headquarters of American International Group (AIG), and now developer Rose Associates plans to transform the tower into 700 luxury apartments above a 300-room hotel.
Attention developers! It’s almost time to prepare your visions for one of the largest redevelopment projects in Manhattan, the Seward Park Urban Renewal Area (SPURA), now that all the approvals are in. While an official Request for Proposals (RFP) won’t be issued until early next year, the NYC Economic Development Corporation is getting a jump start on soliciting interest with a new informational brochure issued today including a panoramic new rendering of the SPURA site, marked in orange.
The project calls for up to 1.65 million square feet of mixed-use space built from the ground up on a site covering eight city blocks in the Lower East Side that Robert Moses leveled in the 20th century. The project also calls for a reconstructed Essex Street Market and a new 15,000 square foot park. The notice comes with a warning that the RFP process “will have an aggressive timeline,” between January and May 2013. Watch for the official RFP to be released at the NYCEDC website, and get ready to rev those rendering engines, architects!
National Guard troops help clean up the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy in Staten Island’s New Dorp Beach neighborhood this week during President Obama’s tour of damaged areas around New York. To get involved with recovery efforts in the region, please visit the NYC Service website to find groups seeking volunteers, supplies, and more.
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.
After the sad news back in August that New York City’s already-delayed bike share system—Citibike—would be delayed until the spring of 2013, we’d almost forgotten about the thousands of bright blue bikes that have been in storage at the Brooklyn Navy Yard while computer glitches are worked out. The apparently-cursed bike share system is back in the news, however, as the New York Times reports that some of the equipment was damaged during Hurricane Sandy when the East River inundated waterfront Brooklyn.
Floodwaters up to six feet deep apparently damaged program equipment including the docking stations, but the NYC Department of Transportation would not comment on the extent of the damage or whether it would cause further delays in launching the system. DOT Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan told the Times, “We’re working on it.” Some believe the electronic design of the docking stations could make them especially vulnerable to flooding.
After today’s announcement of Norman Fosters next project in New York, a luxury condo tower at the United Nations, we just can’t get enough of the British starchitect. Luckily, a stash of video renderings and presentations from the firms behind the planned 425 Park tower can provide just the fix. It wasn’t too long ago that the starchitect-filled competition for the new Park Avenue tower selected Foster + Partners as its winner. Now after the design presentations at the recent MAS Summit and the release of photo renderings from all players—including runners up Richard Rogers, Rem Koolhaas, and Zaha Hadid—we can indulge in the virtual demonstrations of their designs.
Staten Island’s Old Orchard Shoals Lighthouse stood as a protective beacon in Sandy Hook Bat for 119 years, but has now been reduced to rubble atop its rocky outcropping after being slammed by Hurricane Sandy. Built in 1893, the cast-iron lighthouse once stood 51 feet tall and had been listed on the National Park Service’s Maritime Heritage Program, but had been declared obsolete by the General Service Administration and sold at auction in 2008 for $235,000. The US Coast Guard confirmed this week that the stout structure succumbed to the storm. Light House Friends has more history on the Old Orchard Shoals Lighthouse:
In the late 1800s when winter ice closed down Staten Island Sound, the waterway separating New Jersey from Staten Island, an estimated 15,000 tons of shipping were forced to use the narrow channel that ran along the eastern shore of Staten Island. In doing so, the vessels passed dangerously close to Old Orchard Shoal. A bell buoy and a lighted buoy initially marked this shallow area, but mariners considered these navigational aids grossly inadequate…After $60,000 was approved, construction of the lighthouse was completed in 1893. The new fifty-one-foot, cast-iron tower was cone-shaped, built in the “spark plug” style common among offshore lights in that region.
You can’t make a monument without breaking some eggs. Fabergé cosmetics heir Reed Rubin is protesting a decision by the board of Roosevelt Island’s Four Freedoms Park to not include a donor inscription on the Louis Kahn-designed FDR memorial. For a $2.5 million donation in honor of Rubin’s parents Vera D. and Samuel Rubin, founders of the cosmetics firm and the Reed Foundation, the foundation claims it was promised an inscription in a prominent spot (preferably near the bust of FDR on a slab facing Manhattan).
The board of the park, not wanting to compromise the monument’s design, proposed an inscription in another location in the park. Rubin and the foundation are fighting back, and had tried to postpone October’s dedication. The New York Daily News quoted a letter written by the park’s board chairman William vanden Heuvel to the foundation: “You may prevail in a courtroom. But it will be a Pyrrhic victory, dear friends, a scar not a medal on the list of your achievements.”