A Look at Grand Central Past and Present

East, Newsletter
Friday, February 1, 2013
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Inside Grand Central Terminal. (Courtesy The Library of Congress)

Inside Grand Central Terminal. (Courtesy The Library of Congress)

As New Yorkers celebrate Grand Central’s Centennial, many might have forgotten, or perhaps never even knew, that the train terminal almost suffered the same fate as Penn Station and was nearly demolished in the late 1960s. This controversy made historic preservation a critical part of the conversation about development and the future of New York City.

Grand Central “was a gift to preservation and left a legacy. By its influence, it will save other buildings in the future,” said Frank Prial, Associate Partner at Beyer Blinder Belle Architects & Planners, the firm responsible for the restoration of Grand Central. “It is our poster child for preservation.”

Continue reading after the jump.

Happy 100th, Grand Central! Festivities Mark Centennial of Manhattan Landmark

East
Friday, February 1, 2013
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A LEGO model of Grand Central Terminal built for the station's 100th birthday. (Courtesy Kevin Ortiz / @MTA_NYCT_Vocero)

A LEGO model of Grand Central Terminal built for the station’s 100th birthday. (Courtesy Kevin Ortiz / @MTA_NYCT_Vocero)

Happy Birthday Grand Central Terminal! Today the 49-acre train station is turning 100 and celebrating this grand ‘ole affair with performances, events, and even a LEGO model of the Beaux-Arts style station itself, courtesy the LEGOLAND Discovery Center Westchester Station Master’s Office. Designed by Reed & Stern and Warren & Wetmore, the station is believed to be the largest station by number (44) of platforms in the world.

In honor of the Centennial, some of the retail shops and restaurants are even dropping their prices to 1913 levels, so commuters can grab a piece of cheesecake at the Oyster Bar for 19 cents. The New York Times also fired up its own time machine, posting the original supplement from 1913 when Grand Central first opened to the public. (You can download the PDF here.)

View a couple historic photos after the jump.

CANstruction 2013 New York Kicks Off at the World Financial Center

East
Friday, February 1, 2013
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Ted Moudis Associates' "Target Hunger" (Courtesy of Nicole Anderson/AN)

Ted Moudis Associates’ “Target Hunger” (Courtesy of Nicole Anderson/AN)

Starting last night at the Lower Manhattan’s Brookfield Place World Financial Center, 24 teams of architects, engineers, and MTA employees stacked cans into the small hours of the morning for the 20th Annual NYC CANstruction Competition. Large amorphous structures—some abstract, others more recognizable—emerged out of more than 80,000 cans of food.

The firms were given 24-hours to build their sculptures, which will then go on display for 11 days at the World Financial Center, and later dismantled and donated to City Harvest to provide food for the hungry. Last year, the competition yielded 90,000 cans of food, and Lisa Sposato, Associate Director of Food Sourcing Donor Relations at City Harvest, said they’ve already received 35,000 pounds of cans. Unfortunately Hurricane Sandy delayed the competition, and a few teams had to drop out, but several of them donated their cans of food.

Continue reading after the jump.

Slideshow> Second Avenue Subway Construction Update

East
Thursday, January 31, 2013
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(Metropolitan Transportation Authority / Patrick Cashin)

(Metropolitan Transportation Authority / Patrick Cashin)

The much-talked-about 7 line subway extension on Manhattan’s West Side isn’t the only mega-infrastructure project making progress in New York. Construction continues far below the streets of Manhattan’s East Side as crews tunnel through bedrock for the Second Avenue Subway line. This week, the MTA released a gallery of photos showing construction progress on stations between 63rd and 73rd streets. The photos show the enormous rock caverns that will one day be subway stations being prepped with liners, rebar, and concrete casing. According to Gothamist, construction progress varies by station, with the 72nd Street station 96 percent complete and the 86th Street station 42 percent done.

More images after the jump.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.]

FEMA Says No to Houses of Worship.  (David Sundberg / ESTO) Churches and synagogues are among the structures that suffered considerable damage from Hurricane Sandy, and while several non-profit organizations qualify for federal disaster assistance grants, houses of worship will not be eligible for aid because of a constitutional separation of church and state. A group of Jewish organizations is not giving up and continues to apply for grants. Senator Joseph I. Lieberman has presented an amendment to the Hurricane Sandy recovery appropriations bill to add houses of worship to the list of eligible organizations. (Photo: David Sundberg / ESTO)

 

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