On Thursday, the East River Waterfront Esplanade officially opened to the public. Last week, while the paint on the new bike lanes was still drying, City Planning Commissioner Amanda Burden took AN on a walk through of the first section. The commissioner barely contained her excitement while showing off design details by landscape architect Ken Smith and SHoP Architects. Follow the commissioner as she takes us through the dog run and points out clever details like the “Get-Downs,” the riverside bar stools, and “seat walls.”
Lorena Turner: Made in China
114 Smith Street
Through July 31
Product packaging started primarily for hygienic reasons. General stores used to stock sugar, crackers, and pickles in huge barrels, and for every order the grocer would dip in his scoop. Not only was it unsanitary, but customers also might leave wondering if they got what they paid for (“Was his finger on the scale…?”). Food packaging guaranteed sterile products and standardized portions—in a word, purity.
The New York City Economic Development Corporation announced Wednesday that the former Taystee Bakery site in Harlem will be redeveloped into a green, mixed-use structure featuring light manufacturing, artists and not-for-profit spaces, a local bank, an ice skating rink, and a local brewery. Project developers Janus Partners and Monadnock Construction asked LevenBetts Architecture to create a design that merges the eclectic program to create an economic and social center for the neighborhood.
Who knew the Power Broker himself was a beer man? The Robert Moses of my imagination could be spotted, martini in hand, at a swanky Manhattan lounge. But in reality, the workaholic was such a control freak that he would never permit himself to loosen up in public, instead spending much of his free time stolen away from the city sailing on the Great South Bay in his boat the Sea-Ef. (Even then, his mind was still on work: he once grounded the boat on a quite visible sand bar thinking of his plans for New York!) Ceaselessly maneuvering and tightening his grip on Gotham politics, Moses may have been the one man in New York most in need of a cold beer.
Grub Street spotted a new beer, appropriately made by the Great South Bay Brewery on Long Island, that pays homage to the Robert Moses Causeway and its promise of breezy summer beaches. According to the brewery, the Robert Moses Pale Ale is a beer made for relaxing–hardly the image of Moses at work.
Famously, his nemesis Jane Jacobs was an unabashed beer drinker, frequenting the White Horse Tavern on Hudson Street where she fraternized with her Village neighbors. Could the act of clinking a cold one (or in Moses’ case, not) explain much of the difference between these icons of New York urbanism?
Glimpses of New York and Amsterdam in 2040 at the Center for Architecture (through September 10) is a clarion call for designers to redefine sustainability in architecture. Though it didn’t start with this intention, the visions of 10 young architecture firms imagining future landscapes of New York and Amsterdam raise questions about what changes are imminent for urban development and what part architects can play. The projects suggest both practical and fantastical interventions to improve the prospect of urban growth in the face of ecological, geographic, and demographic shifts.
Knoll Textiles, 1945–2010
Bard Graduate Center Gallery
18 West 86th Street
Through July 31
A new show at the Bard Graduate Center (BGC) takes a comprehensive look at the history and influence of Knoll Textiles, both as a brand and a company. It also aims to bring to light the importance of textiles in relation to modern design. Curated by a multidisciplinary team (Earl Martin, associate curator at the BGC; Paul Makovsky, editorial director of Metropolis magazine; Angela Völker, Curator Emeritus of Textiles at Vienna’s MAK; and Susan Ward, an independent textile historian) the exhibit features 175 examples of textiles, furniture, and photographs that explore the innovations, from production of materials to marketing, during the 1940s through the 1960s.
Prepared Motors. Included in recent news from BLDGBLOG, Swiss artist Zimoun installs a series of sound sculptures. Each cardboard piece, comprised of micro-mechanisms, projects subtle sound upon interaction. Watch the following video for the installation plus movement.
Renovation Take-over. The New York Times reveals that the Randhurst Mall, just outside Chicago in Mt. Prospect, plans to undergo serious renovation. The indoor mid-century shopping center will take on a new look with a $190 million renovation. Expect commercial transformation as the mall goes outdoors, for which it will destroy most original elements in favor of an open air shopping experience.
Highline 2.0. If you haven’t heard, the second phase of everyone’s favorite park, the Highline, opened this week, stretching from 20th to 30th streets through New York’s Chelsea neighborhood. The NYC Economic Development Corporation snuck onto the elevated railway before the official opening and has put together a fascinating before-and-after display.
The Design Sector. Archinect features a report from the Center for an Urban Future that specifies the capacity of New York City’s architecture and design sector and encourages its continued growth. The report reviews the “untapped potential” despite a remarkable 40,470 designers currently based in the Metropolitan area.
AOL’s New Offices Are Snazzy: Fast Company has a slideshow of interior shots of AOL’s new offices in Palo Alto. The space was designed to be bright and collaborative. “This being a tech company, naturally, it’s got a game room, too,” writes Suzanne LaBarre. The interiors are the work of Studio O+A, which has designed offices for other Internet companies like Yelp, Facebook and PayPal.
Philly Set For a Makeover: Sometimes it seems like Philly is the East Coast city people love to hate on for its small size, poor public transit and high crime rates. That may change soon with a new comprehensive plan for the city that could include: “more open space, bike lanes and preservation efforts, as well as specific goals including an extension of the Broad Street subway to the Navy Yard, an east Market Street that can really be Philly’s ‘Main Street’, a waterfront lined with parks.”
NYC’s Lesson for LA: New York Transportation Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan blogs on how Los Angeles can learn from New York City’s Plaza program. It’s the quintessential showdown of cities: New York, a dense metropolis where most native-born teens don’t even have their driver’s licenses, and LA, a sprawling auto-centric city. There’s even a book called “New York and Los Angeles” that says so. Sadik-Khan’s piece is part of Streetsblog’s new series on how the best transportation practices in other cities can be adapted for LA.
Brownwashing Republicans: Grist has a list of 10 Republican politicians who are backtracking on pro-environment statements they’ve made in the past. The #1 offender is presidential candidate Newt Gingrich, who called for climate action in a 2008 ad for Al Gore’s Alliance for Climate Protection. Earlier this year, he said, “”I would not adopt massively expensive plans over a theory.”
Otherworldly: Optical Delusions and Small Realities
Museum of Arts and Design
2 Columbus Circle
Opening June 7
Otherworldly: Optical Delusions and Small Realities showcases the construction of small hand-built artificial environments and alternative realities as sculpture and for film. It explores the increasing interest in creating things by hand, as digital technology becomes a bigger part of our lives. The exhibit, which features models, snow globes, photographs, and video, seeks to reflect a meaningful engagement with materials and attention to detail. Works include the Chadwicks’ diorama of a microbrewery and Alan Wolfson’s recreation of a tri-level cross-section of Canal Street, above.