New Queens Public Plaza Shows Public Space Doesn’t Take All That Much

Bliss Plaza. (Courtesy NYC DOT)

Bliss Plaza. (Courtesy NYC DOT)

A new public plaza in Sunnyside, Queens proves that creating inviting public space doesn’t require lots of money and a lengthy design process – especially in a crowded city like New York. That’s certainly the case with Bliss Plaza, a recently-opened plaza tucked underneath the tracks of the 7 train. Frankly, there’s not all that much to it – save for a new sidewalk, some planters, and a handful of bright bistro tables and chairs. But here’s what Bliss Plaza does have: People. And that’s the key.

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New York City allocates $5.8 million to stabilize Philip Johnson’s New York State Pavilion

The Tent of Tomorrow. (Henry Melcher / AN)

The Tent of Tomorrow. (Henry Melcher / AN)

After decaying for years, the New York State Pavilion from the 1964 World’s Fair is getting some TLC. The New York Times reported that $5.8 million was allocated in New York City’s budget to stabilize the Philip Johnson–designed pavilion in Queens.

More after the jump.

New York City Traffic Safety Laws Signed by Mayor De Blasio Seek To Strengthen Vision Zero Plan

Mayor de Blasio signing the legislation on Monday. (New York City Mayor's Office)

Mayor de Blasio signing the legislation on Monday. (New York City Mayor’s Office)

In his ongoing effort to eliminate traffic fatalities through Vision Zero, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio has signed 11 new traffic safety bills. According to Streetsblog, the bills “suspend the licenses of dangerous taxi drivers, require the installation of 20 mph Slow Zones, and make it a misdemeanor to strike a pedestrian or cyclist with the right of way, among other changes.”

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Obit> Dr. Alan Friedman, 1942-2014

East, Obit
Friday, May 16, 2014
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Aerial view of the NY Hall of Science Playground, completed in 2007. (Jeff Goldberg/Esto)

Aerial view of the NY Hall of Science Playground, completed in 2007. (Jeff Goldberg/Esto)

We love all of our clients equally… but Dr. Alan Friedman we really, really loved. We should all be so fortunate as to work with someone as generous, curious, optimistic yet not unrealistic, trusting, and somehow always fun.

BKSK worked with him on two ambitious permanent outdoor exhibits (collectively the NY Hall of Science Playground) approximately ten years apart, and in between were tapped for various smaller tasks. So lightning, for us, struck more than once. The beginning of any project was, following that metaphor, electrifying.

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Michael Kimmelman Proposes A Queens-Brooklyn Waterfront Streetcar

The proposed streetcar route. (Courtesy New York Times)

The proposed streetcar route. (Courtesy New York Times)

As development along the Brooklyn and Queens’ waterfront has increased dramatically over the years, transportation options—for residents old and new—has not. The number of glass towers, startups, and parks along the East River has only been matched by style pieces on new “it” neighborhoods from Astoria to Red Hook. But, now, the New York Times’ Michael Kimmelman has used his platform to launch a plan to change that equation, and give these neighborhoods the transportation system they deserve.

Continue reading after the jump.

Architects Propose Parametric “Urban Alloy Towers” Bridging a Train Yard in Queens

The Urban Alloy Towers. (Courtesy AMLGM)

The Urban Alloy Towers. (Courtesy AMLGM)

Why cap a transit hub with traditional, mixed-use towers when it can be topped by an amorphous, alien-like, tubular, metallic structurethat seemingly defies gravity? That, apparently, was the thinking behind AMLGM’s “Urban Alloy” proposal for Queens, New York. Their dramatic proposal, which bends and twists above an existing transportation center, includes retail, office, cultural, and residential space within its metallic skin.

More after the jump.

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New York City’s Vision Zero Arrives on Atlantic Avenue with “Arterial Slow Zones”

DOT Commissioner Trottenberg Announces Atlantic Avenue "Slow Zone." (Flickr / NYC DOT)

DOT Commissioner Trottenberg Announces Atlantic Avenue “Slow Zone.” (Flickr / NYC DOT)

Vision Zero is coming to Brooklyn and Queens‘ Atlantic Avenue. Nearly eight miles of the notoriously dangerous thoroughfare will be transformed into the first of 25 planned “arterial slow zones.” Last Wednesday—at the busy corner of Atlantic and Washington avenues—Department of Transportation Commissioner Polly Trottenberg announced that the city is taking immediate steps to save lives by reducing the street’s speed limit from 30MPH to 25.

More after the jump.

Yeezus! What a Jury! The Living and The Dead at MoMA PS1’s Young Architects Program

Design, East, Eavesdroplet
Thursday, April 10, 2014
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The Living's pavilion, Hy-Fi. (Courtesy The Living)

The Living’s pavilion, Hy-Fi. (Courtesy The Living)

The MoMA PS 1 jury process that selected the “100 percent organic pavilion Hy-Fi” for its 2014 pavilion may have been a contentious group. The museum announced last month that David Benjamin, the principal of Brooklyn-based firm The Living, would design the temporary structure. But several sources have told Eavesdrop that one of the short listed firms (Collective-LOK, PARA-Project, WOJR, over,under, Fake Industries Architectural Agonism, LAMAS, Pita + Bloom) was in fact told that it—not Benjamin—had won the design competition.

The story unfolds after the jump…

Holl’s Pricey New Library in Queens Must Tone it Down a Notch

Development, East, News, Newsletter
Friday, April 4, 2014
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Rendering for Hunters Point Community Library. (Courtesy Steven Holl Architects)

Rendering for Hunters Point Community Library. (Courtesy Steven Holl Architects)

Looks like Steven Holl’s impressive design for a new library in Queens, New York costs quite a bit more than expected. DNA Info reported that bids for the 21,000-square-foot project came in about $10-20 million over budget. But that doesn’t mean the project is dead just yet. While the city has nixed a planned geothermal heating and cooling system, is swapping customized interior fixtures for standard ones, and is replacing the aluminum façade with painted concrete, they say the library will stay true to its original design.

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Grocery Store Tycoon John Catsimatidis Wants to Save Philip Johnson’s New York State Pavilion

Development, East, Preservation
Monday, March 31, 2014
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John Catsimatidis wants to save the NY State Pavilion. ( David Tan / Flickr)

John Catsimatidis wants to save the NY State Pavilion. ( David Tan / Flickr)

John Catsimatidis, the billionaire-grocery-store-tycoon-turned-failed-mayoral-candidate said he will write a check to save Philip Johnson’s iconic New York State Pavilion in Queens, New York. That is, if someone presents him with the right “visionary” plan.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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AIA NY Announces Winners of Queensway Design Competition

Qway PresRelease Winners-4

Queens Bilboard by Nikolay Martynov (Courtesy Nikolay Martynov/ENYA)

The winners of the AIA New York‘s biennial design competition have been been announced. The Emerging New York Architects (ENYA) committee selected from 120 proposals submitted as a part of QueensWay Connection: Elevating the Public Realm, which was intended to drum up ideas that would contribute to the proposed re-purposing of an elevated railway in Queens. Entrants were tasked with designing a vertical gateway for the elevated viaduct portion of the 3.5 mile–long track currently under consideration for the High Line treatment.

More winners after the jump.

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

dot_changes_16bdot_changes_16a

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.

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