Parks & Relocation: NYC’s Adrian Benepe Bows Out to Veronica White

National
Monday, June 18, 2012
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Parks Commissioner Adrian Benepe with Van Alen's Abby Hamlin and AN exec editor Bill Menking in January, 2011. (AN/Stoelker)

Parks Commissioner Adrian Benepe with Van Alen's Abby Hamlin and AN exec editor Bill Menking in January, 2011. (AN/Stoelker)

With just a year and a half left of Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s tenure remaining, the first of his major appointees, New York City Parks Commissioner Adrian Benepe, is moving on. Under Benepe, the Parks Department was transformed on a scale that approached the early tenure of Robert Moses. Since his appointment in 2002, the commissioner oversaw the largest expansion of waterfront parks like Brooklyn Bridge Park, embraced public-private partnerships as seen on the High Line, and distributed more than $250 million in Croton Water Filtration funds to small pocket parks throughout the Bronx.

Continue reading after the jump.

Willets Point Brings Retail Revelry, Puts Housing on Back Burner

East
Thursday, June 14, 2012
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The retain and entertainment complex to abut the west side of Citi Field.

The retain and entertainment complex to abut the west side of Citi Field.

Mayor Bloomberg evoked Fitzgerald today when he announced the deal between Sterling Equities and Related Companies to revamp Willets Point. “Today the ‘valley of ashes’ is well on its way to becoming the site of historic private investment,” the mayor said in a statement, referring to the gritty midpoint between Gatsby’s West Egg manse and Manhattan. The plan pegs its success to a  mega entertainment/retail hub just west of the stadium, that sounds very much a part of a trend in projects that used to be called malls, but are now called retail/entertainment attractions (see also the aptly named American Dream in NJ).

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Eyes on the Riverbanks in Northern Manhattan

East
Friday, June 8, 2012
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Yes, this is Manhattan. The view north on the Hudson, Inwood Hill at right and the Palisades at left. (AN/Stoelker)

As AN reported back in February, things are looking up for the Parks Department’s Lighthouse Link project that will revamp the riverfront from the George Washington Bridge to the Dyckman Marina, named for the Little Red Lighthouse beneath the bridge. The project will be capped with riverside restaurant at Dyckman called La Marina with spectacular views overlooking the New Jersey Palisades. The all-season pavilion designed by architect Andrew Franz appears close to completion and the Metropolitan Waterfront Alliance (MWA) is still hammering away at a plan that could very well provide public access to the river for launching kayaks and the mooring for historic tall ships.  Roland Lewis, president  of MWA,  used a theater term to describe the access to the water. “It’s like breaking down the fourth wall,” he said. Indeed, as a recent kayak trip through the area revealed a view from the water drastically alters ones perseption of the city.

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Cornell Chooses Thom Mayne; SOM Forges Ahead with Master Plan

East, Newsletter
Wednesday, May 9, 2012
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Cornell has made an object-ive choice in Thom Mayne. (Brnandon Thomas / Flickr)

Cornell has made an object-ive choice in Thom Mayne. (Brnandon Thomas / Flickr)

Cornell University has named 2005 Pritzker Prize winner Thom Mayne as architect for the first building at its Tech Campus on Roosevelt Island called the Technion-Cornell Innovation Institute. The selection should overshadow some sour grapes that were emanating from Stanford in the past few days regarding their losing bid. Mayne bested an all-star list, including Rem Koolhaas of OMA, Diller, Scofidio + Renfro, Steven Holl, and SOM. The choice of Mayne, whose iconic building 41 Cooper Square still jams traffic at Astor Place, hints that Cornell is looking for a traffic stopper of its own on the East River.

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Ten Thousand Blue Citibikes to Hit New York Streets

East, Newsletter
Monday, May 7, 2012
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A Citibike demonstration at today's announcement. (Branden Klayko / AN)

A Citibike demonstration at today's announcement. (Branden Klayko / AN)

Beginning this July, thousands of bright-blue Citibikes will begin swarming the streets of Manhattan and eventually Brooklyn and Long Island City, Queens. Mayor Michael Bloomberg and NYCDOT Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan made the formal announcement today that Citibank has signed on as the official sponsor for the city’s new bike share system.

More after the jump.

Big Bucks for Big Dredge.  A $250 million influx will make way for ever-larger cargo vessels. As we reported yesterday, New York’s Vision2020 plan is well on its way toward becoming a legal reality. Mayor Bloomberg has now backed up the plan with substantial infrastructure. Together with Port Authority Director Patrick Foye, the mayor today announced a $250 million economic development package to facilitate dredging the Harbor and dropping the water main that runs from Brooklyn to Staten Island to 100 feet underground. The deeper channels will accommodate the mega cargo ships that fit through the expanded Panama canal that will be completed in 2014. The next generation of boats are about double the size of todays ships.

 

Willets Point to Rise from Ashes

East, Newsletter
Tuesday, April 3, 2012
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The city's plans for Willets Point took a giant step forward with federal approval of highway ramps (Courtesy NYCEDC).

The city's plans for Willets Point took a giant step forward with federal approval of highway ramps (Courtesy NYCEDC).

In Fitzgerald’s Great Gatsby the billboard eyes of Doctor T. J. Eckleburg kept watch over the ash heaps near Willets Point. For the past four years Mayor Bloomberg has had his eyes steadfastly fixed on the site and it looks as though he may realize his vision of the area as a mixed use development. Today Crain’s reports that a key part of the redevelopment plan, ramps connecting to the Van Wyck Expressway, was approved by the Federal Highway Administration.

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Facing Threats BMW Guggenheim Lab Swerves Away from Berlin.  Facing Threats BMW Guggenheim Lab Swerves Away from Berlin While the commercialization of museums raises eyebrows in some circles in America, in Germany such criticism is much more forceful and threatening. Activist groups have derailed the planned May 24th opening in Berlin of the BMW Guggenheim lab, according to Bloomberg News. They  argued that the mobile lab–which debuted in New York and is traveling the globe, all bankrolled by the German luxury carmaker–would accelerate the gentrification of the Kreuzberg district. The Guggenheim has faced criticism for its sponsors and activities many times before, so this episode is not likely to spur much institutional reflection. According to the report, the Museum is currently shopping for a new host city.

 

More Eyes on Rudolph’s Threatened Orange County Government Center.  More Eyes on Rudolph's Threatened Orange County Government Center Recently AN put a spotlight on Rudolph’s threatened Orange County Government Center, through photos and reporting, and many others are coming to defense of this challenging and bewitching building. The World Monuments Fund declared the building a culturally significant site, and a local group is protesting the planned demolition. Bloomberg’s James S. Russell just visited, declaring it, “insistently attention-grabbing in photos, the building reveals a surprising delicacy in person. Rudolph’s complicated shape-making domesticates the building’s institutional scale.”  Will prominent architects from around the country rally to around Rudolph’s singular creation? Time is running out.

 

Robert Yaro, “Securing New York’s Future: Towards a 4th Regional Plan for the NYC Metro Area”

Other
Friday, March 2, 2012
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Robert D. Yaro is the President of Regional Plan Association, America’s oldest independent metropolitan policy, research and advocacy group. Based in Manhattan, RPA promotes plans, policies and investments needed to improve the quality of life and competitiveness of the New York Metropolitan Region, America’s largest urban area. Mr. Yaro Co-chairs the Empire State Transportation Alliance and the Friends of Moynihan Station, and is Vice President of the Forum for Urban Design. He serves on Mayor Bloomberg’s Sustainability Advisory Board, which helped prepare PlaNYC 2030, New York City’s new long-range sustainability plan.

Since 2001 Mr. Yaro has been Professor of Practice in City and Regional Planning at the University of Pennsylvania. He also taught at Harvard University and the University of Massachusetts.

He holds a Masters Degree in City and Regional Planning from Harvard University (MCRP ’76) and a Bachelors Degree in Urban Studies from Wesleyan University.

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EVENT> Architecture Criticism Today: February 27 in NYC

East
Wednesday, February 22, 2012
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**2/27 Breaking news: The New Yorker‘s Paul Goldberger will be joining the panel discussion. Critical mass!

Monday, February 27
Architecture Criticism Today
6:00pm-8:00pm
Center for Architecture
536 LaGuardia Place

Who is best served by criticism? Who is the proper audience? Can it simultaneously serve the profession and the wider public, or are they mutually exclusive? How has role of general-interest media critics evolved? As a project comes to life, at what point(s) should critics weigh in?

The first of a four-part series on Architecture and the Media will address some of these questions, when architecture critics discuss the role of criticism in the field of architecture today and how it informs the general public’s understanding of design.

AN‘s executive editor Julie Iovine will moderate a panel discussion among architecture critics at consumer, business and trade publications: Justin Davidson (New York Magazine), Cathleen McGuigan (Architectural Record), and James Russell (Bloomberg), with audience Q&A to follow.

1.5 CEUs; $10 for members and students; $20 non-members. TICKETS

Organized by the Oculus Committee, the AIANY Marketing & PR Committee, and The Architect’s Newspaper.

Brooklyn Skyscraper District Clears Key Council Vote

East
Wednesday, January 25, 2012
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Brooklyn's borough hall sits at the heart of the new historic district.

Brooklyn's Borough Hall sits at the heart of the new historic district.

Despite a very public effort by the Real Estate Board of New York (REBNY) to stop City Council’s landmarks subcommittee from approving Downtown Brooklyn’s skyscraper district, the measure passed, paving the way for a full Council vote on February 1.  As the proposed district always had full support of Council Member Stephen Levin and Borough President Marty Markowitz, it wasn’t likely that REBNY’s shot across the bow would make much of a difference. But it may point to a more assertive stance by the group which has been decrying layers of regulations from Lanmarks and ULURP.

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