Growing Season in Full Swing at New York City’s Largest Rooftop Farm

East
Friday, August 3, 2012
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Mayor Bloomberg, Department of Environmental Protection Commissioner Strickland, Brooklyn Navy Yard Development Corporation CEO Kimball and Brooklyn Grange CEO Ben Flanner today toured the largest rooftop farm in New York City. (Edward Reed)

Mayor Bloomberg, Department of Environmental Protection Commissioner Strickland, Brooklyn Navy Yard Development Corporation CEO Kimball and Brooklyn Grange CEO Ben Flanner today toured the largest rooftop farm in New York City. (Edward Reed)

Urban rooftop farming is on the up-and-up in New York City and across the country. Putting his official stamp of approval on the movement, New York Mayor Bloomberg stopped by the city’s largest rooftop farm, the 43,000-square-foot Brooklyn Grange atop a building in the Brooklyn Navy Yard. With the growing season in full swing, the plants were towering nearly as high as the Manhattan skyline in the distance.

Continue reading after the jump.

Will New York’s Bike Lanes Last? Gil Penalosa Addresses the Planning Commission

East
Tuesday, July 24, 2012
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The 8th Avenue Complete Streets program keeps cyclists safe from cars and car doors. (Courtesy NYCDOT)

The 8th Avenue Complete Streets program keeps cyclists safe from cars and their doors. (Courtesy NYCDOT)

With only 75 weeks left in New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s administration, cyclists the city over will inevitably be concerned about the next mayor’s stance on bike lanes and street designs lest initiatives put in place under Bloomberg fall from grace. One need only to recall Marty Markowitz’s parodic tricycle stunts poking fun at bike lanes or former NYC DOT commissioner Iris Weinshall’s efforts to remove a protected bike lane from Brooklyn’s Prospect Park West to realize that the concern is not unfounded.

At yesterday’s regularly-scheduled City Planning review session, former Bogotá Parks Commissioner Gil Penalosa was invited to give a pep talk, placing a particular emphasis on bike lanes. He warned an audience filled with commissioners and planning staff that as the weeks wind down before the mayor leaves office, they’d better get cracking at PR and permanence: the public needs to become even more familiar with the bike network and the infrastructure needs to become permanent—and striped bike lanes won’t cut it!

Continue reading after the jump.

Andrew Blum Book Talk: Tubes: A Journey to the Center of the Internet

Other
Friday, June 29, 2012
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Andrew Blum Book Talk
Tubes: A Journey to the Center of the Internet
(Ecco, an imprint of HarperCollins; June 2012)

Everyone thinks they know the Internet. The most powerful information network ever conceived—an indispensable tool and constant companion in both our professional and personal lives. We’re all connected but connected to what? In TUBES: A Journey to the Center of the Internet by Andrew Blum, acclaimed young journalist Andrew Blum takes readers on a fascinating journey to find out.

Andrew Blum writes about architecture, infrastructure and technology for many publications, including The New Yorker, the New York Times, Bloomberg BusinessWeek,, Slate, and Popular Science. He is a correspondent for Wired, a contributing editor to Metropolis, and lives in his hometown of New York City.

The gallery and exhibition are open for viewing from 6 pm. Please RSVP to programs[at]skyscraper[dot]org

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Benepe Walks the Ten-Minute Walk

East
Tuesday, June 19, 2012
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At the opening of the Dutch Pavilion, Benepe expounds on Dutch symbols found in NYC's flag.

At the opening of the Dutch Pavilion, Benepe expounds on Dutch symbols found in NYC's flag. (AN/Stoelker)

Gone will be the miniature civic history lessons that punctuated ribbon-cutting speeches made by Parks Commissioner Adrian Benepe. With yesterday’s announcement that the commissioner is moving on to the non-profit Trust for Public Land (TPL), the plaudits are pouring in. But as the Bloomberg Administration begins is slow-motion wind down, New Yorkers should be wary of comparisons to the “good” Robert Moses, builder of parks and playgrounds, despite the scale of public works undertaken under Bloomberg. But in terms of Parks, there is little doubt that Benepe’s tenure was historic in scope.

Now, one of the mayor’s signature initiatives—that a park be within a ten minute walk from every home—is about to go national. But will what flies in NYC fly in Louisville? “If I’ve learned one or two things in this job it’s that no one model will work for every situation,” he said in a telephone interview yesterday.

Continue reading after the jump.

Mayor’s Challenge Seeks the Next Big Idea for City Life

National
Monday, June 18, 2012
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With nine million dollars total in prizes up for grabs, The Mayor’s Challenge simply asks for innovations in city life, a subject that’s been a growing concern for countless architects, planners, and governments worldwide. New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg announced the competition last week calling for individual designers and teams to address urban challenges from sustainability to citizen empowerment. “Every day, mayors around America are tackling increasingly complex problems with fewer and fewer resources,” Bloomberg said in a statement. “Our cities are uniquely positioned to inspire and foster the innovation, creativity, and solutions needed to improve people’s lives and move America forward.”

Continue reading after the jump.

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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