At a recent transportation forum hosted by the New York Building Congress, New York City Transportation Commissioner, Polly Trottenberg, laid-out her agenda for the city’s streets. She said implementing Mayor de Blasio’s Vision Zero plan to reduce traffic fatalities remains the department’s first priority, but made clear that, under her leadership, the NYCDOT will be doing more than safety upgrades.
Trottenberg praised her predecessor, Janette Sadik-Khan, for “cracking some eggs” and fighting for bike lanes, bikeshare, Select Bus Service, and pedestrian plazas when it was not politically popular to do so. She explained that Sadik-Khan’s commitment to these types of programs—and the Bloomberg administration’s ability to realize them—makes her job that much easier. The challenge now is keeping up with the demand for new public space.
[ Editor's Note: The following are reader-submitted responses in reference to William Menking’s editorial “Will de Blasio Make Progress on Design?” (AN 05_04.09.2014). Opinions expressed in letters to the editor do not necessarily reflect the opinions or sentiments of the newspaper. AN welcomes reader letters, which could appear in our regional print editions. To share your opinion, please email email@example.com. ]
In your editorial “Will de Blasio Make Progress on Design?”, you seem to suggest that there is an inherent conflict between the development priorities of the new administration and the accepted tenets of good urban design. We disagree.
At this point, the record breaking sales of luxury apartments in Midtown are not really news. As the towers rise higher, so do the prices. This has been the trend for quite some time and it shows no signs of slowing down. With that said, did you hear about the one Downtown? Bloomberg reported that the nine-story penthouse at Cass Gilbert’s Woolworth Building is expected to be listed for $110 million. The top 30 floors of the tower are currently being converted into luxury apartments, but the penthouse is quite literally Woolworth’s crown jewel—and it is priced as such.
New York City’s bike share system, Citi Bike has had a rough first year. The bikes are in bad shape, the docking technology is glitchy, and the system has been plagued with financial troubles for months. To make matters worse for the beleaguered program, New York City is asking Alta Bikeshare—the company which oversees Citi Bike—to cough up $1 million to cover lost parking revenue from the parking spaces the bike stations occupy.
The Center for Active Design celebrated its first annual Awards Monday night with gathering at the “WeWork” space, The Lounge, on Lafayette Street. The celebration followed the “Fit City 9” conference earlier in the day at the New School.
Founded in 2013, the Center for Active Design (CfAD) continues the work started under the Bloomberg administration to effect change in the built environment that promotes public health. In addition to its work promoting the Active Design Guidelines, the Center this year gave several awards to built projects that exemplify the principles espoused in the guidelines. A jury including the Center board chair (and former DDC Commissioner) David Burney, Signe Neilson (landscape architect and chair of the NYC Public Design Commission), Christine Johnson Curtis (Assistant Commissioner at the NYC Department of Health andf a CfAD board member) and AN‘s editor-in-chief William Menking, selected 4 projects for awards, with two honorable mentions.
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio has been promising to “preserve or construct” nearly 200,000 units of affordable housing since his days as the most unlikely of mayoral contenders. Since stepping into City Hall, the mayor has repeated that pledge nearly every chance he gets. But while the affordable housing plan is one of his central policy issues, it’s still not clear how the city can hit the mayor’s magic number. That should change this week when de Blasio’s housing team releases their detailed plan of action. Before that plan is released, however, AN asked some of the city’s leading architects, advocates, and planners what they hope to see in the team’s path forward.
Richard Rogers Theater
226 West 46th Street, New York
Scheduled to play through October 12, 2014
THINK OF EACH PLAZA, PIER, AND PUBLIC PARK—
HOW MANY SIT THERE EMPTY, LONELY, DARK—
The Broadway musical If/Then starts in Madison Square Park with its unmistakable folding seats, tables, and umbrellas, a signature of Janette Sadik-Khan’s overhauling of public spaces during the Bloomberg administration. In this musical by Tom Kitt and Brian Yorkey (the team behind Next to Normal) city planner Elizabeth (Idina Menzel) returns to New York from Arizona where she’s just gotten out of a failed marriage—and urban sprawl.
Join us for an illustrated talk and book signing by film historian and documentary writer James Sanders on the new edition of Scenes from the City: Filmmaking in New York. This revised and expanded edition, first published in 2006, is a celebration of the rise of New York-shot films, covering in particular the decades since NYC aggressively promoted the film industry through the Mayor’s Office of Film, Theatre and Broadcasting, established in 1966. James Sanders updates the past dozen years of filmmaking under the Bloomberg admnistration and adds a section on women filmmakers, as well as rare, behind-the-scenes shots directly from studio archives. The book also explores the recent growth of the City’s television industry. Today the entertainment industry employs 130,000 New Yorkers and contributes more than $7 billion to the local economy each year.
James Sanders, an architect, co-wrote the Emmy Award-winning PBS series New York: A Documentary Film and its companion volume, New York: An Illustrated History, as well as Celluloid Skyline: New York and the Movies. He has written for the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, Vanity Fair and Architectural Record. He has also participated in important design projects in and around the city.
All guests must RSVP to programs[at]skyscraper[dot]org to assure admittance to the event. Please be aware that reservation priority is given to Members of The Skyscraper Museum. Not a member? Become a Museum member today!
The Center for Active Design has announced its first annual Excellence Awards, which recognizes the “role design plays in addressing the ongoing obesity and chronic disease epidemic.” The jury—which included AN’s William Menking—has selected winners out of more than 40 plans for buildings and public spaces that encourage healthy lifestyles. The Center, which was created under Mayor Bloomberg’s Obesity Task Force, will present the awards in New York City on May 19th. For more information on the winners and for tickets to the event, visit the Center’s website.
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio has selected Tom Finkelpearl, the Queens Museum president and executive director, as the city’s next cultural affairs commissioner. De Blasio made the announcement at the museum, which recently underwent a significant renovation led by Grimshaw Architects.
Some much-needed rent relief could be in store for over one million New Yorkers. The New York Observer reports that Mayor Bill de Blasio has appointed five “tenant-friendly” members to the city’s Rent Guidelines Board, which oversees rent increases for rent-stabilized units. During the mayoral campaign, then-candidate de Blasio was quite critical of the Board. At the time, he called for a rent freeze on some units and slammed their decision to allow 4 percent increases on one-year leases. As with most of his appointments thus far, de Blasio is signaling a clear break from his predecessor, Michael Bloomberg. A spokesperson for the de Blasio Administration told The Observer “we plan to undertake an ambitious agenda that confronts the affordability crisis facing the city’s tenants.”