Earlier this week, Manhattan Borough President and City Controller candidate Scott Stringer announced his $1 million pledge to restore a historic Harlem fire watchtower at the heart of Marcus Garvey Park. In the 19th century, the 47-foot tower served as a lookout point and the bell was raised in case of imminent danger. Today, the tower no longer protects the community but threatens it, showing substantial signs of decay and neglect.
Running a tight race against Eliot Spitzer, Stringer lags behind the former governor in terms of African American votes and is thus seeking to salvage one of the community’s most valued landmarks. The past few days, he has generated good publicity from his ability and desire to fund this restoration project.The $1 million provided by Stringer, along with the $1.75 million contributed by Councilmember Inez Dickens and $1.25 million by Mayor Bloomberg will be used to preserve the tower. The project includes a full restoration of the tower’s cast-iron structure, the removal of deficient parts, and the additional construction of a stainless steel support system.
It has been several years in the making, but now the industrial strip along Brooklyn’s polluted Gowanus Canal will finally be transformed into a lush and porous green space aptly named The Gowanus Canal Sponge Park that will soak up and filter rainwater to help improve the overall water quality along the waterway. This $1.5 million project, a collaboration between the Gowanus Canal Conservancy and landscape architecture firm dlandstudio, will finally get off the ground with the help of city, state, and federal funding.
On the roof of a construction site in Greenpoint, Brooklyn Monday, U.S. Department of Housing & Urban Development (HUD) Secretary Shaun Donovan announced the release of a new report outlining 69 rebuilding strategies designed to both help Hurricane Sandy–ravaged communities and to serve as a model for coastal regions across the country that are vulnerable to storm surges and rising sea levels. Close to the waterfront, the site overlooked the Newtown Creek Wastewater Treatment Plant—one of the few sewage treatment facilities to survive Sandy intact. It was a fitting place for Secretary Donovan, who also serves as chair of the Hurricane Sandy Rebuilding Task Force, to introduce this bundle of new recommendations that address both immediate and long-term needs of coastal communities, including resilient and region-wide approaches to rebuilding and infrastructure investment. A number of the initiatives in the report, such as HUD’s “Rebuild by Design” competition, are already underway.
Spreading out across 10,000 acres of parkland, Jamaica Bay in Queens, New York will now serve as the focus of a new science and resilience institute spearheaded by the City University of New York (CUNY) to understand how urban ecosystems respond to changing weather patterns and global warming. The CUNY-led research consortium, temporarily housed on Brooklyn College’s campus, will collaborate with other leading New York institutions to study the efficacy of natural flood protections, such as dunes and salt marshes, in safeguarding New York’s coastline. These findings will benefit and be applicable to other cities and regions that are vulnerable to flooding as sea levels rise and storms become more frequent and powerful.
Last fall, new data revealed that Bank of America Tower at One Bryant Park, revered since its 2010 opening as one of the most sustainable skyscrapers in the world, is actually a bigger energy hog than similar New York City buildings. As the first skyscraper to earn a LEED-Platinum certification, the BOA Tower, designed by COOKFOX, was praised by press, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, and former Vice President Al Gore, who is currently a tenant. Yet, despite its superb rating and efficiency promises, Sam Roudman of The New Republic reports that the high-rise “produces more greenhouse gases and uses more energy per square foot than any comparably sized office building in Manhattan,” including its similarity with a lower LEED rating, the Goldman Sachs headquarters.
Last week, Manhattan Borough President Scott M. Stringer and City Council Speaker Christine C. Quinn announced an $8 million achievement of capital funding for the East River Blueway proposal for redevelopment of the Brooklyn Bridge Beach. The proposal, set by President Stringer and Assemblyman Kavanagh in collaboration with WXY architecture + urban design, will redesign and improve the stretch of East River greenway in Lower Manhattan from East 38th Street to the Brooklyn Bridge.
In just a few years, visitors will stand atop an 80-foot-tall hill on Governors Island and enjoy sweeping vistas of New York Harbor, the Statue of Liberty, and the Manhattan skyline. Today Mayor Bloomberg broke ground on The Hills, a new 11-acre stretch of green space, that is part of Governors Island Park, and one feature of landscape architecture firm West 8’s expansive 30-acre Public Space Master Plan that was first unveiled in 2010.
Since Mayor Bloomberg’s plan to rezone midtown east was first announced, it has stirred debate among local stakeholders, preservationists, and advocacy groups. Now Department of City Planning has offered up a set of new amendments—in the “A Text” section of the proposal—that responds to some of these key concerns expressed by New Yorkers while also serving the primary goal of the rezoning: To support and boost the growth of midtown’s competitive office district.
[ Editor's Note: Peter Murray, of the New London Architecture center, together with a dozen architects and planners, is biking from Portland, Oregon to Portland Place in London, studying how cities are responding to the demand for better cycling infrastructure. He reports from the start of his ride. The Architect’s Newspaper is USA media sponsor of the trip and will post periodic updates of these architects on bicycles. ]
At the beginning of last week we finished the first major leg of the tour – we arrived in New York. After nearly 4,000 miles of riding the group took the Hoboken Ferry to 39th Street, cycled a short way up the West Hudson Greenway and then crosstown into Times Square.
The Greenway is one of the best bits of cycling infrastructure in the city and forms part of the Hudson River Park, a series of landscaping and regeneration projects on the site of the old docks and a fantastic new public amenity. The pedestrianisation of Times Square and the cycle route along Broadway are the most visible of the improvements to the public realm engineered over the last decade by the Bloomberg administration, led by the charismatic Department of Transport (DoT) Commissioner Janette Sadik Khan. So popular is the area with pedestrians and tourists that we found it hard to cycle through the crush when we arrived there; but the huge digital screens that cover every building in the Square provided a photogenic backdrop.
Wednesday, June 26, 2013
A discussion on Micro-housing by n Architects – Winners of the adAPT NYC Competiton
The success of Global Capital Cities, such as New York, increasingly resides in their respective abilities to meet economic and social demands through initiatives that intensify residential, commercial and recreational land use. Vishaan Chakrabarti, author of ‘A Country of Cities’, moderates this Global Dialogue on issues of density that will include Mimi Hoang of nArchitects, discussing the specifics of mircohousing in NYC and James Von Kemperer FAIA, Design Principal of KPF on proposals for Manhattan’s Midtown East that will potentially further ‘densify’ one of the City’s cores. Bloomberg News Architectural Design Critic James Russell, FAIA, will review the importance of cities to be ‘agile’ in adapting to current demands that necessitate changes in land use and infrastructure, such as the mayor’s post-sandy proposals for densification of New York’s edges. The program will also touch on issues of transport, zoning and government process.
Chicago’s bike-for-rent made its test premiere during the annual “Bike the Drive” event on the Windy City’s Lake Shore thoroughfare Sunday, and Wednesday opened the new service for membership sign-ups.
Chicago’s Department of Transportation unveiled its bike share plans in April, tapping Portland, OR–based Alta Bicycle Share, which also runs New York and DC’s bike-share programs, to roll out 400 stations and about 4,000 three-speed “Chicago Blue” bicycles across the city.