Playing House: Amanda Burden Smitten With Tiny Apartments

East, Eavesdroplet
Friday, December 21, 2012
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(Courtesy of NYC Mayor's Office)

Amanda Burden stands in a full-scale floor plan of a Micro Apartment with HPD Deputy Wambua and Mayor Bloomberg. (Courtesy of NYC Mayor’s Office)

Do radically small apartments automatically beget a transient population and all that entails? That’s the fear of residents in the Kips Bay neighborhood of Manhattan, the pilot site for a new building that will be 75 percent micro-units, or apartments that total about 300 square feet each. Community Board 6 finds it hard to imagine that anyone other than students or elves would be game, but City Planning Commissioner Amanda Burden is charmed by the diminutive plans, stating at a recent presentation, “I think you’ll all agree that the apartment behind me is some place that one and two [person] households would be delighted to live in.”

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Forest City Breaks Ground at Atlantic Yards’ B2 Tower, Shows Off Modular Design

East
Wednesday, December 19, 2012
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The B2 Tower sits next to Barclays Center at Atlantic Yards. (Courtesy SHoP)

The B2 Tower sits next to Barclays Center at Atlantic Yards. (Courtesy SHoP)

At Tuesday’s groundbreaking of B2, the first 32-story residential tower to be built at Atlantic Yards in Brooklyn, New Yorkers got a sneak peek at how the world’s tallest modular building will be constructed. Just beyond the podium stood what officials call the “chassis,” a steel framed box that makes up an essential structural element of the building. “You don’t need to compromise on design when it comes to modular,” said Developer Bruce Ratner.

Continue reading after the jump.

Three Piers Down And Three To Go For Brooklyn Bridge Park

East
Thursday, December 13, 2012
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Mayor Bloomberg at the opening of Pier 5 at Brooklyn Bridge Park. (Nicole Anderson / AN)

Mayor Bloomberg at the opening of Pier 5 at Brooklyn Bridge Park. (Nicole Anderson / AN)

It has been a busy few weeks at Brooklyn Bridge Park. Last week, AN got a preview of the Squibb Pedestrian Bridge, which will be completed before the end of the year, and today, Mayor Bloomberg announced the opening of the new sports fields on Pier 5 and the nearby Picnic Peninsula, designed by Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates. Regina Myer, the President of Brooklyn Bridge Park, told the crowd that they have been advocating for these recreation fields since the mid-1980s, which will now be used for a variety of field sports including soccer, lacrosse, rugby, flag football, and cricket.

This $26 million project spans 5-acres and offers turf fields supported by shock pad and organic infill made of sand and coconut fibers, shade sails on the northern and southern sides of the pier, and lighting for evening games. In addition to field recreation, there will be an area reserved for fishing with bait and preparation tables provided and a 30-foot promenade on the periphery of the field.

Continue reading after the jump.

MAS Proposes 17 Midtown East Landmarks to Avoid “Out With The Old, In With The New”

East
Wednesday, December 12, 2012
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Yale Club.

Yale Club. (Courtesy MAS)

In response to the New York City Department of City Planning’s proposal to rezone Midtown East, the Municipal Art Society (MAS) has asked the Landmarks Preservation Commission to give landmark status to 17 buildings in the 78-block area concentrated around Grand Central Terminal. It is a last ditch effort to preserve several prominent structures—with styles ranging Beaux Arts and Renaissance Revival to Neo-Gothic and Mid-Century Modern—before Midtown gets the green light to raze old structures and erect new (and taller) buildings that provide modern features for tenants who “want open space plans” wrote the DCP in its proposal. The New York Times described the re-zoning as part of the Bloomberg administration’s vision to re-vamp midtown and turn it into a more competitive business district.

Some notable buildings that have made MAS’ list include the New York Health & Racquet Club in Gothic Revival Style, the Graybar Building with Art Deco accents, the Neo-Gothic Swedish Seamen’s Church, and the Yale Club noted for its neo-classical façade.

Check the full list after the jump.

Boston’s City Hall Hits The Road

East
Wednesday, December 12, 2012
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Boston's City Hall To Go Truck. (Courtesy Isabel Leon/City of Boston via WBUR)

Boston’s City Hall To Go Truck. (Courtesy Isabel Leon/City of Boston via WBUR)

What’s on today’s lunch menu? Well for Boston residents it may be a library card, a dog license, or even registration to vote. With Boston’s food-truck-inspired “City Hall To Go” municipal services are no longer bound to one location. A menu of seasonal services are now rolling to locations throughout the city to serve residents less able to travel to the actual city hall or navigate their website. Citizens can also report complaints at the truck.

Continue reading after the jump.

New York City Asks Designers to Reinvent the Payphone

East
Monday, December 10, 2012
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A mock-up of City 24/7 new NYC phone booth. (Courtesy NYC Department of Telecommunications)

A mock-up of City 24/7 new NYC phone booth. (Courtesy NYC Department of Telecommunications)

With the current rise of smartphones and tablet technology, it is easy for coin-operated payphones to be cast aside as archaic tools of urban communication, but with over 11,000 functioning payphones dotted across New York City alone, these sidewalk staples have become ubiquitous in the urban landscape. And as was a lesson during Hurricane Sandy and other disasters, the payphone can serve as a reliable back-up when cell phone batteries die.

But can the payphone be updated to thrive in the 21st century? New York City is enlisting designers to rethink the role of payphones in today’s New York City, with Mayor Michael Bloomberg officially announcing the “Reinvent Payphones” competition last week.

Continue reading after the jump.

Hudson Yards Breaks Ground as Manhattan’s Largest Mega-Development

East, Newsletter
Thursday, December 6, 2012
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The towers of Hudson Yards. (Courtesy Related)

The towers of Hudson Yards. (Courtesy Related)

Tuesday morning, New York’s top power brokers gathered in a muddy lot on Manhattan’s west side to mark the official groundbreaking of the 26-acre Hudson Yards mega-development. The dramatic addition to the New York skyline will comprise a completely new neighborhood of glass skyscrapers at the northern terminus of the High Line. The South Tower, the first structure to be built and the future headquarters of fashion-label Coach, will rise on the site’s southeast corner at 30th Street and 10th Avenue, where Related CEO Stephen Ross, Mayor Michael Bloomberg, and others celebrated the first turning of dirt as a large caisson machine bored into the ground.

Continue reading after the jump.

Home Is Where the Sea Box Is: Shipping Container Housing Could Help With Disaster Relief

East
Thursday, November 29, 2012
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Sea Box Prototype (Courtesy Sea Box)

Sea Box Prototype (Courtesy Sea Box)

In New York City’s post-Sandy life, the important issue of provisional housing after a disaster is more prominent than ever. Although the plans will not affect those impacted by the recent storm, over the past five years the Bloomberg administration has been quietly developing modular apartment blocks for disaster housing relief consisting of ever-adaptable shipping containers. Relief housing for future emergencies could be quickly trucked in and stacked to create housing for dozens of displaced residents.

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Toronto Bikers Revolt Against Mayor’s Attempts to Remove Bike Lanes

International
Tuesday, November 13, 2012
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Protesting bike lane removal in Toronto. (Shawn Micallef/Spacing Toronto)

Protesting bike lane removal in Toronto. (Shawn Micallef/Spacing Toronto)

Toronto Mayor Rob Ford has proven to be a controversial public figure, whether it’s unsafe reading while driving, or now, removing Toronto’s recently installed bike lanes on Jarvis Street.  Yesterday, city crews showed up in large scrubbing trucks to scrape away thin dividing lines from the street, only to encounter a small collection of riders who would not stand by idly. Instead the cyclists chose to lie down, sit, and ultimately blockade the street scrubbing vehicles, eventually forcing them to leave for the day.

But the bike lane removal protests picked up again today.

Foster, SOM and WXY Explore Grand Ideas for the Next 100 Years at Grand Central Terminal

East, Newsletter
Tuesday, October 23, 2012
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(Courtesy SOM)

(Courtesy SOM)

The neighborhood around Manhattan’s Grand Central Terminal is about to undergo monumental change as the Bloomberg administration pushes to upzone areas around Park and Madison avenues. Already, Norman Foster recently unveiled his plans for a new 425 Park tower, viewed as a precursor to what’s bound to be a taller neighborhood and the NYC Department of Transportation announced intentions to close Vanderbilt Avenue to automobile traffic to help with already-overflowing sidewalks.

But in anticipation of Warren and Wetmore‘s Grand Central celebrating its centennial next year, the Municipal Art Society (MAS) asked three firms—SOM, WXY, and Foster+Partners—to re-envision the Beaux-Arts masterpiece and its surrounding midtown neighborhood with an eye toward the train station’s next 100 years. The results of the Grand Central…The Next 100 project were unveiled at this year’s MAS Summit for New York City, which wrapped up on Friday and included both down-to-earth and fanciful visions for the future of Manhattan.

Continue reading after the jump.

After Four Decades, FDR Four Freedoms Memorial Park Dedicated

East
Wednesday, October 17, 2012
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Four Freedoms Park on Roosevelt Island. (Paul Warchol / Courtesy FDR Four Freedoms Park)

Four Freedoms Park on Roosevelt Island. (Paul Warchol / Courtesy FDR Four Freedoms Park)

This morning former President Bill Clinton, Governor Andrew Cuomo, and Mayor Michael Bloomberg joined in a dignitary-studded dedication ceremony for the long awaited Franklin D. Roosevelt Four Freedoms Memorial Park on Roosevelt Island’s southern tip. The four-acre triangular park, designed by architect Louis Kahn, features 120 Linden trees leading to a half-ton bronze bust of Roosevelt at its crest surveying the U.N. Headquarters and the East River. The sculpture by American artist Jo Davidson sits on a alcove of white granite inscribed with excerpts of the president’s renowned Four Freedoms speech.  While the forty-years-in-the-making memorial does not officially open to the public until October 24th you can catch an early glimpse on October 19th when the park will be featured as Archtober’s Building of The Day.

Check out a slideshow after the jump.

Welcome to Staten Eye-Land: World’s Tallest Ferris Wheel to Anchor New Waterfront Development

East
Thursday, September 27, 2012
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The planned New York Wheel development includes the world's tallest Ferris wheel. (Courtesy NYC Mayor's Office)

The planned New York Wheel development includes the world’s tallest Ferris wheel. (Courtesy NYC Mayor’s Office)

Today, thousands of tourists and New Yorkers make a loop on the Staten Island Ferry between the borough and Manhattan, but as soon as 2016, they will also be able to make a vertical loop on the world’s tallest Ferris wheel, anchoring a new mixed-use project on the North Shore waterfront in St. George. Mayor Bloomberg today unveiled plans for Harbor Commons, which includes 350,000 square feet of retail space for 100 outlet mall stores, a 200-room, 120,000 square foot hotel, and a massive green-roofed parking structure, but all eyes were on the project’s neighbor; the 625-foot-tall New York Wheel will offer stunning views of New York City and its Harbor to an estimated 4.5 million people per year.

COntinue reading after the jump.

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