Posts tagged with "NYC":

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New York State Senate and Assembly bill calls for removal of residential FAR cap

One of the biggest changes in decades to New York City’s zoning may be coming. The Municipal Art Society of New York (MAS) sent out a memo and statement regarding Senate Bill 5469 and Assembly Bill 7807 which would change the Floor Area Ratio (FAR) for the city of New York. The city’s current residential FAR cap, set at 12, has not changed since 1961. This bill looks to eliminate the cap by amending the Multiple Dwelling Law. If the FAR cap is removed, many of New York City’s high-density residential neighborhoods could experience added levels of density. MAS has expressed its disapproval of this bill, fearing that its passing would “overburden the city’s stressed infrastructure network and crowd out light and air for neighboring properties and public spaces.” A spokesperson from sponsoring State Senator Simcha Felder has stated that the bill will be voted on tomorrow. MAS has noted that the bill has been “rushed” through the State Legislator and believe it to be at the request of the Mayor. The spokesperson mentioned that Felder sponsored the bill on behalf of the city. Another concern of MAS is that the bill’s passing could “lead to the preference for residential development in mixed use districts, as residential use commands a much higher price per square foot, compared to other uses.” Additional concerns are that the property owners could look to increase past 12 FAR, following approval of the Board of Standards and Appeals (BSA). The process to receive that approval “does not require the same level of public review” as the Uniform Land Use Review Procedure (ULURP). Ultimately, MAS and other critics of Senate Bill 5469 and Assembly Bill 7807 fear that there is not an adequate understanding of the effects of this bill if it were to pass.
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New York armory could one day be home to massive ice hockey complex

The Knightsbridge Armory in the Bronx, owned by the New York City Economic Development Corporation (NYCEDC) has been in limbo for some years now. Back in 2012, developers battled over the space becoming a Latin-infused marketplace or an ice skating rink backed by former Rangers captain Mark Messier and his firm, Kingsbridge National Ice Center. Now, Messier's proposal seems to have gained traction as the NYCEDC has given Messier and co. a month to show it has the $138 million required for the first phase of the project. Originally constructed in 1917, the Armory was built  to house a regiment of New York’s National Guard. If Messier's plan is realized, the Armory would be transformed into a 750,000-square-foot ice complex, complete with nine rinks, a 5,000-capacity arena, community center and retail area. Rinks would be used for all forms of ice skating, curling and cater for those with disabilities. In total, the scheme is touted to cost $350 million, however, funding remains to be an issue after former State Senator Dean Skelos was convicted for corruption. Prior to this, Skelos had pledged all the money to come from a fund. Despite the financial issues, the scheme has already been approved by the New York City council. Initially put forward in 2012, the arena would be used to host international ice hockey events, fitting considering it's listed on the New York State and National Registers of Historic Places and is an official New York City Landmark. Behind the project are Canadian firm BBB Architects. Coincidentally, Messier himself is also Canadian. Speaking to Politico New York, William Brewer, a partner at Brewer, Attorneys & Counselors spoke of the projects progress. "Delivery of the lease is all that remains before Kingsbridge can move forward with construction," he said. Seven years ago, Mayor Michael Bloomberg put forward the idea of the Armory being turned into a mall, however City Council Speaker Christine Quinn and Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz both opposed it. According to Curbed New York, Diaz supports the ice center plan.  
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$336 million now going towards New York City's Water Tunnel No. 3

There was a big surprise this week in New York City, infrastructure-wise. This Wednesday, NYC learned of slightly terrifying news: should there be a breakdown, disaster, or other emergency, parts of Brooklyn and Queens could be left without water for at least three months. (See New Yorkers, just because Seattle may be earthquake-prone, we aren't the only city that needs to worry about these things.) New York City currently relies on two aging water tunnels that date back to the early twentieth century: one for Manhattan and the Bronx, while the other serves Brooklyn, Queens, and Staten Island. The New York City Department of Environmental Protection has been building a third tunnel—Water Tunnel No. 3—since the 1970s to supply reservoir water if the first two fail. The tunnel section that serves Manhattan and the Bronx is finished, but there are two tunnel shafts that have yet to be built that would connect the third tunnel to Brooklyn and Queens. According to reporting by The New York Times, the de Blasio administration had no budget set last year for the project, nor a timeline: “The entire Brooklyn-Queens leg of the new tunnel was scheduled to be finished by 2021, with $336 million included in the capital budget in 2013 by Mr. de Blasio’s predecessor, Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, for whom completion of the third tunnel was the most urgent and expensive undertaking of his tenure,” The Times explained. “But last year, Mr. de Blasio’s administration, eager to keep a lid on water and sewer rates that had grown by an average of 8 percent annually under Mr. Bloomberg, moved financing for the third tunnel to other projects.” But now the city has spoken again, and in an awkward response hours later after The Times article was published, Mayor Bill de Blasio told the newspaper that his administration did in fact have a timeline and budget set—and that it was all just a big miscommunication: “The mayor’s announcement came just hours after The New York Times reported that his administration last year had removed all money to pay for the tunnel and had also replaced the announced 2021 deadline for completion with a commissioner’s “guess” that it would be ready for service sometime in the mid-2020s. Those actions and statements, the mayor said, had been misunderstood as postponing the work. ‘There are times when my team does not do a good job of explaining something,’ he said.” Now $336 million is earmarked to finish Water Tunnel No. 3.
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New play explores mosque building in America

A new play, based on fictional events set in a Chicago suburb, explores the tension around building Mosques in the United States. Mosque Alert started out as a reaction to the debate surrounding the mosque planned, but never built, near the World Trade Center, New York City. The play revolves around three families in Naperville, IL, just outside of Chicago, as a mosque is planned to be built on a beloved historic site in their neighborhood. Written by Jamil Khoury, Mosque Alert was originally conceived as an online civic engagement project. In that spirit, the play was developed through community based workshops, with over 2,500 Muslims and non-Muslims participated over the last five years. As such, the characters of the play represent a broad demographic and set of ideologies around the topic. “I should thank Donald Trump,” playwright Jamil Khoury said in a press release. “If Mosque Alert was relevant when I first started, that relevance has since exploded. Today the play exists within a cultural zeitgeist animated by fears of immigrants, fears of Muslims, demographic anxiety attacks, and calls to erect walls and impose bans—a more optimistic read is that of one big messy America struggling to work it out for the better.” Director and Chicago native Edward Torres recently directed Macbeth for the Public Theater. He reflected on the themes of the play in a press release, saying “Mosque Alert gives voice to multiple American perspectives and exposes the fears at the heart of intolerance.” Silk Road Rising, the playhouse producing the play describes the production as “the intersections of zoning and Islamophobia with humor.” Park51, the mosque and community center planned for Lower Manhattan, and inspiration for the play, was controversially dubbed the “Ground Zero Mosque" due to its relation to the World Trade Center Site. The original name of the project, designed by Michel Abboud in 2010, was "Cordoba House.” The reference was meant to evoke the peaceful coexistence between Muslims and Christians in the 8th Century Córdoba, Spain. After much debate, the project was eventually suspended and new plans were made for the site. Currently the owner is planning to build a Luxury condominium tower at the location. Mosque Alert will show from March 24th – May 1st, Thursdays through Sundays at the Historic Chicago Temple Building in downtown Chicago.            
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One Fish, Two Fish – Brooklyn’s Gotham MetalWorks Fabricates Historical Reproduction for New York Landmark Building

  In order to fulfill the need for ornamental fish for the edifice of a landmark building in Midtown, a 1858 Federal style gatehouse, they turned to the one company capable of such authentic recreation–Gotham MetalWorks in Brooklyn. Normally, recreating an item like this involves creating a plaster cast, something impossible with an item made of four separate pieces. Instead, the craftsman at Gotham MetalWorks created a rubber mold, then a plaster cast of each piece, sharpening detail after each imaging. The final piece was stamped in copper using a pneumatic press, precisely reproducing the architectural element. “We are likely the only metal shop in the region with the capability to have done this reproduction with the precision and authenticity that the client required,” said Branch Manager Doug Kisley. Gotham MetalWorks has a long standing history with landmark buildings throughout NYC. Because these buildings require specific replication of existing materials during restoration or renovation, approval can be an arduous process for contractors and architects. With an extensive knowledge of historical preservation coupled with CAD and state-of-the-art techniques, Gotham MetalWorks focuses on achieving the desired result of both client and contractor, while adhering to the Landmarks Commission codes.
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Last Minute Learning Lab at DORMA

For those trying to earn their last minute AIA credit hours, DORMA’s Design Center is hosting two full days of accredited learning on December 9 and 10, 2014. Course titles include:
  • Operable Wall Systems
  • – Innovations in Structural Glass
  • – Omni Class
  • – Specifying Design Intent
  • – Glass Fabrication and Design Issues
  • – Safety & Security Using Locks Exits, and Key Systems
  • – Interior Glass Office Front Systems
  • – High Performance Architectural Coatings
  • – Storefront Windows, Window Wall, Curtain Wall – What’s the Difference?
  • – Automatic and Revolving Doors
  • – Sustainability
  • – Architectural Glass and Resin Panels, Materials, and Configurations
Speakers will include industry professionals from Conspectus, Gensler, JE Berkowitz, Pilkington, HLW Architects, Lumivisions, and DORMA. You won’t want to miss it! For more information, email or call 917-880-6533. Located centrally in New York City, The DORMA Design Center provides accredited continuing education programs, instructional sessions, product and service introductions, consultations, and additional events serving the design community. Click for Full Calendar of events and AIA approved courses
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Bus Terminal Blues> Port Authority Bus Terminal to be Improved

The Port Authority Board of Commissioners has endorsed a study to investigate options to accommodate growth in bus commuting to and from midtown Manhattan. The authority hired Kohn Pedersen Fox and Parsons Brinckerhoff to craft a long-term master plan to improve interstate public transit services and reduce the impact of interstate buses on nearby communities. The plan will potentially replace the Port Authority Bus Terminal in Manhattan, which has reached capacity and is in need of improvements. The comprehensive plan for the bus terminal, which is utilized by approximately 8,000 buses and 225,000 travelers daily, includes a state-of-good-repair investment program and new bus staging and storage facilities on Manhattan’s west side. The scheme has been designed to improve bus operations and limit the amount of buses idling on city streets. By tackling specific infrastructure needs, the Port Authority will make certain the terminal remains a central part of the interstate transportation network. “The development of a Master Plan underscores the Port Authority’s commitment to make the Bus Terminal a world-class facility and bus transit the most reliable mode of access to midtown Manhattan,” said Port Authority Chairman David Samson in a statement. “While the Port Authority has already begun the work of revitalizing the Bus Terminal… this comprehensive approach is the best way to ensure the Bus Terminal keeps pace with future passenger growth over the next fifty years.”
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Turning NYC Inside Out: JR's Photo Booth Truck in Times Square

Inside Out New York City Where: Times Square When: Through May 10, 2013 The world’s first photo booth was stationed in Times Square nearly a century ago. Now, New Yorkers and visitors are invited back to snap some black and white self-portraits in a photo booth truck hosted by Inside Out's French street artist JR. The artist has launched Inside Out New York City, taking place from April 22 to May 10, 2013, to provide community members the opportunity to make a statement and participate in creating works of art out of messages of individual identity. The digitally uploaded photographs are printed as posters and displayed on Duffy Square or publicly in the subjects’ home communities. Inside Out is a worldwide platform for anyone to reveal untold stories. The project gives participants the chance to become visible as larger-than-life portraits and to simultaneously remain anonymous. JR's endeavor strives to emphasize Times Square as a creative core, but also engages New York City’s other boroughs. The photo booth truck is making stops in the Bronx, Staten Island, Queens, and Brooklyn, to give attention to communities affected by Hurricane Sandy. Participants can take part in the photo booths instantaneously and at no cost. Within just one minute, a black and white poster is printed. Participants then leave the 3-foot-by-4-foot posters in a public place of their choosing. The exhibitions will be documented, archived, and viewable online. So far, more than 120,000 posters have been sent to over 108 countries since March 2011 as part of the Inside Out project. The self-portraits convey countless themes including diversity, gender-based violence, and climate change. If you want to help Inside Out and will be in NYC between now and May 10, email to volunteer by yourself or with a group.